Buying items through the mail

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by swingfingers, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. With the internet and various sites such as there are increasingly larger markets for buying used equipment. My question is – what is the safest way to do this with individuals when no references are available. Usually the seller wants a bank check or money order etc. so it seems to me that if the buyer never gets the item or the item is not as the seller described it then the buyer is out of luck.

    I realize that good faith must always be involved in any transaction like this, but if there are no references are there any mechanisms anyone knows to protect the buyer? When I bought a Fodera bass through an add in bassgear, the seller kindly mailed it to the Fodera shop in Brooklyn upon my request. After I visited the shop and checked out the bass, I mailed the check to the seller who called Fodera to confirm payment. I was lucky to live near enough to the shop to do this, and very lucky that Fodera was nice enough to play this role (shows that Fodera really does take care of their customers).

    Are there any similar methods or third party payment options for these kinds of transactions or is it simply a matter of trying to get a “feel” for the seller over the phone and then saying a little prayer?

    Thanks in advance for any replies.
  2. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I'll bump this back to the top so that experienced guys can answer it.

    I would definitely recommend talking to the other party on the phone a couple of times, first to get a good phone number, and second to get comfortable with the person.

    People who have done this a lot say that a US Postal money order is the most secure form of payment. Something about being able to prosecute for mail fraud if the merchandise does not arrive.

    Like I said, some with more experience will hopefully spot this and answer better than I can.
  3. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    A friend who sells basses a lot has them sent to my job(a guitar store) and has me check them out. Then he pays. If it won't work out, then he sends it back. They can call to confirm it with me. It has worked well. But, still, it's an honor system. Without physically doing the transaction yourself, there is no realy way to tell.
  4. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    This is what all of my friends, and everyone in my bands do if they buy gear on-line. They send it to the guitar shop I work in, and have me check over it before they even see it. I always know exactly what's coming, because they send me all the e-mails, websites, every correspondence they have with the seller. I've sent several back to the sellers before my friends even saw them, because they weren't what was expected, and no one has had a problem with that.
  5. Thanks for the replies.

    Sending the item to a music shop is a great idea. Unfortunately I don't currently have any friends that work in music shops.

    Anyone know anything more about US postal money orders?

    Please keep up the suggestions.
  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes, Postal MOs are supposed to offer the protection of mail fraud investigators. Check w/ the Post Office for details.

    However, almost everyone I have dealt w/ provides references upon request. Email addresses, ebay ID, etc.

    I've done a lot of mail purchases/trades and only been burned once.

    For anything of significant $ amounts, I call the person & try to get a sense of their personality. This is not foolproof, but does put me at ease.

    Good Luck!