Buying & Selling Custom Knives on the Internet
The Internet has long surpassed knife/gun shows as well as print advertisement as the primary market for buying and selling custom knives. There is a great deal of discussion, principally on the various forums devoted to knives, as to what constitutes appropriate business practices offering a fair, safe, satisfactory transaction for both the buyer and the seller. Having been on both sides of such transactions, I would like to share my philosophy.
Responsibilities of the buyer:
Determine the seller’s policies and terms regarding; return of merchandise, shipping options and costs, payment options, fees, insurance, lay-a-way, warranties and any other aspects of the process that are of importance to you. If the information is not posted on the website ask for it in writing.
If there is a question about the knife ask before you make the purchase. Consider those features that are important to you: dimensions, materials, history, etc.
Know what you are buying by doing appropriate research to be sure the knife meets your requirements. If you have a question about the knife it is your responsibility to ask the question. Do this before the transaction takes place, not after the fact.
Determine if the seller is reputable. Deal with an established on-line entity or, if buying from an individual on a forum or auction type website, check out the seller’s history and reputation by searching for buyer feedback.
If, once received, there is a problem with the knife communicate timely (see seller’s policy regarding returns) with the seller regarding the problem. If returning the knife do, so with the same expediency you expected when you ordered the knife.
If paying by check realize the seller will likely require time for the check to clear before sending you your knife. Paying by Cashiers Check, USPS M.O., bank wire or Pay Pal allows for immediate shipment. Determine the seller’s policies with regard to payment options and shipping.
Your word is your bond. If you commit to a purchase follow through. If you must back out on a deal communicate the fact to the seller promptly.
Responsibilities of the seller:
Represent the knife as fully, fairly and as accurately as possible with pictures and a written description.
Answer all the buyer’s questions to the best of your ability. If you do not know the answer say so.
Communicate timely with buyers answering questions and notifying them of receipt of payment, shipping/delivery status.
Offer the buyers the right to return a knife within a reasonable period of time, at their own expense, outline the policy in writing.
Provide buyers with your policies/terms/condition of sale. Provide information regarding; return of merchandise, shipping options and costs, payment options, fees, insurance, lay-a-way, warranties and include what to do if there is a problem with the knife.
Complete orders timely. Once payment is received knives should be properly packed and shipped the same or next day the exception being if the seller’s stated policy is to provide time for personal checks to clear prior to shipping.
Your word is your bond and your reputation. If you make a commitment to a customer keep it. If there is a problem communicate the issue to the buyer promptly.
If an item is no longer available either temporarily (as the knife is out for inspection) or committed to a buyer, promptly remove the item from a “for sale” status to either “ On Hold”, “Sold Pending Funds” or “Sold” as appropriate as a courtesy to other potential buyers.
As in all transactions remember Caveat Emptor.
Both the Buyer and the Seller should be happy with the transaction. It especially behooves the seller to remember this since a satisfied customer is the best advertising and often becomes a repeat customer.
Once the knife is delivered, three days is a reasonable inspection period.
The buyer should confirm receipt of the knife and state whether or not they are happy with the knife.