How do you pay? Why?

I thought maybe some light should be shed on how we pay for our purchases here and why we do them the way we do.

Personally I’m not very enthusiastic about paying extra for convenience via Paypal. It’s really no quicker as the following transfer of funds to the bank being used takes 3-5 business days after the funds hit your Paypal account… and there's that sur charge as well.

Postal money orders are fine enough but depending on the price tag, several need be acquired very often.

Cashiers check (certified funds) is my pref. One stop shopping. Right at my banking facility and the funds are secured, if lost or stolen I have but to make a call to my bank. Ever try calling the Post office? You can't. Not directly anyhow

The problem I continue to see is the ‘time frames’ being reported by sellers about how long Postal money orders, and/or cashiers checks take to be posted. I keep hearing from one day to a week or more by some accounts for these MO’s and CC’s to be posted.

Maybe my bank is special, I don’t know, hence this thread. Always when I deposit MO’s or CC’s, the funds are posted to my account within 24hr, or the next business day… sometimes immediately, depending on the time of day they are presented…. Which is fine.

Personal checks do however take lots longer. I’ve been told as much as two to four weeks by my bank.

How does your financial institution handle receipt of certified monies like Postal M.O. & Cashiers checks?

Have you asked lately, or just go online later and take a peek?

These more secured funds should surely involve less time to post than personal checks... or why bother with them in the first place?
Don't confuse 'posting' time to your account vs actual clearing. Hence CCs and MOs post immediately, but you may find out a couple weeks later that it is counterfeit, leaving you holding the bag. It is, however, not typical to see counterfeit items like these, so in that regard it is 'safer'. I always ship upon receipt of a CC, but I am still taking a chance, although a small risk im my opinion.
if someone takes paypal without the 3% fee (inexpensive items) i jump on that

otherwise I send a personal check priority mail
quick enough, efficient, easy to keep track of, and I don't have to track down a money order somewhere
This topic has been covered before in a rather contentious thread. Hopefully, this thread will be less so.

IMO, the only benefit of Paypal is to an impatient buyer, because it shortens the time he/she has to wait to receive his purchase. He saves two to five days of mail delivery, and he saves three to five days if the seller waits until the cashier's check funds are transferred into the seller's bank account. So, it's a convenience. From my perspective as a seller, there is absolutely no difference between a cashier's check, money order or Paypal instant payment. I'm not in a hurry for the funds to clear. Therefore, since Paypal instant payment is a convenience for the impatient buyer, the buyer should pay the 3-4% fee for the convenience.

Now, at my bank, if I present a cashier's check or a USPS money order for deposit, and if I ask the teller when the funds will be available for use, then 100% of the time the teller gets approval from the manager for the funds to be immediately available. No 3-5 day wait. I suspect if everyone asked this question their banks would make the funds immediately available. The only downside is the necessity to go the bank and stand in line.

For expensive purchases, sending a cashier's check or money order via Express Mail can nearly as fast, and less expensive than a Paypal instant transfer. However, it requires standing in line at the post office.

So, which method do I prefer? As a buyer, I suppose I prefer a Paypal instant payment because it can be done all from home or office. As a seller, I don't care. If I'm paid with a cashier's check or USPS money order, then I ship the item immediately because I have zero concern that the funds will not clear.
I only use Paypal. Been burned too many times by the "check is in the mail". With Paypal, the transaction is complete and well worth the surcharge.
My bank now holds everything for 5 business days. They have had several issues with fraud.... MOs or CCs are no better than personal checks anymore.

I prefer paypal since there is no hold and you don't need a pile of MOs to send lots of money.

Everyone should be aware of one issue with cashiers checks and non-USPS money orders. There have been instances of counterfeits used to pay for goods here on Audiogon. If it turns out that you as a seller get one, your bank will look to you to cover the balance, and expect you to go back to the buyer to recover your loss (cold day in ....). Your bank manager may make the funds available to you immediately at their discretion, they may or may not put a hold on other funds in your account, but ultimately, if the buyers bank or other issuing entity refuses to honor a money order or cashiers check, you will be on the hook for the $$. There is another also one other issue here. Unless I am mistaken, there are federal laws covering clearance times for personal checks and they max out in days, not weeks. So if the seller says 2 weeks to clear, either they are misinformed, their bank is hosing them to take advantage of the float, or they don't want to take the risk of being stuck for a $30 bank charge if the check does not clear (and that is probably a legitimate concern when dealing with a low feedback member).

