While many people buy their carriers new, it's fairly common to also buy them used. BST-ing (Buying/Selling/Trading) in the babywearing world can be a bit complex. There is a sense of culture, and from that culture, a level of decorum expected (both on TheBabywearers.com, also known as TBW, as well as The Babywearing Swap on Facebook). Group leader Marcia S. shares with us a few of her tips below.
This isn't Craigslist; it's a babywearing community: a place to build relationships, chat with other mamas as our babies grow, and learn to care more easily for our children.
So. Let's start positive. What are some things that are helpful when you are shopping for a carrier?
1. Do some research. Read up on what you are looking for (Facebook, thebabywearer.com's forums, blogs, etc.). Make sure you know what to expect for pricing for that particular carrier. Some carriers are more expensive because they are rare, some are made from higher quality materials, and some are popular, so they're hard to find. If you know what you're looking for before you start shopping, you'll come out ahead.
2. Make sure you know what you have available to spend before initiating a conversation with a seller. If you need to talk to your partner, sell some household items, ask for birthday gifts, do that all before you start shopping. It makes transactions much smoother. Have your money ready to go.
3. Learn how to use PayPal. PayPal is what most sellers use for transactions. Make sure that your account is set up fully, including your address, and get it linked to a bank account and credit/debit card so that it doesn't send funds as an eCheck. When you use PayPal, you send as goods so that you receive full buyer protection. If you send gifted payment, you are not protected if you need to file a claim.
4. Know what to ask the seller. Learn what is considered to be "normal" flaws: slubs, nubs, known issues with that type of carrier. If the seller lists that there are no flaws, stains, pulls, etc., there is no reason to ask that again. If there are no details listed, feel free to ask. Make sure that if length is extremely important to you, you ask the seller for an exact measurement (then you won't be disappointed if it's different than what you wanted; some manufacturers have different ranges of normal, or some runs of particular wraps are cut too long or too short).
5. If you ask for a payment plan, make payments on time. Communicate to the seller. Be prepared to fulfill your end of the agreement--the seller is holding the item for you and may be missing out on another sale by waiting for you to pay.
6. Make sure you know conventions. On TBW, it was often that the first person to PM the seller asking for a PayPal address was the one to be able to purchase the item. Other places are different (first to comment publicly, first to ask a question), so make sure you know how the seller operates. Most sellers need the funds quickly, so they're trying to move the item as quickly as possible. Also, asking to be invoiced is a newer idea (because you can use Bill Me Later if you are invoiced by the seller), so sellers may be used to giving the buyer their email address and waiting for payment.
7. Along those lines, pay promptly. Tell the seller if there is going to be a delay in sending payment. Sometimes the seller will post that if payment is not received within four hours, the seller will move on to the next buyer.
8. Keep the seller informed. If you change your mind, tell her so that you aren't leaving her waiting for you to come back.
9. Be polite. Please and thank you go a long way.
10. Be sure to leave honest feedback, both as a buyer and a seller.
1. Don't offer way less than the seller is asking. If the seller lists that they are willing to take offers, it's usually that they would take $5-15 off of the asking price. Asking a seller to come down more than that may be taken as rude.
2. Don't make excuses. If you can't spend what the seller is asking, there is no need to tell them why. Move on to another item that is in your budget.
3. Don't ask the seller to hold something if you can't pay. They're potentially missing on a sale that way.
4. Don't ask for a payment plan and then back out.
5. Don't freak out if something is wrong when the item arrives. Calmly discuss it in a non-accusatory tone with the seller. Pulls and broken threads (if it is only one or two) are very simple to fix. There are tutorials on thebabywearer.com and YouTube. I probably wouldn't even message the seller about something that is easy to fix. If there is a stain, or an obvious hole, or something that's a bigger issue: don't wash the item or try to fix it until you have talked to the seller. Washing may alter your PayPal protection or make the issue worse.
6. Don't make pricing comments on the thread. If you can't afford it, keep it to yourself. Don't accuse the seller of marking the item too high. If you don't like it, move on.
AS A SELLER:
1. Take good pictures if you can. You're going to get better responses if you include an action shot and a flat shot. (And if the seller doesn't include these, you, as a buyer, don't have to ask them for them; try Google image search first.)
2. Include as many details as you can in your listing. Brand, colorway, size, condition, flaws, detergents, pets in the home, smoking, willingness to ship to certain locations, etc., are all valuable points to include on a listing. Disclose your selling methods: some sellers will sell to the first person who asks for a PayPal email address. Other sellers go by the first to message.
3. Have the item washed and ready to ship. Then you don't have to scramble to have it clean and ironed after you have received payment. If something happens to the carrier while you're attempting this, it will be on you and you will have to tell the buyer the bad news.
4. Ship as promptly as possible, and if you can't ship when you say you will, keep in communication with the buyer. Don't print a label to appear that you have shipped the item when you haven't actually taken it to the post office. Buyers track that and will be able to see that it's not been dropped yet.
5. Be honest and kind. If a buyer comes to you with a complaint, do everything you can to make it right. It keeps your reputation good.