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If you are selling products or used items online, you may have encountered and possibly will encounter a lot of bogus buyers, joy inquirers, fake bidders and joy reserves’ in your online selling business. This can be irritating and frustrating because it is just a waste of your time, effort and phone cost. I am an online seller myself and have actually experienced the same so I thought of writing this blog for our guidance especially the newbie’s in this online business.
So how can we avoid bogus buyers online? Here’s what I’ve come up with based on my own and other online seller’s experience;
1) Post a complete advertisement.
State in your ad the specifications and necessary details of your products/items as well as your terms and conditions as a seller. Include information like if you provide free shipping, if your price is fixed or open for negotiation, if you’re open to item swapping and other information that a buyer might ask. Put yourself in buyer’s shoes, what do you need to know?
This way you will avoid wasting time replying to inquiries for information which should have been stated in your advertisement in the first place. This is also that bogus buyers will have no chance to ask about information you have already mentioned in your advertisement. You will then have a valid reason not to reply to their text messages.
2) Limit your replies to 3 text messages or 3-minute phone call only.
Consider your business time precious. Be straightforward and only talk business. Bogus buyers will make ways to turn things around so as to make your conversation far from closing your sale transaction. Remember that their goal is just to irritate and annoy you.
In your first message, ask them if they will already buy the item, as well as their real complete name, address and mode of payment. Better if you can also ask where he/she is working. Since you have already provided all the necessary information in your advertisement, the ball is already in the hands of the buyer to establish his/her willingness to buy your product/item. If he/she is a genuine buyer, he or she will not hesitate providing you his/her personal info if he/she has a sincere intention.
I did this and I consistently observed that if you asked their name, profile and location on your first reply, then the bogus buyer will stop texting you.
In case you were given a fictitious identity, if you have answered back 3 times and your conversation is not going anywhere, then stop replying.
3) Observe how the buyer communicates.
Does the buyer take very long to respond? Are you been given alibis or excuses? Bogus buyers just really want to stir your patience and be a bother.
4) Do conduct a research on the persona of the buyer.
Okay, the bogus buyer gave you a name and address. You must check first if you have not been given a fictitious identity. Go and Google check, type in her name and city location. He/she might have a social network account; check if his/her personal info is consistent with the data you have researched. There shouldn’t be another Juan dela Cruz in one specific address.
5) Ask the buyer to pay first.
You have checked that the person is really living and genuinely human but he/she has no established good online reputation. If you have agreed to meet up, ask him/her 20% of your product’s price. If he/she is willing to shed a small portion of the cost of your item, then this buyer could be genuine.
If you both agreed that the item be delivered via courier/freight company, you can demand full payment first prior delivery especially if you, the seller, has established good online reputation through the posted feedbacks from your previous buyers.
If the buyer does not want to make any payment saying he/she does not trust you enough to pay first, then be firm with your terms. Business always involves risk, yes but you shouldn’t be exposing yourself to it when you can always play safe. The buyer has the responsibility to scan sellers he/she can trust, you the seller on the other hand, should always prioritize protecting your business by limiting the risks involved with your business.
6) Don’t persist on the buyer who ceased to communicate before the agreed date of payment or meet-up.
Not answering your phone call or text message before the agreed date is a hint that he/she is a bogus buyer. Don’t waste your time and energy anymore. If he/she is a serious buyer, he/she will be the one to persist and insist on buying your item.
7) Don’t easily trust based on one good transaction.
Not that I’m encouraging you to be paranoid but we are living in a dangerous world. Even if the buyer has one good transaction with you, it doesn’t mean that he/she can now be easily trusted. Thefts can mislead you with bait. Do stick to your terms.
8) Post the bogus buyer’s given name (real or fictitious), contact details and other info on forums, blogs and in website where you conduct online selling.
Bogus buyers usually uses a prepaid sim and he/she wouldn’t not throw it away in just one or few use, it cost him to buy one too. Since he/she is a pest in the business, warn your fellow online sellers to not transact with this bogus buyer.
9) Keep a record of these bogus buyers’ contact numbers so you cannot be annoyed by them again and again.
I have experienced a bogus buyer who has been texting me for three times using the same number on different days. I replied once and told him/her to follow the procedure in my ad. He/she ignored my reply and sent me the same inquiry message after 5 days. I didn’t reply, he/she text again the same message two days after. Since I already recorded his/her number, I no longer waste my time and energy on that bogus buyer.
Bogus buyers are psychologically ill because they get joy and pride fooling and annoying people. We shouldn’t be just tolerating them. I hope this writing would help online sellers to minimize encounter if not totally avoid bogus buyers online.