Lately I’ve been seeing quite a few posts of people buying and selling planner related goods online and people have been scammed. Firstly people pay and the goods never show up, or they send the goods before money has been sent. The condition they turn up in is terrible etc. So I thought I’d share sort of a code or guidelines of what buyers and sellers should be doing.
- If you see an item you like – make sure you request photos of the entire planner – inside and out – close up of the rings etc.
- When buying always use paypal. It protects you and makes life stress free.
- Never pay via Penpal’s friends and family. That is not designed for buying and selling and does state in Paypal terms and conditions that if you use that method to send goods your account can be suspended and even restricted.
- Unless a Seller states a specific date on when to expect your goods, they seller has up to 30 days to send you the item after paying for it.
- Check the seller’s return policy before buying. If the item arrives in good condition and you simply do not like it. Tough. The seller does not have to accept returns or refund your money if the item is exactly as they described it.
- If you get the item and there is something wrong ie. The item is not fit for purpose or is faulty. You can request a repair, replacement and as of October 2015 you can request a refund. Bare in mind that if the item is faulty, the cost in you returning it, such as bus fare/petrol to a post office and postage costs should be met by the seller. You as a buyer do not have to be out of pocket for a faulty item. A faulty item is if the item has a fault when you buy it…or it develops a fault within a reasonable time frame – usually set at 30 days. Your dog getting a hold of it and wrecking it, your toddler drawing ink on it or you dropping it and scuffing it are not developing faults, that is life and the seller cannot be held responsible for your maltreatment of the item.
- Be sure to take photos of the condition of it if you are not happy and send these to paypal when requesting a refund. Time stamp photos.
- When returning the item. Keep the original packaging – including any cable ties or little bits that came with it. You can providing the packaging is in good condition repackage it and send it back with a return address on it. If possible record a weight of the item. Ask this to be recorded on your proof of purchase receipt. Where possible send the item tracked. Recording the weight lets the seller know you are sending the item – see scams section below.
- If you are unsure about a purchase and you are on a Filofax group. Check out the sellers previous posts. See if there has been any trouble. Try searching planner groups for a seller’s name or say selling on a site such as gumtree. Sometimes warnings come up and people tell you to avoid certain buyers as they have known to have scammed in the past.
- If the goods don’t turn up – file a dispute with paypal. The Seller has to send proof of postage to paypal, if they can’t prove they’ve posted it they can’t proof they’ve sent it. So you’ll get a refund.
- Shipping can be expensive, but remember sellers can charge a fee that includes, post, packaging and handling. If you state, or they state they are going to send it a specific way – such as Royal mail recorded delivery, request a tracking number. If what you get is less than what you paid for you can dispute that. But if you pay £10 for packing, handling and postage and the postage you get is what is started, only it’s higher than the cost of the stamp – you can’t dispute it. Postage can factor in petrol to post the item etc.
- Do your research and see how much a planner cost new. If you are buying a really great filofax and it’s at a steal of a price…stop and think. Yes it may be a good deal, but it may also be a scam. People are out there scamming. So do your research. Check the person out on facebook groups. Sometimes there is no such thing as a good deal.
- Share you experiences with the community. If someone has been a great Seller, tell the facebook groups. If you’ve had problems let people know. Often you may find it’s a repeat offender and by working together and telling people that person can be stopped.
- If your goods come from a smoke free, pet free home. Please state this. A large amount of items appear to come stinking of perfume and cigarette smoke. If you are sending them please make sure you send them in a condition you would like to receive them in. Keep them away from strong perfumes. Make sure they smell ok. If there are any imperfections on the planner take a photo and show them. Make sure the buyer can really see what they are buying. Make sure it is fit for purpose, ie. if it’s a personal planner state that. If it’s a Filofax state that. If it’s not a filofax don’t mislead people, state it’s a no named planner. If you are not sure of the details. Do your research and check before you sell. Pick a realistic price for it, again research.
- Sell good through Paypal, do not send through Paypal friends and family. You are not suppose to sell goods through friends and family – if you do you can end up with your account being restricted – it’s in those guidelines you agreed to when you signed up and probably didn’t read.
