No Sellers willing to do COD anymore???

I first got into this hobby about 4 years ago (at least in terms of owning "high end" equipment) of the main ways I was able to do that was by buying almost everything used. My speakers (B&W M802's) I found used at a local audio dealer, & after that, bought most of the rest of my system from private sellers thru Audiogon, always doing COD, which seemed almost SOP at that time.

Now, most sellers INSIST on Cashier's Check upfront, end of discussion. And I admit, when I'm selling items long distance, it would be nice to be able to impose that, but the last time I tried that when listing something FS, no one was willing to do that. Am I missing something? Would anyone ship their expensive audio stuff to someone just relying on their word that they'd then send them the $$$?? It seems too one-sided now......even with all the potential pitfalls of COD; at least it's sort of equal for both parties. Thanks for any input!
I find COD to be costly. Fed Ex and UPS do charge quite a premium for this service. Money Orders are cheap and instant cash. Paypal is even better for stuff that isn't too costly. I have sold many products on Audiogon and only once have I been asked to do COD. People immediately want to send a Money Order, but I usually get them to use PayPal because it saves a week's time.
One word: Feedback.

Risk either way, COD or upfront payment. Someone must make "leap of faith!". I personally am not willing to ship on COD. Bad checks, UPS problems, and on and on. I've heard more scare stories with COD, but to be fair, same with upfront payment.

Why not do as I do with a sale, I always offer buyer my home/work phone, address etc. Usually having a chat takes the worry out of the deal. I haven't been burnt, haven't burnt anyone, and believe most folks are honest.

Last Tuesday, I sent a Money Order cross country, which unfortunately the seller has not yet received. 7 days seems pretty long for a first class letter, and I was wondering if it does not appear in the next few days, what options do I have with an MO? Am I able to effectively stop payment at the Credit Union?

Regarding the other question, I will not send COD, since, at least as of last year, I was not able to specify that ONLY a cashier's check could be accepted.

Thanks, C.
FlyFish: UPS and Fedex have always allowed you to limit it the cashiers check only. This is not new. With the Post Office you can make it Postal Money Order only.

I bought a $1000+ item COD three weeks ago. It was actually the sellers idea.

Thanks Sugarbrie (edible combo?). About 1 1/2 years ago, I checked with UPS and USPS and was told that they accepted personal checks, cashier's checks, and money orders, but that I could not specify which ones were sufficient for delivery. Sounds like I may have been misinformed, which is good to hear. If you are right, I am pretty sure that other sellers might be laboring under the same misconception I have, which would explain some reluctance to use COD.
I have sold tons of items on audiogon, and I never do COD. There was a real scandal about a year ago here, some guy in California "bought" a ton of gear from audigon members, all expensive stuff and all "COD". He ended up being a crook with a fake address and sent back fake money orders. There were several extremely upset audiogon members here as a result, as you can imagine.

