A while back, I became aware of a good friend of ours from Australia who had made a purchase on the big “E” auction site. There was a puppet for sale from one of the most reputable makers for $1,200.00. Our friend emailed the Seller and arranged a buy/trade situation. He was sending the Seller an Axtell puppet in lieu of $200.00 and then sending him $1,000.00 in cash for the balance.
Our friend did due diligence as far as you can on the big site. The seller had a long history of selling with apparent good ratings. Our friend shipped the trade-in puppet, emailed the tracking information and then as he had agreed, he sent the balance of $1,000.00 via PayPal. So far so good.
The Seller had promised to ship the puppet as soon as he received payment and the tracking information. However, when our friend had completely honored his word and sent both the trade-in puppet and payment, no tracking information was forthcoming from the Seller. It should be noted that the Seller was in the USA and our friend was in Australia. After a reasonable amount of time went by, our friend began sending inquiring emails to the Seller wanting some tracking information. As you can imagine, the more time that went by, the more concerned our friend became and the more emails he sent the Seller.
Finally the Seller began responding with the most base and vulgar emails. I have read some of what he sent, where he questioned our friends orientation among other things that we will not reprint here. Suffice it to say that it was totally unprofessional and nothing that you can think would come from a mature adult.
Fortunately, our friend had the presence of mind to quickly contact PayPal and put a stop to the payment. I assume that he also forwarded copies of the emails that the Seller had sent him. PayPal did in fact side with our friend and he did get the $1,000.00 payment refunded to his account. However, as of the most recent information I have, our friend will be out the Axtell puppet that he had shipped to the Seller. It was a horrible experience for him.
I have said all this to make this point. Make sure that you do due diligence. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for references in advance.
Also, it is against the big sites policy to make off-line deals. Most of the time what our friend did would have worked out just fine, but this time it backfired on a really good guy.
The bottom line is this. Always be very careful in your dealings. In an art form where 99.9% of the folks are great people and very honorable, it only takes a few to ruin things for everyone.
Thats all for now folks,
Steve and JET