HESITANT with NEW member sellers

I seem to struggle too frequently with members who are NEW, no history at all, but who seem to have beautiful systems, excellent taste, and are offering very reasonable deal on a very high end piece of audio equipment. 
I have passed up on "mint" Thiel speakers and "mint" REF6 Audio Research due to my fear of being ripped off. 
Is there protection built into AUDIOGON? Has anyone had experience with that?
I prefer Pay Pal, in hopes that they would provide protection...I believe they do..but the same sellers want cash or check....I am HESITANT. 
I agree with yogiboy.

I have experience, and have even had problems with older sellers. Audiogon and PayPal themselves will provide no assistance, outside of Audiogon will cancel the sellers account. That doesn't get you any money back though.

Your main safety net is using a credit card through PayPal. While PayPal themselves were of no assistance, my CC bank was of great help. They refunded my money and had me ship the problem equipment directly to PayPal.
That left me and my bank out of the loop, and left PayPal and the seller to sort things out. I never knew of the final resolution, but I got my money back, which is all that mattered to me.

There is NO protection built into Audiogon. There IS protection through PayPal (not from PayPal), IF you use a credit card.
I agree with jmcgrogan2.  Use your credit card through PayPal for ultimate protection.  

PayPal only care for 3% commission they earn on each transaction. 

As a fairly new member of Agon. I can understand your trepidation.
Agon is not responsible for your transactions. You have to exert due dillegence.
I think you have done well by steering away from purchasing  equipment from sellers with no prior rating/feedback.
Though I have to say, all of the sellers on Agon, that I have bought from, have been most accommodating and forthright and have allowed me to demo the equipment before buying. That was something I was really surprised by- allowing a perfect stranger to come into your home to listen to your equipment.
So, if you see something that catches your eye, but the seller won't be flexible, then politely decline the offer and wait for the next seller. I can promise you, you won't be sorry.
I agree with all the above, using a credit card on PayPal.

I have never had a problem either buying or selling on Audiogon, but a guy who bought a piece from me let me know that, years ago he bought a piece of high-end electronics, when it arrived, it was a factory box filled with books, not the amplifier he ordered.  Unfortunately, he did not use a credit card.
I almost got scammed about 11 years ago on a car and the sad bar is I am a lawyer.   My ears perked up only because of what I do for a living.  About 6 years ago a guy from overseas tried to run a scam on the sonus faber speakers I wanted. He had pictures up.  I asked him why they were listed at such a low price. He could sell them locally and get more. 1. Price is a red flag. 2. I asked him to take them out of the box to re photograph.  3. He wouldn't saying the were in the crates ready to ship. 4. I looked at pictures in the photo and go the serial number.  Googled it and realized that he has stick photos from the sonus faber warehouse.  I saw them in images. Lol. 5.  He spoke in email in very broken and bad English.  6.  He spoke in scammer voice. Lol. 7. He tried to direct me to offsite email. 8. Tried to have me pay by bankwire not PayPal.  9. I told him that if he went to Dhl office and boxed speakers there he said he was too far away.  Lol.  10. Tried to give sob story.  11. Didn't want to talk by phone.  12. Had a low audiogon rating.  13. Recently opened an account. 14. His only transactions were small and recent. Couldn't tell me specific things about the speaker.  Typically they pick a well known product and reduce it more than 65percent.  Typically they are overseas.  15. Googled the overseas address and it came up as a hospital.   Lol.   Those are just 15 tips to start.  They try to take photos with no serial numbers. They try to take 2 or less photos. Usually from the top down to lower your suspicion.   They hate PayPal. I got more but my fingers are cramping. Lol. 
often they will offer you to marry his/her daughter and send her some money for visa and plane ticket.

Agreed a certified Paypal member and I ask them for a phone number ,
Or st least call me . Where are they shippjng from their Zip code
And their name before sale. If they will not cooperate move on 
That is a red flag  in itself. If you are that private or paranoid uou should give it to a friend or audio store to sell. Also ask for yhe Serial number and exact model the company will confirm or 
Not the Number. Pictures from top front back  close ups very usefull. Myself doing this for well over 30 years know 
No matter what you do ,it may not be good enough and some
Expect excellent as Flawless  and do look with magnification. 
Yes their are nuts in the pack . Be reasonable and follow good trade points and suggestions. Best of luck  !!

The same stuff happens on the high end watch forums. So, if there is a high priced, well desired item; scammers will always be near.
OP- all the advice you have received is good. Use your best judgement, and remember that item will always be sold again.
Looks like I would be an easy target then. Every time I make payment via paypal charged to my credit card, there will be a short message from credit card provider notifying certain transaction occured. If I don't recognize it, I will have to respond to that message calling the credit card company.

If bad things happen, I really doubt the credit card company would help me charge paypal back for the refund. 

