I thought this blog post to be wonderfully informative, so (with permission) I reposted it here to spread the word. You can find the original blog postfrom Monarch Collectables at:
`Four Times You Should Just Say No!
We have seen a lot of surprisingly shady things transpire in the doll community, usually perpetrated by a very small percentage of people. In the spirit of preparing for holiday shopping, we have four tips that are useful year-round that can facilitate no-nonsense doll market practices. Because sometimes you just need to say, “No!”
Between the doll boards where we are members, working here in the store, and being doll collectors, we have heard a lot of stories and had a lot of experiences where a buyer or seller – or even just the random passer-by – puts a doll lover or maker in a position so awkward or strange that you either don’t know how to react or see the harm in indulging that person until it’s too late.
Some of us have already suffered the burn from these unusual and infinitely frustrating circumstances, but some may have yet to encounter them. So we hope we can alert those of you who may not know before it happens to you too. From our accumulated wisdom on a few subjects that many of you probably know all about firsthand – we’ve probably even read about your particular case on the forums – we’re going to go over four basic scenarios where we believe the best thing to do is give a firm rebuff and walk away.
It’s pretty invariably a good idea to just say “No”…
When someone instructs you to send payment for goods or services by PayPal insisting that you mark it as a gift
This is the only warning on this particular list that concerns buyers. Please don’t ever mark payment for an item or a commissioned service as a gift, because this is a blatant strategy for the seller to avoid being charged PayPal fees on the transaction. If you choose “Gift” as the reason you’re sending money, you are telling PayPal that you want the recipient to have your money for no reason other than because you’re giving it away. You might as well hand that money, often hundreds of dollars, over to a stranger on the street, saying, “Here, I want you to have this, no thanks necessary.” Marking payment as a gift means that the seller sidesteps paying the fee, which is fraud, and it means the buyer has no legal recourse if the seller decides not to send the item or deliver the service that was paid for and just outright scam you, which is a direct result of misrepresenting why you sent the money to him or her.
The “Gift” classification is for occasions such as birthdays so that instead of giving your sister a gift card for Christmas, you can send $50 to her PayPal account to put towards doll clothes or accessories that she buys online from community marketplaces and eBay where PayPal is the preferred payment method. The only reason we have ever heard of sellers requesting payment as a gift is to circumvent the PayPal fees being taken out of the money you send them, which is an underhanded practice to begin with, so you might want to ask yourself what else someone might be trying to pull. If they’re already trying to cheat PayPal out of fees they legitimately owe, chances are probably very good that they will also try to cheat you. Indeed, the unfortunate reality of these cases is almost always that the buyer loses their money and never receives what the money was for. And complaints to PayPal will either be met with indifference because you – of your own free will – told them it was a present, requiring nothing of the person you were sending it to, or you might find yourself in trouble with PayPal for knowingly marking a payment as a gift to allow the person to get away with something under PayPal’s radar.
It’s a very insidious scheme, because it requires you to do something that you know is wrong – and in one way of PayPal looking at it, the seller isn’t really at fault, because without your cooperation, they can’t get away with it. The bottom line here is that you should never allow a seller to force you into a situation where the sale is being purposely misrepresented, since this exposes you to far more risk than you would be taking just refusing to comply with this request from a seller. The seller may refuse to sell you the item if you won’t mark it as a gift – at which point, you should walk away, and you would serve the doll community well to report them and their request to eBay, PayPal, or an administrator.
When someone requests that you mark a parcel as a gift to avoid customs fees
What did we just say? This is the same exact horse as the above PayPal “gift” issue, except with zebra stripes. There’s no gray area to be perceived here. Make no mistake – marking an item’s value down or declaring an item as a gift for the purposes of allowing a buyer to avoid customs fees or Value-Added Tax (VAT) is illegal. It’s a criminal act, which can earn you a hefty fine because the wrongdoing literally crosses international borders. And in recent history, what is being imported and exported from country to country is being monitored and taken more seriously than ever before due to both security concerns and crackdowns on efforts to fraudulently avoid customs charges. Governments worldwide are hurting financially and turning to fees and taxes, just like those that customs brings in, to help ease the fiscal burden, so trying to get around the system is dangerous.
One main difference between this and the PayPal “gift” scam is that the seller is the one who will get in trouble for, again, complying with the request to illegally mark an item in a way that makes it exempt from the mandatory fees it would incur otherwise. Another difference that makes this practice seem more acceptable is that the buyer is not in any danger of losing their money to a scam, because the one being scammed in this scenario is the government of the buyer’s country. If you think PayPal gives you a hard time, try to imagine what kind of trouble a seller can bring down on him or herself by committing mail fraud across international boundaries. Sellers can get in trouble. And no seller should feel guilty for telling a buyer that they will not do something illegal just so the buyer does not have to pay the almost inevitable customs fees that the buyer knows all too well are coming, or they wouldn’t ask sellers to put themselves in such a precarious position.
