Buying, Selling, & Trading On-Line

By Jeffrey Espejo


Whether you are doing your business on an on-line auction such as eBay or from an on-line web forum like Whatispaintball.comís you need to be wary of any untrustworthy traders or sellers.
If you are buying off of an on-line auction make sure you read everything that the item will be coming with, and all other charges for shipping and handling. Some auctions require extra to ship to certain countries; so be wary of that before bidding and ask the seller if you have any questions what so ever. A common mistake made by bidders is bidding on the item before looking at the fine print, such as methods of payment, shipping, or what is included in the item etc. Some sellers do not want to ship via COD (cash on delivery) or even with a credit card service such as paypal. This makes it complicated to purchase the item you bid on and can give you a bad reputation on the website you are purchasing it on.
Also make sure you check on the item your bidding on, it may show a picture of the item in blue, but the item you are purchasing is in black. Also make sure that the end value is less then what you would pay for in store or brand new from an on-line store. For example you see an item at your local store for $30 but you see it on an auction for $20 but the shipping costs $10 plus the $3 for insurance and the wait time to receive the item.
Other factors to look for are, if the seller has a good reputation. On some sites they have an on-line points system that buyers and sellers can leave back good or bad feedback about the trade or sale that they just made.

When making a buy from an on-line forum, make sure you post in the forum that you are interested in the purchase and e-mail the seller you are interested with probing questions such as the usage of it, the shape, and any other questions you may have. Also ask specifically what is included with the package and how much for shipping and handling may cost and for a picture of what the item looks like if possible. Keep these e-mails as references in the future or if anything goes wrong with the trade you then have proof of the trade etc. Also try to get a tracking number when ever possible, and only ship to actual addresses.Do not ship money or items ever to a Post Box address; as if they never send your item there is no way to retrieve your money back. 
Other things to keep in mind when buying from somebody on an on-line forum or even selling to him or her get as much contact information from them as possible. This would include e-mail addresses, home address (where your shipping to), a cell phone and/or home phone number where they can be reached at and with best times to call around. Also discuss how payment will be made, who will send first or at the same time etc. Most sellers want the buyer to send the money first before they will ship the payment. The quickest way possible would be a money transfer from bank to bank, paypal (these places do charge a service fee), or western union money transfer which I highly do not recommend as not only have I personally have had bad experience with sending money through them, but they charge a very high rate for sending money. Sending money through western union money order is a good way to pay with money order via on-line, but again they charge a lot more then they should for sending out a money order. 
Of course not many people will want to send money first with out knowing they will get what they are looking for, even with all the contact information etc. So a good way to be assured is to ask around on that forum for any previous traders who have purchased from them. Some forums have a good traders list or even a bad traders list, you can look up their name from here if it is available. Other wise trust and proof of transaction (e-mail and any saved logs from chat programs such as msn or icq) will be required for reference just in case anything with the trade happens to go wrong.
If ever your trade does not go as planned and you do not receive your item within the allotted time frame, try contacting the seller. If they do not respond within a couple of weeks or do not send the item to you with a tracking number and you do not receive it with in three weeks after an allotted time and you have asked and given enough warning to them, contact your local authorities. Your local authorities may not be able to do anything about it but you can speak to them about whom you could contact, as this would be considered mail fraud.

So now that you have purchased your gear off of the internet, you want to try something new that youíve wanted to try.Well we are all gear crazy Paintball players, and what is the best way to trade our current gear for someone elseís gear but the Internet?

††††††††††† The Internet is one of the best places to interact and meet other players, and even trade gear with each other.How ever not every player out there is honest, and can be very greedy.

Here I will share some of my personal experiences for trading your gear on-line and being safe about it.

††††††††††† First thing you should to do is send the seller a e-mail, stating you are interested in their item they have for sale.After you have gotten a response from the seller stating how much they would like for it.If the price is too high for you then send them another e-mail back to them stating that the price is a little bit too high.Ask them to go lower and state a different price that seems more reasonable to what they are asking for their item.Donít go telling them you can get the exact same item for this much cheaper somewhere else brand new just so they will lower their price tag.If you can then go for it, if not then just keep negotiating a price.If the seller has no idea what they should expect for their item and they think your offer is too low but you think the offer is fair. Show them examples and links to where the price of the item they are selling is, for them to decide on a price.

††††††††††† Once an established price has been sent and confirmed, send an e-mail stating what each party is trading for.Include everything, how much money for the following items.This way if something is left out you can show them an e-mail of what you were suppose to get, or if they have committed mail fraud, you can print the e-mail and show it to the proper authorities.Get each otherís home addresses, and contact numbers to exchange products.Donít ship to a post box unless they give you their home address too.Phone each other or talk over an on-line chat like msn or ICQ.

††††††††††† When selling a product on-line include references of any previous trades you have made that do not live in the same state/province as you.Also include what the trade was and contact information to those previous traders.Make sure you ask them first if you can use them as a trading reference.Make sure to include any and all pictures of your product, especially close ups on any scratches, serial numbers, or hydro dates.Buyers LOVE to see pictures, however not everyone has a digital camera or means of scanning photos.One way to get around this is if the buyer and the seller are patient enough they can ďsnail mailĒ pictures to one another.

