Buyer and Seller Safety Guide
The majority of people you’ll deal with through OnlineStorageAuctions.com will be honest buyers and sellers, just like you. However, because we service a broad area, anyone can participate in the virtual auctions we hold. This means that it’s up to you to practice some common sense to keep yourself safe from fraud and physical danger.
Using Our Safety Features
OnlineStorageAuctions exists to facilitate communication between buyers and sellers. Using the safety tools we provide is a key to successful and safe communication.
Aside from this safety guide, we also offer an anonymous internal messaging system and feedback system for buyers and sellers alike.
Use the internal messaging system to discuss the units for sale and ask questions. This system is anonymous and secure, saving you the potential risks of sharing your email or telephone number on first contact.
The feedback system allows you to see how other users have fared with a particular buyer or seller. You can leave feedback as well after your interaction to help other members make informed decisions as well. If you find a user with poor feedback, tread carefully or find someone else to deal with.
Because virtual storage auctions deal with physical items, usually in large quantities, you will most likely need to meet the buyer or seller in person in order to close the sale. This makes OnlineStorageAuctions.com different from a site like eBay, where meeting in person is unnecessary.
There are several ways you can ensure that your in-person interactions go smoothly and safely:
— Meet at the storage facility during operating hours.
— Always tell someone where you’ll be going before you leave.
— Bring someone with you to the sale location.
In most cases, exchanging your goods and money in the presence of a few witnesses is enough to deter any would-be criminals from causing trouble.
Recognizing and Preventing Scams
Most of the time, you won’t have to worry about your physical safety when buying or selling storage units online. Your financial safety is a different matter. We take steps to prevent fraud and scam artists from proliferating on the site, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to protect yourself.
Before a user can buy or sell a unit on OnlineStorageAuctions.com, they must register with an account. This helps to reduce the number of scammers who sign up. Additionally, the secure and anonymous messaging feature prevents your personal email from falling into the hands of spammers and scam artists through the site.
That said, these measures do not wholly prevent scammers, so it’s up to you to spot them.
Because we do not take any credit card information from our members, it’s the responsibility of buyers and sellers to negotiate payment. The safest payment method is to only accept cash at the site of the unit that’s been sold. Any other method opens you up to the risk of scams:
— The buyer might pay with a fake cashier check or money order. The bank will often cash a fake check, then hold you responsible for it when it’s discovered. It’s your job to identify whether or not a check is real.
— Don’t use an online escrow service as these are almost always scams. Insist that the money passes hands directly without any intermediaries.
— Refuse to pay via wire service like Western Union or MoneyGram. A fraudulent seller might request that money be wired prior to handing over the goods, leaving you empty-handed.
— Other online payment options, like PayPal, can be secure, but bear in mind that the buyer can dispute a PayPal payment and withdraw the funds after payment has been made. Use your discretion.
Tips for avoiding scams:
— Deal only in person, and accept cash only as payment whenever possible. Most scams can be avoided simply by dealing with people you can meet.
— If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut.
— Learn to identify a false cashier’s check and money order.
— Remember that you can call the bank to confirm whether funds are available whenever you’re presented with a check.
— Avoid any offers to send or receive a wire transfer.
Also remember to check the other party’s feedback to see whether you can spot any red flags. A buyer or seller with a positive history on the site will likely be safe to deal with in the future.