Selling Stuff to Strangers Long Distance
June 9, 2016 7:56 PM   Subscribe

What is the safest (yet reasonably priced) way to finish a sale long distance. I have a couple of bottles of old liqueur and found someone via a web site that would like to buy them for around $5,000. He is a thousand miles away so hand delivery is not practical, so I want to make sure both of us are comfortable. Does something like make sense? I think that protects the buyer but what if he just says he didn't get the delivery or that they were broken? How am I protected?
posted by rtimmel to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check liquor laws because I thought that selling alcohol across state lines is a huge no no without proper licensing.
posted by bsdfish at 1:01 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

At that price point, there's room in the budget and it might be worth the time for one of you to fly to meet the other.
posted by jon1270 at 3:49 AM on June 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

Get $5,000 insurance with the shipping company.
posted by snofoam at 6:17 AM on June 10, 2016

Regarding the liquor law issue, I have seen listings like this written in such a way to indicate that what you are actually offering for sale is the rare and historically significant bottle--the contents of which are to be included for free, as a courtesy.

I have experience doing this type of thing not for rare spirits but items of similar value, and generally people work on a reputation based system on both ends of the transaction. Sellers of high reputation will often request a wire transfer before shipping, because they can. Other sellers will offer paypal, which protects the buyer far more than the seller, but also raise their selling price to cover the additional fee. Escrow services are not often used.

Honestly without any kind of reputation system in place, I would personally only go for in-person transactions as a buyer*. As a seller I would only take wire transfers before shipping. The desirability of your items will decide what happens, I think.

*BTW I also wouldn't get on a plane as it would require me to put $5000 worth of liquids into checked luggage that I may never see again.
posted by danny the boy at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2016

Sellers of high reputation will often request a wire transfer

That is the problem. I, the seller, am not of high reputation on the rare spirits sites. i am just a guy who has inherited the bottles (in fact, my original inquires were about whether or not bourbon from the 1970's was drinkable). The buyer has excellent status on a site - but what do I know. I just want to make sure I am protected without scaring the buyer off.
posted by rtimmel at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2016

Oh in that case, if you're well satisfied with his references, I would just send it, insured appropriately. Or just ask him how he'd like to handle it. I would consider your risk covered by all the people who he's transacted with in the past.

Otherwise, there are commercial dealers who will pay (significantly less) for your bottles, as I'm sure you're aware.
posted by danny the boy at 2:29 PM on June 10, 2016

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