AS far as paying the 3% vig to paypal, I hate to do it, and usually won't on major purchases. If the seller's price is fair, I will offer to pay full price and let them decide if THEY want the funds quickly enough as to cover the fee themselves.

One other point (I promise). There IS one advantage to paypal for a seller besides quick access to the funds; it cuts down on failed deals due to " (potential) buyer's remorse, where financial or other realities set in before they can get to the bank and p.o. I've had my share of "I changed my mind" emails after agreeing to a price and other terms. That is the one advantage of the Audiogon transactor.
Yes most all banks post funds from cashier checks and money orders the day you make the deposit, especially if your account maintains an average balance greater than the amount of the check or money order. The reason many people wait for a period of time prior to shipping the goods, is in case the cashiers check or money order is counterfeit.

At times, dishonest people have been known to purchase a real money order with a real serial-number for low amount, and then carefully bleach out the actual amount and reprint the new fraudulent amount. From what I understand, done correctly, it is difficult to tell if the money order is is real or fake. In this case, the bank takes the money order in, posts the amount to your account, and then when the fake money order is actually reconciled by the issuing company, a charge-back is sent to the bank which is then charged-back to your account. Ouch!
Also, I much as I dislike PayPal fees, I still prefer PalPal for the reasons stated above by Swampwalker. When I sell something, I don't put the " . . . add 3% for PayPal" in my ads. In fact, I'll even go as far as to state, "No fee for PayPal". To me, it's not worth 3% to mess around waiting for a payment that never shows up. Just cover the 3% in your selling price and don't put it on the buyer.
I usually pay with a tellers check from my credit union, unless another form of payment is requested.

As for receiving funds, if it’s a USPS MO, I just go to the PO & cash it there. If cashing a bank draft, MO, personal check, etc, I go to that bank to cash it, but if no branches are in my area, I call the bank to make sure funds are available before I deposit in my account. I have had zero problems receiving payments.

I don’t like the idea of paypal, mostly because they are unregulated and can do what they want with your money.

As a seller I like PayPal for smaller items and USPS money order or cashier's check for pricier items (say $500 or more). My bank teller told me that even though funds would be available to me immediately from my deposit of a money order or cashier's check, there was the possibility that a few weeks down the road the check or money order could turn out to be a fake and then I'd be on the hook. I asked him about the cashier's check I was about to deposit. He took one look at the issuing check service and said it was a reliable one and this check was very likely good. I deposited it and had no problems. Again, buyer's feedback and communication with you as seller is critical.
As a buyer, I like to use PayPal too, it's far more convenient and I can do it immediately rather than wait in line at the bank or PO or both before work. If the fee is not covered by the seller, or amounts to more than about $15 though, I don't use PayPal. Paying a $15 fee is about my limit for convenience. Sometimes, sellers will pay or split the fee with you though, for mutual convenience. The service really does benefit both buyers and sellers even though PayPal funds do not clear into your bank account for 4-5 days. You can just wait to ship until the funds are in your bank account. But if the buyer has good feedback I go ahead and ship as soon as the payment has been made, esp if the purchase is for a relatively small amount.
I have been lucky on both ends, as buyer and seller, following these practices for over 6 yrs of trading on Audiogon, Head-Fi, and eBay. I am the MOST cautious dealing with eBay of course. The other two sites are for extreme hobbyists and I've never yet been burned by one of those lunatics (self included).
My post office won't cash in USPS money orders because they never have enough money on hand to do it. Then my bank holds them for 5 business days... So USPS money orders are no good for me anymore.
I agree with the Paypal preference. I too have been burned twice now with members who's feedback seems genuine. Alot of times if there is a problem with the item, not as advertised, Paypal will atleast stand by you through the process of determining fault, and if you use Paypal with cc, you can always deny the payment until things are resolved.
Seems like a $1000 item would be around $30, atleast figure it in the asking price instead of the pathetic "Paypal add 3%" caveat.
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As mostly a buyer at this point I won't do a deal if I have to pick up the 3% paypal. Both parties are getting some benefit. The seller either needs to pick up the paypal fee entirely (as cost of sales) or at most split it with me. If I see " . . . add 3% for PayPal" I move on.

