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    Default Machinery Escrow service?

    I'm in the market for a small turning center, and a PM'er responded with what appears to be a nice machine for me, at a reasonable price. However, he is also unknown to me and I have no contact information beyond a Gmail address at the moment.

    The last time I made an out-of-state purchase like this, from a private, non-dealer seller, I used an Escrow service to hold the funds 'til the machine was delivered safely.

    That's been a few years ago, however, and I just found out that company I'd used was absorbed by some larger company, and no longer offers that service.

    Googling of course comes up with a hundred options, but I figured I'd ask here to see if anyone has a good, reliable, trusted source for such a service.

    Doc.

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    Went through Escrow.com, seller refused transaction. If that wasn't a Big Red Flag I don't know what is.

    Doc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
    Went through Escrow.com, seller refused transaction. If that wasn't a Big Red Flag I don't know what is.

    Doc.
    Not in my opinion. You're asking him to take the risks all the way from his door to yours. I'd not do that unless I was getting paid to do so.

    Free on truck at my premises, photos of the machine being crated to your satisfaction, photos of it being loaded/secured and then my responsibility ends.

    After that, it's yours and you insure it for transit or personally come collect it.

    I understand your reluctance to trust someone at a distance but think you're being unrealistic.

    PDW

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    How long a member, how many posts? That should tell you at least a little. But one of lifes most important lessons. Never gamble more then you are willing to lose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    Not in my opinion. You're asking him to take the risks all the way from his door to yours. I'd not do that unless I was getting paid to do so.

    Free on truck at my premises, photos of the machine being crated to your satisfaction, photos of it being loaded/secured and then my responsibility ends.

    After that, it's yours and you insure it for transit or personally come collect it.

    I understand your reluctance to trust someone at a distance but think you're being unrealistic.

    PDW
    Yep, how much did you pay him to insure the shipment?

    Especially understandable if you chose the freight provider/rigger.

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    Go see it in person. Buy it in person.

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    I kind of understand, but in this case, I got a response from a request posted in the machinery wanted section. Presumably a reader, but no screen name was given.

    The photos looked good, a nice machine, it seems, but the seller declined- twice- to provide any bona-fides. Said he'd supply contact information when I was ready to pay.

    Placed an escrow.com transaction, seller declined it. Said he usually took simple bank transfers. He then counteroffered to accept 40% with the balance due upon arrival.

    That seems like a fair offer, yes. But again, I have zero information on this guy. I have no PM screen name, nor would he provide one, I have no address, no shop name, his email is a free Gmail one.

    If I were to send even 'just' that $4K, he could easily ghost on me, and I'd have absolutely zero recourse.

    On the other hand, he contacted me from a posting I put here- he's got my screen name, I provided my cell number, my email goes through my own domain name which contains more contact information and links to other online sources for me, etc.

    Doesn't, of course, mean I'm 100% trustworthy, but I have a lot more contact information and work history out there. All I have on him is a generic free Gmail address.

    It's entirely possible I missed a good deal, but the fact is, it's equally possible I missed out on getting scammed for several thousand dollars. Any legit seller with any interest in moving an expensive machine would provide at least some additional bona-fides.

    Doc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    How long a member, how many posts? That should tell you at least a little.
    -I asked, he declined to answer. The name I was given was Peter Ruger. Searching on that name here produces no relevant results.

    Yep, how much did you pay him to insure the shipment?
    -He offered to arrange trucking from WV to the consolidator in Washington. No idea what trucking, what conditions, an estimated cost for shipping, any insurance, etc. It was very much "Go ahead and pay, just trust me."

    Go see it in person. Buy it in person.
    -Considered it. But again, I don't even know where in WV he is, and he declined to say when directly asked, twice.

    His last message suggested their WV shop was a branch of a company with headquarters in the UK. My reply to that was okay, what company? If it's some international concern, it's not like just telling the name or the website would be any kind of a security issue.

    I also asked for the mailing address for the shop (again, presumably a company shop, not a home-shop address) and what said company produced. (Surely that, too is not a State Secret.) And asked a third time what his PM screen name is.

    No answer yet, and I strongly suspect none will be forthcoming.

    Doc.

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    When I buy something I expect that I am responsible for getting the payment into the seller's possession. AND I expect the seller is responsible for DELIVERING the item to my possession. If I pay with a bad check then the seller has a legal case against me. If my bank goes out of business and the funds are not transferred to the seller, then that seller has a legal case against me, not my bank. Nor is it the seller's responsibility for collecting those funds: it is my responsibility to pay him.

    Likewise, when an item is purchased and the funds are conveyed to the seller, it is then the seller's responsibility to deliver the item purchased into the possession of the buyer. If it is lost in shipment, then it has not been delivered and the seller is still responsible for that delivery. Who pays for the delivery charges and for any insurance is an item that should be negotiated before the deal is finalized. But, if the seller does not INSIST that insurance be a part of the deal, then that buyer is still responsible for delivery. Even if there is insurance, it will usually be paid to the seller and the responsibility for delivery is his, not the buyer's. Any court in the land will uphold that.

