Buying or trading gear can be a great way to get a deal and clean a closet but unfortunately when you’re dealing with people online, things can go wrong. To help protect you from falling victim to a bad deal, here are a few tips you should always follow:
1 – Verify who you are buying/ trading with. Ideally you want to make a deal with someone who has roots in the community as indicated by their length as a member, the number of posts they’ve made as well as any other contributions.
2 – Look for prior evidence. While most people only sell or swap an item every now and then, some are frequent traders. Look for prior posts by the other individual and look to see if those ended well, or not. Also be sure to check to see if someone has listed an item several times before – if they have ask them about it. There may be a harmless reason (like their deal fell through) or it may be the result of someone who’s up to no good.
3 – Pay only with methods you have protection on. Credit Cards, PayPal and Escrow payments all come with different levels of fraud protection and refunds – know what they are and use them. Never pay with a check or cash as you have no recourse if things go wrong -- and never ever ever accept a check for an amount greater than what you’re owed as you may find yourself fronting money for a bad check.
4 – If it makes sense, move away from the virtual world. It’s important to protect your identity but if you’re willing to give an address and comfortable meeting other members consider doing your exchange in person when possible – ideally you can meet at a group dive function or after diving the gear you’re buying/ trading. It’s much easier to insure things go right if you can pick them up yourself (and sometimes just knowing the other person is willing to do the same says a lot about their honesty).
5 – Last and most importantly, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are such things as killer deals and it is possible someone just wants to unload a few products but getting a $1200 computer for $250 isn’t likely. If something smells wrong step away. It’s far better to get labeled as someone who didn’t pay (which you can explain) than to be ripped off.
Remember, The Dive Matrix does not facilitate transactions so we can’t get your money or gear back. We can however try to contact members via email if your efforts fail and of course, if you feel that a member is ripping others off, please let us know so we can restrict them from the forum.