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Is This the Fastest Way to Make Money Part 2

Updated on November 14, 2012
Auctions are Great!
Auctions are Great!

Marketing Your Goods Both Online and Offline, Part 2 of 3

Are there Pitfalls in Selling stuff Merchandise on the Internet?

In my last post I talked about the great ways you can make money in a traditional and proven way. Buy low, sell high! A bit more complicated than that but really simple and profitable if you set your mind to it. But every silver cloud has it’s grey lining (to turn a phrase) and here is where I will discuss them with you.

Getting you to take out the garbage

One such problem is when dealing with sellers is you may have to take a lot of useless stuff away in order to get the gem. These people want stuff cleared out. These folks want you to clear out the garage as well. Sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes not. I know a storage unit owner who would only sell storage units without auction but you had to take everything. When he called and there was some old beat up furniture that you didn't want you had to take it anyway and cart it off to the dump otherwise there would be ni further business. There was a lot of stuff to get rid of and luckily the dumping station was right around the corner.

Don't buy stolen merchandise

Some people will sell you stolen merchandise. Stay away from it. I went to buy a camera from a Kijiji seller and I was told to meet him somewhere. I asked for a phone number, an address or anything that would let me identify him. He was not forthcoming so I did not even go to the meeting. These people will offer you something too good to be true. You may get away with selling things like this but you are likely to get caught sooner or later and my advice is to stay away. There is enough good merchandise out there to avoid these sellers. By the way, if they stole the merchandise what’s to say they won’t just steal you cash during the buying meeting and run? Anything can happen.

While I’m on the subject you should get some sort of receipt for everything you buy. One person I know buys and sells misguided freight that he gets right from a shipping company. He hauls away a lot of junk and occasionally finds a gem. He never got an itemized list of the merchandise he took away because most of it was in boxes. Well he found a real gem. It was a professional movie studio lens. Now I’m not talking a few hundred dollars here, I’m talking around twenty five thousand dollars. When he saw the price of this thing new he was so happy he just about jumped right out of his skin! The lens was put on eBay and got a local seller that he went to meet. He was then arrested by 6 large policemen in a very public and very embarrassing “take down” He could not prove that he got the lens through legitimate means but he was able to get the shipper to vouch for him that it was normal for each load to be a mixed bag. He was let go but he lost the lens to the movie production company who had called the police after seeing what they thought was their lens on eBay. They got the lens back and he didn’t have to go to court. Hmmm I wonder if the movie production company filed an insurance claim through the shipper too. A good practice is if you get a mixed load of things is to try to itemize each item. I don’t know what else to say here. It was unusual to say the least but it can happen especially with scarce merchandise.

Missing vital information

Picture yourself buying a computer that turns on and seems to work well and you’re told it has 4 gig of memory only to find out later that it has one gig of memory. You need to become familiar with how to test this sort of thing. This can happen in many different ways and computers are only one example. There are lots of examples out there. The seller offers you a product that is discontinued due to a safety recall, appliances, and kids toys come to mind. You may be lacking vital information and if possible get a model number before you go to see something so you can do an internet search as well. The more information you come armed with the better. If an owner of a recalled product says it was fixed ask the seller to produce some sort of paperwork.

Hidden Defects and Broken Stuff

Buying and selling online or offline will generally get you a lot of good things. There is also a risk of buying something that is broken or has hidden defects. You may turn on an appliance and it may be okay until it warms up and then starts making all kinds of noise. You may buy an item that is disassembled and in a box only to find the item has missing pieces. It would be similar to buying a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing! Or you may buy a piece of merchandise that you have no idea what it is only to find out that you overpaid for an outdated model. The only advice here is to offer some low price so you can live with in the deal in the event of a mistake on your part or your seller misleading you. Don’t expect to be able to return merchandise to a private seller. The old saying “You bought it, you got it” applies here. The price you paid may be the price of education (also known as the school of hard knocks) but it’s an important part of the business too. A bad buy makes you a cautious buyer hen next time around.

Bed bugs

Bed bugs are not only in beds. They can get into cracks of picture frames, hide in the piping in furniture upholstery, hide in the drapes, under chairs and in general all of the tiny little places that you can’t even imagine. A thorough inspection is important. Don’t be in a rush to cart away the goods because you’re getting such a great deal that you don’t want the owners to think too much on it.


So this is part two of a three part article and in the next part I’ll give you some more of the pitfalls of buying and selling used merchandise. I hope I didn't sour you on the whole process. It’s a matter of educating yourself and that takes time, reading, research and some specialization. Watch for the rest of buying pitfalls soon.


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    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Another useful and interesting follow up hub. Some fine tips here and thanks for sharing. Off to read part 3.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      There definitely are some pitfalls to buying and reselling items, that is for sure. One thing we found is that it never hurts to have your items insured, when you are mailing them. Some people will try to claim they didn't receive an item (required signatures are good too) or that it was broken in transit...These are all good points you bring up. I'm sorry for your friend, not only for the embarrassment of getting arrested, but to have the hopes of making 25k only to have it taken away--that would be rough!

    • JanMaklak profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Robert for the tip. I'll start working on the revisions today. Yeah Bedbugs, I'm getting itchy just thinking of them!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 

      6 years ago from California

      Another article with great tips. I've never thought about bed bugs when purchasing stuff. Definitely something to keep in mind! Your writing is excellent. One suggestion - if you make each new topic a new text box (with the title being the new topic) you will increase your search rankings. Titles seem to show up better than the text within the document. Just a tip. Looking forward to more great reads!


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