I've bought and sold many items over the web & have no issues with a MO, bank check or paypal...& I pick up the paypal fees on a sale.
I feel uncomfortable and refuse to use Postal money orders. I live in a small town, and want to avoid the implications of doing something illegal or immoral when bying multiple MO, to the tune of 2K,or so. So, Paypal only/personal checks for me.
I prefer Paypal both selling and buying. I don't charge the fee when selling, however on a big ticket item, that cost may come into play in my willingness to sell at a lower offer. For example if the guy is local, is picking up the item and paying cash, I'll always accept less. If it's a big ticket item and the guy is paying with a USPS money order I may accept less, but I don't trust any paper document to be non-counterfiet, so that means I will have to go the the post office or bank to make sure I have my money. It's just more work. Reading the comments above, I may be making more out of the effort than I need to, but what can I say, I'm lazy.
I always prefer to pay via Paypal and always offer to pay via CASH transfer so if the person has a PERESONAL account (you can have more than one Paypal acct btw) they can avoid the fees as well.
When I am selling, I prefer Paypal but I only accept PAypal Cash transfers - NO FEES THAT WAY!!!
It always surprises me that more people do not take advantage of this "loophole".
USPS MO's are next preference but it has taken as long as 5 working days for a MO/CC to arrive at either end. That waiting can be a bit of a nailbiter if you think somoething is sold and only have a couple of inquiries. No one wants to get burned because they sat around waiting for a check that may never arrive...
If you keep a Paypal PERSONAL account. You can make instant transfers of any amount and accept cash transfers of any amount AS LONG AS it is not an EBAY auction WITH NO FEES! Their limits on Personal accounts only apply to EBAY auctions.
When people cannot figure out how to send a PAypal cash transfer, or chose not to, I accept the MO's or Cert checks.
Swampwalkers post is right on the money.

I would like to add, based on personal experience, that a Bank Issued Money order or even a Cashiers check, is not an iron clad guarantee the funds are solid. A money order can be claimed "lost or stolen" and the funds withheld. It took me over 6-8 weeks to resolve a situation like this, and in the meantime, my bank was holding me responsible for the funds in question.

What I have learned in this scam filled day and age is that the only safe funds for me to receive as a Seller is Western Union, or a Money Order/Cashiers Check or USPS Money Order, drawn by a Major Bank where I can walk into the Buyers Branch and cash it and obtain cash in hand, not involving my own bank.
A couple of comments ...

Checks of any variety, whether personal check, cashier's check, certified check or money order, are all susceptible to fraudulent use (fraudulent money orders and cashier's checks are actually the tools of choice for most negotiable instrument scams). It can take a month or more for your financial institution to discover the fraud, and the above posts are correct that you cover the loss, not your bank. I won't even accept cash given how easy it is to counterfeit currency and how stupid it is to physically carry a large sum of money in cash to the bank.

I will only accept payment by wire transfer, as this is by far the safest way to receive money. The fee for a wire is typically $20-$25 and the money is in the seller's bank account in two days or less. There is no worrying about whether a check will clear or is fraudulent, or who will pay a 3% fee (which can add up to a lot of money if you're buying or selling expensive gear). As a buyer, I like PayPal because it allows me to immediately "seal the deal", but as a seller, I tend to be selling fairly valuable gear and I am not going to be dealing with any 3% fee or fears of forged checks, etc.
I'll never charge for PayPal when I'm the seller and I'll never pay it when I'm the buyer, any more than I'd pay a store for the "privilege" of using Visa or MasterCard. Anybody who does change and thinks at least some prospective buyers aren't totally turned off by it is kidding himself. There's just too much stuff available out there to buy. Dave
Anyone who wants to make payment without incurring a fee has several options: Cashier's Check, Money Order, Paypal eCheck.
I would prefer sellers to set their selling price based on the PayPal charge. I'm one of those who gets irritated with sellers tacking on the extra charge. If I make a full price offer I will NEVER accept that charge. As a seller, I don't ask buyers to pay it.
I too just figure in the Paypal fee - I suppose to some people it has that tingle of getting something for nothing - for me I am getting their money.

I would like to contribute two things which I learned doing trades here:

1) You can do a refund on Paypal for 60 days after the transaction at no charge to either party. Nice for a change of heart or a problem of some kind with the merchandise.

2) If both buyer and seller have accounts at BofA (which must by now include a large percentage of the known universe) funds can be wire transferred at no charge and it often posts the same day

Finally as a seller I like using Paypal for the convenience it offers in preparing shipping labels and tracking them - I find the Paypal implementation works much better then the USPS site - go figure
03-27-07: Narrod
I would prefer sellers to set their selling price based on the PayPal charge. I'm one of those who gets irritated with sellers tacking on the extra charge.
I think that's a nice concept.

Given two identical items and condition. One for sale at $X including a $12 Paypal fee built into the price, and the other priced at $X-$12 but requires a buyer to pay the additional Paypal fee (which amounts to $12)...which one do you choose? The net price is identical.

Psychologically, you as a buyer feel better about the pricing of the item with Paypal inclusive even though the bottom line is the same?
I prefer to receive and send a USPS MO. I would think anyone forging such a document would be messing the US government and if sent across state lines, interstate laws would kick-in as well? I may be foolish or unknowning in this regard, but I sure wouldn't want to mess w/the US Gov't.
Paypal is my favorite method for both buying and selling here and even more on ebay. The reason? The money in my paypal account is reserved for this hobby. My wife has no idea how much is in the account nor does she care.
As others have stated, I don't like paying the 3% fee some sellers ask for. I simply make an offer which takes this in accord. When selling, I never ask for paypal fee and usually state "paypal preferred" which precludes this IMO.
I have used paypal for years, but recently have decided that I am only going to take gold bullion from now on... Paper money is too volatile, and too easy to counterfit. A couple of simple tests will tell the quality of the gold, and it's easy to transport, but passing those baggies can be uncomfortable...



If you're in the U.S., the law requires clearance wtihin a couple of days. The bank, however, may not clear the money in your account for you for a couple of weeks. So the bank has the money before they give it to you. They then have an interest free loan from you for that interim period. It's one of the ways they make money.
I generally like PayPal when I am buying and USPS money order when I am selling. However, as a seller I also generally accept PayPal and as a buyer I have also sent USPS money orders. I agree with Tvad regarding that sending a money order via express mail, or even UPS next day, can be cheaper than PayPal for larger purchases.
I have always been satisfied with Money Orders or Cashiers Check depending on amount of transaction. Some have accepted personnal checks and I didn't mind waiting for it to clear. I have never been burned her on AudioGon, most everyone I talk with seems to be a good person with the same hobby as me.

Most all of anything I sell I will prefer a CC or USP MO. The Pay pal option for me is a last resort. Only if there is no other way to consummate the deal, then I would accept it given the funds placed into my account, then are allowed to transfer to my bank thereafter.

It is my understanding that there is a phone number with which a U.S. Postal M.O. can be verified. It’s on the money order itself. The verification info number is also online at the USPS website. It is busy a lot though.

Same thing with a cashiers check… one can call the bank of origin and determine authenticity. Naturally, I’d seek the phone number of the orig bank via means other than the check’s own info… for if the check is bogus, then too would be the contact info most assuredly. If the number is constantly busy, that too would be a red flag.

So a simple phone call, if you feel a concern or just want to feel better immediately, is all it should take for verifying legitimacy of the instrument.

I get nervous when someone rushes me to sell to them, or buy from them… regardless the fashion of payment.

Whether or not PP fees are included in the sale price, or tacked on, makes no difference to me as a buyer. I see it the same way as a seller. If “OBO” is in the listing, it’s all negotiable. Right?

Personally, I see the shipping aspect as more the chancier endeavor than the payment. There is far greater control in the funds transfers for both buyer and seller than is in the shipping exercise by far.
Personally, I see the shipping aspect as more the chancier endeavor than the payment. There is far greater control in the funds transfers for both buyer and seller than is in the shipping exercise by far.
You got that right, bro!!!
MO or check if I absolutely trust the seller, and/or the item isn't too pricey (>$1000).
If the seller is hard to get a handle on, or seems clandestint, and/or the item is a large purchase, I always use a credit card through Paypal. Paypal itself is of no use, but the credit card's bank has saved me at least two times when the item was significantly different than described, and the seller offered no refund, including just today, as a matter of fact.

I know of at least one other AudiogoN member who wished he had followed this procedure after paying a MO for a $5K preamp (used), that showed up defective, and the seller offered no refund or repair help.

CYA is the name of the game when you're swimming in these waters. Better safe than sorry.

As a seller I prefer Paypal or USPS MO. I'll accept personal checks, but it certainly drags out the transaction. I won't do COD though.

Good point no one had made yet John. Thanks.
I buy everything in person and pay cash. I turn up for the transaction wearing dark glasses and a turban.

03-28-07: Punkawalla
I buy everything in person and pay cash. I turn up for the transaction wearing dark glasses and a turban.
That WAS you! You're a clever rascal, pW...

My payment perspective is somewhat limited by having always been a buyer and never a seller on AudiogoN and by not using Paypal. As a buyer I have, with one exception, used cashier's checks. To reassure the seller, I always state in my e-mail that I have no problem with delaying shipment until funds have cleard because I'm not in a huge rush to get the item (true). I think the seller can also be reassured by the substance and style of your communication.

As mentioned by several posters above, the remaining negative for a cashier's check and any other form of payment, compared to Paypay, is the seller's uncertainty until the payment arrives as to whether the deal will actually go through. If I use mail, I tell the seller I will mail payment no later than the day after the deal is made. I have also used express mail or one of the private overnight delivery companies when the extra cost of the service is relatively small compared to the amount of the purchase.

The cashier's checks of BofA, which I use, have a statement printed on the back of the check that information about the check can be had by calling a given 800 number. I called myself to test it out - the service verifies the check's authenticity and its payment once that has occurred. It's a nice feature because the seller doesn't have to spend time looking up the contact information for the bank and incurs no cost for the call. As to Blindjim's concern that the telephone number might be just another part of a scam, it's not likely a small time scammer will spend the time and money and disclose the information needed to establish an 800 number.

The one time I did not use a cashier's check, I deposited directly into the seller's BofA bank account, as mentioned by Ckorody above. No fees and it is fast. The seller had on-line banking and saw the deposit hit his account within an hour after I made the deposit. As to any risk that BofA might later unwind the deposit, I believe the Bank requires that the deposit be covered by cleared funds in the account of the person making the deposit. I don't know who would bear the loss if those supposedly cleared funds were later determined not to be good.

As a buyer, the one feature of Paypal that appeals is ability to challenge a payment when it is made by credit card. However, I have seen ads that specify Paypal payment be made by a means other than credit card, probably for this very reason. I've been lucky so far that all the items I've bought have been truthfully represented and not damaged or lost in transit, so I haven't had to seek a refund. If that happens, I may start using Paypay.
Most of these posts seem to be by sellers eager to protect themselves from buyers. As a buyer, who with one exception has paid by BoA cashiers check, I recognize that the risk is entirely with me. If the seller cashes the check and sends nothing or a defective unit, I have no practical recourse. As I understand it, PayPal acts as an escrow.

So far, every purchase I've made has been an exemplary experience. I thank all those on Audiogon who continually seek the holy grail of audiodom, thus making nice used equipment available at reasonable cost to the rest of us. My next purchase will by an Ayre C-5xe, and Esoteric AV 60, or a Sony XA-9000ES. Hope I don't get screwed.


03-28-07: Dbphd
As I understand it, PayPal acts as an escrow.
I'd be careful about making that assumption. Paypal is nothing like an escrow. They don't hold the funds until the buyer approves the product and OKs the release of the funds, which is how escrow works.

As a buyer, your best protection is to make your Paypal payment with a credit card. Then, you have the credit card dispute process to back you up.

I once made a Paypal payment by mistake to an unintended account. I did this simply by making one wrong keystroke. I contacted the other party and requested a refund. No refund. I opened a Paypal dispute process. No refund. Essentially, all Paypal did was contect the other party via email and request a refund, but they had no power to force a refund. After three months, Paypal said the other party never responded to their requests, and therefore the dispute was closed.

If you consider Paypal a safe method because of its buyer protection process, then I think you are flying without a net. This is why I always pay with a credit card when using Paypal. I know I can rely on my credit card company to help in the event of a problem.

I agree with Tvad. As a buyer, the only advantage that Paypal offers is that you can use a credit card for private sale. I've had two major 'problems', when buying on AudiogoN. I've actually had more 'problems', but it only becomes a 'major' problem when the seller is uncooperative and/or misleading.

In these two cases, Paypal was of absolutely no use whatsoever. They make it very clear, that all the seller has to do is send you a package. It could be a box of rocks for all that Paypal cares.

The credit card bank however was a large help. In both cases, the bank wiped the charges off of my account, and had me ship the items to Paypal. That leaves the bank and myself in the clear, and the dispute then is between Paypal and the seller.

So the only real service that Paypal does supply, is the ability to use a credit card for private sales. On large purchases, I find the 3% fee well worth it, if for security purposes alone. The security comes from the credit card though, not from Paypal.

