How to Protect Yourself When Selling Shoes Online
If someone were to tell you 'It takes a thief,' what would you instantly think of? For some, it would be that one Coolio album back in the 90's. For others, maybe you're more familiar with the TV show that was hosted on the Discovery channel a few years ago. If you're not too familiar with either of those, that's ok too. The jist of the term is that it takes a thief to catch a thief. Now, I'm not telling y'all to convert into thieves and start jigging Otterbox cases and venturing into the world of social engineering. However, I am letting you know that if you want to protect yourself on the internet, or anywhere else really, you want to think about what a criminal would do acting against you.
It's easier to do this online than in-person. When dealing with online transactions there are a few windows of opportunity to take advantage of. Breaking it down you have the first agreement, then the transaction, followed by shipping and receiving. Each part of this process is important when you're dealing with a transaction. If you're buying, you have to worry about each step. You may not be breaking it down in the way I am, but you are surely judging the validity of the transaction in one way or another. Let's say you are selling. You shouldn't have to worry about the first conversation as much. You can have plenty of those and not even agree on a price with the potential buyer. All of the other steps you have to take into great consideration though.
If you want to protect yourself when selling shoes online, you have to think like a thief. Every time you sell a shoe online imagine someone is trying to take advantage of you.
One of the most common ways someone will try to get over you is by doing a chargeback with their credit card company. This is something you can't avoid even if you are a careful seller. However, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself preemptively.
1. Do some research on the person you are selling to. If you are selling on a platform you have plenty of seller history to look through. eBay, Twitter, and other online platforms give you the ability to look up who you are selling to. Be cautious of new users, low-feedback and bad reviews. If the person doesn't have a legit check on their Twitter, see if you can find people who may vouch for them. If the person is well-known and has very good feedback the likelihood of the sale going awry for you is much lower overall.
2. Maintain records of the entire process. This would include messages, shipping details, and anything you can use to prove the item you sold was authentic, sent and delivered. Shipping details can include getting a receipt from the shipping company you drop the package off at, requiring signature confirmation on delivery, and shipping to a PayPal verified address. You can even go the extra mile and take clear photos of the product and tag it with your own details before the sale happens. And if you are extremely worried I would suggest videotaping the packaging process and keeping that on hand.
3. Sell through a platform that would protect you. This would include places like StockX or GOAT. They take about the same percentage as eBay, and you are protected from chargebacks because they middle-man all transactions. Once you send them the item, you just wait for that check.
Some people think they are slick and they try to pull off some sleight of hand on you. What they do is agree to your transaction details and they get you to send them your PayPal email address. Now, they don't send the money at all, but they do send you an email. This email is typically a fake PayPal confirmation for receiving funds. If you aren't careful, you can be easily fooled, however, if you take a few moments you can easily see through the cracks.
1. Typically the email will be from an email not associated to PayPal. If it's not from Service@PayPal.com or a similar address, it's not real.
2. Check your PayPal account for the transaction or the money. If they actually did send you the money it will be shown in your account. If it's not, you know you're getting fleeced.
3. It's very possible the email ended up in your spam filter. This can be due to many reasons, but typically when sent from PayPal, you won't see that. This can be attributed to the user who is sending you the money sending the same email to many people at the same time.
A quick glimpse of how one of the fake confirmations may look is depicted below:
Shipping to an Alternate Address
This is something small to watch out for. Typically I don't worry about this one too much, but it's easy to get caught on this. If you receive money from a user on PayPal and they ask you to ship to an address that isn't listed within the transaction, don't ship it. Shipping to an alternate address voids your protection under eBay's and PayPal's terms.
1. I would personally refund the person and ask them to change their address. You aren't losing anything if they choose to agree to this. You still get the sale. If they refuse, you probably just got out of a sticky situation. And if they give you a huge fuss about the ordeal, just find another buyer. There's always someone else willing to buy, even if you have to wait a few more hours or days.
You typically want to see the address as 'Confirmed' in PayPal:
This method is more common to eBay, but it's very prevalent nonetheless. A user will send you an offer for your item that is way above list price. They may include the fact they need it overnighted, or they just need it very quickly. Something along those lines. They do this because the money isn't actually theres. They want the transaction taken care of quickly because if the stolen account they are using gets identified then the payment will be reversed.
1. An easy way to see through this one just decline all offers over your list price. I don't think anyone in their right mind would offer you more money for an item. If anything, they'll try to be undercutting you. This is an easy one to spot.
If you're dumb enough to trade with someone you don't know, then maybe you deserve to get scammed. It's easy to talk gravy to another person when you know you're going to be bending them over your knee. If you agree to trade, you can lose every way you do it. If you ship first, you're taking an L. If you ship at the same time, you're taking an L. If you ship after they ship, you're taking an L. They have 0 obligation to send you anything. And to add insult to injury, no one is there to protect you. There was no money dealt. You can't get anything back. And if they were smart, they used a drop address and fake name.
1. The only way to do this safely is by trading with someone you already know. If you don't know them I would rule out trading altogether. If you are hard-pressed for trading, you both can put your items up on eBay for the same price and purchase each other's listings.
2. Just sell your item for cash and buy the item you want. In the end, cash is king. You may even realize you got cold feet after shipping and no longer want the shoes you traded for.
Something that happens all too often. You make a sale, they get the item, and you don't hear from them for a few days. All of a sudden you get a message along the lines of 'Yo, so, uh, the shoes don't fit me. I don't want them anymore.' Or, 'My son no longer wants the shoes, I'd like to return them.' Well, they could be telling the truth, however, all listings I sell I specify no returns, and all sales are final. Sometimes eBay doesn't appreciate this, so I may offer a return if they agree to pay a restocking fee. This typically scares them away and you never hear from them again. However, if they're persistent, there is a very good chance that you won't be getting the item back you sent originally. They'll demand the refund and they will send you back something that weighs similarly to try and dupe out the shipping company or eBay.
1. This is a tough situation because it's hard to prove either side. It's certainly a he-said she-said situation. From the perspective of PayPal or eBay, the scammer could be on both ends of the transaction. However, this is why you have detailed history saved like stated before in this article. Pictures, video evidence, conversations and anything that could sway the decision into your favor. In all honestly, your ass is in their hands at that point and it's a toss-up. If you protected yourself to the best of your own ability, then you have to be fine with that. Sometimes you do get done over, and you move on. It's just how it goes sometimes.
Don't meet in-person late at night or at their residence.
Don't do business with people who have poor feedback.
Don't take an e-check. If you do, wait a few days for it to clear.
Ask if the buyer is comfortable gifting. Put the ball in your court if you are a trusted figure.
Be smart and don't be stupid.
Hopefully this article was of some use to you. I tried to lay out the ways in which I've seen people taken advantage of as well as what I've personally experienced. Scamming sucks, and I really wish it didn't exist, but it's something we all have to deal with. It's why I typically no longer sell shoes on platforms not named GOAT or StockX. I'm tired of dealing with scammers and their just a waste of time, money and resources for us sellers.
While I've got your attention, you may be interested in some of my other work! You can browse through the rest of my free content here. And then if you're looking for more you I highly recommend considering The Sneaker Bible as the most comprehensive guide to assist you along your journey as a reseller.