More Hands In My Pocket

Remember when I wrote the article, “Who Has Their Hand in Your Pocket”?  Instead of writing about employees, I’m now referring to buyers who have malicious intent.  After helping a family friend who had to move up north, I was blessed with a white-washed, Henredon Armoire.  After trying antique and consignment stores, a thoughtful friend suggested, “try Craigslist”.  That statement started a seller’s dream.  Within 30 minutes of being published, my ad had 5 firm offers which quickly seemed like a nightmare. Here are 3 of them. Which one is best?

Offer from CA: “I’m interested in buying it, I will pay you via PayPal and I will have my shipper come pick it up but I can’t get cash across to my shipper directly because I am out of state for work and they don’t use PayPal so I will add extra money to the payment for my shipper so that you can pay my shipper on my behalf.  Do you have PayPal account for the payment?”  This enthusiastic buyer certainly understood value, but what about this one from H.H.?

Offer from H.H.: “Hi. I am interested in your furniture. Do you still have it available for sale?   I answered, “Yes, but only local, our bank will not take out of state checks, they have had too many bad certified checks. Thanks!  H.H. persisted, “Your asking price is quite reasonable & affordable considering others I’ve seen lately.  I’ll take it.  I won’t be able to come for the pick up due to my work. I’ll arrange for pickup and delivery with a shipping agent. I’ll make the payment through PayPal for the safety of both of us.   Also, I’ll add the shipping fee to the payment so that you can pay them in cash on my behalf. I’ll need your name, the pickup address and your PayPal email address for the Payment.

Offer from Bride’s Mother? “Cheers for the prompt responses! Please consider it sold and cancel every other appointment regarding it.  I am buying it for my daughter who is getting married and moving to a new home. I am ready to pay your full asking price. I have read through the advert and I’m totally satisfied with it, and I will be glad if you can get back to me with some pics if available.  Sadly, I won’t be able to come for the inspection and pick up due to my disabilities. I lost my hearing and being in a wheelchair, but I have a courier agent that will help me to pick it up at your preferred location. Regarding the payment, I can only pay via PayPal at the moment, and I will be responsible for all the PayPal fee/charges on this transaction kindly get back to me with your PayPal email and the postage location and your mobile number so that I can inform my daughter about it now?  Awaiting your reply soon.” …not replying.

Receiving 5 offers within 30 minutes raised a red flag. So, I decided to dig into internet buying scams. Articles and websites gave specific details as to exact verbiage crooks will use.  From the convenience of their homes, they used similar verbiage on me…almost verbatim.  However, the 3rd buyer deserved an award for creativity!

Are you aware that a certified check can take weeks to process only to discover it could be fake?  If it is, your bank will deduct the money you might have already spent and charge processing fees. They might be able to charge you with passing a fraudulent check.  Don’t forget that the shipper was also paid with your money.  Meanwhile, your merchandise is gone.  For those of you who do sell over the internet, you’re probably aware of stories I’ve described.  Good news!  Since we changed the ad verbiage, we’re getting better responses.

Here’s my advice.  When meeting someone for the first time, insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center.  Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.  Don’t apologize for checking if money is real.  Be especially careful buying or selling high value items.  Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and take your cell phone.  Consider having a friend accompany you.  Always trust your instincts. We did!

Some wise articles and information that helped us were posted on the following websites:,,,  Enlightening!

If I sell anything to a buyer that won’t accept my terms, it’s okay.  I’ll still have my stuff, and they won’t have their hands in my pocket either.

See you next time.

Correspondence regarding this article should go to:

D.J. Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

D. J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252. E-mail: 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone.