Sellers Beware!!!


Folks, 

I am wondering if anyone else here noticing the latest trend on Audiogon. I have been approached by buyers in Vietnam to buy my listings. I have gotten at least dozen offers in last month or so, they are pretending to be US based buyers, with US address and do not disclose their actual location until you have accepted the offer.  I have already declined two confirmed offers as soon as I figured out their true identity. The US address being provided on Audiogon is either a local business shop run by Vietnamese native or a 'friend' address. I googled the address and called the local address listed on Audiogon. It turns out to be small business shop and the owner had no idea about the sale or the product he is about to receive in next 2-3 days. 

The icing on the cake, the buyer gets bent of shape when you point out these last minute surprises and then try shift the blame on us that we are not very 'trusting'. Go figure! 

I am outlining some of the things that were common in my dealings, 

1. Broken English (sorry no offense)
2. 12-14 hour delay between communications
3. Start off with low ball offer and then agrees to pay within 10-15% off of your asking price
4. Unusual delay in receiving payments, they tend to apologize profusely and blame PayPal for delay
5. They will ask you to 'absorb' PayPal fee due higher percentage charged by PayPal on intl. transfers
6. Negative, neutral or no feedback
7. The address in their Audiogon profile will be either in west cost (CA) or east coast (NY). 

This thread is not intended to target a certain race or nationality, the sole purpose of this thread is to create awareness against the 'sneaky' buyers. I welcome all buyers, domestic or international and wish them a hassle free buying and selling experience on Audiogon. 

Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128lalitk
I will not sell outside of the U.S. That’s precautionary. I recently listed interconnects and accepted an offer from L.A. The buyers Paypal shipping address was just a city - no street or number. The buyer supplied that. When I searched it was obvious the address was for a shipping company that specializes in freight forwarding to Vietnam. I broke my rule and went through with the $350 transaction. No problem but, yes, very deceitful. If it had been a significant amount of money I would have cancelled. Keep an eye out if you want to stay domestic.

The obvious question: If you get your money and don't have to deal with international paperwork, why do you care?
Thank you, Lalitk. 
It is no secret that all of those SE Asia countries are buying up American -made gear at an alarming rate.  Possibly to copy for the black market?
dweller, I am concerned with the 'intent' of buyer and round about ways to obtain a merchandise with fictitious address. Why not be open about it and deal with International fees and paperwork.  

And who will be on the short end of the stick if buyer refuses payment for any number of reasons. Buyers as you know it, enjoy great protection from credit card companies and funding banks, in case of international transfers. 

As a seller, you have to protect yourself against the unscrupulous offers and deals. 


Agree with Dweller.  I don't like to ship overseas, so if a buyer is willing to have an agent receive the goods in the US on his/her behalf, and my responsibility ends when that agent receives the goods, I would not have a problem with it.  I have done one sale like that with no problems, but everyone involved was aware of the arrangement.  Now if the agent in fact doesn't know he's an agent, as you mentioned in the OP, then I can see there might be a problem.

I just sold an expensive PC to a Vietnamese.   Easy negotiations, fast pay and shipping address is a Vietnamese business in CA.  As long as I get my $$, I'm good.


Must have at least 4 pages of great feedback and live in lower 48 states!!!!!

I am A-ok with shipping to buyers identifying themselves as international buyers and introducing their agent in US prior to the sale.  

The two transactions I dealt with, they did not identify themselves as international buyers nor did they identify local personnel as their agent.  


as long as payment clears paypal, and I ship to US address, I am not concerned where the actual owner to be  lives...
I have recently sold a number of items to different buyers at the same CA address. Payment was prompt, communication clear. 

I am having a real problem with these posts and the issue.  No one here is selling top secret equipment, so what difference does it make who you sell to?  As long as their payments clear before you ship the item, where is the problem?

Paypal would be the best payment alternative for selling to someone overseas.  That way the funds are in a escrow type account with paypal and there shouldn't be an issue.

Unless the real customer is from a country that we are legally forbidden to do business with, I don't see a problem.

Payments have to clear before I ship and If I was dealing with someone outside the USA, I would definitely use an escrow type of payment service.

Maybe I'm missing something here. 

enjoy


When I sell, buyer feedback is not as important.  I've sold to many with 0 feedbacks.   I've had excellent transactions with many buyers but they just don't give feedbacks.   As long as I get my $$, I don't care.

When I buy, seller feedback is more important.   I usually pay with PayPal to protect myself.

People have to remember when you list an item for sale, it's a business activity so treat it as a business.

As far as haggling, it's a culture thing.    If you travel to Europe, Asia ... they expect you to haggle and nobody pays retail.
  

