I won't claim to be a veteran of trading on Lowyat.Net. In fact, I'm a horrible trader. I'm mostly a buyer type of person, and I certainly don't sell anything off Lowyat.net very often. I think I've made this post before on my old blog, but I can't seem to find it. This post will focus mostly on the Garage Sales section of LYN and a little bit of the Bulk Orders section. I am in no way associated to any of the staff of LYN and not all information in this post maybe true. (And yes, this is a really random idea. Nobody is going to read this.) The following is for buying stuff:
For one, I'll say that buying stuff from the operators of those specialised forums in the Member Stores is pretty safe. Note that I meant operators/moderators of those forums - not people posting in those forums. These people who have their own forums are really long time traders at LYN and must have completed at least hundreds to thousands of transactions by now. They are the most trusted sellers in the entire forum.
However, when dealing with individuals from Garage Sales and Bulk Orders, extra care must be taken. First, you should check the seller's background. Look through the black list thread in Garage Sales. Is the person blacklisted on it or currently involved in an issue at the end of the thread. Click on the person's name in the post to view the profile. When did the person join LYN? How many posts has he or she made since then? Obviously, the longer the person has been around and the higher the post count, the more likely that the person is a person is safe to trade with. Be careful of people who only want to deal by phone, while they are no means less trusted, but a person insisting on phone to negotiate and so on probably isn't a loyal member of LYN and thus be less safe to trade with. Is the person a Safe Trader? You can see the tag below the avatar of the respective person to see if that person is a Safe Trader or not. Be forewarned that if the person is a Safe Trader, you must still take precautions. Some people may be Safe Traders, but they may not practise the most ideal of trade practices. (I won't lie: I'm probably one of them. I'm a really lousy trader, but maybe not a bad as some you'll find on LYN.) Be sure you can trust this person. If you can't, don't deal with them. It's really very simple.
Sometimes, you deal with new goods. New graphics cards, new MP3 players and the lot. The people running these threads usually have sources and suppliers either local or overseas to get you much cheaper prices than you would normally pay if you were to go to a shop. Usually these items are bulk orders - meaning they collect orders to gauge the amount needed, and then purchase in bulk to save on shipping, get bulk discounts and so on. These are not as commonplace in LYN as they were a few years ago, but they are still around. Usually, the buyer places an order, and depending on the value of the item, the seller and bulk organiser may ask for a deposit or full payment.
Quite often, you will be paying a deposit and the remainder when you collect the item or when it arrives with the seller. Most of these sellers will usually make available the option to have it delivered to your house (the leading choice is PosLaju). Some sellers insist on delivering it to you themselves in person to make sure everything is fine and it doesn't get lost (either the seller is a little obsessive or the item is too valuable to have missing). You should insist on having it couriered if possible (don't be stingy). Items through normal mail are at least 100 times more likely to get lost in transit.
The precautions come in being careful. Some things are too good to be true, yet you may still find some legitimate but good deals on LYN. Investigate thoroughly and if you happen to know what the wholesale prices of the actual items are, it will help you distinguish the authentic good deals from false sales. Be wary of long delays during a bulk - especially ones where you were made to pay a pretty large sum of money at once. Remember that this may apply to even Safe Traders.
Other than bulk orders, you may find new items from wholesalers being sold on LYN too. These goods are being sold like as if in an online store, but your order comes a lot quicker and cheaper. You pay for the item (which still comes with the full warranty), and the seller couriers it or meets you to give you the item. Most of those in the Members' Store area operate in this manner and this method is becoming more popular than bulk orders. The buyer places an order. The seller prepare the goods and wait for payment. When the buyer pays, the goods are sent on their way. Of course, Cash on Delivery(COD) is accepted by those who have more time to meet their buyers. You have to be careful, since you often have to send the money first, be sure you can trust the seller. If you can't negotiate so that you can meet to COD for the item. This also applies to any individual transaction on Garage Sales.
Then, we have the issue of second hand goods. I think these are the ones that take up a lot of the traffic in Garage Sales, being the very items in Garage Sales themselves. These items are usually old, and for the most part are either no longer warranted by the manufacturers or only have a few months to go before the warranty does expire. I would adivse buying these only if you can inspect the item, or if the seller provides personal photos of the item. Do not ever take the seller's word for the condition of the item. Some are more forthcoming and describe the item down to where the scratches and the severity of them in gory detail. Some merely mention a percentage of good or bad determined on a subjective scale. Negotiate for the seller's personal warranty for at least 1-2 weeks so you can test the item out thoroughly. Sometimes, the item may be impossible to inspect until later like a graphics card, monitor or processor - in this or any other case, make sure you can trust the seller.
The next item of contention is usually price. Sometimes, you may see an item you like but you find the price a little too high for your comfort. First, find out if the price of the item is negotiable. If the seller states it is firm, do not bother bargaining for it - PM the person with your offer and check the thread often to see if he might have lowered his or her 'firm' price. It might have fallen to a price you might be willing to pay. If the seller states it's negotiable, post or PM your offer to the seller to begin negotiations. Do read the thread - I have seen many threads in which different buyers keep offering the same or lower offers to the seller. This is utterly pointless - if the person didn't accept it then (assuming it was pretty recent), the person probably won't accept it now. Offer something better than what was in the thread. If you think that you wouldn't offer any higher than the others in the thread who got rejected, just don't bother spamming the thread. Sometimes, you might have to bid for an item. This usually happens if the asking price was too low, or the demand for the item is high. In this case, just bid away and hope you win. :D
I originally intended to write all about trading in one post - but I think it's time to stop here. I'll probably write up about selling and dispute resolution later. ;)