    This is why you can purchase almost anything over the internet or by a phone call and pay for it. Then, if it is lost or damaged in shipment, you can expect the company to either ship another one to you or refund your money. No large company will dispute this because their lawyers have told them that they ARE responsible for delivering that merchandise. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, McMaster, and millions of others, VIRTUALLY WITHOUT A SINGLE EXCEPTION, follow this policy. All you have to do is tell them you did not get the item and a replacement item is on the way. The act of putting the merchandise into the hands of a shipping company does not end the responsibility of the seller unless that is an EXPRESSED and MUTUALLY AGREED UPON provision of the transaction. And yes, fine print does count but it must be there when the contract is made, not inserted later.

    It is only with individuals or companies that that make only a few such sales and are not familiar with this simple principle of commerce where you will have a problem. They are not familiar with the law and will try to wiggle out of it. But the same principle applies. The purchase is a contract. The buyer agrees to pay an agreed upon price and the seller agrees to DELIVER the goods. If either side fails in this then the other side has a legal case against them.

    Large companies engaged in internet and telephone commerce do not insist that insurance be a part of every transaction due to one or more of several reasons. First, if you insist that your buyers pay insurance, they may very well go to another source. In many cases it is simply less expensive to replace a low dollar value item than to insure it. Finally, some of them do have insurance against these losses but they do not mention it in their advertising or when a purchase is being made because there is no reason to do so.

    I worked for a company that frequently shipped high dollar items ($10,000 and more). They had a deal with their insurance company where these items were either automatically insured in shipment or a simple phone call would add them to the existing policy before they were shipped. They were a relatively small company but they knew the law and their responsibilities. They knew the risk while those items were in shippment was THEIRS. I know how this worked because I was often the one who prepared those shipments and I asked about insurance.

    "Free on truck at my premises..." or what is commonly referred to as FOB is a statement about who pays for what part of the shipping cost. It means that the customer must pay any costs involved in unloading the freight from a truck. This often means having something like a forklift or other equipment for handling large and/or heavy items when the freight company's truck arrives at the destination. The supplier is not responsible for any costs involved in unloading the truck. It says NOTHING about the legal responsibility of the seller to actually deliver the goods. Stating that an item is FOB does not relieve that responsibility.

    And none of this even discusses the freight company's responsibility. Read THEIR fine print if you want to see what they can wiggle out of.



    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    Not in my opinion. You're asking him to take the risks all the way from his door to yours. I'd not do that unless I was getting paid to do so.

    Free on truck at my premises, photos of the machine being crated to your satisfaction, photos of it being loaded/secured and then my responsibility ends.

    After that, it's yours and you insure it for transit or personally come collect it.

    I understand your reluctance to trust someone at a distance but think you're being unrealistic.

    PDW

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    Probably easier to tell the name of the city and see if anyone would like to go over and take photos, verify that the machine at least runs. I don't think you could expect a full-on inspection unless you pay for it, but at least you'd get an independent confirmation that the machine exists and seems visibly okay.

    CCIC will do this but they run about three grand per machine.

    EPA, we're talking used machine tools here. That's a different animal. Most places sell stuff as-is where is or "loaded on truck", after that it's not their problem. "Deliver" means "handed over to buyer's agent" aka truck company.

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    When I buy something I expect that I am responsible for getting the payment into the seller's possession. AND I expect the seller is responsible for DELIVERING the item to my possession.
    -100% agree, sir. But there also has to be a measure of trust and security. I buy from a dealer, I have a wealth of contact information, or, if it comes down to it, legal recourse. I bought a Hardinge from HGR a couple of months ago, and had no qualms about giving them my credit card number, etc.

    In this case, I had zero contact information apart from a free Gmail address, and a generic location of "somewhere in West Virginia". I had nothing to trust and zero security.

    Doc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Probably easier to tell the name of the city and see if anyone would like to go over and take photos, verify that the machine at least runs. I don't think you could expect a full-on inspection unless you pay for it, but at least you'd get an independent confirmation that the machine exists and seems visibly okay.
    -I'd have considered doing that, and would have been happy to pay time & gas if there was a PM'er that could do such a thing. But again, the only location information the seller would provide was "West Virginia". No town, no ZIP, no address, not even something generic like "northwest" or "near the border".

    Doc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
    the only location information the seller would provide was "West Virginia". No town, no ZIP, no address, not even something generic like "northwest" or "near the border".
    Was his name Colonel Mfundisi Bwanana in Nigeria, send me $10,000 and I will give you the location where $50 million USD is buried ?

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    How many private transactions have we seen here, where member posts in the thread, "PM sent" or "email sent". In dealing this way I feel a little security, especially a known pm member. Not having that, guy doesn't want me to know ? Don't like it, seems fishy.

    However I can understand with maybe selling a machine, do I really want to own every potential problem that machine might have now that I sold to a member. But in that case, I'm not involving PM. I'll sell on ebay, craigslist etc.

