United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Nov 1998
Guidelines for selling items in the RCGroups forums
RCGroups is happy to provide a place where sellers and buyers can meet.
The service is provided free of charge. Consequently, RCGroups cannot assume any responsibility for the transactions that occur here.
Some general guidelines to help you:
1. Know who you are dealing with. RCGroups provides "trader ratings" that allow sellers and buyers to leave feedback about each other. Make use of these. It is also helpful to examine the post history of a user to see if they have contributed in a meaningful way to the other forums.
2. Communicate clearly. If you are the buyer, make sure that you know exactly what you are buying. If you are the seller, make sure you communicate exactly what you are selling. Most problems come up when users misunderstand something about the transaction.
3. Use some common sense. People who feel comfortable sending money to someone they've never met for something they've never seen are bound to eventually receive a nasty surprise. That doesn't meant that you can't trade online. Just use some common sense precautions, like contacting the other party by phone and exchanging all the relevant contact information before proceeding with a transaction.
4. Be patient. There are few cons out there but the ones that exist online survive by moving the transaction along quickly. It is way better to miss out on a hot item at a good price than it is to lose money on a product that never arrives.
5. If something goes wrong, don't panic. Don't go public with a bunch of wild assertions. Use the contact information you got before the sale took place and put it to good use. Be friendly as you negotiate a resolution to the problem. If you put the other person on the defensive, your chance of working with that person drops to nearly zero.
Be suspicious of anyone who is vague, uses delay tactics, seems inconsistent, or who is trying to motivate you to close on a deal faster than a reasonable person would expect.
How a transaction proceeds is really up to the seller. Keep that in mind. Lots of times people get upset because a seller makes a deal with someone who doesn't appear to have provided the first response to the listing. That's silly. The seller can sell to whoever he wants. He has to protect himself just like the buyer does, so it behooves him to sell the item to the person he trusts the most.
Likewise, some sellers get upset when a buyer backs out. That's silly too. The buyer might get cold feet because he decides the seller isn't trustworthy. Or it may be because he realizes that he can't spare the cash after all. It isn't unethical for the buyer to change his mind, even though it can be frustrating at times.
Keeping the above in mind, here are some guidelines on how a transaction can logically take place:
1. The seller lists the item, providing a price or asking for "best offer".
2. Several buyers respond.
3. The seller communicates to each of them exactly what they are buying and answers any questions they may have.
4. One or several buyers commits to the purchase.
5. The seller chooses a buyer and posts in the thread to say "I am selling the item to ...". Since the buyer will be sending money during the next step, he should insist that the seller mention him by name in the post. That way the seller can't make arrangements to multiple buyers. The seller also uses the "sold" button to mark the thread as "sold" instead of "for sale".
6. The buyer sends payment by the seller's chosen means. This usually means paypal.
7. The seller waits paitently for the payment. If the seller said he would accept a check (probably not a very good idea) then he should expect to wait at least a week.
8. The seller receives payment and waits for it to fully clear. No seller should ship an item unless the payment has been made in full.
9. The seller ships the item. He then posts to the thread to say "item shipped". He PMs the tracking information to the buyer.
10. The buyer gets the product.
It would be nice if every transaction went smoothly, but in real life people make mistakes. Sometimes people are even out to cheat other people. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. So you need to be on your guard.
Unfortunately there isn't much you can do when a transaction goes bad. So that means you need to be really careful about who you are dealing with. Never be afraid to back out of a deal if you start to feel like it isn't going to work out.
When something does go horribly wrong and you seem to be getting the short end of the stick, think constructively about what can be done to solve the problem. Focus on what you can do. Too many people get frustrated and angry way too quickly, destroying the possibility of reaching common ground.
Always be true to your word and do the right thing for other people. If you are the seller and the buyer was expecting something that you didn't provide, make it right by shipping what was missing or by refunding a fair portion of the buyer's money. If you are the buyer and the seller didn't give you what you were expecting, then see if the seller will provide a refund.
Sellers should realize that the buyer won't consider the transaction over until he has fully inspected the item. That means that the seller shouldn't spend the money he received from the sale until the buyer has had the product in his hand for a few days. Most sellers, in actual practice, don't consider this beforehand, so if you are the buyer make sure you clarify that you want the seller to hold onto the funds until you receive the product. Let the seller know that you will ask for a refund if you do not get what you are expecting. Take care of these concerns up front so the seller is ready for them. If that means that he wants to choose a different buyer, then just be glad that you didn't get involved with the seller.
Remember that the clearer you are in your communication with the other party the less likely it is that you will have a problem. And if you do have a problem, all that clear communication will come in handy. You will be able to say "But I told you that this was the Super Doohicky 2000, not the Super Doohicky 2000 PLUS!".
If you feel that you are a victim of actual fraud and not a simple mistake then please let all the other users know about it via the Trader Talk forum.
Good luck to all of you!
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