FAQ: Classified Ad Policies and Recommended Practices


Q: Why have thread replies been eliminated in Classifieds?

A: In order to keep our Classifieds listing clearer, and reduce the burden of continually moderating the replies, we enabled replies only for the seller. The seller may bump their listing per our forum limits. Since the popular listing sites like US Audio Mart, Audiogon, Discogs, etc. ask buyers to contact the sellers directly, we are essentially doing the same here.

Q: The seller has little information in their listing, or I found an error. Why can't I reply to point this out?

A: We ask that any potential buyers contact the seller directly. They can then update their listing for any information they might have left out.

Q: How can I hold my place in line if I am interested in an item?

A: Contact your seller directly. It is at the seller's discretion to fill requests as they see fit.

Q: I left incorrect feedback. How can I edit this?

A: Staff can either edit your feedback, or delete it, so you can re-enter it properly. Feedback has a one-hour timeout to where you can still edit your feedback within an hour of originally posting it.

Q: Why can't we post additional information in our replies, or bump our ads by reposting the entire ad?

A: Our policy states that all of your listing's information be contained in the initial post in the thread, and kept current. The idea is to keep all of your information in one place, making it much easier for buyers to understand exactly what you are selling without having to find the latest updates buried among multiple replies. Any updates are made by editing your listing to keep it current. If you have a list of items, our strikethrough feature in the editor will easily let you cross out an item you have sold.

Keep in mind that we retain a full edit history of your post, so if you find that you've made a bit of a mess with your post, contact the staff and we can revert to an earlier version of your post so you can edit that instead.

Q: What should I enter in the ad's information fields?

A: All of the fields we've enabled for new ads are required. This provides an excellent summary for members, in a consistent format that they will count on to provide them with pertinent information in your listing. It also saves our staff a large amount of effort in continually asking sellers to fill in vital information.

Feel free to repeat or clarify any of the information in the body of your ad, however! If you have a listing with multiple items, a couple of the fields will not apply; fill in everything else, and be sure to touch on the price and condition within your listing.

Q: When do ads expire?

A: Sellers are allowed to bump their ads within our forum limits (once per day). 30 days after the ad was originally posted, the ad will expire.

Q: My listing expired! Can you reopen it?

A: Our automated system expires an ad based on the original posting date. If we reopen the expired ad, it would expire again within minutes. You can easily repost your ad by copying and pasting the contents of the original post into the new one, and re-upload your photos.

Q: How should I bump my ad?

A: Bumping your listing pushes it up higher in the forum. Simply saying "bump" or adding a little information like "bump with price drop" or "bump with new items added to list" is acceptable. Do not use a bump to give out new prices or list changes--we require all listings to have their initial post kept current with all available data, so that your buyers do not have to skim through multiple replies to see what is current. Reposting your entire ad as a bump will result in having your listing removed from the forum.

Q: I have too many pictures to put all in one listing. Can I add replies with more photos?

A: Please limit photos to the number allowed. For lists of items, you can forgo the photos since they can be a bit much for buyers to sort through. (Any reply counts as a "bump" and any bumps beyond our limit will prevent you from posting.) Or, you may point to photos hosted elsewhere with no limits, or even link to an album of photos for your items.

Q: I found someone has "flipped" my item at a higher price elsewhere. Can anything be done about this?

A: We are not involved with what happens beyond our forum's Classifieds area. However, this area exists as a "members helping members" service, and we do ask that our forum not be used as a source for flipped items, as it is disrespectful to members who in good faith listed their items for other members to enjoy.

It is entirely possible a member did not like their item and decided to sell it later elsewhere at a higher price (which is common for collectibles), so we really do not consider that "flipping." It's those buyers who instantly turn around multiple items for a profit that we consider flippers, and at our discretion we can terminate access to Classifieds for buyers who habitually flip items elsewhere.


Q: Why do you insist on a PayPal-only policy?

A: We have had instances of non-delivery of items ordered, or items received in a poorer condition than advertised. While we sympathize with the recipients, we will not be involved in buyer/seller disputes. PayPal is one payment service that offers some manner of recourse for both sellers and buyers, and the extra cost is worth the peace of mind for many. For in-person transactions, naturally, cash is king! But for any items being shipped, we do insist our participants stick to PayPal "goods and services" for processing payments. If an additional payment method comes along which offers the same protection, we will gladly allow it!

Q: Why do we need to use PayPal's "goods and services" for payments? Why can't we use "friends and family?"

A: Buyers and sellers have no protection when money is sent via "friends and family" (F&F). For the little extra money it costs, the protection is worth it. While we may or may not disallow anyone from using Classifieds if we find they have used F&F payments, we also can do nothing to help recover any losses. Sellers should allow for the cost of F&F payments when they price their items, rather than ask for the cost as a separate item--removing calculations and guesswork from your "out-the-door" price makes it easier for buyers to negotiate with you.

Q: Why can't I charge 3% for PayPal fees?

