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Thread: Buying used machinery

  1. #1

    Buying used machinery

    As I am tempted to purchase a particular machine from a seller on another woodworking site, I am also very uncomfortable about sending money out with zero assurance that a complete stranger will do anything but take the money and not ship the item. Feels legit, but I'm getting cold feet...
    Any recommendations for a safe transaction, or just don't do it unless I can pick up locally, exchanging cash for the machine in person?

  2. #2
    ive done it to get things done. See it call buy it then go see it pay for it. Its not ideal as there are many full of crap humans. I was happier in auction land for 40 years but even that shifted from live to the net even before covid so unless you go on preview day you wont know.

    A machine is one thing, a machine being used in a production shop that was running until it folded is another. Some shops that have gone down ive taken clipboards off the side of machines with maintenance schedule. That I only saw on old school european shops 50 employees and up. Some of those machines were likely 50 years old.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The Hartland of Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Roltgen View Post
    As I am tempted to purchase a particular machine from a seller on another woodworking site, I am also very uncomfortable about sending money out with zero assurance that a complete stranger will do anything but take the money and not ship the item. Feels legit, but I'm getting cold feet...
    Any recommendations for a safe transaction, or just don't do it unless I can pick up locally, exchanging cash for the machine in person?
    What is the other web site? There are many and we can help you with the reputation of the site.
    Never, under any circumstances, consume a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  4. #4
    It's a classified on woodweb.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    I think that some companies can offer buyer protection; for example, eBay (I am pretty sure). eBay charges a fee, of course, and the seller might want you to pay the difference so that they still get their desired amount.

  6. #6
    Myk makes a good point as well, I know of one careless site where stuff was stolen before pickup day. Ive caught people stealing in the past at live auctions. I had to tare strips off another that sells for specific group of people in canada and the US. They didnt go to bat for me at all when the seller did hanky panky. In that cause the customer removed stuff after the sale, thank god for screen saves. Very crafty teacher, I took the item and told them they would be charged with fraud. I guess I dont have much patience in the end but im also old enough and from a time when people used to do more with honour. There are still tons of great people. Your trick will be to figure out who you are dealing with.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    If at all possible, go get it in person. I bought a huge industrial copy lathe on a super cheap eBay auction. I had to pay riggers to move it out and get it ready for shipment. Their estimate was good enough, but I didn't get an estimate on the shipping crates. That was another $300. Then I put down the wrong freight code according to the shipper, and underestimated the weight by 200 pounds and that cost me a few more hundred. It's hard to dispute the extra shipping charges when they have your credit card number on file. That said, I will never use Freight Quote again. So even after your reluctance to trust the seller, there are also more trap doors that can elevate the cost very quickly.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    See how many posts that person has on the site. I trust people with thousands of posts a lot more than one with 1 or 2, or even 10. Also, I think PayPal offers you some protection as well. Finally, talk to the person. Ask them for their phone number and call them up. You can usually figure out if someone is legit or not after talking with them for a few minutes. And if you still don't feel comfortable take a pass.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Redmond, OR
    If the seller is asking for cash, wire transfer, postal money order, etc. THERE IS NO WAY I would go forwards with the transaction!

    If the seller is willing to accept PayPal I would go for it even if I had to cover the extra PayPal fee myself. DO NOT use PayPal friends and family thing to save a few bucks... it is the same as doing a wire transfer and you have no recourse, no protection! Pay a few bucks more and do a standard PayPal purchase, you are paying extra for the insurance from PayPal that the item will arrive as promised. I have purchased MANY used things online from large to small and I have never been ripped off when using PayPal. The whole purpose of PayPal is to provide protection from scammers.

    I would tell the seller "PayPal or you aren't interested". If the seller says "Sorry I don't have PayPal" then walk away!

    I have opened a half dozen cases with PayPal over the past 15+ years for items that were never sent, the wrong item was sent, the item was broken, etc. and always prevailed. Once I purchased a shaper cutter off of ebay and the seller sent some S&M binding straps which I would guess cost them less than $1 and a note saying "a present to thank you for your business". The seller put tracking on the package and put the tracking number into the PayPal transaction then asked PayPal to release the money when the tracked package arrived in my mail. After I figured out what was going on and figured out the scam I opened a case with PayPal and got my money back. True story!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Roltgen View Post
    Feels legit, but I'm getting cold feet...
    If it didn't "Feel Legit" then they wouldn't be a very good scammer!
    Last edited by Michael Schuch; 10-25-2021 at 10:27 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Tucson, Arizona
    I would consider using Paypal. Have the buyer draw up a sales contract and send you a Paypal invoice (payment request). If the seller fails to deliver, then Paypal will refund your payment.

  11. #11
    Be careful with Paypal, they aren't perfect either. I got scammed last winter on some things I ordered for Christmas gifts and disputed it and eventually they came back with "Tough luck"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    There are two general risks with buying used machinery "at a distance"...the financial piece and the "is it what it's represented to be" piece. For the former, using a payment method that provides some level of buyer protection is pretty essential and PayPal has already been used as an example. No money orders or cash in the mail; no Venmo or similar, no PayPal "friends and family", etc. For the latter, it's always more ideal to be able to fondle the machine or material in person, but that's not always a realistic possibility for some things. Sometimes you can get someone else to examine it. You could also ask the seller to give you a video tour via FaceTime or similar with you directing them to show you any detail you notice during the interaction. And anytime that little bell is ringing in your head...listen to it. If there are photos available to you, use them do to an Internet search with Google Images to make sure the same photos are not being used in multiple advertisements in multiple cities which sometimes happens with true scammers. And if the price is too good to be true, it likely is too good to be true.

    I have not bought and sold a lot of stuff online, but I've done enough to feel generally comfortable with it in many cases. Every deal is different.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    about a year ago I posted a Sharkgaurd and a modulus scoring unit on Kijiji. 20 minutes later just as I sat down in my easy chair a guy texted me ,wanting both items. He made me a offer, I said yes then he etransfered me the funds right away. Next he requested that I ship the stuff to him the cheapest Canada Post way. Texted him the cost and he sent another immediate etransfer for shipping. The total was in the neighborhood of $500. I have since purchased a State spindle sander 6 hours away, that a friend picked up after I paid. Got the sander for $175 so figured the risk was livable. Was really surprised with the buyer trusting me with no prior contact etc. The deal I did was finalized after I talked to the seller on the phone and simply was a risk I was willing to take that worked out fine. I would not do this for a bigger machine. I have prepaid like a $100 deposit sight unseen so someone would hold a machine a couple days till I could get there. I do this with the clear understanding that if I do not show my money is gone ,and if I do and buy said machine that it is part of the purchase price.
    Last edited by Mike Kees; 10-25-2021 at 8:52 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I've done a number of transactions for fairly large sums of money that have in almost all cases worked out perfectly. I tend to communicate enough so that I feel comfortable, backing off if there is anything about the arrangement that seems "off". I'm sure I could get scammed, but I'm not willing to go through life with a high level of suspicion of my fellow humans. I don't do deals where I couldn't afford to take the loss if the deal went south.

    I had one transaction for a couple thousand dollars where I think the seller was simply incompetent, or perhaps a potential (but incompetent) thief. Our local police department talked to his local police department, who talked to him and I got my money back.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Inkerman, Ontario, Canada
    The only safe way is to go there, hand over cash and take the machine.
    Otherwise do your due diligence, make your best judgement, and take your chance.
    The risk is the price you pay, to play.
    If you get screwed, accept that the world is skewed against you getting things settled fairly.
    It's really hard, stressful, expensive and time consuming to get back what was taken from you, or even a part of it.
    Some people are great, honorable and decent, and some are assholes, unfortunately they are not labeled.
    The "justice System" is not. It doesn't exist, there is however a legal system based on enforcing order...on the law abiding (I.E. you) This is how the crooks manage to rob you, they steal from you today, and the court system makes you hire a lawyer and take them to court, and several years later you will accept a settlement of half of what you were owed.
    Its a great system... for the thieves.

    Good luck

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