When someone claims they simply must have a discount just because
It’s amazing what some people believe they are entitled to – and try to convince you they are entitled to. There are plenty of times when a discount might be appropriate, a set of unfortunate circumstances might be legitimate, or someone may genuinely deserve an opportunity to bargain with you. This is not what we’re talking about here. When someone demands that you lower your asking price for no reason other than so they can buy it cheaper, you may just have to disappoint them and step on their self-importance. It’s one thing to barter – we all do it – but it’s another to ungraciously declare that you don’t have the right or reason to get what you feel comfortable asking for an item or service.
I doubt anyone thinks that $8 is a fair price for a small popcorn at a movie theater, but it’s their theatre, and they can charge what they want, even if it is outrageous. And some of us pay it, don’t we? If you want to ask $3,000 for a doll, you’re free to do so. Buyers are also free to laugh or shake their heads as they scroll past your listing. But someone may believe it’s worth that much. And if no one comes along who does, you have the right to leave it up forever at that price even if you never find a buyer, the same as you have the right to lower it to a price you think might make it more attractive to potential buyers. But no one has the right to bully you into dropping your asking price.
This approach seems to come from a very stubborn entitlement. It’s possible no one taught that person that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. We always try to do something for our customers who ask us what we can do for them on costs. We may not be able to meet their expectations every time, but often when their expectations are reasonable, our counteroffer is at the very least appreciated. On the other hand, when we are met with someone who expects us to sell them something for practically nothing, we wonder if they think we get these items for pennies, which is far from being true. In these cases, people are thinking more about what they can get out of you than anything that concerns your end of the deal or the item itself. While it’s understandable that the economy has made all of us more budget-conscious, these people have to realize that this goes for the sellers as well as the buyers. We’re a simple doll store in an age where doll stores are closing all over the country, and we’re not Wal-mart any more than a doll artist on eBay is Amazon.com.
If you’re a buyer who likes to haggle a little over price, show the seller some respect and chances are that you’ll be shown respect in return. You may not get the deal that you want, but you can walk away with your dignity as well as a seller-friendly reputation, which will go a lot further than you might imagine.
When someone asks if they can have your doll
Now, this just sounds ridiculous. Until it happens to you. Then, you’re just floored that anyone would have the gall to be passing by a doll meet, inquire about the beautiful $1,000 Asian BJD you have there, and then unabashedly ask if they can have it. Yeah. We’ve been taken aback by these run-ins with the most mind-numbing people you will ever meet. And no, these particular people weren’t joking. This seems to happen more often than not to people who attend doll meets in the ABJD community. It’s just astounding to be confronted with that kind of unblinking nerve. Nothing prepares you for it. You pretty much expect the barrage of questions from curious onlookers, and the request to see one closer or hold one from the person with more than a fleeting interest. But panic kicks in if that person happens to be holding your doll when they ask, “Can I have it?” as if it’s a charm bracelet you found on the sidewalk.
Obviously, if that person is holding your doll, this is the opportune time to reach for it and take it out of their hands, lest they run off having decided that stealing it is an acceptable alternative to being denied. After you physically reclaim your doll, a firm “no” is nothing short of mandatory. Leave no room for conversation or negotiation thereafter. You may think that’s a bit extreme, but you’d be surprised – or maybe you wouldn’t – how many times dolls are stolen because they are seen as toys that are inherently without value and are nearly impossible to track, meaning it’s a crime that is all too often considered negligible and unsolvable. Someone who would ask that you just give your doll to them – or their child – has quite a trifecta of the above issues, including entitlement, lack of respect for you and your belongings, and the will to pressure you into doing the “polite” thing, whether it’s marking an item or payment as a gift, or coercing you to give them something as a gift.
All of the above scenarios have the same thing in common: we encourage you to just say no!
Most importantly, if you do fall into one of these traps or have in the past, you have nothing to be ashamed of. There’s not a single one of us who hasn’t had a bad experience because we trusted someone that we should have or because we didn’t know what could happen at the time. In fact, the only reason we are able to inform you of these issues is because we’ve been shocked by learning the hard way, or we’ve listened in shock to others who also learned the hard way. Trust us. Don’t open yourself up to the same problems. Just say no.
We welcome feedback on this article! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call to speak with our in-store doll blogger Mary at 1-800-648-3655.`
The 4th one actually has happened to me on Etsy. Someone asked if she could have one of my Blythe dolls! Knocked my socks off when I read it. I wrote her back a firm No and have never heard from her again. I don’t have alot of money and I cherish my girls. I am going to give one away, though:) My daughters’ 11th birthday is coming up and she wants one very badly! I don’t have the money to buy her a new one, so I’ll give her Dolly. I got Dollys’ eyechips changed to some absolutely gorgeous ones from Ana Karina and I’ll change out one set to pink, that came from Sandi, as that is one of Emmas’ favorite colors. When I can, I’ll order her a new scalp and reroot her with pink and white mohair…she will Love her<happy dance>.
I hope the tips above come in handy!!
Have a great one!!