Once a wire transfer has posted to your account, it cannot be reversed or undone by the remitter (the person paying). That is why a wire transfer is the only way a seller who wants to avoid problems (fraud, chargebacks, etc. - see below) should accept payment, and why payment by wire is by far the most common way that commercial transactions involving real sums of money are done (and the only way they are done for large commercial transactions).

As for PayPal, okay, okay, I'll come clean. The above posts attempt to explain that buying something (such as an amplifier or LP's) via PayPal in conjunction with a typical credit card permits the buyer to process a credit card chargeback in the event of fraud or where the goods do not conform to their description. In such cases, your credit card company essentially reverses its payment to PayPal for the amount of the transaction, and PayPal is left to collect from the seller (or you, the buyer, if they can't collect from the seller). If you as a buyer process a chargeback, you need to anticipate that PayPal will attempt to draw on your checking account linked to your PayPal account in order to cover its loss, so you must immediately close your PayPal account and/or arrange for your bank to deny any attempted draws on your checking account from PayPal (this may require account closure, depending upon the bank). It may be that the "fine print" of your agreement to use PayPal states that buyers will not use chargebacks (or if they do, promise to indemnify PayPal), but it would not be cost effective for PayPal to enforce these rights except where it involves more than $15,000-$20,000 (i.e., it's too expensive for them to hire a lawyer to sue you if you process a chargeback). Of course, PayPal's fee structure takes into account that 0.0001% of their customers are sophisticated enough to use chargebacks, so cry no tears for them.

In any event, this is the reason that (i) I refuse, as a seller, to accept PayPal under any circumstances, as an unscrupulous buyer can do a chargeback simply because he does not like the product -- a wire transfer is the only way to protect yourself and get deal finality, and (ii) as a buyer, I always use PayPal in conjunction with a credit card, as I can do a chargeback to negate fraud or handle unscrupulous sellers that lie about the condition of goods they sell. In fact, I buy everything I can with a credit card, as the ability to do a chargeback allows me to reverse problematic purchases (for the record, I have never, ever had to do a chargeback, but I have that option if I put it on a card). One cannot, generally speaking, do chargebacks with a debit card, incidentally.
Tvad, John, & Raquel,

Thanks for the warning re PayPal. I used it for my first purchase but not since. OTOH, I have paid with cashiers checks, telling the seller to ship when the check clears. Obviously that leaves me wih no protection from a unscrupulous seller. My purchases have followed several email exchanges in which I develop a sense of rapport with the seller, but I could be conned.

It seems Raquel wouldn't do business with herself.

I've found AMEX very effective at interceding on disputes. For example, I was stuck in Atlanta having lost my ticket, but the airline was unrelenting in their demand that I buy another one. When I got home, AMEX reversed the charge.

One noteable aside here for everyone posting here, and it was previously menntioned lightly above... Once. it may be just semantics too.

It is my understanding now, not before this thread began, that once all the money is handeld suitably by both parties and all that is left to do is have the merchandise shipped, at that point how many are aware that a "declared value" is not insurance?

I've noted many, myself included approach this additonal charge by a carrier as insurance. I've even had some carriers refer to it in the past as such.

I feel as I stated previously this portion of doing business, 'the shipping portion' is far too overlooked and no great light has been shed upon it as being equally important as is tranferring funds.

Given the responses thus far it would seem to indicate the largest amount of folks here see payment as more the important factor in completel;ing a deal.

I've had IMO great luck while shipping and recieving things personally. Over 40 times I've either sent or gotten sent to me, items that have arrived safely. Only twice has anything abnormal occured.

Thought I'd throw that in about a discerned value and it's differences from those of insurance. Doesn't that seem odd to anyone else? All this time I thought i was paying for safe sledding coverage... I wasn't. it's only a simple statement and an extra charge for it.
One has to provide documentation to any shipper verifying the value of lost or damaged merchandise. Sales receipts, catalog pages, etc.

Of course a shipper is not going to automatically pay the amount declared by the shipper. Think of a seller who declares the value of a $1.00 light bulb as $10,000. You wouldn't expect a shipper to pay the $10,000 claim would you?

Of course not. It's an obvious area for insurance fraud.

The declared value must be verifiable...and beyond that, the shipper usually requires that the declared value for used goods be in line with current market value. Don't overpay for used goods and expect to receive the full value of what you paid if the item is lost, stolen or damaged.
Tvad, good point... you have a knack for stating the obvious.

naturally no one in the habit of conducting business properly should think a mere statement will support value otherwise than can be established appropriately.

