selling a bass to an international buyer, auction advice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tightbidness, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. I'm currently selling a bass through an online auction service and have received inquiries from several International buyers. One of those buyers has asked me if I'm willing to ship the bass to a hotel in NYC when he's there on business in September. He has agreed to pay at the end of the auction, but I'll have to hold the bass for two months and ship once he's in the States.

    Earlier today this gentleman asked me to end the auction early and sell to him at the "Buy It Now" price (which disappeared from the auction after the first bid was placed). According to the auction rules it's acceptable to end a listing early and sell to the high bidder, but I'm a little nervous about the whole situation, in particular holding the bass for two months and shipping to a hotel.

    The buyer has decent feedback. However, the four or five negative comments are written in a foreign language, and I have no idea what they say.

    Should I be concerned about this transaction? Has anyone encountered a similar situation? Any advice or input would be much appreciated.
  2. 4string4ever

    4string4ever Guest

    Apr 18, 2004
    Orlando, Florida
    These are some of the reasons many sellers prefer US bidders only, but if the guy travelling to NY on business pays at the end of the auction and he has decent feedback, I think I'd do it. I wouldn't end early for the other guy though. If he doesn't pay, your auction is ended and you'd have to relist, thereby incurring additional listing fees.

    Just make sure they don't try to pull the ol' "let me send you a cashier's check for more than the amount...." scam though.
  3. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I would make sure that I get ALL of the payment upfront through Paypal. You can use Escrow, but you won't see the money upfront.

    I have never run into this situation, but I have sold and purchased a few basses online. All of my transactions have been out of country (I'm in Canada), and I have always used Paypal or Escrow. If your buyer is not willing to use a third party for payment, I would be extremely careful. The last thing you want, is a cheque bouncing, or a counterfeit money order.

    Oh, also with Paypal, I would ship to their verified address. Which I would assume would NOT be a hotel.

    Be wary if his negative feedbacks are in different languages. I would assume from this that he is not on the up-and-up when dealing out of his country.
  4. Thanks for your responses. . . definitely food for thought. I made it clear in the auction that I'm only willing to ship to the Continental United States but have still received inquires about shipping to Germany, Sweden, etc. The buyer in question originally wanted me to ship out of the US, and then brought up the NY hotel business.

    C-5KO, I appreciate your advice about PayPal and the verified address. That's something I hadn't even considered.
  5. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I've shipped basses from Canada to: Germany, California, Michigan, I think Texas also. <knock-on-wood> haven't had a problem yet. I've received basses from NY, California, Ill, and even Malaysia (that was a real nail-biter) had to Escrow that one.

    Shipping out of country isn't that big a deal as long as you have your "bases" covered (no pun intended). Payment method, where you ship to, verified addresses, etc, etc.

    Being from outside the US, it really peeves me to see great gear for sale, that the sellers won't let me bid on. I understand they're trying to cover themselves, but it still gets to me. The last thing I would want to do, is to have somebody limit whom they sell to according to region, especially from advice I've given.

    On the other hand, it does keep my GAS under control. ;)
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    I just don't do it. I haven't had any problems selling bass gear within the US at great prices, so why bother? IMO, the risk of fraud goes up ten-fold when you start messing with international bidders. That, and they're too far away to deal with legally should there be fraud problems.

    I wouldn't do it unless you just can't get a good buck for it within the US.
  7. I do feel somewhat guilty when limiting a sale to the US and imagine it must be frustrating to see items you cannot bid on. But at the same time the two International transactions I've done recently (Canada and Australia) were incredibly expensive and the goods took several weeks to arrive. The cost of shipping a vintage Ibanez catalog to Australia was greater than the value of the catalog itself.
  8. That makes sense and I appreciate your take. I guess I do feel some guilt. I mean, it must stink to be a legitimate buyer living in Indonesia. . . I also always hope that my decision to ship within the US isn't misconstrued. Shipping across state lines can be stressful enough. I can't imagine sending a bass overseas to a country with a different currency.
  9. As long as I'm paid before shipping(gear+shipping), I don't care sending it to Mars or US or EU... And I don't say that because I live in France and it's hard to see great US-only bargains on the Bay.:p

    If you have the money where is the risk?
  10. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Well, I live outside the US and bought many stuff from Ebay. I usually buy small items (books, CD, DVD) and never had any problem.

    I`ve also bought several basses, pickups and premps from TB classifieds. I`ve 3 friends of mine living in the US, so I usually send them the stuff I buy. They come to visit their relatives here, 2 or 3 times each year and bring my stuff.
    I always pay with PayPal. I believe that the seller (you in this case) has no responsability once the item is shipped. The buyer is responsable for customs, taxes, etc. It`s a risk he`s assuming.

    The point is that there are a lot of brands that are impossible to find in many countries, so the US keeps being the best market for shopping bass gear (besides GAS is a world wide disease). Exchange rate is also major issue.