A: It is against PayPal's terms and conditions for sellers to apply a surcharge to a purchase to cover their transaction fees; this is the same policy governing credit card merchant accounts. In addition, it is a misleading practice. Price your items accordingly to cover your PayPal fees and other shipping costs (including packaging materials).

Q: What if a seller approaches me privately to pay by an alternate method, or insists on using PayPal friends and family?

A: You have every right to end your transaction if you feel pressured into paying using a method that goes against our policies. At your option, you may also report the seller to us. While we may not take immediate action, we do note these occurrences and can remove a seller's privileges if we find it is an ongoing concern.

Buying/Selling Transaction Issues

Q: I've been burned by a seller! Can you please fix this for me?

A: Neither the forum staff nor forum management/ownership can be involved in buyer/seller transactions under any circumstances. However, if we receive reports of egregious or persistent violations of our Classifieds policies, we reserve the right to remove that member's access to Classifieds, and provide all available contact data in our possession to the injured parties.

Q: I cannot contact the seller (or buyer). Can you help?

A: The staff can assist by giving you the other party's email address. Beyond that, we do not have access to other information including the person's real name, street address or phone number, simply because they are not provided to us. We can contact the other party for you once or twice as a courtesy, but we are unable to step in other than to facilitate contact.

Best Practices

Q: Why would you not recommend we ask for an extra amount for PayPal costs?

A: We recommend members roll this cost either into their selling price, or into a blanket shipping/handling cost. Too many costs make it more difficult for buyers to determine the true cost of what they are purchasing. Not only that, asking for a "surcharge" for PayPal fees is against their terms and conditions, just like a credit card merchant agreement. Make it easy for your buyers to do business with you!

Q: What is a fair shipping cost?

A: As a rule, it's best for sellers to charge for the actual amount shipped, plus any other incidental expenses they incur. For example, shipping envelopes, boxes and packing tape cost money. In addition, some sellers may have a third party pack an item properly for shipping. If a seller wants to add a modest handling fee, that is acceptable. The only thing we do not recommend is listing an item for a really inexpensive price, then making up lost profits by a highly inflated shipping fee; we have no rule against this, but buyers will find it misleading and avoid your current and future item(s).

Q: Why are my items not selling?

A: This could be any number of reasons--condition of the item, shipping costs, poorly written ad or unclear photos posted in the ad. It could be the price as well.

Q: What is a fair price for an item?

A: There are a few sources around to help you as a buyer or seller determine what your item(s) might be worth. For audio components, try the "Sold/Expired" tab at HiFi Shark to get a feel for what items have sold for in the past. Or, check eBay's similar feature. For recordings, Discogs shows highest, lowest and median prices for items sold through their system. If your item is a rare version or edition, be sure to note this accordingly in your ad so you can justify the higher pricing to your buyers.

Q: Someone is selling an item at an inflated price! Should I report this?

A: Sellers are free to list items for whatever they deem appropriate. But we also ask that buyers practice due diligence and use available resources to determine a fair price. Sellers would do well to utilize the same resources in pricing. Buyers will vote with their wallets if they feel the price is unfair.

Q: Do you have any tips for a WTB (Wanting To Buy) listing?

A: We do ask that you give a range of prices you are willing to buy your item at. This will reduce the number of messages you will have to reply to in order to clarify what you are looking for. If you need to post a photo of an item for reference, feel free! (In this case, a stock manufacturer's photo is perfectly acceptable.) Also note what conditions you will accept, and what areas you will accept offers from. (For shipping reasons, you may want to limit your request to only fellow members in your country.) Give as much information as you can, and hopefully someone will be able to fulfill your want list item!

Q: Any photography tips for listings?

A: A few good high-quality photos are all that is needed. A photo or two of the overall item is helpful, and a few in-depth photos to show the condition of your item are very helpful. Unless it's a rare edition (where an album jacket, label or run-out inscription might be helpful) or has damage you want to show to your prospective buyers, photos for recordings really are not all that necessary. Please do not use stock photos, or photos not related to your item. Photos should be those you've taken yourself, so buyers are clear that this is the exact item they would receive if they purchased your listing.

Q: Do we have to list all items separately, or can we combine them in a list?

A: By all means, if you have multiple items, consolidate them into a list. For lists of items, you need not indicate your price or condition in the listing's fields, but you should offer both on each item in your list. Our editor has a "table" function which will let you more clearly list your items. Our editor also lets you embed a Google Spreadsheet--simply use the "share" link they give you, and your spreadsheet will appear right in your post--you would still edit your Google Spreadsheet separately. This is a great way to maintain your listing without having to log in and edit your post, and also to share this same list elsewhere on the Internet to generate sales. The only thing we require is that your list be kept current--please remove items when they sell.

Q: I have had a bad buying or selling experience. Should I leave neutral or negative feedback?

A: By all means, please do. We are proud to say that just about all transactions in our Classifieds area have gone flawlessly, with many happy buyers and sellers. But if you have tried every way possible to resolve your issues with your transaction, feel free to leave appropriate feedback. Retaliatory feedback and personal attacks will not be tolerated, however.