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Occu Pant
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Clive
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Not sure where exactly to post this -- so feel free to move to more appropriate location.

I have sold a few games here on BGG over the years, but a sequence of events recently has me looking to some of the high-volume sellers for tips and tricks on how to avoid scammers.

1. As a buyer, I have run into two different sellers on Amazon in the last month who were just straight up crooks -- took the money, provided a fake tracking number, and products will never arrive.

2. I re-started selling on ebay and there are tons of horror stories over there.

3. I have gotten inquiries in the last week from two different BGG uers (one US and one international) about purchasing one of the most expensive games that I recently listed. Both users just registered on BGG in the last two weeks. I know that everybody has to start somewhere, but I am nervous about shipping such an expensive item to somebody with no track record here.
Was thinking that Paypal Friends and Family payment mode should be non-reversible, but I have read some stories about folks who contacted customer service and had a payment reversed.
Was then thinking that an Amazon gift card should be non-reversible, but again read of situations where somebody contacted an Amazon CSR and had an applied gift card reversed.

So, how do you big-time sellers here on BGG prevent scammers/thefts? Is there any type of payment that one can require that truly does not have a way for a scammer to reverse after they receive the game?

Again, I am interested in tips from the Seller's side. And primarily interested in payment mechanisms that prevent reversal (but that are less expensive than flying to the buyer in person and collecting cash).

I do understand that there may be nothing that is 100% fool-proof and I also understand that most buyers (at least on BGG) are legit (even when new), but I would like to avoid running into the one bad-apple transaction on my most expensive game.
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The Game Steward
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RoamDog wrote:
Not sure where exactly to post this -- so feel free to move to more appropriate location.

I have sold a few games here on BGG over the years, but a sequence of events recently has me looking to some of the high-volume sellers for tips and tricks on how to avoid scammers.

1. As a buyer, I have run into two different sellers on Amazon in the last month who were just straight up crooks -- took the money, provided a fake tracking number, and products will never arrive.

2. I re-started selling on ebay and there are tons of horror stories over there.

3. I have gotten inquiries in the last week from two different BGG uers (one US and one international) about purchasing one of the more expensive games that I recently listed. Both users just registered on BGG in the last two weeks. I know that everybody has to start somewhere, but I am nervous about shipping such an expensive item to somebody with no track record here.
Was thinking that Paypal Friends and Family payment mode should be non-reversible, but I have read some stories about folks who contacted customer service and had a payment reversed.
Was then thinking that an Amazon gift card should be non-reversible, but again read of situations where somebody contacted an Amazon CSR and had an applied gift card reversed.

So, how do you big-time sellers here on BGG prevent scammers/thefts? Is there any type of payment that one can require that truly does not have a way for a scammer to reverse after they receive the game?


I don't know that there is any foolproof way to prevent being scammed. I started selling games as a business about 3 years ago, and about 15% of our sales are now international. In that time, we've only ever had one instance of fraud, and it was for a fairly inexpensive game.

Generally speaking, if you ship a package with tracking info and delivery confirmation, that should protect you from the majority of problems. It's not foolproof, but it helps a lot.

For international sales, it is perfectly within your rights to say no. And it is extremely easy to adjust your settings to only allow sales to customers in the US.

Really, our experience has been that the incidence of fraud is pretty low overall. But by starting slow, and only selling to customers with extensive feedback, you should be completely fine. As your comfort level grows, then you can slowly start to relax your criteria for "qualified" buyers.

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Richard Keiser

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RoamDog wrote:
Not sure where exactly to post this -- so feel free to move to more appropriate location.

I have sold a few games here on BGG over the years, but a sequence of events recently has me looking to some of the high-volume sellers for tips and tricks on how to avoid scammers.

1. As a buyer, I have run into two different sellers on Amazon in the last month who were just straight up crooks -- took the money, provided a fake tracking number, and products will never arrive.