That episode only reinforced the reluctance of sellers to do COD anymore, and that's just the way it is. Review a seller's feedback and make your own decisions about whether you are comfortable with upfront payment or not. If you're not, then pay the higher price to buy from a dealer to support your risk aversion.
In the past month I've sold three items COD. Using UPS, and shipping at an actual UPS counter, it only cost $6 for the service and certified check or money order can be specified. There are drawbacks. My Krell integrated was delivered last Tuesday, and here it is Wednesday and the check has not arrived. The first time, I shpped at a Post Net counter and 8 days after delivery I had a call, the check was mailed to the Post Net. If one is eager to get the check to buy some more gear, it's pretty frustrating when UPS can't get a check back in the same time it took to get the product to the buyer. I could see that the poor check return performance might be the reason some don't use this approach.
I have had only good results with CODs (8). I try to find stuff that is not TOO far away to limit damage risk. Feedback is a great idea but a lot of members dont bother posting even if you ask. One guy said he would and never did even after I had left pos for him. If someone has good feedback I might send a check first, but what about people with little or no feedback? I offer to send a deposit when asking a reluctant seller to cod to cover shipping and then some. Its scary out there and I cant afford to risk a thousand, a hundred wont kill me (still hurts).
I have bought and sold many items on this website mostly using Fedex 2 or 3 day c.o.d. I have never had a problem. It is certified funds only for Fedex and the money is overnighted back to the shipper the same day the gear is received. Not like UPS where you can wait a week to get the money back. Besides, UPS couldn't track a package from my house to next door. With Fedex you always know exactly where the item is.
As long as sellers can demand cash upfront - and get it from buyers - no seller in his right mind will ask for a COD. It seems to be a sellers market right now.
I prefer FedEx COD. They get you the check within a few days after delivery. UPS and FedEx Ground take a few weeks—up to a month to get you the cashier's check or money order. USPS will not insure COD. I've only been burned once, when the buyer refused the package. It turns out that the same buyer played this game on a number of audiogoners, audiowebers and audiocomers as well. Now, if a buyer doesn't have any feedback, I ask for the check up front. If the buyer has excellent feedback, I'll go the COD route.
Post office and demand a money order only. Of course you take a risk of somebody not paying it and having the item re-shipped back to you. I haven't had that happen here, but sure have w/ my business.
Don't bother w/ ups--they'll take a check drawen with crayon and claim no responsibility. And those checks will bounce all over the place. The other problem w/ ups is that I've had them take 5 months to mail the cod's to me. Usually it's 2 or 3 weeks, but not always. They do offer a service--for a nice fee of course--where you can get the check information pronto. But it's still a check and once UPS delivers the product the rest of the risks are yours. The only thing ups does well is to bill you, everything else they screw up.
I have used COD in probably $10k worth of transactions both buying and selling over the last few years with no problem. I have asked for, and have had to pay in some ocassions, for two way shipping costs to ensure the buyer will show up for the stuff. I have also paid some up-front but have always managed to make it a credit card deal on the big ticket items so i get some protection. Usually a phone call or two is enough to tell if the other guy is a flake. The only way for both parties to feel totally safe is for cash, face to face deals.
I have decided not to pursue a purchase in the future unless the seller is willing to engage in a COD transaction for the reverse of the situation described by Dkuipers. I sent a certified bank check ($1,000) to the individual I believe he is describing, for an amplifier. Spoke to him beforehand. Obtained his e-mail address and a mailing address. Everything seemed okay. Bank check was cashed one week after it was sent. Then almost two months passed and I did not receive the amplifier. Sent several e-mails that were not responded to. Left phone messages that were not returned. I wrote it off as a lesson learned. Never to send a large sum of money for something that I have never seen, based solely upon the promise of an individual that I have never met, that they actually have the piece of equipment for sale that they claim to have. Talk about a "leap of faith". In the end, I was fortunate (perhaps "lucky"). I came home one day, opened my e-mail, and found a UPS tracking number and short note from the seller advising me that the amplifier had been shipped. It was well packed and in mint condition as advertised. After that experience, it is COD only for me on substantial purchases.
All transactions on this site involve a significant degree of mutual trust between the buyer and seller, whether that be prepaying or COD. I have participated -- as both a buyer and a seller -- in a significant number of deals and have not had a problem. I also have the greatest degree of respect for the fair manner in which AUDIOGON monitors activities on this site.With that in mind, here are some common sense guidelines that might avoid some of the difficulties noted above, especially with respect to higher priced equipment. (1) Get to know your buyer or seller, preferably via a phone call; (2) If the individual has no feedback, request verifiable references; (3) Avoid those with excessive negative feedback; (4) If there are one or two pieces of negative feedback, request an explanation; (5) If COD, request prepayment of all shipping charges in advance, and possibly an additional amount as a demonstration of good faith; (6) For COD, only use FedEx Air since that insures your payment will arrive within 24 hours of delivery of the equipment; (7) If you are willing to accept personal checks as payment in full or for advanced shipping charges, state specifically in your ad posting that it may take as long as 10 days for personal checks to clear and that no shipment of any kind will be made until the check clears; (8) A Postal Money Order (PMO) remains the safest form of payment, although there have been one or two reports of counterfeit PMOs, but in general they are even more reliable than a Cashier's Check or Bank Money Order. There is no absolute fail-safe, foolproof system, but with a little effort you can virtually eliminate the problems in your transactions. I have been an audio hobbyist for 38 years, have thoroughly enjoyed the friendships I have made and the music and equipment I have acquired, and intend to continue having fun.
If someone wants to do COD, I have them pay the shipping charges up front. That way I am covered if they decide not to accept the shipment. I have been burned once and that is enough. I add the cost of the COD to the buyer's shipping charge. I have only done COD as a seller once or twice.

Your feedback should be enough to dispel fears.

