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Buying / Selling / Trading Rules & How to Spot a Scammer

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MLPTP Supporter
Jun 6, 2005
:satisfied: Buying and Selling Etiquette :winkpony:
And How to Spot a SCAMMER!

In this thread:

:star: Buying
:star: Selling
:star: Trading
:mad: Avoiding Scammers
What to Do if You Have a Problem

Hello everyone!

This is a resource to help everyone use common courtesy and common sense when it comes to transactions.

As a new buyer/seller, please read through to learn how we usually do things here at the MLPTP. It will make your transactions run more smoothly and can answer some of your questions.

As an established member, please take a moment to read through as well.

Buying Etiquette:

Item inquiry: If you are interested in an item listed in a sale thread, send the seller a PM with any questions you have about the item. It is also helpful to include your zip code and/or country so that the seller can quickly calculate a shipping cost for you.

Ask about any potential flaws that concern you: Such as stains, paint rubs or scratches, dirt smudges, mold, pen or ink marks, chewed parts, missing parts, haircuts, loose heads, fading, yellowing, dry or frizzy hair, brown spotting, or odors such as cigarette smell.

Please read a sales thread thoroughly:

First, check the date of the sales thread. If it is more than a few months old or has not been edited or updated in a few months, do not reply to it. Try to find a more recent thread.​
Find out what types of payment a seller accepts: whether or not they ship internationally, and if they charge PayPal/packing fees. If you are not happy with any of these terms, shop around more to find the same item from someone else who can accommodate your needs. A great way to contact a seller is with this format:​

Subject: [Item you are interested in] for sale

Hi! I am interested in your [name of item(s)] My zip code is [zip code] and I live in [country].

I have some questions about [item]. They are as follows: ______

(if applicable): I have the following from your wish list that I can trade: ______

Thank you.

Special requests: If you need your package by a certain date, please let the seller know. They may or may not be able to accommodate your needs. Again, please ask your questions up front. If your address is different than what comes through with your PayPal payment, please tell the seller ahead of time so that your items are not mailed to the wrong address.

Asking to put items on hold: Many sellers will post how long they will put an item on hold for. If you asked to have an item put on hold and change your mind, please be courteous to the seller and PM them if you don't want the item any more. Most sellers will not get upset over this. It helps them update their sales. If they leave something on hold for you, that seller can potentially lose a sale if someone else was interested. We do not suggest members put items on hold for longer than one week.

Making a payment: If you tell a seller that you will pay by a certain date, try your best to keep your word. Real life issues do come up and if you are unable to pay, please let the seller know and they can possibly make other arrangements for you. Communication is key.

Communication: Always keep up with communication until the transaction is complete. This includes PMing the seller about the item, PMing when you have paid, and PMing when you have received your item. This helps a seller know that the item is safe and sound with you and can work out problems if you had any. Be nice, friendly, and polite. Treat the seller the same as you would if you were face to face in a store. A little courtesy goes a long way.

Feedback: Please leave feedback for the seller. A seller depends on his/her feedback as reputation to buy/sell/trade. Without feedback, it is hard to tell who is great to deal with and who buyers may want to avoid. To learn more about leaving feedback, please follow the link:

How to Leave Feedback

Knowing your prices: It is up to you as a buyer to be sure you agree with what you are paying for any given item. There are many different ways to research values of MLP items, and we encourage you to do so in order to be comfortable with your purchase. For information on how to do a quick price check, please follow this link:

How to Search for Price Checks

Do not try to manipulate a new seller (offering small amounts of money for rare ponies for example). This is commonly known as "lowballing." Instead, please be kind and point them to the discussion forum for price checks (or teach them how to search for price checks).

Selling Etiquette:

What to include in a sales thread:
  • Photos of your items for sale MUST be included in your post.
    • These MUST be your own photos.
  • If you have a list of ponies, please don't list them as one long run on sentence with commas in between. Instead, make a vertical list with one name per line.

  • Detailed honest descriptions of item's condition (or brief description, ask buyer to PM if further description is needed; This is usually the case if someone is selling a lot of items at once). Even if there is a flaw not usually seen (under the feet or hidden by the mane or tail, or something like an odor), it is important that you let the potential buyer know.

    Common flaws that should be disclosed:
    • Cut hair
    • Damage to the body (scratches, stains, gouges, mold, etc)
    • Smoke smell (or strong smell of any kind)
    • Tail rust
    • Damage to the paint (eyes, blush, symbols)
    • Missing parts of any kind
  • Your sales post MUST contain prices.
    • You are welcome to list an item for a price OBO, ("or best offer")
  • If you have PayPal /packaging fees, and how much they are

  • How long you will hold an item for

  • Where you will ship to (Worldwide, or certain country only, etc)

  • Postage costs, or ask the buyers to PM you for shipping quotes

Updating your sale ad: If an item is on hold or sold, please update your thread with either editing it out or writing sold/hold next to the item. Or you can use the strike code. Sale posts that are over 3 months old may be locked to avoid being bumped back to the first page when those items are likely no longer available. Sellers, please make new threads to keep your sales updated if several months have passed.

Member threads that were started more than 6 months ago may be locked so that threads no longer drag on for years. Please feel free to make a new and updated thread instead of bumping an old one.

Answering PMs: If you are trying to sell items, please find time to get back to potential buyers as soon as possible so they don't have to wait. Also, hit the reply button in the message to include the previous messages (so you will be able to keep track of the transaction as a whole, not scattered PMs). This will also help mods in the event they need to step in and help.

Be up front with buyers: Do not hide any fees or conditions, put them all in your post. Tell your buyers what any extra costs are. If you feel uncomfortable explaining the extra fees, just figure the cost in with the original price you ask for your item.

Do NOT ask buyers to send Paypal payments as "Friends/Family."

Pricing: Do not try to overcharge new or inexperienced members. If you are unsure what to charge for a given pony or item, we encourage you to post a Price Check thread for the community to respond to.

Be honest with buyers: Descriptions are generally very important to buyers. Be honest when describing the item. If your pony has pindot mold on her non display side, let the buyer know. Pony cancer spot? Let the buyer know. Does the pony sit next to your ashtray? Let the person know the pony was exposed to smoke. Smoke smells can sometimes be removed but some people are allergic to it or will not purchase a pony with an odor.

Communication: Always keep good communication with your buyers. They are your customers! Your PMs to them should consist of item availability, cost, shipping notification, and an acknowledgment when the buyer lets you know the item was received. Also take care of any problems that arise from the transaction. People will remember you as a good seller and will possibly buy from you again just because of how great your communication was! Remember: be nice, friendly and use manners. Treat the buyer the same as you would if you were face to face in a store.

Packing items: People are paying you money for the item and shipping cost. Please give them the respect of packing their items well. Use common sense when packing up items:
  • Make sure all items in the order are packed with plenty of cushioning.
  • If an item is fragile, mail in a sturdy box and make sure all empty space is filled with packing material. If the empty spaces aren't filled, the box may collapse and be damaged in transit.
  • Use packing tape--not masking, craft, scotch, or duct tape. Tape securely.
  • Make sure the address and return address are clearly legible.
  • Retain receipts and tracking numbers.
  • Do NOT use newspaper or anything else with printed ink as the ink can bleed onto the items and stain them (unless you put the items in zip top baggies first and they avoid contact with the ink).
  • Never pack a pony that has been recently washed in a sealed plastic baggie or the remaining moisture could cause mold.
  • A good rule of thumb is to anticipate the very worst possible treatment of your box in transit, and protect against it as best you can.

  • If a person paid for Priority shipping or any other specific postal service (Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Insurance etc), you must use that service. Do not try to switch to First Class to save money without talking to your buyer first and compensating them for the difference in price.

  • Once a person makes the payment, ship in a timely manner. Make sure you have that postage money put aside to pay for shipping. Don't turn around and tell the buyer you can't afford to ship their item and will have to wait (they paid for the shipping!). This is not acceptable.

  • If it turns out you underestimated the cost of shipping, don't ask the buyer to pay for the difference. It's best for sales to absorb this cost and learn a lesson from it. If the buyer finds out that they should've paid more, it's up to them if they want to give you the little extra but don't expect it. If you grossly overestimated the shipping cost, it would be courteous to refund the buyer the difference. This can easily be done with PayPal transactions.