2. I re-started selling on ebay and there are tons of horror stories over there.

3. I have gotten inquiries in the last week from two different BGG uers (one US and one international) about purchasing one of the more expensive games that I recently listed. Both users just registered on BGG in the last two weeks. I know that everybody has to start somewhere, but I am nervous about shipping such an expensive item to somebody with no track record here.
Was thinking that Paypal Friends and Family payment mode should be non-reversible, but I have read some stories about folks who contacted customer service and had a payment reversed.
Was then thinking that an Amazon gift card should be non-reversible, but again read of situations where somebody contacted an Amazon CSR and had an applied gift card reversed.

So, how do you big-time sellers here on BGG prevent scammers/thefts? Is there any type of payment that one can require that truly does not have a way for a scammer to reverse after they receive the game?


On BGG, with questionable buyers, I will only accept Amazon Gift Certificates - no PayPal. If they don't like it, no biggie for me.

As a buyer, I always pay with PayPal funded by my credit card. Two lines of defense if the seller is a scammer.
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Robert Stetler
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Going to chime in, although I'm not a high volume seller.

I've sold around 400-500 items on eBay, bought considerably more, built up feedback of about 1200 over the past decade and a half. For the overwhelming part, my sale transactions have been without any issue. Once in a great while someone buys something and then drags their feet paying, but that is very rare and about the extent of the problems. I've yet to have a buyer leave malicious feedback, knock on wood – although in the old days I did receive malicious feedback from scamming sellers. In general, everyone pays immediately on item close, doesn't quibble on cost, pays closer to market rate, gets their items shipped within 24 hours, and leaves positive feedback accordingly.

On BGG things are still good, but not as good. I get frequent quibbles over costs, particularly shipping, and a lot of ridiculous low ball offers. Payment is often slower as well, I end up cancelling many sales because the buyer orders but never responds, and I find it quite common to wait 24-48 hours after the sale is agreed upon and an invoice is sent before payment is sent. And buyers are less likely to leave feedback (about 50% in my experience, versus about 75-80% on eBay). Listing costs are much less (about 6% total compared to about 15% total for eBay), but exposure to buyers is also much less and the maket price level is much lower - in general I find if the item is in any way collectible or popular, eBay is a quicker and more hassle free and more profitable sale. However there is something to be said about giving the community first chance, even if there is less money to be gained.

I've a few BGG sales, about 120 over 2 years. Many have been to new members. Such buyers are slightly more likely to place orders and not follow through, but on the other hand they're more likely to buy at the asking price without question. I would not have much concern selling to new buyers, particularly if the items you're selling aren't high value (those are probably best sold on eBay anyway).
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Rust Never Sleeps
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I probably have around 400 sales here, and another 600-8000 on ebay. I guess I've been lucky, I've never been scammed. I've had a few poor buyers, but never a deliberate scam, and I've had the USPS eat my packages twice. In terms of purchases, I almost always purchase through known sellers, and am not looking for a deal to save a few bucks. On BGG if I'm concerned I will check a persons feedback. I haven't done ebay much lately, it's been almost all through BGG.

I always ask a lot of questions, and make sure that I know exactly what the buyer wants and what timeframe they are expecting. I'm more concerned about the buyer mistakenly thinking it was different edition, not understanding the condition of the game, or the game getting damaged during shipment. If the game is expensive, generally over $150 dollars or so, I may just tell them that insurance is included as part of the shipping cost and factor it in. Note, you can't buy insurance for overseas shipping. If a buyer seems unreasonable, in that the have expectations significantly different than yours, resolve it before or don't go through with the sale. I have a lot of buyers back off when they hear how much shipping will be. It's not a pain to cancel a transaction or not go through with it.

I also always pay for my postage online through USPS or the ebay shipping. You get tracking/delivery confirmation automatically with that, and everyone can see where the package is.

I always use paypal, and allow personal checks but insist that they clear before I ship. I haven't had anyone pay by check in the last several years. I try to stay away from 'family and friends,' more because if it's a sale, I want it recorded as such.

It can be nerve racking when your shipping multiple expensive games to Russia, or when you have a new user buy several hundred dollars in games. You can always play it safe by not shipping outside the US. On the other hand, international buyers are frequently willing to pay more for hard to find games. When I was clearing out some rare games probably 50% of them went to Europe. It also feels nice to make someone overseas happy, when they really want a game, and you can make them happy. I think that my most expensive single game was around $450, and it went to Europe.