I would think that anyone would prefer to ship something COD, specifically FedEx. Yes, it's more costly, but the stuff usually gets there more quickly and is handled more safely too! Additionally, the seller gets his certified funds the next day after the buyer has received his equipment. I prefer to both buy and sell on COD. I've always requested speaking with the individual in person first and required a fax copy of the certified funds prior to shipment. I've offered to do the same when purchasing and so far it has worked quite successfully. As others have said, there's usually a factor of trust that's involved in any transaction, whether it be in person or here on the web. If you don't feel comfortable doing business with someone, then don't. Consistent positive
feedback will give some degree of comfort to buyers and sellers, but you can possibly still get burned if you don't follow good business sense. Remember, most of us are doing this for the love of music and the pursuit of buying equipment that allows us to enjoy it more. Be kind, be professional, be courteous, and above all, be honest.
COD is fraught with holes. I've sold quite a few items here, always with cash upfront. I provide my home and work number and I offer my banker as a reference to verify that I've lived and worked in the same area for a long time. In return, I always pay for shipping, insure the box, and provide tracking numbers the minute things are picked up. I try to be a solid citizen and prudent at the same time. As a result, I've never been burned and find everyone I've encountered here to be into this stuff like me. If you can't work through this with a seller (meaning getting to a level of comfort that they are who they represent themselves to be), don't buy from them. It is that simple.
I rather not bother with COD.UPS took a long time sending the Money orders to me.You can specify like I did that you only want postal money orders or will not bother.I did COD once and it was a leap of faith.I put everything up front but UPS took 3 weeks to send the money order.Postal service has a dollar limit which is 500.00 and you can specify cash only which will be converted to a postal money order sent to you,you have that choice.You can do the same with UPS ask for a POSTAL money order as they dont accept cash.I hadnt dealt with FED EX yet and I usually deal with the Post Office only,as I work for them and using the competition would be taking the few crumbs away from me.But I rather accept a postal money order up front,I really dont like personal checks andsome bounced on me,not for a lot of loot but still it's loot that I lose plus bank charges.When someone send s a check i let them know that it's 3 weeks for clearence and that usally get me the postal money order that I asked for in the first place.After all I might not have too many feedbacks here on Audiogon but I always let folks know to check out my feedback on EBAY which is over 800 positives.Cheers.
I did several CODs with no problem. Then, I sold something COD and UPS delivered the package but didn't collect the money. The guy was honest and sent me the check. Soon after that I agreed to a COD sale and a day later the guy e-mails me and says forget it right before it shipped out. That is enough for me. I won't ship until the money is here.
The one and only time I have sold audio gear COD proved to be a real pain, and I won't repeat the experience. I sold a pair of subwoofers to a fellow in Texas, mainly because he was the only serious party, and he insisted on COD or no sale. The subs were shipped COD via UPS. Unfortunately, UPS lost my address, so the buyer's cashier's check to pay for the COD got sent to a UPS processing center in North Carolina, and it took me nearly two months to get my payments. I won't repeat that mistake ... I either get the cash upfront, or I don't sell.
Just a question... To all of you who seem to be so adverse to selling COD, what makes you sellers think that you can be trusted to send the item(s)that we might have paid for in advance? If you take my money, what are you giving me in return? Maybe a promise that you'll ship my goods? I've been fortunate. Most every transaction I've been involved with has gone very smoothly. I can't ever remember someone telling me that they wouldn't do COD, nor have I refused when asked or better yet, preferred it be done COD. I guess we all have a preferred way of doing business and that's the way it should be. If you don't want to let me buy your equipment COD, then I guess we're both out of luck. I just might be the best customer you chose not to do business with!!!
I make a point of talking with potential buyers and sellers on the phone prior to closing a deal. While there are still no guarantees, once you've spoken with someone a couple of times, you get some sense of who they are, which can add to the comfort zone for both parties. I've sold and bought equipment both COD and cash up-front, and have yet to get stung either way. As others have mentioned, the only hassles I've had were with UPS' timeliness in returning COD payments to me. I much prefer to use FedEx, although they are apparently not yet set up for COD service on their ground shipping (formerly RPS).

A piece of free advice (and worth every penney): If you ship bulky, heavy items, such as speakers, to a pre-paying customer (and especially if you're shipping overseas), have your customer arrange pick-up and shipping from his end via his favored shipper - that relieves you, as seller, from any shipping problems that might occur in transit (i.e. no post-sale headaches).
I won't do COD on principle, and being in Canada can't do COD with American buyers/sellers anyway. I make sure my ads are very accurate when I post the item for sale, and usually provide a digital pic to the buyer as well. I make sure I get to know the buyer/seller via email and phone well enough that IMO the risk is minimized. Paypal transfer or money order in my hands, the item ships off to it's new owner. Nobody wants to get burnt, but by the same token the quicker and easier a transaction is the better. One gent in this thread pointed out...if I won't do COD he won't be buying anything from me. So be it, lots of buyers and sellers out there.
I dont mind doing COD, but I got burned when I sent an amp COD from NC to CA and the SOB refused the shipment. I got my amp back, plus UPS Ground shipping charges. What was really unbelievable was he actually asked my to send it again!!!! Wish I remembered his name.
I often request prepayment on items. However, I have lots of good feedback. This doesn't mean I won't do CODs; if I speak to the person and make it very clear that I don't want to ship unless they are absolutely sure they want the item.

