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Old 30-10-2009, 21:37   #1
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How To Make Safe Online Purchases ?

OK, this is not exactly sailing related except that I am trying to buy some gear for my boat. I found an ad online for a piece of equipment but the seller is in CA and I'm in FL. First the seller offered to send the item after he received the money. Since we're talking $700 and I don't know him from Adam I declined and offered to do the deal COD, payment with certified funds.

The seller declined that, claiming he has been burned in the past with a counterfeit cashiers check. I can't argue against that since I know that can be a problem. I checked with UPS, FedEx, and the US Post Office. All offer COD options of secured payment but that means cashiers checks or money orders that the seller won't accept. No one I've found has a cash only option, in fact most will not accept cash at all.

Every other method I've checked essentially works out that the seller gets the money before I can get the gear which I'm not going to do. I checked Paypal which offers buyer protection but only if it is an eBay auction, but not for private sales.

I should add that after exchanging emails for a week plus checking the guy out online I'm 99% certain that he is legit and will not burn me, but at this point it has become a contest of wills as much as a security concern. Thought this would be a simple purchase but now I feel like I'm trying to do a hostage exchange at Checkpoint Charlie.

So anyone have any ideas?
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Old 30-10-2009, 21:47   #2
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Ask him to put it on eBay with a Buy it Now price set at the price you've already agreed to pay. Have him tell you when he's going to post the ad, and you be ready to take it at the Buy if Now price, payment via PayPal.

He makes the sale, you get the goods at the agreed price plus the PayPal protection. Everybody wins.

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Old 30-10-2009, 21:54   #3
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Thanks Tao,

I had thought of that but set it as plan B, hoping someone knew of a simple cash COD plan that I hadn't heard of. At this point I think plan B is looking like plan A.

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Old 30-10-2009, 22:00   #4
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Or just plain Pay-Pal..you don't have to go thru ebay for that if both of you have an account you can send anyone with a valid email address money securely thru pay-pal.
Thanks for the idea but the problem is not sending the money to the seller. That part is easy. My concern is by sending him money (by Paypal or any other method) he has my money and I don't have the goods. If the seller is scamming me then he has the money and I have nothing. Paypal does not offer buyer protection unless the sale is on eBay.
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Old 30-10-2009, 22:25   #5
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Thanks for the idea but the problem is not sending the money to the seller. That part is easy. My concern is by sending him money (by Paypal or any other method) he has my money and I don't have the goods. If the seller is scamming me then he has the money and I have nothing. Paypal does not offer buyer protection unless the sale is on eBay.

Rats...you saw that before I deleted it...I did not read your OP in entirety and didn't notice you already checked that out ...you now have more knowledge about pay-pal then I do so the reason for deleting my post. OH well ..not the fist time i put my foot in my mouth.
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Old 30-10-2009, 22:39   #6
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Rats...you saw that before I deleted it...I did not read your OP in entirety and didn't notice you already checked that out ...you now have more knowledge about pay-pal then I do so the reason for deleting my post. OH well ..not the fist time i put my foot in my mouth.
Hey, when I am seeking knowledge I'm quick on the keyboard. Nothing gets by me.
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Old 30-10-2009, 22:53   #7
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FWIW...If it were me and he was unwilling to go the route Tao suggested..Id move on..
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Old 31-10-2009, 12:24   #8
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You need to check, but it is my understanding that you can pay anyone with paypal and the person receiving the money has to provide some personal information to verify that they are real and you can pay with credit card and provide some more protection.
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Old 31-10-2009, 12:35   #9
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You could use an escrow service: Using escrow services
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Old 31-10-2009, 12:40   #10
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Escrow

While the monetary amount may be a bit low for this, the common thing to do in situations where neither wants to give up what they have (money, item) the solution is to use an escrow service.

You send the money to the escrow service, he sends the item to you. You verify it isn't just a rock in a box and once you have inspected your item, you let the escrow service know everything is acceptable, and they release the money to the seller.

If you decide the item is not acceptable, you must ship the item back to the seller and once he verifies he has the item back, the escrow service releases the funds back to you.

This way he is protected since he knows the item is delivered to you, and that the escrow service has your money so you cannot scam him.

The cost for a $700 USD transaction is $44 at Escrow.com (a site I've had friends use and be satisfied) They accept paypal, do fraud screening, check the buyer's ID, all that good stuff.

Good luck!
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Old 31-10-2009, 12:56   #11
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Do you have any friends that live near him in California?
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:34   #12
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And, the answer is.

Well, in the end the seller agreed to list on eBay with a buy it now so the deal is done.

Thanks to all for the suggestions. It is very interesting to know about the online escrow services which may come in handy in the future. Not a cheap method but if you are buying something expensive from a questionable source it does offer peace of mind.

Regarding Paypal, from their website, one can register a dispute for items purchased outside of eBay but "If PayPal makes a final decision in your favor, we will collect any available funds in the seller’s PayPal balance at that time. However, recovery is not guaranteed and is limited only to the amounts that PayPal can recover from the seller’s Account. Any amounts collected from the seller will be placed in your Account."

Bottom line, if the seller has no money on deposit in his or her Paypal account then the buyer gets nothing.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:30   #13
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Glad it worked out for you...and thanks for the education
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:33   #14
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Glad it worked out for you...and thanks for the education
Thanks and you're welcome. I'm always happy to show off, that is I mean happy to share my extensive knowledge.
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