Buyer protection question

I notice that many Audiogon sellers do not accept payment via Paypal; they request a money order or personal check. When paying this way, how does a buyer protect himself from the seller simply cashing the check and not shipping the product? I know there are escrow services, but almost no one on Audiogon seems to use them. Thanks.

By reading the feedback in the seller's file here on Audiogon. Also check on Ebay for the seller's user name and e-mail address. Often sellers here are also listed at Ebay.

If ANYTHING seems out of place, request clarification and if you're uncomfortable at all, don't buy. Always ask personal information including telephone numbers and addresses. Use wire transfers because they are bank to bank and both sides know exactly who they're doing business with.

Anyone who won't give a phone number and a verifiable address is flaky at best.

Lastly, call the seller. If you're within two hundred miles and it's a big ticket, Pick it up and pay cash.
Very few people don't like cash!

And when you have tons of positive feedback insist on hard payment up front and always keep your word.
I have always felt comfortable pre-paying for items being sold by folks that have been active here for some time, and have built up a good amount of positive feedbacks. The items were always shipped immediately upon receipt of payment, and were always exactly as described. I have also sold a number of items, some of which were quite expensive, and received payment before shipping. I think the feedback feature here does a lot for raising the comfort level for both buyers and sellers. Of course, feedback alone does not give you a rock-solid guarentee of anything. Speaking with the seller over the phone can also help give you "feel" of the type of person you are dealing with. If something feels wrong, then don't buy. A lot of the frequent traders here are avid audiophiles, and love talking about thier systems, and the gear they are selling. I have made quite a few internet friends that I still corospond with as a result of trading here.

If the seller is a new member with no feedback, then I would need to receive the item before sending payment, or the seller would need to agree to using some type of escrow service. If they don't agree, then keep looking. Most honest people would understand the buyer's need for protection.
Always insist on COD via money order or certified check to protect yourself as a buyer. If the seller has been burned before by someone turning down the product when it arrives then they may insist on prepayment - offer to send them a money order in the amount to cover shipping both ways to calm their fears of another rejection. If they refuse I would not buy from them or you can take the chance. In Fedex COD they get their money right away - UPS takes awhile.

I just read Ligi's input and took the time to look up the feedback on Gary1 and Ligi. Ligi who will only buy COD has one posative and no negatives, Gary1 who has good experience as both a buyer and a seller and pays in advance and expects payment in advance has seventeen positives and no negatives and I only buy and sell prepaid have thirty-seven positives.

It is custom to prepay. There have been too many couterfeit money orders, bank checks and the like. Know your seller and pay in advance. I don't trust escrow arrangements. It still leaves the power in the unknown. I've delivered a unit and payment is not in hand. Yeah, I know. What if the unit isn't delivered? That's what history and verification is for. Do your homework before payment, just like buying anywhere.
Buyer protection is when you get the merchandise at the same time you pay. As you can se by my thread "have you ever been stuck?"- no one seems to have been. Seller protection is doing it the Lakefrontroad way. The thread here says buyer protection. How is a buyer protected if they send money without receiving a product? On a previous recent thread a buyer sent the money - the check cleared and weeks later he still did not have his item. Put that in your feedback!
I feel the best way to go is Paypal, unless it's something I really want and it's a good deal, I will ignore non-paypal sellers(well, if they take CC's, then that's good too but those that do are stores).

So far, no problems with about 20 purchases. But the point about buyer protection is well taken; buyer makes more of a leap of faith than seller. I recommend calling; get a verifiable work and home phone and go with your gut. And of course, if the person has 20 or 30 sales to their credit, your not likely to get stuck.
I agree with Swampwalker. Getting a verifiable phone number, esp. work number, and name & address. Talk to the person and get a feel and go with your gut. Obviously feedback is important. I would never prepay if there is only little or no feedback. It's just too big a risk, unless it's a small amount. I broke my rule by prepaying $60 cable, but I spoke to the guy first and felt comfortable. The cable was exactly as he described it. COD is probably best, but there is the risk of the buyer rejecting the package. I had this happen a number of years ago from a Stereophile ad I placed. But that was the only time.

I agree, that as a Seller, I much prefer prepayment. But there are many buyers afraid of this, even when you have great feedback. I think most 'Gners with lots of good feedback are a pretty good risk, though.
I do agree wholeheartedly with Kevziek's last statement.