Am I just a suspicious person?
July 13, 2009 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Sold an old textbook on Amazon. Buyer asks for expedited shipping, willing to pay extra. Turns out shipping address is in my town. I offer to meet, or ship. No responses. Suddenly my trick knee is twitching.

I’m not a high power seller, sold maybe 6-12 items online total, never an issue. Here is the message I was sent from the buyer…

I have just ordered this item from you. Can you send it expedited (2-6 business days) and I will pay the extracosts involved?
Thank you for a quick answer!
[Buyer’s name]

That was Saturday AM.

I replied that yes I would be glad to do as requested, but since the shipping address is about 5 miles from me, I thought we could meet, which I politely offered. Or I would ship. I have messaged 3 times, 2 direct to gmail addy, and once through Amazon. I’m just going to ship “book rate” or whatever (Media?) since I’ve heard nothing. But do you folks see an angle here where this could be a scam? It is an old obscure textbook, and kinda odd that it sold.

Also, I don’t want to seem all stalky and stuff, but the shipping address is the same as this place.

So what do you think?

posted by Fortnight Bender to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
Mail it book rate, with no return address?
posted by mdonley at 12:26 PM on July 13, 2009

Have you gotten paid for the book? I'm not sure how Amazon handles things like that.

I mean, it's entirely possible that they work there or have some other legit reason to have it delivered there.
posted by theichibun at 12:29 PM on July 13, 2009

I'm pretty sure the only possible scam here is that they'll get the book and then say that they didn't so Amazon pulls the money back out of your account. Just send it media mail and make sure to get Delivery Confirmation with the regular shipping cost, just in case. If they are going to try to say that they didn't get the book, you'll have the proof that they actually did. (I personally ALWAYS get Delivery Confirmation when shipping an item sold through Amazon, no matter what.)
posted by so_gracefully at 12:30 PM on July 13, 2009

They haven't paid for expedited shipping? Then don't ship it expedited.

I'd be inclined to ship it by some method that means you get a signature upon receipt.
posted by Solomon at 12:30 PM on July 13, 2009

If it's just a regular person, Saturday-to-Monday-morning isn't very long to wait before giving up on e-mail. I'd sit on it for a couple more days to see if they respond.

Otherwise, send it by whatever method they've paid for and send an e-mail saying "I didn't hear back from you, so I have sent this... etc."
posted by rokusan at 12:37 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I second so_gracefully and Solomon, ship it with media mail + delivery confirmation, it shouldn't be more than $4 in total. Also if the payment went through with regular shipping, I don't think they can pay for the expedited shipping after that through
posted by caelumluna at 12:40 PM on July 13, 2009

Given I just came back from being offline for a few days myself, I can agree that things like this sometimes happen (Vacation, long travel plans, bad day / week in the office, family emergency, etc.).

If you have the money, all the better. If you mail it from your local post office, it'll be "expedited" in that it'll only have to go 5 miles, not out-of-state.

But what the others said - get proof of your delivery, and make sure you have a trail for everything. At the worst, if they claim you never sent it, you have proof. If they are trying to resell it or such, as long as they paid you the asking price, you made a profit and sold what you wanted.
posted by GJSchaller at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2009

I don't think it's suspicious that they've not responded. But I also wouldn't pay for expedited shipping if they haven't paid you for it yet.

I'd give it one more day, then send them an email saying "Hey, I'd like to take care of this for you, but I need to know whether you want to meet or whether you'll pay me more for expedited shipping. If I don't hear back from you by [this time] tomorrow, I will do [this]."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2009

For what it's worth, my first thought is that it might have freaked them out a bit to know that you live nearby or something.
posted by Nattie at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Amazon has just changed its shipping policy to "Charge When Ship"; basically, you have to click through and show when you sent the book before you get paid.

The buyer needs to redo his or her order to get the expedited shipping, though. They can't just say "Hey, I need it faster."
posted by vickyverky at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2009

If you send it Media Mail within your own town, chances are it will get there within the 2-6 day "Expedited" window anyway.

I've received such requests before. Rather than try to figure out who's scamming who, I ship it according to what they paid for and tell them "Sorry, I send out all orders within x hours of your placing it. It's already on its way."
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 1:41 PM on July 13, 2009

Looks like a scam.

The software package being sold out of the address you're supposed to ship to is designed to be appealing to Amazon sellers just like you.

The expedited shipping request could be designed to get an e-mail address from you when you reply. If they never reply at all to your response, they may be thinking the transaction will not be completed and that you will simply shrug your shoulders and eventually relist the item.

Then, somewhat later, they send you spam to buy that piece of software and subscribe to their service, etc. The fact that you've had an email exchange may help them get through your filters.

In order for a scheme such as I outline to be successful in terms of generating revenue, it would have to be pulled on hundreds, if not thousands of Amazon sellers.

Amazon might be highly interested in hearing about any such scheme.
posted by jamjam at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2009

Ship it with delivery confirmation. Amazon will eat the cost if it's a scam and you can prove that you sent it (review the guarantee docs for details). It will get there in 2-6 days with whatever shipping method you use, unless you opt for the "via the slow boat to/from China" method.

I once hand delivered a textbook I sold on Amazon to someone who lived a few blocks away (though I really wanted to walk into their class and call out their name), but the risk here is that they can always claim they never got it. In all likelihood, Amazon will believe them over you and you won't get paid.
posted by zachlipton at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2009

Wouldn't it just get there the next day anyway? Local delivery is pretty much overnight, isn't it? If paid for, just send it how you originally were going to send it, the time waiting for a response is better used by moving the package along.
posted by Vaike at 2:40 PM on July 13, 2009

Charge When Ship is still voluntary, so Fortnight may not be signed up for that. Amazon may not support you with just the Delivery Confirmation level of shipping. If you are worried that the buyer may try an A-Z refund, I would ship it Signature Confirmation.

Go ahead and get it on out quickly, as though, your delay in mailing it may cause you some issues. The buyer chose to buy from a seller who did not have expedited mail as an option, or he didn't chose it as an option, so you are under no obligation to ship it expedited.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:44 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I also want to mention that Amazon has a sellers forum, which is a good source of information at times. It is often full of trolls, however, and many way-off-topic posts. The Amazon forum, while helping me out quite a bit, has also made me ever so grateful of places like Metafilter, which does such an outstanding job of keeping the hateful and insane off the site.
posted by thebrokedown at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2009

Maybe the buyer is suspicious, and just doesn't want to meet some random person he bought a book from on Amazon.
posted by twblalock at 2:59 AM on July 14, 2009

Cancel the order. Ask buyer to place an order again with expedited shipping. And Never ever ship anything without delivery confirmation.
posted by bbyboi at 12:15 AM on July 18, 2009

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