I am having a real problem with these posts and the issue. No one here is selling top secret equipment, so what difference does it make who you sell to? As long as their payments clear before you ship the item, where is the problem?

Paypal would be the best payment alternative for selling to someone overseas. That way the funds are in a escrow type account with paypal and there shouldn't be an issue.

Unless the real customer is from a country that we are legally forbidden to do business with, I don't see a problem.

Payments have to clear before I ship and If I was dealing with someone outside the USA, I would definitely use an escrow type of payment service.

Maybe I'm missing something here.

enjoy

I hate to say this but some people are just not business minded.   They can't separate where hobby ends and business starts.
I had an issue like this arise about a month ago in a sale from an International buyer, but he wasn't Vietnamese. 

The only thing I will add is that I learned to ask where the perspective buyer lives now. In negotiations, he sent me an USA address, so I assumed he was USA, and quoted the price accordingly. I was surprised to see a larger than expected bite taken by PayPal, only then did I realize that he was International buyer using a USA address. Had I known, I would have quoted a higher price to cover the higher International PayPal fees.
When you're talking thousands of dollars, that little extra 1+% adds up.

Lesson learned. When negotiating now, I ask the buyer more questions.
To give a proper quote, you can't make assumptions.
the BIGGEST concern about international sales -- RETURNS or REFUNDS.
Uninsured shipments would cost 3...4 times less than insured and registered, but if there’s any shipping damage, whatcha gonna do?
So there’s no difference. If I have product to sell, it won’t be shipped farther than Canada or Mexico.
It looks like seller should not care about shipping charges, but WRONG! eBay can make you pay for everything including shipping when it will come to the return.
Bear THAT in mind.


knghifi..... where is the problem?

The problem lies with people being not upfront and honest. How would you treat a 'business deal' where buyer is coming across as 'sneaky'.  This gentlemen i dealt with had different email addresses, negative feedback, 3rd party paypal account, the shipping addresse had no knowledge of the shipment. Not to mention the additional loss of 1% in PayPal international fees. 

1 + for jmcgrogan2. 

   
"Paypal would be the best payment alternative for selling to someone overseas. That way the funds are in a escrow type account with paypal and there shouldn't be an issue."

Read the horror stories from folks on this site and elsewhere about paypal. Buyer can make just about any outrageous claim and PP will not protect you as a seller.  Then there are chargebacks from your CC company.  A corollary to "if it sounds to good to be true..." is it smells fishy it probably is fishy". 
I have sold successfully to buyers in Spain, England, Italy, Romania (with freight forwarding involved), Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea and mainland China; the vast majority of these sales have (not surprisingly as I have US power-rated equipment), power cords and interconnects.  The difference being that the buyer did in each case accurately represent where they were from and in most cases, paid most, if not all of the PP fees and were straight-up on the shipping costs.  Negotiation overall took 1-3 additional rounds over and above the 2-3 round norm (my experience, not necessarily everyone's...).  There are several aspects to PP when dealing internationally besides the fees;

1. it generally takes 3-5 day for the funds to settle into the seller's PP account in the US
2. if the source bank of the buyer is not fully 'online' with PP, you may get a notice that PP is going to manage the transaction using an 'eCheck' from the buyer to you that PP handles the deposit of into your account, that can take as much as 5-10 business days
3. I always tell any buyer (US or foreign) that I won't ship until funds clear from my PP account firmly into my personal bank account....(another 3 days)

This implies that buyers have had to agree to wait for about 2 weeks before I will ship depending upon how long it takes for me to actually have the money in my account (not just PP).  They then have 7-10 days wait time for US Postal Service Priority Mail Package/other service (or UPS/FedEx/DHL  in rare cases if they paid the higher fees). If they agree to all this, they are probably safer than some of the more suspect buyers we are talking about here. In short though, document everything at every stage of the process and keep this audit trail!  
I remember a show on TV a while back talking about how Amazon and many other large mail order companies will not do business with many countries in the Far East and South Pacific, due to excessive credit card fraud. Apparently their governments have no laws against defrauding foreign banks. So they make bogus credit accounts and make large or multiple purchases, and later someone in the Free World sees a fraudulent charge on their credit account. Hopefully they eventually prove they never made the purchase, and get a refund, and the bank is left holding the bag. "As long as I get my money, who cares?", maybe you don't care if you're helping someone steal from the bank? But with my luck it would wind up in my lap sooner or later. 

If someone is being deceitful and underhanded, there is usually a good reason. What's legal and where one's responsibility begins and ends may be subjective, but right and wrong rarely change. Maybe they are just trying to avoid import taxes and fees? It's still wrong. 





lalitk OP115 posts02-12-2016 5:08pmknghifi..... where is the problem? 

