Article Written By: Clayton Arnold
These days, more auctioneers and businesses are selling used industrial equipment online. While the internet provides huge benefits with regards to cost and reach, one drawback is the increased risk of fraud. When selling online, there is a good chance you will be selling to a business or individual you have never met. This person or company could be halfway across the globe, which makes tracking them next to impossible. Even if they are in the same region as you, it can take weeks to find a solution if you have been taken advantage of.
Because of this risk, some are dissuaded from marketing their goods online. For industrial sellers, losing equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars can be devastating. Therefore, the need to protect yourself as a seller has never been higher. In this article, we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to avoid fraud and protect your capital.
Understanding seller protection programs, avoiding misunderstandings, knowing the warnings signs, clearly listing the terms of sale, and keeping proper records can all ensure your experience with online marketplaces is both pleasant and profitable.
In an effort to increase marketplace trust, many online auction platforms have some sort of protection program regarding payments. These essentially take the place of a purchasing agreement with a private treaty sale, listing out all the responsibilities of each party. However, many of these programs are either not comprehensive or not enforced well and are thus easily exploited.
It’s important to understand a site’s protection program before you list with them. Do a little research about how sellers are treated, especially with regards to issues. Know your duties as a seller, and what happens in case of a dispute. A good marketplace will take your security very seriously, performing security checks on both you and the buyer. It will have measures against fraudulent chargebacks, in which a buyer purchases an item and later claims they did not approve the charge.
Finally, a good auction site also employs escrow as part of its protection plan, only releasing funds when both parties are satisfied. This website should evaluate each dispute case separately, and never rush to take a side before evaluating a claim thoroughly.
Mistakes happen; they are an inescapable fact of life. However, a little due diligence on your part as a seller before you list your item can help minimize disputes later. When creating your listing, be as clear as possible with descriptions, measurements, and photographs. The key here is not to give a potential buyer any reason to argue that you misrepresented your item.
If your equipment is damaged, you must state the level of damage as well as its location. This is where taking more pictures can really help. If the defect is significant, you may want to pay to refurbish your item before selling it. Better to list honestly now than suffer the consequences later.
Not only can you suffer a loss in reputation on the site through customer feedback, but there can also be possible legal ramifications as well. For more best practices when creating a listing, please visit: Best Practices For Selling Used Equipment On Aucto.
Though it may be impossible to always identify buyer fraud, there are a few warning signs to look out for. Knowing these can help you, screen buyers, throughout the process, greatly reducing the chance of fraud from the beginning. The key here is to never complete a transaction when you don’t feel comfortable.
One of the major ways this happens is when the buyer asks you to complete the sale outside of the marketplace as a private sale. Though this might seem attractive at first (especially in regards to avoiding a site’s fees), be warned. Selling outside a marketplace means you are outside its protection, and in breach of its selling policies. If anything negative happens, the website has no way of helping you because it has no record of the transaction. If a buyer wants to buy immediately for an agreeable price, simply add a “buy now” option to the item for the agreed-upon price and complete the transaction.
The second red flag to look for is if the buyer asks you to forward the funds to a third party on their behalf. They may offer to overpay you, and ask you to forward the extra funds to their shipping carrier or another associate. This is a common technique used by fraudsters. If you are arranging for shipping as a seller, quote the cost to the buyer and arrange for shipping. If the customer wishes to arrange their own shipping, let them handle the payment.
Using an unverified third-party payment system means there is little or no trail or record of your money changing hands. In this case, it is your word against the sellers in any dispute. If the auction site is known to side with buyers, you automatically lose. A good auction site with its own payment system will never ask you to use a third-party system. It should be happy to have a payment trail, since positive reviews means more users.
The next step in avoiding fraud is clearly listing your terms of sale. Every seller is unique, with their own situation. Do you need to delay removal on certain equipment? Need to charge a removal fee for a very large item? Who covers shipping fees? Listing these beforehand is much better than scrambling to find them afterwards.
Reading and agreeing to your terms of sale is an onus on the buyer, so you want to make sure they are as comprehensive as possible.
Lastly, it’s important to keep all records of transaction and communications in one place. If the site uses a messaging center, commit to as the sole means for interacting with the seller. Using the site’s system means there is a good chance their claims department has a record of any communications, even if a message is accidentally deleted. The same isn’t so for personal emails or text messages.
If possible, print out a copy of your communications. Digital copies are wonderful, but data can be erased. Having both digital and hard copies of messages will increase the chances you’ll be able to have them should the need arise.
At Aucto, we take marketplace trust very seriously. We believe the safety and satisfaction of all of our buyers and sellers is key to our success. Our protection program covers both buyer and sellers- providing a trusted and secure platform to do business. Payments from buyers are held in escrow- and once the buyer’s inspection period is over, the funds are released to the seller and buyers can no longer make any claims. To learn more about our protection program, please click here.
We allow you to approve who bids in your auction, giving you full control. Our messaging center provides a centralized system to keep in touch with all your bidders. Lastly, we understand that every situation is unique and take every effort to see that disputes are resolved quickly and fairly. To learn more about avoiding fraud online, please visit: How Do I Avoid Getting Scammed When Buying Or Selling Online?
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