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rolex signThe secondary luxury market is an amazing place. Unbeknownst to many, items like helicopters, private jets, luxury watches and jewelry, even entire estates are listed on sites like for those with money to spend, but who also understand the value of a dollar. But with so much at risk with such high dollar items, how can buyers and sellers truly protect themselves against scams?
Use a Reputable Website
There are literally dozens of websites that bring together buyers and individual sellers or brokers, but not all of those sites are legitimate. Reputable luxury classified websites like JamesEdition will take the time to properly vet listings and members. When in doubt, contact customer service. If you never receive a response, or the email you receive in reply is filled with grammar errors and broken links you’ll likely want to look for another site.
The work really begins once you’ve locked in your seller or won your buyer’s bid. At that point, keeping an open line of communication with the other party can help to head off any potential issues. The vast majority of deals that fall through only do so because of simple misunderstandings that could’ve easily been ironed out with a phone call or a few additional lines for clarification in a purchase agreement.
Inspection, Inspection, Inspection
With luxury items it’s more important than ever to have potential purchases inspected. Because of the high dollar amounts attached to items like yachts, helicopters, and jewelry there’s even more for fraudsters to gain through misrepresentation or financial fraud. Once you’ve won an auction or settled on a price with a potential buyer, the next logical step will be for the buyer to have the item inspected. Sellers shouldn’t be surprised or feel slighted that a buyer wants to get a second opinion as they would likely want that reassurance themselves. As long as the requirements aren’t exceptionally off-putting, this is simply the chance for the buyer’s inspector to confirm what they have already been told by the seller or dealer.
Protect Your Funds
The most common question we receive during transactions is “How can I really trust the other party?” The simplest and clearest way to put a nervous buyer or seller at ease is through the use of escrow. Online escrow platforms simply act as a neutral third party to hold and transmit funds between two unknown parties. Buyers are protected as all funds are held securely until there is proof that the item has shipped, or has arrived for a final once over. Sellers are protected because all purchase funds are verified in advance – completely removing the risk of non-payment, insufficient funds or credit card chargebacks.
When it comes right down to it, most buyers and sellers are better at recognizing potential fraud than they realize. If either party is difficult to contact, refusees to answer additional simple questions, or throws down unreasonable demands it may simply be time to walk away. And, as always, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more tips on buying and selling luxury items online see our posts on buying jewelry and watches online, online luxury auctions, and a first-timers guide to buying and selling online.

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