Here are some precautionary measures we recommend taking to ensure a positive and successful experience.
When Buying Something
|Initial Contact Ask questions. When you first contact a seller by phone or email, express your interest in the item and ask any questions you may have about the condition and/or history of the item. Limit personal information. We also recommend talking to the seller by phone before meeting them.
||Seeing and Evaluating the Item Do your research. It helps to do advance research on the market value of item so you will know if you are getting a good deal. Don't insult the seller with an unreasonably low offer. See it before you buy it.
|Meeting the Seller Meet in a public place if possible - during the daytime when other people will be around. Bring a friend if possible.
||The Transaction Pay cash. In online classifieds, it's best to pay cash and to keep the payment simple. Do not use personal checks, money wires, Western Union. Do not give out any personally identifiable information such as bank numbers or credit card numbers. Ask for a signed receipt.
Trust your instincts. Item not as described? Seller seems evasive or suspicious?
Don't be afraid to walk away from the deal.
When Selling Something
|Posting Your Ad Be descriptive, use photos. Describe your item as accurately as possible to set buyer expectations. Include photos to give an idea of the appearance and condition of the item. If you use a phone number, use your cell number instead of your home phone.
||Responding to Initial Contact Answer questions. Respond to any interested buyer over email and/or by phone to answer his or her questions and to determine whether he or she is someone with whom you want to do business. Don't disclose any personally identifiable information, like where you work, until you feel comfortable with the other person. Avoid inviting someone to your home.
|Meeting the Buyer Avoid doing business with people who are not local. Classifieds transactions should always be done locally. Don't accept offers from potential buyers you can't meet in person, especially offers over your asking price. A common scam is an offer over the asking price plus an extra amount for shipping.
Meet in a public place if possible. If you are selling an item, you may want to schedule your showings all at one time. Remove listing when sold.
For common courtesy, once your item is sold, be sure to remove your ad and contact any interested buyers so they don't waste their time coming to see it.
||The Transaction Insist on cash. For online classifieds transactions, cash is the safest and the simplest form of payment. Do not accept personal checks, money wires, Western Union. Do not give out any personally identifiable information such as bank numbers or credit card numbers. Offer a receipt. Detail the amount of the transaction and the condition of the item should any further disputes arise.