If your shipping internationally, it might be better to ship to the individuals work address rather than home. The theory being, work packages appear to be industrial products, home deliveries are consumer goods and more attractive to theft. My brother lives in Germany and has given me this advice.

A lot of new buyers, especially international one don't realize how expensive shipping has become in the last few years. I do get a few that I never hear from again, and this happens much more frequently with new BGG members. If your having problems with a BGG member get Octavian involved.

The bottom line is that selling is always going involve some risk, and I think that you need to build it into your expectations. I'm hoping that if it eventually happens to me that I won't become to bitter about it, but I've had a couple of poor buyers whose memories have lingered much longer than I'd like.

My attitude is that selling games that I'm no longer playing is a nice bonus. I'm not in it to make every single dollar possible, letting go of flaky/suspicious customers buys a lot of peace of mind. I spend more time worrying about my reputation and appearing to be a poor seller, than I do about what the other guy might be like. Businesses figure that losses and breakage will account for a certain % of their bottom line, and I'm trying to adopt that mindset for when it happens. But you can spend your whole life worrying about 'what-ifs.'

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Rust Never Sleeps
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P.S. bitcoin may be nonreversible, but I really have no interest in looking into it, and it would be a pain for many buyers.
 
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Carol Carpenter
United States
Arlington
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1. Never use the Friends and Family option on Paypal for receiving payment for merchandise (or for sending payment)!! That option offers no protection for either the buyer or seller.

2. Never send a package to any other address other than the confirmed address provided by Paypal.

3. Always get a tracking number for packages you mail, and keep the receipt for at least 6 months.

And in "How not to be a scammer seller": Sellers sometimes also ask that buyers pay for the Paypal fee, which is against Paypal policy. I've seen sellers here on BGG who put that in their listings, and I won't do business with them.



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Occu Pant
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starspangledgirl wrote:
1. Never use the Friends and Family option on Paypal for receiving payment for merchandise (or for sending payment)!! That option offers no protection for either the buyer or seller.

2. Never send a package to any other address other than the confirmed address provided by Paypal.

3. Always get a tracking number for packages you mail, and keep the receipt for at least 6 months.

And in "How not to be a scammer seller": Sellers sometimes also ask that buyers pay for the Paypal fee, which is against Paypal policy. I've seen sellers here on BGG who put that in their listings, and I won't do business with them.


I understand the advantage to a Buyer of using the Paypal Goods payment type. I am curious what protection the Paypal Goods payment type has for the Seller over the Friends and Family type. I am honestly asking here.

Setting aside the issue of Paypal receiving a fee for Goods payments (which I am not at all opposed to) and not receiving a fee for F&F, everything I have read indicates that all the protection in a Goods transaction is for the Buyer. If a buyer uses the Goods payment and then claims (to Paypal) that the Seller failed to deliver or delivered a damaged thing or delivered the wrong thing then 99.999999% of the time Paypal will take funds away from the Seller and refund the Buyer.

It seems to be much harder for a Buyer to reverse funds for a Friends and Family payment as Paypal states that there is no recourse. (They do not honor that statement, but they do at least tell Buyers that).
 
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Carol Carpenter
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PayPal will suspend your account if they discover you are having buyers of merchandise pay you via Friends and Family, therefore denying PayPal their fees.
 
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Occu Pant
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Clive
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starspangledgirl wrote:
PayPal will suspend your account if they discover you are having buyers of merchandise pay you via Friends and Family, therefore denying PayPal their fees.


Agreed. But I am not sure how that provides any protection to the Seller by using the Goods transaction type in a specific transaction?

Again, I totally understand and agree with your statement that they Buyer does in fact gain some protection by using a Goods type transaction.

And I agree with your statement that Paypal will suspend a Seller's account for using Friends and Family if they are actually running a store and selling merchandise.

Just not really understanding your statement that the Goods transaction type provides any protection to the Seller.
 
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Wolvehunde
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The best way to protect yourself as a seller accepting paypal is
1. Send the package with tracking and insurance(save your receipts)
2. Take plenty of pictures(for condition purposes)(make sure date and time stamp is on)
3. Send delivery confirmation with signature required on expensive items.
Those are your best options. Remember, the more you document the better.
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