When you have sold an item that the buyer wants to pick up, be careful what addresses and other information you give out.
Example 1: You have sold an office chair and have offered two different pick up locations - one at home and one at work. While communicating with the buyer to determine the most mutually convenient time and location, make sure you don't give away too much information. It may be tempting to say "I'm at home at 123 Smith St, Smithtown on weekends and after 6pm on weekdays or you can pick it up from my work at 456 Jones Rd, Jonesville between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday." ... Now think about this: you would have just told the buyer the exact times of day that you won't be home - and they now know exactly where you live. In most cases buyers are trustworthy - but you only need one bad apple! To make things worse, they can actually check on eBay to see what other items of value you are selling (eg: a car stereo, jewellery or an antique vase) - and they'll know exactly where to find them and how long they've got to break into your house and take them before somebody wins the auction.
Tip: Ask the buyer what suburb (Smithtown or Jonesville) is most convenient, then tell them the times you will be available at that location. If they want to pick it up from your work NEVER give out your home address. If they want to pick it up from your home NEVER tell them the hours that you are at work. It probably seems obvious now, but I wonder how many people have made these mistakes!
Example 2: You have sold a high value item such as a coin collection. The buyer wants to pick it up as they live locally. This is probably a fair request in most cases and you should be confident in being able to agree to this - it will save you queueing up at the post office! The buyer wants to pick the item up as soon as possible as it is a gift for somebody but you haven't yet received payment. You organise a pick up time and the buyer promises to pay before that time. The pick up time arrives and you still haven't been paid. You meet the buyer who is "in a rush" and has forgotten to bring cash (or has only brought part of it). Do you trust that they will pay you if you hand over the item? You wouldn't want to inconvenience them after they've made the effort to come and meet you - they've been so good at communicating so far... and you wouldn't want to get bad feedback right?
Tip: If this happens you have every right to refuse to hand over the item. At the same time, you do understand that people are human. To be as helpful as possible, consider taking them to an internet cafe (I wouldn't advise inviting them into your home but a busy office would probably be okay) and watching over their shoulder to ensure they make the payment then and there (will only work if using Paypal). Alternatively, point them in the direction of a nearby ATM or somewhere they can get cash out. If none of this is possible, do not hand over the item. Propose a new pick up time, on condition that the outstanding amount be paid no less than 24 hours before hand over. If you still don't receive the money, consider the sale cancelled and do the right thing by refunding any part payments that buyer made. Relist the item.
Example 3: You have sold a high value item. The buyer says they don't have a car but would like to meet you in a "public place" - a park somewhere between your home and work. They seem trustworthy but you have never been to the exact location they have proposed. They want to pay cash on pick up. You want to be helpful as the final sale price was very high - it will be worth making the effort to close the sale. What do you do?
Tip: If you do decide to meet them at their chosen location, do not go alone! Take at least one, if not two friends with you (your children don't count). Arrive early and suss out the location before the arranged meeting time. How many people are around? Does the area look safe? You might even want to check the price of parking to ensure you don't have to fork out any extra cash! Obviously, do not hand over the item until you have the cash in your hands. This is not an ideal situation, however put yourself in the shoes of a buyer without their own transport - you need to have a good balance of trust and awareness.
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