My hastely put point was about the 'insurance' monicker attached to it. Look at the ads for sale... shipping and insurance are the costs of the buyer'... or so it's said in as many words.

That word insurance, leads me to feel i have some protection that simply is not there in fact. i sought to put out thinly the diffs one to another for all to see... or think about and no longer cling to some 'pie in the sky' assurance which for all intents and purposes is going to be ultimately and likely determined by a transporter eventually, or a court ultimately.

Just pointing out some deep waters revolve about 'declared' value and 'insured' value. I see them as completely different.
If a buyer is concerned about being covered in the event his/her item is lost, stolen or damaged, the he/she should collect proof of the item's value if a need should arise to provide a shipper evidence to support the item's value. In other words, be proactive and plan an aggressive defense. Don't assume once a fee has been paid for insurance that everything will work out if a problem arises. Don't rely on a seller to take care of business as thoroughly as you would yourself.

FWIW, I received a 1982 vintage turntable through the US Postal Service that arrived with broken hinges. I provided the USPS documentation of the E-Bay auction, Paypal invoice and payment records, the seller's shipping records and insurance receipt. The USPS agreed to pay the full purchase amount without hesitation.

Not all shipping insurance claims are nightmares. In fact, I have submitted three claims to the USPS and UPS and all have been paid in full after the appropriate documentation was provided.

Buyers are not automatically the recipients of the short straws in these transactions. At least this has been my experience.
Jim- the declared value/insurance thing is a bit of a pitfall. The only way you are assured of getting re-imbursed is if its lost AND you can prove you actually shipped it. UPS and Fedex are much less prone to paying an insurance claim on shipping damage; if fact, they will do just about anything to avoid it. USPS is better, but it is pretty bureaucratic AND slow. But they are more likely to pay in the long run.

Thanks Tvad


You know that is a fine point you made. when shippnig comes to mind USPS does not. I use them for much if not all of my little things. Never have I even thought to enlist them as carrier for something large.

I will next time for sure, slow is better than NO.

My greatest curiosity revolves around numbers. My own experience I think is a poor scale overall of those issues surrounding buying, selling, and shipping. using those experiences exclusively, ALL my less than good issues have been solely in the latter area. Shipping and/or receiving.

I've yet to have a payment issue, going or coming.

I have had 3 incidents during transportation or surrounding transportation. One overcharge, two breakages. One coming, one going.

The overcharge took about 4 months or so to remedy. Fed Ex did in fact reimburse me the overage. I in turn reimbursed the other party accordingly afterwards.

Given only my personal (not business) experience, I'm in the neighborhood of 7% for ALL shipping results in a problem. the numbers of course aren't truly representative, as the scale is so miniscule. I suppose also as ALL of my issues have been with Fed Ex, yet not all of the sending and getting were done with Fed Ex, thus that figure is likely to be greater. Gee, I never realized that until now. Hmmmm.

So.... just where does one call for USPS rates anyhow? Only online?
Fedex and UPS insurance is poor quality and the adjusters generally try to deny claims (and take anywhere from thirty to ninety days or more to act). Anyone who ships a lot on Audiogon should open a commercial account with a professional freight forwarder such as BaxGlobal, as they have real insurance and expertise with high-value goods. If you are a buyer and the object of your fancy is valuable and prone to damage in transit (e.g., tube amps, CD transports and speakers, as opposed to interconnects), don't buy it unless you can drive to pick it up. If you are in the boondocks and absolutely have to ship with a consumer shipper like Fedex, insist upon careful double-boxing, buy with a credit card, buy the insurance, ship it overnight so they have less time to trash the package, and cross your fingers.
Raquel, I know you to be careful in your words and advice, but your warnings in this thread scare the crap out of me as a buyer. I have to say that if I was new to this site (or even a seasoned vet), I don't think I'd ever buy anything from anyone due to your warnings about payment and shipping methods. It'd be possibly less expensive and less nerve wracking to buy locally from a dealer.

Fortunately, I have had excellent experiences buying from and selling to Audiogon members. The three insurance claims I have been involved with have all been paid in full (although the UPS claims did take up to three months as you say).

BTW, I thought I read somewhere in a post that BAX Global is no longer shipping loudspeakers. Has anyone confirmed this? And...if someone works primarily from home, what is the next best shipper to Bax Global, since Bax only ships to commercial addresses?