Online sellers of high-value coins, what precautions do you take?

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Volante, Oct 28, 2021.

  1. Volante

    Volante Well-Known Member

    I've been selling coins online for a while now on eBay, my own website, and other platforms, but typically stay below the $1-2k range for individual coins. Recently I sold a $6k coin on eBay to a buyer with low feedback, and before shipping the order asked the eBay seller community for advice on how best to protect myself from getting scammed - they were horrified that I was even selling something that high value, and assured me I was going to lose both the coin and my money.

    The sale went through without any hitches, and I had another happy buyer. But it did get me thinking that I should perhaps take more precautions.

    Online coin dealers/sellers, how do you protect yourself from scammers on 3rd party platforms like eBay or your own websites? And have you been scammed before, whether via a chargeback, 'item not as described' case or something else?

    Ship everything via Registered Mail, buy private insurance, sign up for a business insurance plan, vet buyers? Curious what best practices are here.
    MaryK and Sunflower_Coins like this.
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  3. Vertigo

    Vertigo Did someone say bust?

    If it was me and I was sending a 6k coin out I would definitely send it registered. I'm not trying to hear the package was ripped open when it got here. Lately there have been some other shenanigans being played by buyers on eBay. And I wouldn't take a chance on that. I also take whatever I've sold and lay it right on the package with the address written on it. That way I can show i had that coin with that package. There's no way the wrong coin got put in and shipped. Saw another seller say they open returns in front of the postmaster. Which i guess you could do if you had a po box.
    TypeCoin971793 and spirityoda like this.
  4. Casman

    Casman Well-Known Member

    I used to just mail it off. No insurance. No issues with a few thousand transactions.

    Only had 1 attempted scam in 2011. Buyer obtained several packages from multiple sellers at $5K each. He got them without signing. His seller page was full of scripture, claimed he was friend of Jesus. I had a phone call with him wherein he explained how he was going to claim not received and how it’s a shame when you pay for a service (signature reqd) and they don’t get it. He went on to say PayPal would refund and he’d keep the coins. I told him that would be a very unhealthy decision, and he never made the claim. Guy was outta NJ, Steve IIRC.
    I don’t sell anymore for no particular reason. But during Covid with no signatures being obtained I always thought this would be a problem.
    When I sold art, I did insure as it was 5 figure stuff.
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  5. Treashunt

    Treashunt The Other Frank

    Registered mail, insured.

    But the USPS sucks, until they get another Postmaster General, and demote him to PFC
    Jeffjay and MaryK like this.
  6. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random guy on the internet

    Make sure the payment was not made with a credit card. Videotape the packing process. Then ship registered. Take a picture of the package after the tape has been stamped. This is what the big dealers and TPGs do to shift the culpability to the USPS or recipient.

    As @Vertigo said, open returns in front of the postmaster to ensure proof that a returned coin is the same or different from the one sent. This will require getting a PO Box.

    If there are instructions to rush shipment, don’t even bother. It’s a scam. Many dealers have been targeted by California individuals because theft is a misdemeanor for amounts less than $950.
  7. Casman

    Casman Well-Known Member

    Seems a bit excessive. No credit card payments? Videotape the packaging,?? What, all the way through to the post office including after the stamp? So you’d need 2 people then as you can’t drive while keeping continual view of the package.
  8. I have been a seller on that platform since 1996 (not coins), and I am here to tell you that all of this above is useless. eBay will consider NONE of this. They do not accept video/photo proof of anything because this footage is easily faked/altered.

    You also cannot bypass credit card payments on eBay. Their Managed Payments system (run by Adyen) requires a credit card on file to sell. Money orders and checks are no longer allowed (except in certain categories, but coins/currency is not one of them).

    Some of the above recommendations may help in a small claims/civil action, however.

    To answer the OP’s question: There is no 100% way to be safe as a seller on eBay. If a buyer is out to get you and knows how to game the system, they can… and with a 100% success rate.
    MaryK, baseball21 and cplradar like this.
  9. Volante

    Volante Well-Known Member

    Any private insurers that people recommend? I occasionally buy insurance via USPS for higher-value coins, but I've heard the claims process can be a pain.
  10. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    The claim process is a pain, but it is what it is if you want to make a claim and get reimbursed, then you got to jump through the hoops necessary to make that happen.
    all of the claim processes are a pain, insurance wants to sell you something you aren't going to need, and when you do need it, they will make it a hassle.
    Volante likes this.
  11. Casman

    Casman Well-Known Member

    I’d say 99 percent, it’s the 1 percent that’d show up outta nowhere, puttem in the trunk and head off to the pig farm. US sales only.
  12. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately this is true.

    For high value items the way I would protect myself selling them on eBay is by simply not doing it. Unless you're a big time professional dealer it just isnt worth the risk. I would send them to GC or another auction house and let them deal with the potential hassles. One charge back on a mid four or 5 figure item would be significantly more than any fees paid, the fees aren't that much higher at an auction house for items like that anyways. It's the cheap items where eBay has the big fee advantage
    MaryK likes this.
  13. MaryK

    MaryK Member

    Ebay got too scary as a seller for me. And after they split with PAYPAL and changed their fees and started collecting taxes, I decided it was time to quit. Made a lot of money which I used to buy coins, almost exclusively. Then the mint stopped taking PAYPAL for enrollment purchases. I looked at it as a sign! Good luck to you who still sell there...
  14. Casman

    Casman Well-Known Member

    I haven’t sold anything since they forced the change. I delayed it for several months but a few months back they set my deadline. With that said, in a few thousand transactions, overall sales near $350K with an average price per @$400 I never had any issues and it certainly wasn’t scary. Maybe I was just lucky. Only had 1 package get lost for a $50 coin.
    MaryK likes this.
  15. MaryK

    MaryK Member

    I should have clarified, I never had any issues selling and had 100% positive feedback and a few thousand transactions as a seller, I had a good run. All the changes is what spooked me. The idea of EBAY having access to my checking account at all times and their new TOS was a bridge too far.
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