We all like to think that airsoft is one big community who wouldn’t try to screw one another over, however whilst the majority of people selling kit are genuine, there will always be those looking to scam others out of some cash. You can never minimise the risk to 0, but you can do a few things to help stop it happening. These are some of the things I try to follow when buying/selling second hand:
1. Buy/sell face to face. There is no way you can end up paying for something that doesn’t exist this way. And always try before you buy, so if you’re buying an AEG/GBB, bring a battery or some gas so you can test fire the item. The same with accessories like sights/lights/lasers, turn them on to see if they’re working.
2. If the deal looks to good be to be true it will likely be fake. It’s a cliche but it still works – if you saw a Systema PTW going for £200 then it’s either going to be junk when it turns up, or it’s a scam.
3. Where you can, use PayPal and do NOT gift. Pay the extra 4% fees. When it comes to guns, PayPal can get funny depending on which customer services rep deals with your dispute, but if you gift the payment, they will not get involved at all.
4. If you’re unsure about the seller, try and find some previous buyers. The Facebook groups often have a feedback document set up which you can check and then drop the buyer a message. If this isn’t an option, get the seller to take a picture of the item with today’s newspaper in it with the date clearly visible, at least you know the item exists then. It is becoming more common that buys must have a piece of paper in their photo of the item with their name and date, which is another option here.
5. As soon as you receive an item, test it. There’s no point waiting 2/3 weeks to try out your purchase because the seller will wash their hands of it after a couple of weeks amusing you’re happy with the item.
6. If it’s dead on arrival, don’t try to fix it yourself or even get a tech to touch it. If you tell the seller you’ve cracked it open and tried to fix it, they could try to blame you for causing the problem by screwing it up and do one with the cash.
My personal preference is to only buy small accessories second, and my reasons are twofold. Firstly whilst I might be pissed off about losing £20-£50, it’s a cost I can deal with if I had to, where as losing £200-£400 on an AEG is far more difficult to absorb. Secondly you never know when your second hand item might keel over – the sale may go completely fine but in a months time the gearbox might go bang because it’s reached the end of it’s life and you’ve got yourself a paper weight.
Hopefully one or two of these tips will help people stay safer when buying second hand.