The vast majority of aquarists you will encounter are honest and generous people who truly care about the hobby, but occasionally you will run across a scammer. It's hard to believe that someone would really try to scam fish or equipment from other hobbyists, but very seldom, it actually does happen. Here are some ways that buyers and sellers can avoid falling victim to a scammer.
- Rely on word of mouth. Use our search tool to check the sellerís feedback in our Member Feedback section. If you find negative feedback without a good explanation from that seller, it might be best to skip the transaction.
- NEVER send cash through regular mail- youíll have no proof that you did. Paypal allows you to have a record of your payment, and you have the option to file a claim with Paypal if something happens and you do not receive your item.
- Be wary of sellers that prompt you to send a payment as a GIFT via Paypal. Occasionally, a seller will ask you to do this because it gets him or her out of paying a fee to Paypal. If you choose to send the money as a gift on your own volition because you trust that seller, that is one thing, but be aware that you are accepting some degree of risk there. As a buyer, you have no ability to file a Paypal claim on a payment sent as a gift.
- If you are purchasing a costly item, it is probably a good idea to use a service such as www.escrow.com to complete the transaction. For a fee, you and the seller will agree on terms of the sale, youíll send payment to the company rather than directly to the seller, and you will have a period of time to inspect the merchandise before accepting it.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is!!!
- NEVER ship an item until you receive payment. If you decide to accept a check, let the buyer know ahead of time that youíll be waiting to ship until that check clears. Some buyers might opt to use an echeck via Paypal. Treat this the same way as you would a regular check. It will take several days to clear, and you will see a warning in your Paypal account telling you not to ship. Once the payment clears, its status will change in your account, and youíll get the ok to ship. If you are dealing with someone who is trying to get you to ship before you receive payment, this should be a BIG red flag for you.
- ALWAYS be sure to get Delivery Confirmation if you are shipping via USPS Priority Mail. This service is free if you print your shipping labels online through Paypal or through www.usps.com. You can also purchase Delivery Confirmation in person at the post office. It is $ .70, but well worth the added cost. Delivery Confirmation gives you a label number that you can give to the buyer, which allows them to track the item. Also, the service provides proof that you sent the item. If you do not have proof that you sent the item, Paypal will side with the buyer in the event that the buyer files a Paypal claim. Scammers know this and will use it to their advantage.
- If you choose UPS or FedEx, you will be provided a tracking number- PM or email it to the buyer and retain it until the transaction concludes. Again, here is your proof that you sent the item.
- If something doesnít seem right to you, or things just donít add up, trust your gut. It might be best to skip the transaction.
- Both parties are vulnerable here, and I have read many accounts of supposed trades where only one party sends the item promised. If youíre trading, there is likely no money changing hands, so you really have no recourse if the other party does not hold up his or her end of the bargain. Again, it might be helpful to reference the Member Feedback section or at least read through some of the other memberís posts. If you arenít at least somewhat familiar with the person, you might want to think twice about doing a trade.
Social Knowledge, LLC, Aquarium Advice Forums, and its staff will NOT get involved in member disputes. Use of the classifieds section is at your own risk. If you have good cause to leave negative feedback about a transaction with another member, you may do so in the Member Feedback section
. However, you MUST keep it factual and refrain from any personal attacks. Posts containing rants, personal attacks, or similar will be edited or deleted at site staffís discretion. If you have any doubts about what constitutes an appropriate Member Feedback post, please do not hesitate to contact a Moderator or Admin for clarification.