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Transaction Suggestions
For Potential Buyers
Greetings Potential Buyer ....

SIA is well aware of your concerns, and frankly, share them whenever we purchase something across the internet. However, SIA has learned a few things that tend to help with regards to the SIA site. Here are things to look for or do when buying ...
  1. Have They Sold On SIA Before?
    See if the poster has sold on the site before. On the top right of the page, there is yellow number indicating the number of sold items. Click on this number and it will provide you a list of all items sold to date. Look for your poster's name in the list. If he/she appears there once or multiple times, it can give you a better feeling about that person. Also, check out the DONATORS page as anyone willing to donate to the site is likely worthy of your business.

  2. Call Them!
    Ask for a phone number so you can talk to them about their ski habits and equipment. See if they know the lingo. If the person is fake, you can usually spot it. There has been instances where someone is selling off good stuff they do not know much about but it is not often.

  3. How Do I Pay?
    If you know the SELLER is legit (ski shop or the like) then typically the buyer provides payment first but this is up to you and the SELLER. This can be done many different ways. Paypal is a great online source and offers some BUYER and SELLER protections. This is usually based on if the person is a VERIFIED user. As a Buyer, it is best to request the Seller send you an invoice. This shows the purchase is NOT just two people exchanging money. This helps your case in a dispute. Checkout the protections of the online payment business that is being requested (i.e. some services are meant to be between friends, not business transcations).

    If using a money order then a US Post Office money order (cheaper than a bank or certified check) is a good choice.

    As for the case where they are not clearly legit, the easiest protection would be to request COLLECT ON DELIVERY (COD). Most shippers offer this service, though it is a little more effort for both parties, but involves a third entity to orchestrate the transaction and for the BUYER, you are assured a delivery. However, the shipper's responsibility is to only collect a payment. They are not responsible for insufficient funds and the like. SELLERS check with your shipper for their rules.

    There are also services such as ESCROW.COM that offer a "third party" who will hold the money. The seller can see the money is there but it is not released until you say so. Such a transaction must be agreed to by both parties before entering. ESCROW.COM is EBay's choice!

  4. Check Out Their Mailing Address!
    Obviously if they want to get paid, you will get their address. Google their address to see where its located. Also punch up the address on an internet phonebook ... see if that person actually lives at the address. If not, you can question them about it. If they provide a hotel room address ... run away fast (and let SIA know)! A PO Box is also a little IFFY but if you have it, and they commit fraud, it is on federal property so they can get nabbed easier and it is a harsher penalty!

  5. Does The Posting Have Pictures?
    Request pictures if none have been provided. Pictures sell stuff ... no doubt about it. And look at the picture ... if it is taken in a dealers shop, then all the better. There are several dealers that use the site to offload old merchandise they have laying around. In the guidelines, SIA recommends sellers not use magazine pics as that turns off buyers cause it is usually not a real representation of the product.

  6. The BUYER is from another country!
    As SIA gets more and more popular, INTERNATIONAL SKIERS are using the site more and more. Part of the reason is waterski equipment in these countries is not only hard to find but can be very expensive, compared to buying in the USA and having it shipped. Skiers from the UK, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, etc... are becoming more common on the webiste.

It is one thing to send $50 but totally different when you get into the $100s. Obviously, if you are talking lots of money, then you will likely only deal locally or within a reasonable driving distance so you can inspect the merchandise in person.
There have been about half dozen reported incidents of fraud since the website started (Feb 2001) but hopefully, that will not turn you off to trying the site but definitely do whatever is required to satisfy yourself things are on the level.

Many of the seller's names SIA can recognize from other ski chat boards and such. Every message created on the SIA site is logged so SIA can retrieve any messages to check up on situations.

As mentioned in the GUIDELINES, SIA is not liable for any transactions ... after all, this is a FREE site ... so it is BUYER and SELLER BEWARE.
Let us know if SIA can be of any further help.

Happy Skiing,