"I'll pay you later today"

I've been buying and selling on Audiogon for a while, and as a seller I've had my share of tirekickers and "What's your best price?" fishermen. Lots of people ask questions, then are never heard from again. That doesn't bother me. The one thing I haven't experienced on Audiogon until recently has been someone who commits to a deal and then doesn't pay.

The last several times I've attempted to sell something, I've received quite a few "I want to buy your stuff! What's your PayPal address?" emails from zero-feedback members. I've got nothing against zero-feedback members - I was one once myself - but way too many of them send these emails, and are never heard from again.

Even worse are the ones who say, "I will pay you later today/tomorrow," basically asking you to hold the item, and then never come through. I've missed a couple of opportunities to sell because of these people, because I feel that if I've promised something to someone, they should get it.

So, is this some sort of sick joke than I'm too clueless to understand, or is it some sort of scam to build a database of PayPal email addresses for hack attempts, or what?

I suppose I need to start setting time limits, i.e, "My PayPal address is xxxxx, you have four hours to make your payment." I hate to be that way though.

Suggestions? Sympathy? Scorn? :-)
Overall, my experience with the A'gon community has been very positive. However my last sale had two different folks who backed out after committing to buy. It was a really frustrating experience and I'm sure I lost a few buyers who would have come through with the cash. However, I refuse to believe that I am witnessing a trend. I'm gonna stay positive and figure that I just hit a slippery spot in the road. I think the most important thing I ask people to do as buyers is send me an email as soon as the funds are on the way. I don't change the listing to "Pending" until that happens and don't mark it "Sold" until I have cash in hand.
I've had similar experience. I usually get a few of these for each ad, though I haven't had any of the "What's your PayPal address?" offers, just guys who say thay want it, and don't respond further. I believe many of the zero fb folks you refer to are just trolling though and may not realize how inconsiderate they are being, maybe simply don't care.
I've come to the conclusion that until I have money, or have become convinced that the money is in the mail and the person is committed, and playing in good faith, then tried keep my options open by telling them the first person with cash gets the unit.
I've had these unfortunate experiences lately, too. I don't know what to make of it. I've been buying and selling on audiogon for five years and this is a relatively recent problem. I still try to treat everyone as I would a friend, but it's hard not to be skeptical at times. I try and maintain a good attitude, but I completely empathize with you.
Nine out of ten times I can tell the amount of feedback one has by the way they ask questions. When I check their history, or lack of, I don't get my hopes up as I know they will disappear into the night.

I will not respond to "What's your best price". If you list at 50% off retail then you should be able to sell with success here on the Gon.

When one has a good positive history then you are half way home on your deal closing out. If one has more blameless feedback then I do I will ship before payment.
i'm with bdgregory on this. i just tell them that nothing is held and if somebody comes through with the money while they're still contemplating the purchase or whatever they're doing that they need to wait "later today" for then the item will be sold. when i make an offer, i always say i can paypal immediately. once i get the thumbs up from the seller, i paypal right then.
Yeah it like there is an epidemic or something. I had a guy from Australia practically beg me to sell him a record I have listed for sale in the US only. He was persistant so I reluctantly agreed. I emailed him my Paypal ID. I don't hear from him for a day. Then he email's me the next day and states that he doesn't want to spend that much on a record. ARRGGGHH!
There must be someone else on watch tonight because every time I've tried to post something that "might" be construed as a negative, having ANYthing to do with an audiogon experience, my post has been censored.
I completely agree with you too with your content. There are getting to be more "flaky" people here, both as buyers (that don't do what they say, as you mentioned) AND sellers, the have ZERO feedback and their first offer is for a $4000 amp or pair of speakers. Duh.....tell me where to send the money order!
Thanks for shining some light on one of the problems here. It is a POSITIVE thing for newer members that are honest but unaware.
Good Listening!
I've been including in my recent ads something to the efffect "Sales to Agon Members with good feedback Only"...it seems to keep away the riff raff...
I also have phone conversations with most members I deal with. Great way to make audio friends. Several of my good friends I met on Agon...a couple local and some not so local.
Been there, as well. Even my present classified. Two, said they wanted it and would send me the funds. Asked for my address. I don't get nuts over this anymore. The two who said that, didn't have an Audiogon resume to begin with. That always tells me something. Bottom line? Squeaky wheel gets the oil. $$ in my hand/paypal account etc. is the deal. You may not know who the serious buyers are by the questions they ask, but you will certainly know who aren't. Well at least I know, having been around the block a few times. Also, watch for scams: third party stuff, and the like. Don't sound kosher? It probably isn't. Hit your delete button.
I would say it's just the nature of the business;not that us private sellers are in the business. I'm sure the folk whom are in the business get more than their share of this.I'm sure I have done this to someone at one time or another.---Heck, a month ago I changed my mind about selling something.----50 lashes for me?????
The "happening just recently" portion I think is due to the fact that the number of members on this site is growing substantially. I'll bet ebay was great before they had millions and millions of people cruising the site every day.

There hardly ever used to be scams on this site. Now, they are almost second nature. That's what happens when you put more and more people in one place. I expect that eventually, audiogon will have the same feel as Ebay.
I have had nothing but positive experiences on Audiogon. Lots of people "fishing" but all those that said they were going to pay did pay. I do have a new policy: a buyer is notified that they have 24 hours to deposit the money in paypal or I go on to the next buyer. My son has gone so far as to say, "the first one that puts money in gets it, and any money put in after that gets refunded back". Strict, but he has been burned too many times by buyers that don't come through. I'm not there yet.
When I'm selling a relatively expensive piece, I don't like to use Paypal because of the fees which result is money out of my pocket. So, I request check but, require $100 Paypal deposit.
I have had this numerous times as well, when someone agrees to buy it, I tell all future interested parties that I have seious interest, but no money yet, and if it falls through, I will contact them in x days so they can plan. Generally, most of the later offers will/have tolerated it, and yes some have gone elsewhere and ultimately cost me the sale, for then. I like Pawlowski6132's idea of a PP deposit, I might use that one, as long as I state that the deposit will be non refundable...
I like that idea: the first to paypal the money gets the goods. How does that work with the 3% fee? Does the person who sent you the money late, get stuck with the 3% fee even if you return the funds? That is not fair. How would that work exactly? That would, surely, get rid of the weak sisters.
The seller simply refunds the buyer's Paypal payment. No fee is incurred.
As classic a line as: “Honey, trust me!”
I agree with you 100%. But you have to look at timing of the item that was listed too. I will sometimes wait 2 months before putting an item up for sale. I will not place an ad if there are 2 or 3 others like it online. That reduces competition and usually translates into a very quick sale and you are done.

I do have a problem with people promising to pay with a money order or cashier's check and it never arrives after giving my address and phone number. Somewhere between their home and the Post Office the MO got lost or they forgot to mail it. Which do you think occured. I rectified that by not accepting Money Orders.

Yea, I know that's not the best way but I would rather pay paypal fees (which I include in all my gear) rather than wait for a money order that may never arrive. I had one gentleman that wanted an item awhile back and it took him over two days to get the money to my paypal account. By then another gentleman had paid for the which had already shipped. I promptly refunded the money. I never heard from him again. I personally will not tell a seller I want an item unless I'm willing to pay right then and there for that item. If you viewed my eBay feedback you will see lightining fast payment. Usually, I pay seconds after the agreement has been made or the auction is over. This should be understood with all buyers.
It is first come first serve. Just make it clear. They will understand and they will not be offended. I have sent this message out to many buyers over the years. I tell them how many others are interested and that the first to pay get's the item.

On that note be careful selling items overseas. Ask your bank or paypal about chargebacks from overseas buyers. It stinks and I won't do business with overseas buyers. Not even the border countries. It's to many headaches. Their scam is after they ask you to reduce the customs fees and the item has shipped they can challenge the purchase with their credit card company and you risk losing the funds and the item. You can't intercept an item with the Post Office, UPS or FedEX. The item gets delivered and they have their money and the item. Someone asking you to reduce customs fees and paying low insurance is a flag for sure. You will loose on that transaction. You get the picture. Have them wire the funds to an account. They can't do a chargeback on money wired.
I am fairly new buyer to Audiogon. Remember, not all Audiogon members leave feedback. Only half have returned my feedback. Yes, they were all peerless transactions. I hate pay pal. So I always try to pay with money orders, after asking the seller at the first email if M Orders are OK. It may take 2 to 4 days to receive a mailed M Order. I have lost purchases to the guys who advertise accepting M. Orders and than sell only to the first pay pal user. I have said to sellers" I send out your payment tomorrow morning" and I have always kept my word. Please continue to accept M orders and give us a little time to pay.
I agree Vvrinc, anyone who says "trust me" or gives elaborate explanations of why they should be trusted...

Run away!

Merry CHristmas everyone!