    If the seller is thinking that way, tell him to drop it on ebay and eat the percentage cost. Atleast some protection there for both sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EPAIII View Post
    "Free on truck at my premises..." or what is commonly referred to as FOB is a statement about who pays for what part of the shipping cost. It means that the customer must pay any costs involved in unloading the freight from a truck. This often means having something like a forklift or other equipment for handling large and/or heavy items when the freight company's truck arrives at the destination. The supplier is not responsible for any costs involved in unloading the truck. It says NOTHING about the legal responsibility of the seller to actually deliver the goods. Stating that an item is FOB does not relieve that responsibility.
    Do you have source for the bolded statement?

    Every definition of FOB I have seen defines which party is at risk during the shipping. That is unless the terms are modified or further clarified, which may be done in any contract.

    If I ship a machine FOB my dock, and the shipment falls off the truck, I don't issue a refund to the buyer. The buyer may collect from their insurance if they have any. The only time I would be on the hook for refund is if it was shown that the way I packaged it was unreasonable and contributed to the damage.

    SS 2-319. F.O.B. and F.A.S. Terms. | Uniform Commercial Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
    (1)Unless otherwise agreed the term F.O.B. (which means "free on board") at a named place, even though used only in connection with the stated price, is a delivery term under which

    (a) when the term is F.O.B. the place of shipment, the seller must at that place ship the goods in the manner provided in this Article (Section 2-504) and bear the expense and risk of putting them into the possession of the carrier; or
    (b) when the term is[B] F.O.B. the place of destination, the seller must at his own expense and risk transport the goods to that place and there tender delivery of them in the manner provided in this Article (Section 2-503);
    (c) when under either (a) or (b) the term is also F.O.B. vessel, car or other vehicle, the seller must in addition at his own expense and risk load the goods on board. If the term is F.O.B. vessel the buyer must name the vessel and in an appropriate case the seller must comply with the provisions of this Article on the form of bill of lading (Section 2-323).

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
    -I'd have considered doing that, and would have been happy to pay time & gas if there was a PM'er that could do such a thing. But again, the only location information the seller would provide was "West Virginia". No town, no ZIP, no address, not even something generic like "northwest" or "near the border".

    Doc.
    When buying from small entities I generally ship anything of significant value on my own shipping account or make my own arrangements as it gives me a lot more control. If you arrange your own shipping, they are certainly going to need to give you an address. Tell them to skid or crate it and send dimensions, weight, and photos. This information can also be required for insurance purposes.

    One of the few times when some used equipment shipped freight and I didn't arrange shipping, the items turned out to essentially stolen. Guy was selling stuff out of the surplus storage area of his company, pocketing the money, and even using the company shipping account to offer free shipping. A manager at the company tracked me down from the shipping info a few months later. I was fortunate that he wasn't really interested in getting the equipment I had received back as I no longer owned it. He was interested in tracking down the never used Haas 4th/5th trunnion the guy had sold...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
    -I'd have considered doing that, and would have been happy to pay time & gas if there was a PM'er that could do such a thing.
    That is not impossible.

    But this deal doesn't justify it.

    Trust your gut.

    It stinks of the "vendor" not being the actual owner, nor even an employee OF the owner.

    "Privateer opportunist", and an inexperienced rank amateur, even so.. is written all over it.

    Now... if the machine is worth the effort?

    It could make more sense to try to ascertain who really DOES have it.. then deal direct.

    2CW

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    I would not sell a machine using an escrow service. Maybe if it was $10,000,000, but for anything short of a shitload of money you are paying cash and the risks are on YOU after I or your riggers load it.

    Machines are pretty resilient, but there are a dozen ways a really stupid motherfucker can destroy a CNC lathe or mill and blame the seller.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    ...You're asking him to take the risks all the way from his door to yours. I'd not do that unless I was getting paid to do so...
    Same here. I would have rejected that offer as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocsMachine View Post
    I kind of understand, but in this case, I got a response from a request posted in the machinery wanted section. Presumably a reader, but no screen name was given.

    The photos looked good, a nice machine, it seems, but the seller declined- twice- to provide any bona-fides. Said he'd supply contact information when I was ready to pay.

    Placed an escrow.com transaction, seller declined it. Said he usually took simple bank transfers. He then counteroffered to accept 40% with the balance due upon arrival.

    That seems like a fair offer, yes. But again, I have zero information on this guy. I have no PM screen name, nor would he provide one, I have no address, no shop name, his email is a free Gmail one.

    If I were to send even 'just' that $4K, he could easily ghost on me, and I'd have absolutely zero recourse.

    On the other hand, he contacted me from a posting I put here- he's got my screen name, I provided my cell number, my email goes through my own domain name which contains more contact information and links to other online sources for me, etc.

    Doesn't, of course, mean I'm 100% trustworthy, but I have a lot more contact information and work history out there. All I have on him is a generic free Gmail address.

    It's entirely possible I missed a good deal, but the fact is, it's equally possible I missed out on getting scammed for several thousand dollars. Any legit seller with any interest in moving an expensive machine would provide at least some additional bona-fides.

    Doc.
    Ah, OK, more information always good. I'd not have proceeded with the deal under those circumstances either. That's not just risk of freight in transit, it's a high risk of a scammer doing nothing at all except disappearing with your money.

    Even 10% would be too much.

    PDW


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