Maximum USPS Money Order is 700.

In the Fraud-Dssman thread (great BTW), just about everyone recommends using USPS Money Orders to do i-net business. I just got off the 'phone with the USPS, and the maximum amount the USPS will write a M.O. for is $700., so on a $5K deal you (the buyer) would need eight M.O.s Is this a reasonable or practical way to do business? I say no, and that's where Cashier's Checks come in, ie for higher dollar purchases.

For smaller purchases needing only one or two M.O.s, they are just fine, but realistically, how many of us want to make out a bunch? Comments?

Interestingly, on two of the most expensive components I've purchased, the seller said a personal check (not a cashier's check) would be just fine, and that is what I used. This was after telephone conversations.

Also, apparently some people do not know what a "cashier's check" is. On at least three occasions (when selling), I've specified M.O. or cashier's check, only to have a personal check show up. In all cases the checks were good. Any comments? Craig
I believe that USPS MO's are .75 @. Cashiers checks run $25.00 at my bank. Any check can have a "hold" or "stop payment" placed on it and you won't find out until it doesn't clear. So you don't ship until it clears. A USPS MO clears instantly at the post office (if it's good) and they pay you at the window, providing you have photo ID. (Wait until the end of the day for a large amount) Then you ship the item. Some people hate PayPal, but it works for me, and really speeds things up. They do charge to receive money for you, but everything in life can't be free.
I also don't understand the negatives toward paypal. The 2 or 3% you pay to receive funds is the same or even less than you would pay to the clearing bank if you were a visa/mastercard merchant. The buyer says yes and a few minutes later you get an e-mail that tells you the funds are good and available. These are bad things? Am I missing something?
usps money orders are generally safer forms of payment then either cashier, "bank," or personal checks. while it may be difficult, in many cases, to stop payment on a cashier's check, it can, and often is, done by unscrupulous folks. other scammers make color copy or other reproductions and "replicas"of cashiers or bank checks; these perps frequently operate on a rather grand scale, engaging in multiple instances of the same crime. i once represented a bank, for example, that was taken down for tens of thousands of $$ by an organized ring of foreign nationals that used a check kiting scheme designed to take advantage of the friday after thanksgiving, when most bank officers are still on holiday.

tho i've bought and sold on audiogon, i've had many more internet transactions on ebay. unless i know my buyer well, i will not send any merchandise until the payment clears. the only exception is for usps money orders. i will not buy from ANYONE unless i have had prior dealings with him/her or have spoken to the seller after checking out feedback or, in big $$ transactions, references.

given the ease of deception in internet sales, i think it inevitable that sites such as this one MUST establish escrow services. audiogon sez they are going to do so. i applaud them.

some other random thoughts: you can buy usps MO's with a "true" debit card (i.e., one that does not have a "line of credit" associated with it); if you have access to a merchant account, beware the "chargeback artists" and sell on "credit" with the same skeptical eye as you'd focus on "cash" sales"; be prepared to have your claim denied if you send cash via overnite courier anywhere.

the bottom line here is rather simple: trust no one but your brother or best friend, tho set that limit of trust no higher than the amount you can truly afford to lose.

where's the edit function? first line of last post "then" should be "than." sorry. -kelly
Kelly, is it not true that you can trust a lawyer, i.e., a member of the Bar?
Speaking of check fraud, once represented a brokerage firm that was misfortunate enough to cash a fraudulent U.S. Treasury Check for $10,000,000 (yep, that's seven zeros). The perp was actually in jail in Thailand for similar escapades around the world, but had managed to blow, conceal, or otherwise disburse all of his ill gotten gains and thus was a virtually empty pocket (not to mention in jail in Thailand with a whole gaggle of different governments waiting for a piece of him). The fraud wasn't caught until the check actually got to Treasury almost a month later (having passed through no less than three banks on the way) and the poor brokerage firm gets stuck holding the bag. There are some real devious folk out there, to be sure.
paulwp: i'd trust another lawyer no more than a member of the clergy. as many a scoundrel has been allowed to pass through the bar as has bellied up to one. that's but a single of many reasons i enjoy representing plaintiffs in legal malpractice actions. -kelly
This one is a "no brainier”!
Just restrict your purchases to $700.
I am sure lots of spouses would just love that!

On a more serious note. US Postal Money Orders are about the safest thing you can get besides cash. Even cash can be wet with green ink. Multiple Money orders is still very cost effective. I would guess most sellers would share in the expense.

Good Listening
USPS is the best way to go.So what if you need eight money order at .75 cents each no big deal.
Negative votes or not I appreciate the above posts. And Leafs, in this case I especially appreciate your rather direct response to my question.

The cost of Money Orders doesn't bother me, and I suppose I shouldn't bitch about occasionally making out several of them (if required?), but your buyer might? I would hope there would be more trust among members, but scumbags like Dssman go a long way toward dispelling that notion. Craig
I get unlimited free cashiers checks, free checking and a free safe deposit box for keeping $5K on deposit at Bank of America. A real cashiers check is secure because it is drawn on the bank's funds. The bank removes the money from the payer's account when the check is written. No money is your account, no cashiers check.
The REAL problem here is that it is TOO easy to duplicate almost ANY document nowadays. With the quality of "cheap" computer printers that are available, one could literally make copies that looked better than the originals. With this being the case, someone could get a low dollar cashiers check, scan it into the puter, alter the image via software and then print it on a similar grade of paper. Nobody would know what was going on until it didn't clear. Sean
I just sold a 3300.00 camera lens on ebay and the buyer sent 4 US Postal money orders which I prefer,it's like cash to me and I also work at the post office,so I get them cashed right away.look at it this way it cost the buyer 3.75 and thats much cheaper than a cashiers check which runs about 10 bucks or more.Remember it's only 75 cents a pop up to 700.00 and it's the safetest way to send loot.and the best thing is that there is no PAYPAL surcharge of 2% of your sale.So why bitch and moan about 75 cents pre 700.00 worth of MOs,so you get 10 USPS money orders at a cost of 7.50 to buy your 7000.00 component,try getting a 7000.00 money order or cashiers check for 7.50 at your bank unless you have a lot of BANK in the bank.
Vayasteve; As a credit union member, I get free "corporate checks" which are the same as cashier's checks. But your point is well taken. If someone counterfeits a USPS M.O. it's immediately a federal offence.
garfish: actually, the interstate transfer of any forged or otherwise false or fraudulent instrument is a federal (i.e., USA) offense, which, if repeated, also subjects the perp to criminal or civil RICO charges. -kelly
I guess I am missing something here. What is it that makes a USPS M.O. so safe? Sean's post sums up the way I look at any piece of paper that is used to pay for an item; every single one could be fraudulent. If a person is willing to risk his/her freedom, it would seem to me that it wouldn't matter to them whether it was local, state or federal charges that landed them in the slammer.

Am I missing something?