What irks me, though, is Sellers who have little or often NO feedback, and yet they want prepayment. Get real -- why should anyone prepay someone who has no verifiable selling history on Audiogon? The scary part is that these Sellers seem to get buyers anyway. I guess some people like spinning the roulette wheel.
Jeff says he wont COD "on principle". Is there something inherently wrong or evil about COD? A lot of us dont have much feedback and I for one have been lied to over the phone. Sincerly, no offence intended, but COD works for me and Im honest. I had one buyer send a money order that required his signature and he had forgotten to sign it. My bank would not deposit it and it became a hassle. Frankly Im afraid to send a large sum to persons unknown. Lots of good feedback like many of you have have and I think Its ok, but...
"cod, send overnight" is pretty much the equivalent of "bend over and spread your cheeks." i have not and will not sell anything over the ‘net on a cod basis. -cfb
I will never send out money for an item that is not in my hand first. There is much more chance of getting ripped off. COD, paypal, ect. is the only way to go, unless I buying from an established business.

People who will not close a deal on COD, and there are more protections with COD than pay first, are greedy, paranoid or way too overly careful.

If I am going to buy a high ticket item, I would rather travel 500 miles than send out $2000 or more.
Ramstl, you have had good success it seems with COD. So I can understand your point of view. I try to be as honest as can be. A reputation ruined in this small community is not worth trying to pass off something not as advertised. I always offer money back if what I am selling is not as described. I do not offer this on something damaged in shipping. My opinions on COD is the same as CFB. Keep selling COD and you will soon understand. The buyer is protected but the seller is not. I hope you do not have to experience this to know what I am talking about. I wish there was a perfect system, but you will always have someone who will try to take advantage of a situation.
When check clears I will send that item. I may lose some sales, but I can live with that.
Today is the 23rd. On March 6 UPS picked up a check for my Krell integrated. The check is not here. I have only been able to speak to Customer "service" people at UPS and no one beyond supervisor. These people are 2000 miles from the COD processing center and have no direct access to them. I was told I must wait until the 22nd to begin a complaint. On the 22nd I was asked why I had not filed a complaint. UPS is an unresponsive black hole when there are service issues. That is why I will never do another COD sale, it's not the customers, it's UPS unreliability and lack of rsponsiveness. If they get it right it takes longer to move the check than it did the hardware, if they get it wrong, tough!
It is a whole lot easier to follow the money trail than it is to follow the amplifier trail.... What I mean is that If I mail out my $2000 amp to Joe Cool, and he skips town, how do I know that was even his true name??? No picture or ID. If I get a check up front and cash it, there is a legal paper trail to be followed. ID's are neccessary for check cashing, NOT for accepting a package... My account information is at the bank and they require ID to open that account. It's a LOT safer mailing out $$$ first than it is mailing out the item first.

Furthermore, I have sent an item by COD and it really stinks. It took 6-8 WEEKS to get my money after the item was accepted. I will try FedEx next time, but UPS is horrible when it comes to this service. Quite the pathetic process...
It seems to me, from reading the posts above, that a familiar thread permeates the responses of those I would characterize primarily as sellers. Namely, a reluctance or reticence to engage in a method of payment/shipping that might cause a slight delay in their getting their money in the fastest (shortest) time period possible. While that is rightfully a legitimate concern, it should not, in my opinion, be the overriding concern. The paramount concern, perhaps, should be protecting the integrity of the transaction itself. By protecting the integrity of the transaction, you are protecting the interests of both the seller and buyer equally. A COD transaction protects both buyer and seller in a more equal manner than other (prepayment) methodologies. It may not be perfect, but it is undeniably better suited to protecting the interests of both parties to the transaction.
I have had some bad luck with cod myself. All with ups. They forgot to get the check once and lost the check another time. I try to stay away from it but I would do it for smaller items. Its just not worth the hassle with amps and speakers especially the way ups handle things.
I think one of the reason is Audiogon is not what it used to be.  I have been buying and selling quality gear here for 10 plus years.  Majority of folks here are true hobbyist and audiophiles.  And then you come across folks who are only interested in buying gear with a intent to make money. They will low ball your precious gear, often have less than perfect or no feedback and continue to come up with new schemes to stiff you. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of feedback and implore everyone here to insist on exchanging feedback after the sale. That's one of the ways to continue safe trading and maintain integrity among the audiophile community. 
EBU, with appropriate feedback; I am hoping to weed out resellers that are trying to ruin Audiogon experience and possibly turning into a eBay like 'bazaar'.