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"How to" for non-local used-gear transactions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bassdood, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. bassdood


    Jun 15, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    There must be one or more threads on this somewhere, but I have not seen them.

    I have done plenty of local transactions for cash, face-to-face, try-before-you-buy, mostly on CraigsList. Buying and selling, basses, heads, cabs, and misc other (non-musical) personal items. I have yet to do any shipping / distance transaction on used gear (eBay, Reverb, TB). But I am fast approaching that, and need to learn some stuff.

    I posted a bass for sale locally, and a non-local wants to buy it. Before I could say boo, the buyer posted money into my PayPal account (which account has never even received a payment before). The buyer included money for shipping. I have never shipped a bass before. This bass is far from perfect, and my CL ad disclosed that.

    Any advice / pointers would be appreciated. Such as, Can a buyer somehow grab back the PayPal funds? What if a buyer is dissatisfied? Tips on shipping? Insurance? Getting optional PayPal seller coverage? How long does it take to get half-way across the country? Do I actually have the money as soon as I click the Claim Your Money button? Should I wait until I have it in the hands of a shipper before I claim my payment?

  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Here's a start: PayPal user agreement

    You did not agree to sell it to the guy. If you don't want to ship it, refund the money.

    How did the "buyer" know how much shipping to include?

    I have purchased CL out-of-state items before. I always give the seller a heads up and make sure they are willing to ship before any money changed hands. I've been turned down a few times.

    For your local ads where you don't want to ship, be sure to include "no shipping".
  3. bassdood


    Jun 15, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    @Stumbo , thank you for the link. I will check that out.

    The whole thing happened faster than I could think about it and make a decision. So I am now thinking that I will give this a try. The buyer just guessed (probably based on prior experience), and added $75 to the price. The buyer requested that I refund any excess, after I determine the cost, which I will do.

    Is one of the shippers (FedEx, UPS, etc) notably better or worse than the others, for shipping a bass? Is any particular pack-and-ship type place recommended, in terms of making sure it is well-packed? (No hard case for this one.)

    Thanks again!
    FenderB likes this.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Paying for just shipping costs is one thing, how about the costs of shipping supplies or insurance?

    Since the buyer seems experienced, ask him what his ebay, Amazon, Yelp, Reverb, facebook or TB ratings and user names are.

    I'd also send more pics to the guy.
    MrLenny1, NEOBart and Jeff Elkins like this.
  5. bassdood


    Jun 15, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    There are a dozen or so pictures, including close-ups of dings.

    Asking for those user names is a great idea. Thanks!

    I don't know the first thing about how much it costs to ship, etc., other than seeing shipping fees sometimes quoted with basses that are listed on here or on Reverb. The $75 guess seems in that range. But I just now called a couple places, and they quoted me a lot more. The cheaper of the two was about $185. That includes packaging and insurance, and sending by UPS ground. So now I am really puzzled. How do you do it for $75?
  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    Not sure how someone posting in your PayPal Account BEFORE you sent him an invoice? You seem to have no proof of a legitimate transaction if you give him the Bass. He can claim he neither received the guitar nor did you invoice him.

    Just seems sketchy to me!
    Lobster11 likes this.
  7. bassdood


    Jun 15, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    The buyer had my name, email address, and I think my phone number. I am assuming the buyer looked me up in PayPal. I got an email from PayPal saying I had received money. First time I had ever received money in pp, so I was double surprised. I have not sent an invoice or anything. We have exchanged emails, text msgs, and have now spoken on the phone. Seems like a very nice person.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Tell the guy the quotes you got for shipping/packaging.

    Ask him how he calculated shipping?

    Most likely it's w/o packaging.

    Lots of guys get boxes from music stores, moving companies or even bicycle shops.
    bassdood likes this.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    One thing you might think about, which I've seen done before, is to take the neck off and ship body and neck separately or on one larger box. A shorter box is cheaper/easier to pack and ship.

    Also, don't use peanuts. They move around under vibration(from planes/trucks) and your item ends up at the bottom if the box, unprotected.

    One more important item, due to the weather, if you ship it with the neck connected, you should let the buyer know that the set up is not guaranteed.
    bassdood and steelbed45 like this.
  10. steelbed45

    steelbed45 TRemington Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Nolanville, TX
    If you want to keep this under $75, follow Stumbo's advice of breaking the bass down and packing it yourself. Bubble wrap is your friend.

    I've sold basses that I had packed and boxed in the past. That alone will set you back $35-50. Also, the finished boxes always ended up as being "oversized". This works out well for the shipping company; not so much for you. I think my expensive lesson ended up being to the tune of $140 to ship a bass after everything.
    bassdood and Stumbo like this.
  11. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    For many years virtually all my transactions have been non-local. I have shipped lots of cabs and basses and received lots of cabs and basses from non-local sellers. My situation is somewhat unique, as I am located at an APO address in Europe and can ship and receive items at domestic U.S. rates and without customs duty. I always use USPS. That may not be the best option for you though, so I can’t advise you on that aspect.

    I highly recommend focusing on dealing with TB buyers and sellers. My experience has been stellar, especially if you check out a buyer or seller's history beforehand.

    I nearly always use PayPal and luckily have never had a problem. Your mileage, or others' mileage, may vary of course.

