There is some general courtesy traders should follow. These usually stem from common ways to be cheated, so they should be followed. If the other party insists on "break them or there is no trade", then don't trade. (or do 3rd party)
- Never EVER mail cash.
- Only use a Personal check if all other options are unavailable. They take too long to cash. Seller gets money late, buyer gets product late.
- If you receive a check, wait for it to clear before shipping. If you ship too soon, you may get nothing.
- DO use a MONEY ORDER, CASHIER'S CHECK or CREDIT CARD. A MO and CC are as good as cash. When the seller gets it, he KNOWS he has the money right now. However, there are no risks like cash. Mail can get lost, it happens. Cash evaporates when lost. It's gone. Forever. (to you at least) A MO or CC leaves a paper trail. If absolutely necessary, the money is retrievable. All major credit cards also offer a guarantee with them. I bought something right before the Internet bubble burst and the company went bankrupt. It took 30 minutes to get my money back. They credited it right away, stopped payment to the company, and investigated it later. I got the benefit of the doubt though and received the full amount immediately. (I usually use a Post Office MO. It's cheap, you're there anyway, it's backed by a government agency, and if you get reamed they are more able to investigate mail fraud than anyone else)
- When buying, ship money first. If you feel uncomfortable, use 3rd party.
- Always ship insured. I usually ship 2 day post with insurance. Overnight is just too much, and 2-day is only like $1-2 more than standard parcel post, but gets there ~2 days faster.
- Always empty tanks fully before shipping. Never ship a full tank or CO2 cartridges. This is not only stupid, it's a felony.
- Always keep your MO or CC receipt and stub. You will need these for tracking. If the other party claims they never got the MO, you can either prove or disprove them with the stub. Either way, you can only stop payment on it if you have the original stub.
These are things I do for personal preference. It's a good list to follow as it makes both parties happier.
- Keep in contact with each other. It makes the process smoother.
- Keep in contact afterward. Make sure the other side is happy with the transaction.
- When mailing payment, include an index card with your address clearly written in permanent black ink. (Sharpie works best) When the person receives it, the can just use some clear packing tape to put it on. Ta-da, no lost mail. Also, be sure to attach it firmly, and have every inch covered with tape. Water makes Sharpie run, keeping the package from being delivered.
- Thank the other person, and ask if they want you to leave feedback.
I'll probably come back and edit some of these later, so check back. Also, if you do happen to get reamed, check for a later post of mine. It will describe the process. Good luck, and watch your back!