The problem lies with people being not upfront and honest. How would you treat a 'business deal' where buyer is coming across as 'sneaky'.  This gentlemen i dealt with had different email addresses, negative feedback, 3rd party paypal account, the shipping addresse had no knowledge of the shipment. Not to mention the additional loss of 1% in PayPal international fees.
With internet, there are no borders or clue who is behind the screen and on the keyboard.   It's the new world so deal with it or stay off.  I think it's great with a larger pool of potential buyers and sellers but have to more careful.

 I'm not advocating dealing with everybody including scrumbags.    If you asked the right questions,  suspicious of his representation and red flags, why did you deal with him??      Ultimately you made the business transaction so deal with it and learn from it.   You can't blame global warming.   Unfortunately sometimes we all have to learn from our mistakes.

Post removed 
"as long as payment clears paypal, and I ship to US address, I am not concerned where the actual owner to be  lives.."

This! What Vietnamese doesn't have a US contact, or family member. Have that member pay for the item, you ship to them. They choose to ship to Vietnam, or anywhere in the world, it's their business, not yours. You're not responsible for an item shipped elsewhere after it's been received in the CONUS.
If you use caution it can be all right. I sold a tonearm to a man in Austrilia who was listed as a facualty member on a univ and was as I could tell by our discourse. Went fine. Sold a cartridge to someone in France, took a couple of weeks for the post office to get it there but they did in time. But have avoided some ones in Hong Kong. And one in Russia. 
I will only consider selling to those who participate in discussions here and who don't say too much nonsense, from my point of view. But no Asia, Central and South America, Africa or Oceania, except New Zealand of course. Greenland may be okay, I might also make an exception for Japanese. Middle East on case by case basis but no tube electronics, period.
I would like to share some of my recent findings made while selling a pair of big high dollar ARC 610T amps. First, I can tell you there are a lot of BS folks out there placing low-ball bids from accounts with no feedback. I even ended up having to block several from bidding because they wouldn't stop when contacted. When you do penetrate a layer further (analyzing their email message header, etc.) on some of these folks you will find they are not who or where they claim to be. The anonymity the Internet, and that which Audiogon provides, unfortunately lends itself to this type of misuse. So, just be aware and try to know who you are dealing with. Additionally, I was horrified as I researched the many ways a seller can be scammed. PayPal is absolutely not on your side as a seller! If the buyer claims he never received a shipment, you may get charged back the full amount, even if you have moved the money out of PayPal and can show shipping paperwork. Cashiers checks are also apparently a big risk these days too. If the check is drawn on a bank besides the one where you are cashing it, the bank won't be able to tell if it's good until it goes to the clearing house, which may take a day or a week. Moreover, once the check clears the bank may still hold a portion of the money additional time per their internal rules, maybe weeks. If you receive a bad check and cash it, the bank will come back to you for the money once the check hits the clearing house and is returned and it could be up to you to prove you didn't do it on purpose. The safest way I have found to do business, is to establish a rapport with the buyer and know who you are dealing with as much as possible. Then, especially if the deal is high dollar, have the buyer obtain and over night a cashiers check from a national bank where you can go cash the check at a branch on your end immediately. I have accomplished this from start to finish in less than 24 hours.
Agreed, the bottom line is there are just too many ways that we can be scammed, especially with the technology that's available today.
If the buyer doesn't have good feedback and isn't willing to build a rapport and talk on the phone, you run the risk of a possible problem.
With that said I have had dozens of successful selling transactions in multiple countries.
"Sellers beware, use common sence and if it seems to good to be true it's probably isn't true"

I have had many successful International dealings as well.

However, the key to a good International transaction, is knowing upfront that it is an International transaction.
Transparency between buyer and seller is a pretty important aspect for a pleasant transaction. That means that the onus for communication, and asking the proper questions lies on both parties.
In my 'unpleasant' transaction, the buyer didn't lie to me. I just never asked where he was located. I assumed that a USA address meant a USA transaction. As I said earlier, lesson learned. As  a seller I just need to ask more questions.

Unpleasant transactions are a part of life. I recently just had one as a buyer, sending a International wire transfer and having $340 just magically disappear in exchange rates.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.
Just keep your eyes open.
I limit myself to local sales, and then only to Playboy Bunnies.
The bear always gets you, sometimes deceiving you into the opposite. But you win in losing so things are great.
dekay, you are the most interesting man in the world, aren't you?
Stay thirsty my friends!
John:

I figure that with those limitations, even if I get screwed I'm ahead of the game.