    You shouldn`t have any trouble, as long as you receive payment first.

    Just my 2 cents.
  11. I've done alot of online auction sales, and as long as pays US$ and you have the cash, I wouldn't have a problem with this, Especially since your shipping method will have a tracking # and proof of delivery.

    That part I would'nt do, every time that I've been asked to do that, the item sells to a reputable buyer at a higher price anyway. People who do this are looking for a "deal", hoping you'll jump at the offer. My advice is wait it out 'til the end of the auction.

    Uhhh..... stay away, too many buyers with better feedback.

    So when you add it all up I'd pass on his offer, and if he bids on the auction I'd probably cancell his bid due to his feedback.


  12. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Babelfish? I know it's not perfect, but at least it will give you an idea about the nature of the problem ;)
  13. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    just wanted to give my input about the whole thing...

    as papersen and larrytron said like everywhere you have decent people and the rest. most of the european and Israelian prices are sky high for standard brands, so we usally get the stuff from the U.S.
    if the guy has lots of negative feedback than don't sell him the bass like you would do with any other buyer, but if he pays the money before you ship it and agrees to the deal terms sell it to him.
    if you feel its too much of a hassle and you have a bad feeling about it - don't do it.
  14. I would do it- however I would ask to ship to his international address unless he lives in Arab / African countries... Their postage and delieveries have a tendancy to go missing- I am told by an Egyptian friend, who is serching for bass gear at the moment.

    As I said I would ship it overseas- I have done so with a few eBay and private sales (sent from Australia, to the US, and even the UK, and Cech Rep), and have had little trouble. As long as the shipping is payed for- you decler it the right amount, and the correct type of goods your set- the rest is the recievers responsability.
  15. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Yep. Once you have the money there shouldn't be a problem with fraud.

    Send it through a reputable shipper. Declare the correct value. Insure it.
  16. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    If it were me, and I had the $ up front, especially as he's willing to pay the BIN (a price you were obviously happy to get), I'd do it. But, I'd get a $100 advance/deposit via Paypal before I ended it early. That way if he backs out, you've covered your ebay fees and made a couple of bucks for the hassle.

    I'd also ask for the name of the company he works for, and his email addy there. Might make you feel more comfortable if it's a reputable firm.

    As you'll have his money in advance, he's the one who's having to be trusting of you. Asking to have it sent to a hotel makes sense, as he's probably taking it back as luggage (maybe work picks up part of the cost as a 'travelling expense') and either way it has to be cheaper and more secure for him to take it with him on the plane than trusting international shipping, which can be a bit nerve wracking until you get used to it. He may also avoid taxes and duties in his country if he brings it back himself.

    I trade online quite a bit, and have successfully for years, both importing and exporting. It's usually very little extra work for US sellers to ship overseas and it gives us non-Yanks a chance to get some great gear at much better prices.

    When shipping OS, I always set out the tems of the transaction VERY clearly.
    - payment from a source I'm happy with: Paypal, direct bank transfer etc. I personally accept no personal cheques, international money orders etc. Fees and delays can be killers in Oz.
    - money clear in my account before it ships.
    - will not declare a different value or give a false description on the item
    - 100% insured value or no deal for anything over about $A50
    - ships via a carrier I'm happy with. I like to use services with tracking numbers, but if you elect, say, std airmail, once it's across the counter at the PO, it's no longer my responsibility.
    - all duties fees and other expenses when it lands are the customer's problem and expense
    - when people ask, I give estimates on shipping, usually with a range. If it comes in less I refund the difference, more and I wear the loss.
    - if I feel at all uncomfortable about the deal, I say no. I trust my hunches.

    I've seen lots of stuff on ebay I've wanted that said US only. I email and ask politely if I can bid, explaining I know the costs, how I will pay, fees, and extra hassle on the seller's part etc. Combined with my excellent feedback, I get an OK about 75% of the time.
  17. lowrez

    lowrez no.

    Nov 27, 2004
    New Englandish
    I'd do it. If he pays now, and wants you to ship in September, that leaves a lot of time for any issues with the payment to show up. Usually they would want you to ship asap so you can't do anything about it once the payment comes back as a fraud. Maybe ask for a money order, or even a check at that point... tons of time to clear.
  18. Wow, thanks for all of the replies and advice. I've decided not to end the auction early, and I told the buyer mentioned in my first post that I'm not willing to hold the bass and send it to a hotel. He could very well be legit, but the number of special requests raised a red flag. . .

    Regarding shipping, it was always my understanding that the shipper is responsible for what happens to a package in transit. In other words, if company XYZ trashes a package I've sent -- even if that package is fully insured -- it's my obligation as the person who filled out the papwork, requested and paid for insurance, etc. to contact company XYZ and start a claim. . . even if I'm not in possession of the package anymore. Is that not the case?

    I've never used Babelfish before Frank. Thanks. I'll have to give it a try.
  20. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada