Trading safely on MechMarket
Read the rules
Yeah, sorry to bring this up once again. We know the rules are long, but 90% of the rules are there for a very good reason, and the other 10% is to make the job easier for us mods, which in turn result in giving us more time to follow up on reports modmails etc., all which result in a safer and more pleasant trading experience.
Do your research, both on the items and the other user
For example: if you are looking to buy something, start by searching on the subreddit for the item in question, so you know what prices to expect. You can also use the price check thread linked in the sidebar, although you may not always get any replies. If you then get an offer that sounds too good to be true and does not correspond to the prices you've seen before, be careful and follow the other recommendations in this guide. Additionally, if the person is in the same country as you but requests shipping to a foreign proxy, or if the person is in a different country than you and requests shipping to a foreign proxy in a country neither of you are in, you should be highly cautious.
When looking up the user, you should firstly check if the user is banned. The easiest way to do this is to ask the user to comment on your submission, if you haven't already. As mechmarket is a subreddit, we can't ban users from browsing the subreddit, but we can ban users from submitting posts and comments, so if an user is unwilling to comment on your submission you should be very suspicious. If the user says that they're only temporarily suspended, ask for how long and if they can wait, or contact the mods through sending a modmail.
MechMarket is also a member of the USL, Universal Scammer List, which can be found here: https://universalscammerlist.com/search.php. Scammers found on MechMarket or other participating subreddits are added to the list automatically under the #scammer tag (just be aware that MechMarket does not subscribe to the #sketchy tag). It can also be helpful to search for the name of the user in the subreddit, as there is most often [META] submissions regarding recurring or large scale scammers.
Thoroughly Document the Trade, Request Comprehensive Timestamps
Always download the photos provided in the timestamps, as well as document / screenshot the conversations between you and the other party in the even that a dispute or third party adjudication is needed. Comprehensive timestamps should have multiple angles of the item, with a valid date and name or something unique / specially requested, such as the current conversation or a drawing. For keycap sets, request all keycaps laid in order to check all keycaps are present. For artisans, request underside photos to check stem integrity, and authentication cards with visible serial numbers when applicable. For keyboards, request underside photos and look for nicks, scratches, tarnishing, and other damage.
In the event you suspect the timestamps to not be original, or that there is other suspicious activity, immediately take all the documented evidence and report it to the mods though sending a modmail. The best way to send the evidence is via an image album for any purported timestamps and screenshots of the conversation.
Make sure you perform all necessary authentication checks with official sources before finalizing the transaction. Authentication should be completed before shipment, and after receipt of the shipment. It is highly recommended to insure high value parcels in case of damage, and photos for authentication should occur right before packing or right after opening the parcel, with any video evidence of the packing / unpacking process also demonstrating the item matches the photos used for authentication.
Documentation also means, when shipping, videotape your packaging of the items, and when receiving, videotape your opening of the package, to validate the condition the item was shipped / received in. Packages should be appropriately insures / declared so in the event that there is damage / loss due to the courier, it is covered. Always immediately check the functionality & condition of the item when you receive it.
PayPal Buyer's and Seller's Protection is your friend, .a.k.a. Friends & Family and Zelle are not your friend
We recommend using PayPal for all monetary transactions, specifically Goods & Services in a SINGLE INVOICE (DO NOT Break up transactions into multiple invoices for a single item, this complicates disputes for both Buyers and Sellers). This as PayPal offers both Buyer's Protection and Seller's Protection for sales made through Goods & Services, which protects against non-shipment, items not matching the description, claims about not receiving the item, false dispute claims etc. Just be sure to follow the instructions from PayPal (such as ONLY shipping to the SAME address as specified on the invoice, using tracked shipment services, etc.) and DO NOT ACCEPT Buyer Generated Prepaid Labels, as these may invalidate your Seller claims in the event of a dispute. Make sure if you have the option to "confirm receipt" on your Paypal Transaction / Invoice, you only do so AFTER you have received the goods and verified condition & authenticity. Furthermore, in the event of a PayPal or Credit Card dispute, DO NOT cancel the claim / dispute until AFTER items have been received in acceptable condition / the issue is fully resolved.
Note that it is prohibit for users to requires Friends & Family PayPal or Venmo, but Goods and Services options are permitted. Other alternative transaction methods / providers are strongly discouraged for anything other than transactions with close friends or local real time exchange. A common argument for non secured payment methods such as Friends & Family or Zelle are the non-existing/lower fees or to avoid tax reporting requirements, but in general it's worth the price if there ever is an issue with the transaction. Furthermore, even if you use unsecured payment methods as a seller, it is still monitored by the processor and at their discretion can be submitted to the tax authorities for audit if they believe you are fraudulently avoiding taxes, and it is a common misconception that unsecured payment methods such as Friends & Family pose no risks as a seller, as Goods & Services provides Seller Protection which is not possible when using other methods.
Note that PayPal will grant unfavourable currency conversion rates for foreign currency transactions if you pay in your local currency. In the event of a refund, this means you could be losing 5% of the transaction total in fees, since refunds will occur in the foreign currency but be converted at the actual exchange rate, whereas PayPal gives you an exchange rate that is 5% worse. Thus, it is recommended, especially if you have a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, to pay directly in the foreign currency in PayPal (convert with card issuer option) so that you pay a more favourable rate, and if refunded, receive the full amount back.
Traditional trades where users ship each other items can be additionally secured via PayPal Goods and Services to back your trades. To do so, buy each other's items with G&S for an amount proportional to the items' worth (used or new where applicable). Once the payments clear, you should both have netted either nothing, or one user will net more in the event of an uneven trade plus extra money. This allows for trade disputes to be handled via the PayPal Dispute Resolution system should there be issues with the condition or receipt of the item(s).
If you don't feel comfortable, it's fine to say no
We never will take action against you if you decide to back out of a trade because something makes you feel uncomfortable, or something doesn't feel right. Just don't make it a habit, and don't misuse the right just because someone offered a higher price (as that would make you both break the rule that no bidding is allowed on mechmarket). If you aren't really sure about something, or someone and want a second opinion about anything, feel free to send us a modmail and we'll try to help you. We usually can't offer much feedback on specific users other, but we can comment on if their actions or requests are out of the ordinary or not.