Itm #2 is understandable....Vietnam is on the other side of the world/international

date line and is 12 hours ahead of us. When we're awake, they're asleep.

Just to be clear, I, too, have had successful sales to overseas buyers.  You have to use your head.  Not likely that someone is going to pay $$$ to ship big, heavy, fragile items around the world.  As others have said, there are lots of red flag issues to pay attention to.  Stay thirsty, but be careful out there!
Thank you all for your feedback!

I still haven't heard the bottom line here. I too have sold overseas with some crazy results. I want to honor whoever wants to buy but also protect myself on all fronts. This means that as the seller I need to understand ALL the rules in the chain. I also inform the buyer of all the rules I know so we are both on the same page. Yes, PayPal offers extreme protection to the buyer. I sold a Luxman preamp and amp to a guy in Spain. He paid me three payments over two months that were not linked to the sale. All risk was in his hands. I even shipped and declared a $250.00 value per box (actual value was $5000.00!) I sent the boxes out and never heard from him again even though I emailed him repeatedly to see if he got the units OK. Very strange. Another time I sold two LP's to a guy in Japan for $800.00 The ONLY way to insure them with a tracking number was Fed-Ex air. It cost me $125.00 (I paid). He received them OK. If he hadn't, I would have been required to refund his money. I took the safest route on this one. Another time I bought Subs from a guy in Florida for $600.00 He sent by truck on a pallet. He ate the difference in shipping instead of using UPS. I wasn't home when they arrived. My son was and he called by cell. I told him to open the boxes and inspect for damage. He did and there was damage. I told him to sign the BOL as such. I was screwed! I thought that the trucking company was like good ol' UPS. I thought that tey would pick up the subs and return at their expense if I wasn't happy. WRONG!!!! PayPal requires the buyer to return the item on their dime. These were $600.00 subs that would have cost me $275.00 to return! I failed to understand the truckers rules! The seller was a nice guy and we worked it out, lucky for me. Understanding ALL the rules from all parties involved is key. Joe 

I have had two bad experiences, where a potential "buyer" communicates with me via Audiogon's "in mail", negotiates a "purchase price" with me either by "in mail" or by phone, the tune is always "cash & local pick up", but they decide to reduce their "offer" by several hundred dollars.

I think what I've learned about this is not to accept any "offer" unless its done by making a "formal" Audiogon offer.  If the "buyer" doesn't come thru, at least that's documented somewhere and you can leave negative feedback, so other sellers know who they might be dealing with.

One guy agreed on a price for buying an SACD player, arrives in my driveway and said on the drive up, thought about the amount he offered on the phone and decided he could "only afford" a price which was $600 less.  When I told him I wasn't interested in dealing with him, he still had the audacity to ask if he could see the unit...
Hi ejr1953, I'm in sales for a living and what this buyer did to you was just a part of the sales world. I have customers I deal with that make me cringe when I see them coming. Still, I need the business. In the case of the guy in your driveway; I would have welcomed the chance to show the SACD player to him. A little sales talk from you could have had him shelling out the asking price. ( after all, he is standing there and HE drove the distance to get there). I've learned to limit the time if the buyer is only a tire kicker. Anyway upward and onward! Joe
I agree with lalitk.
In no way or form should deceit be an accepted business practice. Regardless if the outcome of the sale is positive for the seller.
I suspect the reason (at lease in part) you are seeing this type of activity from potential purchasers from Vietnam, has largely to do with there communistic commence and the ramifications it creates especially with there import customs and duty fees. 
Dear all,

Being an audiophile in Vietnam I can clarify the subject to my understanding as below:

1. Broken English (sorry no offense):
Many Vietnamese audiophile can not speak good English but they can listen to the music as well.  

2. 12-14 hour delay between communications:
This is due to time difference between US and Vietnam from 11-13 hours depend on your US time zone.

3. Start off with low ball offer and then agrees to pay within 10-15% off of your asking price:
The habit here in Vietnam is to bargain against the offered price. 10-20% counter offer is acceptable.

4. Unusual delay in receiving payments, they tend to apologize profusely and blame PayPal for delay:
Coz the shipping agent in the US need to wait for the final buyer to make deposit of the purchase item (100% of the item value + shipping fee + service fee + exchange commission) and also due to time differrence and banking day difference it would take some delay.

5. They will ask you to 'absorb' PayPal fee due higher percentage charged by PayPal on intl. transfers:
I guess the shipping agent shall try to maximize their profit this way.

6. Negative, neutral or no feedback:
Lot of Vietnamese goner would have no feedback as seller because it would be impossible to sale anything from here because of custom export regulation and very few have international CC and PP to purchase and have feedback as buyer like me.