Always state an asking price of your item you are selling.If you are not sure of a price to ask state how much you paid for it and give a hyperlink to any on-line stores that has this product for sale new.Potential buyers can then give you an offer and negotiate with you until a set price is agreed upon both parties.

If you are selling a big-ticket item that you are selling for $1000 or more, donít expect all of the cash at once.Come up with an agreement that is stated in your e-mails of an agreed upon payment plan. For example half is paid and then the item is shipped then the other half is paid.A good idea for this would be a third-party that can be trusted.Third parties cost more money but are one of the safer ways to trade your equipment.There are companies out there that can act as a third-party for you, just ask your local field or store if they are willing to be a third-party in your trading.

††††††††††† Make sure shipping arrangements are clarified; there are many ways to send money.For example you can send via money order, direct deposit into a bank account, pay pal, or COD.In my opinion I would not recommend COD for a large priced item, as some people tend to want something else and spend that money they were suppose to use to purchase the item they were buying.


Here are some points I have learned from my past experiences:

-Get to know the person as much as possible if a big purchase.

- Always get the phone number, talk on the phone first to confirm the number and the trade.A respectable trader should not be worried about giving personal information if they are trading anyways.

- If shipping post box and thatís what they prefer get a confirmed home address too.Try to ship to home addresses and not post boxes.You can even ask them to send first as most experienced traders know that post boxes is not a good way to trade. Though a lot of mail couriers do not ship to post boxes.

- When trying to sell a product, put thought into how much you want.How much you paid for it, how much it is now worth, and the book value of it.

- Don't freak out if somebody offers you $200 less or so then you think your item is worth. Renegotiate ask them for a higher number, usually if you are polite about it and do not take offence to it they may offer you a better price; after all they want to get the most out of their money as possible.

- Do not say "I can get this for cheaper" if you can then give proof, as the seller may not know what to expect to sell their item for.As well if it is on a forum, do not go posting in their thread saying that.It not only makes you look bad and childish, it irritates them and ruins their thread.

- If they will not go any lower in price then just tell them that you are not interested as you think their price is too high, if they are desperate enough and no one else is interested in their item; they just may sell it for the price you wanted.

- Don't do COD with somebody your unsure of if a good trader, unless you feel safe, trust your instincts.Though cash on delivery does not give them the item until they pay, they may change their mind, costing you more money to retrieve the money back.Buyers beware of COD as well; I have heard stories of people receiving a box with a brick in it, as the mail courier usually does not let you open the package first to inspect it.

- On big ticket items don't expect a $2000 money order not many people actually have $2000 anywhere saved up cash; some banks do not allow you to take out a certain amount, some do not have that high of a rate on their credit card; and of course a rapid number of young players are starting to trade on-line.Work something out as pay half, send item, and pay the rest.

- What I found was interesting was a trader wanted to exchange licence numbers or a number or some sort of ID.I noticed banks do this too to track a person down in case of fraud.

- Get as much information about the person you are trading with, age, real first and last name, any and all phone numbers, best times to reach them at.

- When trading item for item, you can also find a third party to receive and inspect all items for both parties involved.Some respectable companies will do this for a nominal fee.You can even check in the forums of a website and ask a very respectable trader to do it.Just remember that this could cost you a lot more.

- When asking for trading reference don't get references of those in the same city as the seller, try to get references from other places.Get their contact information and what the trade deal was to see if itís a dead beat contact or some cheesy little deal that doesnít mean they are a good trader.

- On large ticket items make sure you get PICTURES, especially detailed pictures. If they do not have a digital camera or a scanner get them to snail mail you photos it takes a long time but thereís no bickering in the end about. "You said no scratches" or such.

- Make sure in EVERY deal you save ALL the e-mails transferred between the two or more parties.Make sure final confirmation e-mail is sent and confirmed stating what is being traded for what (cash being traded for a marker etc) make sure EVERYTHING is stated from the seller and the buyer reads it all and confirms.This way there is no bickering of "I did not get this part, or it is missing this piece" as we see a lot of on the internet.

- Don't post so quickly in every forum to say somebody is a bad trader, first try the following: E-mail them, phone them, and repeat.If they do not return your phone calls and, you have given enough warning contact your local authorities about going about what you can do to go about getting your items or money back.YOU MUST HAVE PROOF (hence e-mails) that you were scammed.Usually I would wait about a month or two until I would get too worried, especially if they are in another country or on the other side of your country.


- Don't go posting somebody is a bad trader right away because of lack of communication (always communicate and keep in touch) or because the postal office, customs etc is backing it up.Half the time it is not their fault.If you get your package and its everything they said it would be and stated then they are considered a good trader, if they take months after they got your side of the deal but you still get the package then consider them a grey trader.


Federal Trade Commission Hotline to report faud 1-877-FTC-HELP

This concludes the Buy, Sell, Trade On-line article. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail or post in the on-line forum at

*** Please note that these are my personal experiences and and I will not be held accountable for any transactions gone wrong; even if this article may have been followed word for word***


Jeffrey Espejo 2003