Avoiding Scammers - Both As Buyer & Seller

I know that I'm not a scammer. But you don't know that I'm not a scammer. And I don't know whether or not you are a scammer. "Trust me!" are perhaps the most untrustworthy two words in the English language. 

Like many here, I used to regularly sell things on eBay, audio sites, etc. But in recent years it has gotten too easy to get scammed as a seller. You sell a nice item, package it securely and ship it as promised. The buyer receives it and claims you sent them an old shoe. They file a complaint. Despite your positive feedback & documentation you are ruled against with no apparent recourse. And wham - you're out both the item and the money. The selling platform like eBay,etc. and payment processors, like Paypal or credit card companies, almost always side with the buyer.

This unfair situation has led me to curtail most selling, except locally - and for cash. The rare times I sell online I worry until the transaction is completed without issue. 

Is it just the wild west for sellers, i.e keep on as before and hope you don't get scammed? Or are there some solutions you have come across that help bridge the divide? Obviously a sale should be a two-way street, with easy traversing for two honest parties. And protections against scammers should be equally balanced and available for both buyers and sellers.

How have other Agon-ers dealt with this issue?



I take pictures of every part of the item and I also take pictures of me packing it into the box. It also gets weighed (can't claim an old shoe if it weighs 40 pounds.)  Check how long and how many buys/sells they have made, and their rating. Scammers really can't do it more then once on a site with the same MO.  I always give a discount for local pickup and cash. Even then, it's a public place. Finally it's also about what are you selling? A Hegel 390 is going to be difficult to pawn or resell. But, it's always risky. 

Perth Australia, I won't even go to the country or buy behind a single seller. In 5 years the guy has sold 20 pieces. Yet Ebay with it's SELLERS protection and 10 days to get it done or loose, managed NOT to get the guy to refund a single cent on 2500.00+. The AMPS worked a total of 20 minutes between the two and BOTH quit working. I took them both to a tech. BOTH had the buffer board wired incorrect and smoked the amp module.. 

Because of the build time (2 months) at the time. Ebay dropped it like a red hot rock. Totally worthless..

I leave him a FU message once a month and wish him POOR health. 

Few times in 1000s of transactions. 3 times maybe. But this guy took the cake.

@oldhvymec The amps were set up for American voltage and phase? Were they vintage or special in some way?  The correct amp fuse?

I don't sell much and not as a business but I'll only sell on Audiogon .

As I remember, when a person makes an offer his name, address and real email comes up.  I verify as much as I can online, that he lives where he says, I LinkedIn him or do other searches to make myself happy with his bonafides.  If not there yet I will email and state that I would like to talk with him.

The persons I have talked with have been happy to discuss these things, as I am making myself happy with them, there are likewise, and who doesn't want to talk about an item they are buying? 

I am not talking about for a small ticket item. For the one bigger ticket item I sold recently I actually weeded out several scammers.  Definitely seller beware.

I have had a few nasty buyers here.I don’t leave feedback until the buyer does.

I look into whos buying or selling I try to buy and sell to known audiophiles guys like me. I also look up shipping addresses on google earth to see if it is a real home, not a warehouse or?

 I took them both to a tech. BOTH had the buffer board wired incorrect and smoked the amp module.. 


I went over the schematic after the tech, to make sure.

The nitwit in Perth had wired in a dual single OpAmps after market board in. He didn't remove the old OpAmps he left them in place and wired the option board (that was socked) along with the NECs in series.


The whole time I'm waiting on a case base mounting plate because BOTH cases got tweaked during shipping. That takes 2 more months. Australia has some of the highest shipping cost in the world too. ZERO in the way of legal recourse. 5K for the Yankee to open a case against a LOCAL for a 3K claim.. Justice? Now you know WHY it was a penal colony. Still is as far as I'm concerned!

Next stage:

I get hold of Andrew at Sparko Labs and that started my real journey with Sparko and Nord in the Class D world. I learned quite a bit and I got the boards replaces by the owner at Nord.. I tossed the guy transformers, case and crap he added (Perth puke). Then went with the new modules, the largest switching power supply they had at the time, Nords rev. D buffer boards and cases from China (:-)).

NC500 what a little workhorse. I have 1 triple and 3 pairs of mono blocks all but one rev. D boards. WHY! Horse trading. Need a Nord? I got a few.. LOL

Time for my OCD meds. :-) I love electroshock therapy after my morning coffee, makes me want to chase a nurse or two.. Other than slobberin' a little bit and forgetting who I am, I do fine!!

I'm suppose to do something.............. OH feed the chickens..


I price things to sell and have never had any problem with scammers. In fact, I have often gotten much more on ebay than had I tried to sell locally. In fact some things will never sell locally but will command a high price on ebay.

I’ve also had some ebay buyers tell me how they’ve repaired or enhanced the items I sold for parts/repair .

My two cents is that sellers that complain about scammers price their items too high. This results in it sitting too long unsold and invites scammers.

I have bought and sold a fair amount of gear on Audiogon over the years, and I have not had even one bad experience yet.... 

@oldhvymec Now you know WHY it was a penal colony. Still is as far as I’m concerned!

I just stumbled over a pic of the amp guts made by a dude near Perth, Western Australia. There are only a few people who build valve (toobe) amps in Australia, and only one I know of in Western Australia. Apologies for the delay in responding.

Being otherwise very well regarded (even on this forum - they do sound good, and there is plenty of evidence that is high priority), I won’t dare name names but I copy this from another forum by a highly experienced tech bloke commenting on the terrible lack of skills by the manufacturer -

ANY tech or engineer that sees heavy components (plastic film caps, high power resistors, et al), floating, unsecured in a chassis will recoil in horror. Worse, in one of the ones I worked on, were the results of unsecured, hot running, 10 Watt resistors, that had caused severe damage to one of the plastic capacitors. The filament supply regulator heat sinks are fully enclosed and run very hot. None of this is acceptable.

It’s not "unorthodox". It reeks of a builder who has never learned or understood proper construction methods.

I’m not sure if I can show the image, I’ll try. Nup. Can’t be done, sux. There seem to be no Audiogon guidelines on how to.

Just look at a plate of spaghetti and that would be much neater. Its a shocker, even to my layman eyes.

{and upon further reading of that forum discussion, that bit I quoted by the tech guy was just him getting warned up, so go figure}





That is why checking their feedback is so important. And don't just look at the number - actually READ the feedback and the date it was given. Also, if the item is "expensive" to you then get their telephone number and give them a call. You can learn a lot in a 5 minute phone call about someone. Treat it as any business transaction. 

@sbayne  if the item is "expensive" to you then get their telephone number and give them a call. You can learn a lot in a 5 minute phone call about someone. Treat it as any business transaction. 

Yes indeed!!  I provide my personal details to anyone to have a chat about the expensive product to be traded. 

I once had cause to pull the plug on a vintage $3K amp (I had already paid in good faith but no action was yet taken) because I asked questions that the seller was not expecting (eg, serial #) and he got "sprung".  Hmm, awkward.  But phew!!

I've gone to tamper resistant seals and state this in the description. No returns or warranty on any item that has had the seals tampered with. If the buyer doesn't like the seals, don't buy it. Take many photos, before seals, after, during the packing and again before item is shipped. Don't sell on Ebay for sure.

I do like the phone call idea if potential buyer does not want seals, thank you.