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Thread: Negotiating trades on the Cafe

  1. #1
    F-style Apostate
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    Default Negotiating trades on the Cafe

    First- an apology. I know that this is probably absolutely the wrong place to post this. If it is, I'm hoping the mods will put it where it should be and let me know.

    I'm considering offering a mandolin for trade in the classifieds and am looking for advice on how to successfully negotiate trades. I imagine some of you here must have experience with this.

    Any advice or caveats appreciated.

  2. #2
    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Negotiating trades on the Cafe

    This from 20+ years of experience administering and dealing with a classifieds resource: Trades and Want Ads are hands down the most risky bits of business to engage in. It's your job to do your homework to protect yourself.

    We've had two outright criminal acts on the classifieds the past 5 years--or around 50K ads, both involved a trade. Both the result of little due diligence, not asking for appropriate contact information, not asking the right questions, doing nothing to protect ones-self.

    You agree on a trade, the other individual has *exactly* what you want and is willing to deal, everything seems to be going well, you send each other tracking information which proves the packages were picked up and are being delivered. Your package arrives and it's an empty box. The instrument you sent is delivered to an abandoned address where its picked up. Few years later your guitar shows up over 1,000 miles away in a state with unfriendly return laws. This is not an imagined scenario. Its happened twice, here, and one of those involved a text from someone that had never used the site because the phone number was inserted into the body of the ad. What is too good to be true on the internet is the easiest bait. Fate is a hunter. Eventually someone will engage in this and a victim will bite.

    Ever see a Breaking Bad episode where they bust the phone and trash it after the deal is made? This is a milder version, but still immensely profitable.

    We have protections against much of this and I'm not going to tell anyone what that is, but obviously, the dumbest thing--which people still do daily--is to insert their phone numbers and email addresses directly into ads. That instantly bypasses any security we can provide and grants access to anyone that has been banned from the site for engaging in illicit deals, or allows access to someone that never wants to use the site for contact because then we have a record of them. You'll notice emails and phone numbers are rarely there very long in an ad and that's because I built a scanner that notifies me when someone does that. There's a lot more ways to protect against this we engage in *daily* but that information isn't getting shared.

    Still, we do have frequent successful Trades and Want Ads. Just be sure you can verify who you are doing business with. If in doubt, use the Cafe's Contact form to ask the reputation of an individual.

    And people wonder why we ask for 2% of a successful sale. They have NO idea.

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Negotiating trades on the Cafe

    Admin-

    Thank you for the response- I wanted to perform due diligence, but I didn't know exactly what was involved. Now I do.

    Appreciation-

    Rick

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Negotiating trades on the Cafe

    I've only participated in a trade once on the classifieds, and I can't remember offhand if the gentleman I traded with put a wanted classified up or mentioned it in a thread (I think he initially posted the classified, removed it, and then I saw a comment he made in a thread). Regardless, initial contact was made via the Cafe's PM system, we exchanged pics and both offered references from prior online deals. After getting reasonably comfortable with each other we exchanged emails and also sent each other some online links essentially validating (insomuch as you can) that we were actual people and actually interested in the trade. I believe the instrument I sent arrived first, which totally freaked out the other guy because he was worried I'd freak out. The one he sent arrived a day later. Both in perfect condition as described, and we both left very satisfied with the deal.

    I'm sure there was more we could have both done to insure our safety in the matter, but I think we both proceeded reasonably cautiously, and it helped that we're both reasonably regular posters here. We even exchanged a few emails after the deal. Ideally I'd prefer to make such a deal in person, but given geography that wasn't feasible (and I didn't want to fly with an Octave Mandolin). Also, both instruments were worth < 2000 dollars. Certainly not chump change, but it's not like we were trading pre-war Martins.

    FWIW, I eventually turned that mandolin (with some cash their way) into a mandocello via The Mandolin Store, who were also awesome to work with. Good luck, proceed with caution, and if something seems to good to be true, it probably is...
    Chuck

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