- Do not send any goods until you have received payment. Once you have payment send goods within 30 days. If payment is sent and you break your leg tripping over the dog and you can’t send it. Contact the buyer. Make them aware. Let them know it’s going to be a few days. You’ll let them know when you’ve posted it. They can know when to expect it etc.
- Sometimes people like to package things with certain goodies and extras. This can be sweet and a thoughtful gesture but bare in mind certain things. Some people send Haribo sweets which are not always vegetarian or religious dietary observance friendly. Lavender seeds might be a nice touch too, but people are allergic. So just keep it simple and stick to the items being sold.
- Package the item well. If you are selling a planner, make sure the ringers are protected. Take a photo of the condition of the planner as you are selling it. This will protect you if the item gets damaged in the post you can then claim through royal mail. Time stamp photos.
- State quite clearly what your returns policy is. If you do not want the item to be return. Specify no returns and no refunds but bare in mind that if an item is faulty or has been misrepresented and therefore is not fit for purpose, the buyer has the right to expect a return within a reasonable time frame. This is UK law and unless stated it a reasonable time frame is set at 30 days. State whether seller or buyer is responsible for paying return postage. If it is not specified UK law states the Seller must pay return postage.
- Record the weight of your parcel when you’ve sent it – see scams below.
- Where possible, pay for tracked shipping. If you stated you would send it a specific way – ie. Royal Mail first class. Send it Royal Mail first class. It is your responsibility to make sure you sell it as specified.
- Obtain proof of postage. Email an electronic copy of it when you send this to the seller.
- If you get a dispute and the item is faulty. Request photos of the condition the buyer received it in. Send the photos of the condition you posted it in. Send proof of postage to paypal in the dispute. Request the item be sent back. If the item is sent back you should expect to return postage, it’s the law the buyer should not be out of pocket. However respond within a good time. Ask for the seller to send recorded and ask for the recorded weight to be recorded as well – see scams below.
- Share you experiences with the community. If someone has been a great Buyer, tell the facebook groups. If you’ve had problems let people know. Often you may find it’s a repeat offender and by working together and telling people that person can be stopped.
Below is a list of some of the scams I’ve seen/heard of.
- People sending empty boxes both in returning and sending the item in the first place – why you should record weights. If a seller has proof of postage it will be proof of postage for an empty box. You won’t get a successful claim. If it’s empty. Call the police, report it and get a crime number. That way you’ll get paypal should then give your money back.
- Items being in an unsellable condition – which is why you should always request full pictures.
- If the rings arrived damaged and they weren’t in the photo try opening and closing them a couple of times to see if they realign. It could just be a slight hiccup in postage. If it can’t be fixed send a photo. If you’re a seller request a photo – remember claiming an item is photo is a way to get your money back. So request they return the item. If the item is in the condition you sent it in – take photos again. Time stamp them. So you can clearly show before and after. If they’ve scammed saying it’s faulty then request that the buyer pay for postage, because after all why should you be out of pocket for their dishonesty.
- If you are scammed. Do report it to the site you buy from and warn others. If you are on ebay, gumtree, facebook they can block and stop people from selling. It means that scammers can and still be stopped eventually but only if they are reported. You can even report the crime to local police and get a crime number.
Remember communication is key. Keep communicating to ensure a channel is always open and you are post happy with the process.
If you are buying from overseas be aware that buyer’s protection is different and the laws are followed from where the seller is. If the seller has a UK website, they are bound by UK. European countries share European law – which is the same as the UK.
If you buy outside the UK you may be subject to customs so do expect to pay them.
Do not take people at their word. Remember the great Dr. Gregory House: Everybody lies. But you do enter into a contract buying and selling. So clearly state what that agreement is ie. what goods for what price and service. If the contract is broken in anyway you can dispute it, you can report it you can be protected by it. Report it to the police. Don’t get calling 999. Just call the local police and report it. If more people stopped and reported it to the police, it would make buying and selling community less of a horrid scam invested place.
Above all do your research. Know your rights. Be professional, calm and polite. It costs nothing to be polite and if people were nicer and kept communication open the process would often be a lot smoother.