    Always take the time and effort to pack items carefully and well, or have it professionally done. In my experience it is well worth the effort and expense.
    bassdood likes this.
  12. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    I would just refund the money and wait for a local sale in this case. You mentioned PayPal seller protection - that really doesn’t exist. The buyer holds most of the cards.

    I’d you decide to ship, make sure it’s a verified PayPal address and look up the address on Google street view. Then ask for his phone number and call him.

    How much is the bass worth? What kind?
    bassdood likes this.
  13. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    If you are uncomfortable shipping the bass, contact the seller and tell them that you are only selling locally and refund the money. Then edit your ad to state local sale only and never include your Paypal information your CL ad.
    bassdood, instrumentlevel and Stumbo like this.
  14. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I'm with @Ross W. Lovell here: This sounds fishy. If I understand correctly, he not only sent the money before you sent him an invoice, but did so before you even agreed to sell him the bass, before you agreed to ship it, before you agreed to accept payment via PayPal, and before you had agreed on shipping costs. I presume that he also just paid your asking price without any haggling? And this all "happened so fast" that you didn't have time to even think about it? That's too many warning flags for my taste.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    And he didn't tell you ahead of time? PayPal usually sides with the buyer for problems.

    If you do ship, take a picture with the shipping store manager holding the bass before you tape up the box.

    One way I've come up with to expedite things is to have the buyer call the shipping store (while you are there with the bass) and put the entire transaction in his name. You pay cash to cover the cost.

    That way the buyer can work with the shipper directly if there is a shipping problem.

    Once the shipping company puts a label on the box with the buyer's name as the the shipper, you're done.
    bassdood likes this.
  16. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    I agree with the others--there are some red flags. On the other hand, I've also had very good luck buying and selling non-local through CL. I've shipped a $2K bass from ennessee to Hawaii, no issues. I'm also comfortable with Canada, if everything else checks out.

    My "order of operations" looks like this:

    1. Always ask for evidence of buying/selling feedback. You know this guy has experience with PayPal--I would easily assume he has a profile on a forum or with eBay. Even on TB if an interested party wants to deal with me and they have no feedback, I ask for other evidence. One buyer had a profile on a guitar forum that worked for me.

    2. Google his email address, name, and phone number. Dig for further info. LinkedIn profile. Facebook. Does he look like an IT programmer with a good job, family, and a rancher in a Chicago suburb? Or does his address show up as a pack-and-ship PO box? This sounds like a lot of work, but if I'm at all interested in selling to him (and no bites locally), it's worth 10 minutes to me to check. I found one scammer this way.

    Also, what's his story? He's been looking for this bass for two years because it's hard to find or his birth-year bass? He doesn't have a local CL with good activity? Is your price just super good?

    Full disclosure: my worst experience was shipping an amp to a guy that found me, and was aggressive. So yeah, flag.

    If you decide to do it, and it sounds like you'd LIKE to:

    * Everyone has their favorite shipper, for various reasons. I love the gang at my local Fedex office, and I've never had problems with them. Price is always the best for me there, too. Others have horror stories, and swear by UPS or USPS. Fedex runs me between $60 and $100 for most average size basses in right-sized boxes. So his guess isn't far off the mark, for me.

    Always insure. Always insure. Always.

    * There are threads on packing and shipping. I'll see if I can find one. You have good advice so far on packing (though I've never separated a bass, couldn't weigh in on that)--with no case, I would consider picking up or using an inexpensive gig bag from your local guitar shop. ~$35. Bake that into the shipping price. I've seen it done often and have also done this.

    * Speaking of the guitar shop--you can often get shipping boxes from them for free just by asking. I've had mixed success with this, but it's easy to ask. You want one JUST big enough to get around 2" of space on ALL sides (and top. and bottom.) for shipping materials. A roll of bubble wrap is pretty cheap at Walmart. Same with packing tape--and inexpensive tape has never let me down. No need for strapping tape.

    * Opinions vary. I only loosen the string tension if the buyer asks. I always put something between the strings and the fretboard to prevent rattle.

    * If it's valued over $500 the shipper may want to inspect your pack job. It's a hassle, but protects you. Let them cut open the box.

    * Take a handful of pictures of your packing job as it progresses. Don't know if this matters, but.

    * Be clear about any evaluation period. (PayPal agreement trumps this, but I'd still state how long he has until you'll consider it received with no issues. 3 days is fair, IMO)

    * I've only ever generated one PayPal invoice as a seller, and that was by request.

  17. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    This has never even crossed my mind. I like it!
  18. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

  19. db59

    db59 Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    I'm guessing he estimated shipping only....not cost of packaging......I had an amp and cab listed on Reverb for local pickup....customer wanted to know if I would ship....I told him $100.00 as I had no box,bubble wrap etc....he agreed.and my actual cost was around $90.00, which included shipping and packaging.
    bassdood likes this.
  20. Definitely have the neck taken off for shipping. I had a bass come in 1/2 hour before my rehearsal and I quickly re-assembled it, did a quick setup and I was out the door. You always take your chances though. I had a 90's Peavey Foundation come in through the mail and the neck was warped (paid $220 Canadian and $40 shipping). Lucky, I had a Vantage Avenger neck that fit and plays perfectly after setting up the intonation. Still got the Foundation neck, not sure what to do with it as the truss nut is tightened to the max and it's still got a bow...
    bassdood likes this.

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