7. The address in their Audiogon profile will be either in west cost (CA) or east coast (NY):
Would it be the address of the shipping agent mainly in CA and NY or sometime the account like me who used to live in the US and now located in Vietnam.

I hope I can make you understand with my English.

Cheers

Nguyen
nguyenson123, 

Thank you for your feedback.  

"Music has no language barriers. It's just music, you could just listen to it and feel it"

The purpose of this post to create awareness against buyers that are not upfront and honest. The two individuals I dealt with did not disclose their true location nor they had any designated professional agent appointed to negotiate deal or facilitate shipment. So I end up absorbing high Paypal fees. On another instance I was given an address where the addresse had no clue that he is acting as an agent or about to receive an merchandise. Not to mention the time I spent haggling for price back and forth. 

To my point, it's only fair that all international buyers should disclose the logistics before entering into any negotiations with the seller. 

I just sold an item to a International buyer, he started off with, I live in .... interested in buying my item, would you be willing to ship the item if I take full responsibility of all the international shipping and custom fees. Guess what, It took less than 48 hours to complete the sale.  

Thanks to all members giving us information from their experience  I have had a few inexpensive lessons, but I haven't made any international sales yet, but the experiences you have passed along will help me, if and when I list my McIntosh and Dynaco parts. I know there are many overseas buyers in the Vintage tube market.
The problem someone pointed out, is that weeks after the sale and the money has "Cleared", and is in your account, and then you get "the e-mail". Pay pal has a "buyer protection" plan. Buyer can claim damage, not as described. etc..and then they(Pay pal) will ask you, the buyer, to pay for the "return" shipping label and refund the buyers full initial amount, including cost of shipping item to them...
This happened, to me, on a $20.00 HP bluetooth mouse that the buyer said, was the worst mouse ever made. I use it daily, its a great working mouse. It was either buyer remorse or User error, but what can you do? If the buyer has a pattern of doing it, you might have a chance getting protection from Pay pal Seller protection plan, otherwise...Good Luck
If you have been successful with overseas sales, more power to you.
The cautions members are trying to impart to you here are from their experience, I would heed the cautions. I will. One bad transaction, and then you will understand....could be an expensive "tuition" payment.
Jeff
I don't discriminate either, I only follow line of simple rules:
1. Local pickup on any large, heavy or fragile items
If no local pickup -- arrange your own shipping of your choice no matter where you are and how you are.
2. No checks accepted even certified funds.
Money order, credit cards, cash will work.
3. All international sales -- arrange your own shipping and insurance. 20% of items sent internationally getting lost.  Therefore insurance may even cost more than item itself.

As an international buyer who's purchased some large, heavy and expensive items from Audiogon I've found that lots of things get lost in translation in emails. I've found that a simple phone call (followed up by an email to keep things formal) often clears things up that umpteen messages can't.

With regards to payment, I would like to point out in fairness that many sellers refuse to accept PayPal when dealing with international buyers, and insist on bank transfers. That then shifts the risk all the way to the buyer who then is left with a difficult choice: proceed with the transaction and risk an expensive lesson, or drop the sale altogether.
Post removed 
extravaganza205 posts04-06-2016 11:06amwell,not only audiogon,but on other hifi selling sites they are active.Sold speakers to them,after few days recieved offer on headphones:) As somebody mentioned they offer 10-15% less.They provide different name for shipmment address.I think they do that kind of thing to avoid custom taxes.They ask mark parcels as a 'gift' ,writte low value.I actually ask to do the same things sellers from USA,but not all agree,then custom ask provide proves,sites,paypal transactions, where it was bought and calculate 21% of price was paid,that is a lot

You got nobody to blame but for yourselfs.  Throw the clowns out of office and abolish the VAT, ...    There are no free lunches and someone always has to pay.
eBay is suffering from the same "immigrant" issues as well.
You have described to a "t" my exact experiences!
I wrote on this subject on the Forums and got a load of "righteous Indignation" from some politically correct types...This just proves my points laid out exact;y!
Thanks for posting your opinions as well!

azjake

I only buy and sell locally,  with a cash transaction.....PayPal held my funds for almost a month even after the buyer signed for the package, left positive feedback, and I forwarded proof of delivery.  I wouldn't mind but it was $2300.....I missed out on a great amp because they held my money so long......I refuse to use PayPal ever again.  Plus it is skewed to protect only the buyer, who can be deceptive and cheat you out of you item AND your money.
The first thing I do after a paypal is withdraw it from my ppal acct and transfer it to my checking. Once it goes to "processed", i ship.

I could care less after that.