  • Paypal offers discounted shipping using www.paypal.com/shipnow

Feedback: Leave feedback for the buyer once the transaction is done (or you can leave it right after they have paid). Buyers rely on feedback to buy/sell/trade and need it to maintain a good reputation within the community. If you don't have much feedback, please provide additional feedback such as eBay, or from another forum.

This is an example of a great transaction!

1st day:
Buyer: Hi, I'm interested in Pinkie Pie. What is her condition and how much would shipping be to 22222?
Seller: She has a couple spots on her non-display side by her ear, but other than that she is in excellent condition. If you are still interested, your total would be $5 and my paypal address is ****.
Buyer: Great, payment sent!

2nd day:
Seller: Hi, I shipped your pony out today... please let me know when she arrives.

5th day:
Buyer: Pony arrived safely and I'm off to leave feedback. Thanks!
Seller: Great, I left feedback too!

Trading etiquette:

All of the previous information applies to trades as well as buying and selling.

Photos of your items for sale MUST be included in your post.
  • These MUST be your own photos.

Shipping: If you agree to ship on a specific date as your trade partner, do your best to stick to that date. If there is going to be any delay, let your trade partner know, and keep them updated on your progress.

It is a good idea to include tracking when mailing and to keep your shipping receipt as proof of your sending. PayPal offers free tracking and discounted shipping costs when you print your shipping label straight through PayPal, which may save you the hassle of the post office.

When trading with someone with 0 feedback: If you are planning to trade with someone who has very little or no feedback, or is new to the community, and you yourself are an experienced member with sufficient feedback, it is acceptable to ask the new or feedback-less person to send their end of the trade first. It is completely up to you.

Avoiding SCAMMERS on the internet:

Security is generally very tight around the MLPTP, and the moderators and admin are always looking out for our members as best we can. However, scammers can occasionally sneak through the cracks.

This advice also applies to buying ponies ANYWHERE on the internet.

MLPTP's Scammer Reference: Quick Scammer Database

LoveBabySquirmy's Bad Trader Database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgqqkrP5ajc1dDY0Z2JUb1Q2U1hSSTBidUttcnIyakE#gid=0

Here are some warning signs for online scamming that can happen anywhere, and that are especially worrisome when multiple happen at once:

  • No posts: Sometimes a scammer will register on a forum but not post, leaving little to no trace of themselves but private messages.

  • No photos of items: It is always recommended to see the item you are thinking of buying before purchasing. If the seller has photos, do all the seller's photos look like they were taken in different places or with different cameras? Have you seen the photos somewhere else before? Be wary of inconsistencies, as well as convenient excuses such as a broken camera/phone etc.

  • Recurring excuses: Does your seller have a different excuse for every week that goes by without sending your item? Real life problems do happen, but most reputable sellers will offer to refund or return your value rather than continue to lead you on.

  • Prices far too good to be true: Is a seller trying to sell you a $400 pony for $50? If it seems too good to be true, it just might be!

  • No feedback / negative feedback: Exercise caution when buying from or trading with someone who has no feedback, and especially with anyone who has negative feedback.

  • Payment requested via cash in the mail: Never advisable!

  • Paypal is required via GIFT option: If you pay a buyer this way, PayPal is NOT obligated to protect your transaction! Use only with caution and with sellers you trust!

If you suspect a MLPTP member of scamming or attempting to scam,
please contact a moderator right away.

Check out the MLPTP's FAQ for everything you need to know about buying, selling, trading, and more!

If you Have a Buying, Selling, or Trading Problem

CONTACT A MODERATOR IMMEDIATELY. We cannot express this enough. Once the time limit to file a claim with Paypal/etc has expired, we will not be able to help you. We encourage you to get in touch long before this happens.

How long is too long? If a seller is taking more than a week or two to ship your item(s), there may be a problem. Do not wait weeks. Do not wait months.

If someone does not fulfill their end of a sale or trade, it is not the time to worry about hurt feelings on their part. If they have goods or money that is rightfully yours, you need to do what you can to recover it. Proceed calmly and politely, but do not let anyone take advantage of you.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch as soon as you realize there may be a problem. The longer you wait to tell us, the more difficult it will be for us to help you, and the greater chance that more people are encountering the same problem from the same person. Help us to nip it in the bud and prevent others from having the same problem. You will be doing the community a great service by making us aware of any problems and helping us to keep everyone safe.
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