My experience with paypal charged through my credit card was, both of them provided no solution. Paypal directed me to work it out with the seller. Credit card company denied to help because I hadn't reported that transaction as suspicious in the first place.

So I ended up making transaction through wire transfer especially when the nominal exceeds my credit card limit. 
To prequalify any a'phile as such and not a scammer,  I ask the following in no particular order.  How may copies of Kinda Blue do you own?  Just who is Diana Krall really?  Whatcha think is better analog or digital?  Do you or don't you believe in power conditioning?  How do you isolate your cables from touching?  If there is a stumbling on any of these questions, you have a scammer beware!!
Ferrox, wire transfer is probably provides the least ability to recover your money, should the deal go bad.
Paypal, generally sides with the buyer. Though they usually ask you to work out any differences with the seller/buyer directly, before entering into the fray.
As for CC companies, some are better than others. If yours doesn't want to help, then cancel the card and go to another bank. 
I share the general trepidation about zero-feedback sellers, but we all had to start somewhere. One way to establish a good reputation (IMO) is to begin by being a buyer rather than a seller if possible, and showing yourself to be a reliable one. Then, when posting an item for sale, be complete in your description of the item, including your ownership history of it (e.g. are you the original owner or a subsequent one?). Posting stock photos and a copy/paste item description from the manufacturer's website are big red flags to me. If nothing else, it shows me that the seller doesn't care enough about the transaction to expend any time or effort on it and that doesn't boost my confidence.
I agree that starting as a buyer is the best way to accrue good feedback even if it's relatively small items such as cables or accessories. I never trust stock photos and most of the above advice is very good. Bottom line for me is " if for any reason it just doesn't feel right... then let it go". I also only ship CONUS... Anything else gets too complex ... And remember: if you're doing FedEx or UPS discuss AHEAD of time whether buyer wants or doesn't want "Signature required!!!!"... ( I've had to chase packages at "local" pick-up locations that became extremely inconvenient in time and aggravation). Good luck.
Just be careful. Don't allow yourself to be redirected offsite. Wire transfer is risky.  Also watch the misspelled words of the product.  Lol. 30k speaker and scammer couldn't spell.   
+1 cooper52. I also ask a 'new' seller to call me. A brief discussion helps. 

It is difficult buying from anyone that you don't know or can't deal with in person vs on line or over the phone.

If one can agree on the purchase with the proviso that I must hear it operate before handing over the cash, then that is better.  I have no problem with a buyer agreeing to a purchase coming by my home to hear the unit in question before handing over the cash.  Which I have done many times.

For me to physically hand over a unit to a buyer, it would have to be a cash deal. If they were buying any other way, the check would have to clear before I ship it, or I would use paypal if the buyer insisted.  but they pay the paypal fee. 

But,  if one cannot go pick up the unit, or have a friend pick it up and pay, then the buyer is taking their chances, unless the money is placed in escrow until the buyer says the unit was delivered in the condition advertised.

Buying anything sight unseen or in this case sight unseen and unheard, is a real potential problem.

I don't have a problem purchasing from a seller with no history.  We all started with no selling/buying history at one time or another.  Someone took a chance on us then.

A few phone conversations with the seller can help reassure me.  Also, red flags are huge to me. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Therefore, if the price is too good to be true, then it typically is.  Pictures of the unit is important.  (not factory pictures).  The seller also has to state to me that the unit works as specified.

If the seller is within a few hundred miles, I'm going to drive and pick up the unit. If the seller won't let me hear it, then I also have a problem with that.

We all know of horror stories of purchases without seeing if the unit actually works, only to hear about the buyer getting the unit home to find it filled with sand, or empty or not working at all.

Also, and here is a big one, is the seller the owner?  is the unit actually theirs or is it a stolen unit?  do you even care? I know I do. I typically write a receipt of purchase to help protect myself.

Out of the country sales or purchases are a problem.  Not quite sure how to handle those yet.

There may be many reasons why a seller has no history. It may be the spouse of an audiophile that died.  they could go to audio stores and try to sell via consignment or on line via web sites like this one.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Be careful and enjoy.


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Selling overseas/thousand miles. If a zero history buyer buys my item and truly pays for my item I would say him/her yes and send item ASAP with tracking & insurance. But with PayPal I would be very careful because nowadays PayPal nearly always sides with buyer, whatever the case, on eBay at least. I may sell a 300 dollar item, at most though. There must be better/easier/cheaper ways than shady faceless PayPal. What would you recommend ?

The problem is if when true buyer and true seller meet and when right item goes to right buyer.
I haven´t sold for years here at Agon. I´m planning to sell (and buy too) a few vintage items for collectors and hobbyist/music lovers, normal guys like me. And I want to make happy transactions for me and buyers. Nothing more interests me in the end of a day. Could you guys advice me selling internationally. Best/worst experiences maybe ? Thanks in advance.