Page 1 of 1

my simple rules for buying and selling.

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:21 pm
by K7WXW
Almost all of the equipment (ham and otherwise) I have is used. I buy "previously owned" gear for lots of reasons: I like saving money and helping out other hams, prefer well-reviewed and broadly used equipment, and want to do my bit to keep electronics from going into landfills. As a result, I spend a lot of time on swap forums and lists, and unfortunately, reading posts from people who get ripped off or are unhappy buyers or sellers.

Here are the rules that have kept me out of that category so far:
  • Words like mint, good as new, only used one hour, etc don't mean much. Photos of gear, with the ham's call sign visible on a QSL card in the photo are much better indicators of condition.

    Know how much the gear is worth. If the offer is twenty or thirty percent below or above market, it is probably a scam.

    Is the buyer or seller who they say they are? Always get a physical location, phone number, call sign, and email address. Then check to see that they are all real and match up. As a backup, check the IP address of the email your received, which is hard to forge.

    Do not buy gear from a seller that wants a cashier's check, Western Union, Paypal "friends and family" or other non-recourse method of payment.

    Do not deliver gear to someone that has paid with a money order of any sort until you cash it. They are easy to alter.

    Whether you are buying or selling when you make a deal, be very very clear about what is included, item by item. If the gear has a serial number, make sure it is part of the list. Include shipping instructions: carrier, type of shipping, insurance.

    If you are buying, check the gear against the list as soon as it arrives. If you need to check that the gear is working, go through every single function, mode, and menu. If it is expensive, have a reputable shop check it out for you.

    Last of all, for expensive equipment, make a phone call to the seller or buyer early in the process. This will eliminate one hundred percent of the long distance scammers and almost all the folks that can't deliver what they promise.
I know. PITA. Some buyers and sellers will walk rather than deal with you. But following these rules has helped identify scams more than once and if something bad does happen, I have documentation for resolving disputes. May all your swaps be painless and all your used gear end up in happy homes!