Avoiding Trade Scams


This won’t be a comprehensive post, but there are some things to be wary of when buying or selling used audio gear. While this is likely less of an issue with established members here, there will be people signing up and making their first post a purchase inquiry.

In general, if a purchase or sale seems overly complicated then there is a higher likelihood that something funny is going on. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

A few things to avoid (and why):

When Selling:

Do NOT accept payments as PayPal “gifts”, “friends and family” or “personal” transfers:

While such payments avoid you having PayPal fees deducted from the amount you receive, you will also a) lose any of PayPal’s seller protections, b) you will NOT be given the buyer’s verified PayPal address (it won’t show you an address at all) and c) contrary to popular belief, “gift” payments can still be reversed by the person making the payment.

Do NOT have the buyer send you a shipping label:

If they do, they can re-reroute the shipment from the address on the label to any address they wish and you will a) have no way to know this has happened, b) can’t start an inquiry if it does, c) can’t find out where it actually went since you are not considered the “shipper” in such cases and d) have no way to know the original address was related to the buyer in the first place.

Never ship items to any address that isn’t the VERIFIED PayPal address.

When Buying:

Do NOT send money using wire transfers, Western Union, MoneyGram etc.

Doing so will leave with no recourse should the seller claim they haven’t been paid, fail to ship you the item, ship you the wrong item, it is damaged or they just vanish on you. This is essentially the same as mailing cash.

Make payments only to verified addresses on known, protected, payment services such as PayPal. And then ONLY make payments using “Goods or Services” option.

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And only ship fully insured, signature required to the verified address. If something does go south, the USPS is the hardest to get your insurance money from. (As in, It will literally take an act of Congress for the USPS to issue you your insurance money.)

Pro tip: Insure for full replacement value, plus shipping costs. (New unit MSRP.) That way if it does get lost or completely broken, you can refund the buyer his money, and then go buy your replacement and be out nothing.


Signature required delivery to a paypal confirmed address is a good mechanism to avoid getting scammed as a seller.

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