If you feel like you got ripped off, or the package arrived
damaged, or whatever, before you e-mail me complaining about it
ask yourself if you did a proper amount of due diligence.
Nobody forced you to buy anything, and I literally have begged
you over the past decade to be very, very careful buying
anything used off the internet. The responsibility IS ON YOU
the buyer and YOU THE SELLER to smell around each other's tails
enough to where you're both comfortable with the transaction.
Don't kid yourself and assume that there aren't criminals
searching the site on a daily basis trying to figure out how to
scam you out of your money.
Do your homework, or at the very
least don't send more money than you are willing to lose.
2. No links to eBay,
Barnstormers, Trade-A-Plane, etc.
No exceptions. These are deleted.
3. Expect Hi Res Photos
you are selling an item, use the
macro function on your digital camera
(it will most
likely look like a little flower) to take extremely close-up
photographs of every square inch of the item being sold. The
macro function will allow you to show every little scratch and
nick and wear point in painfully excruciating detail. This
will avoid the unpleasant "you didn't tell me how worn out it
looked" conversation after receiving it.
The person selling
should use an image hosting site (smugmug.com
will give you a two week FREE
subscription) to upload HIGH RES PHOTOS for potential buyers. If
the seller is unwilling to upload high-resolution images (and
I'm talking a dozen pictures from all sides) I would recommend
running away from the deal as fast as you can. This one
simple act costs the seller nothing and minimizes the chance of
confusion down the road.
(an album I set up to show you an example of macro photography
- click on the link and maximize your screen)
as a middleman when selling avionics
If it is a piece of pricey avionics, consider having Stein from Steinair.com act as an intermediary between the buyer and
seller. Guess what Stein can do? He can tell you if
the radio was stolen! The seller will ship it to Stein,
and he will check it out and hold it until the funds clear, then
he will ship it to the buyer. You will have to pay Stein a small
fee for doing this, of course, but it won't be as much as you
think. It's a lot cheaper than buying a stolen radio, or one
from the grey market that can't be used.
Use Video Chat and Get A Screengrab of the Seller's Face
Most people have a smart phone now. Use Facetime or Skype
to communicate with the seller and/or buyer. Have the person
hold the item being sold up and spin it around so you can see them and
the item (and the wife and kids in the background).
Maybe they can show you a water bill with their address, then the front of their house so you can see
if it matches what is on Googlemaps.com. I'm not telling you you have
to do this, but if you think buying a used $5,000 piece of avionics is
without risk on a classified board, I'm telling you you are a
much braver person than me.
They're not willing to talk on the phone? Red flag.
See you later. Deal breaker.
screen grab. It's nice to have a picture of the person's face
who is trying to sell you a $5,000 piece of avionics or engine. Just
You can capture the screen on
your iOS device using the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons.
- Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top or side of
- Immediately press and release the Home button.
- To find your screenshot, go to the Photos app > Albums and
tap Camera Roll
6. Search Engines Are Your Friend
Google (or equivalent) the item that's being sold. You might find that it
appears on several different online bulletin boards, and that
the seller has already been outed as a scammer.
seller's email address. You might be surprised that it appears
on a scam list somewhere. No hits whatsoever? Might
be a scammer's new 'burn address'.
Document the Packaging Before It's
If it is a large item like a tail kit, or something that
requires proper readying for shipping, make sure the seller sends you
detailed pictures of the item in its packaging container to
satisfy you that it is been packed correctly. Things get dropped
during shipping. Trucks bounce around. Insurance is your friend.
Surely you took out some sort of
insurance for shipping, right? The buyer and the
seller negotiated that in advance, right?
8. Give yourself a way to 'cancel the
Pay using something like PayPal.com. Something you can cancel if
things go south. If the seller demands the funds in advance and
it's avionics, I would run away from the deal unless somebody
like Stein acted as an intermediary. But hey, it's your
money not mine.
9. Save every piece of correspondence
You might need it to give to the Police. Or your lawyer.
10. Question a Low Post Count
If a seller only has a few posts, and/or they are all items
for sale, your red flag should go up instantly. And high.
11. Don't send more money than you
are willing to loose
You're buying something used off the internet, after all.
Do your homework.
In closing, you might think I would be very
comfortable buying and selling items on my own website classified
board. I am not. Would I buy a propeller sight unseen from another
state, trusting that it would be shipped correctly and show up
exactly as I was hoping? Not in a hundred years. Would I
buy a $2,000 GPS sight unseen without doing any due diligence? And I
mean a lot of due diligence. Not on your life.
RV White Pages to
find somebody who lives near the item being sold. Ask them if they
would be willing to go look at the item to make sure everything is
legitimate. Send them money for a nice dinner out.
Sorry to sound like such a stick in the mud,
but it seems like every few months somebody gets ripped off buying
an expensive piece of avionics gear, or a propeller, or an engine
that has had a prop strike, etc. To be honest I'm kind of getting
tired of getting the e-mails from people who somehow think I need to
be involved because they failed to do their own
research before shelling out the money. If it seems like it's too
good of a deal to be true, it almost always is. In nearly 100%
of these cases, I've never met the two parties involved, they live
in different states, and I know nothing about them or the item.
I think in 15 years I've bought two items
off of my classified board, and I think they both cost around $20.
Maybe my threshold for risk is higher than the average person. Maybe
Don't give your password to anyone.
Ever. Don't 'click on this link to reset your password' that gets
e-mailed to you by someone that you think you know. It's a
phishing scam. Don't click on a link PM'd to you asking you
for your password. Ever. It's a phishing scam. Make yourself
aware that identity theft and online scams are very real and a way
of life these days. We are a huge community. We
are a target.