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Dealing with a foreign equipment buyer

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Todd TerryDealing with a foreign equipment buyer
by on Nov 24, 2012 at 6:17:55 pm

I'm a little unsure of how to deal with a situation, input is welcome.

I recently offered one of my 35mm cameras for sale on an auction site.

I was contacted by a potential buyer prior to the close of the auction, asking me to calculate shipping to Saudi Arabia (yes, he's legit and has bought lots of stuff from other people and has perfect feedback). I explained to him that I was only offering domestic US shipping, as was clearly spelled out in my auction listing. I do not have the resources or expertise to figure out how to get it to him, nor do I have the time to investigate that. I told him that if the camera did not sell at auction, I would consider re-listeing it as available for international shipping IF he wanted to assist me with finding a foreign carrier.

This is not just a little camera body... it's a full 35mm camera system, including all the glass... all together more than 100 pieces. There's the body, the motor, SEVEN magazines, a matte box, FIVE prime lenses, TWO zoom lenses, video assist system, and FIVE different cases, some of which are fairly large. God knows how much it would cost to ship halfway around the world, and what kind of hoops there would be to jump through... so I was reluctant to even
consider it.

Well... despite my explanation that I was only offering domestic US shipping, this guy bid on it and won the auction ANYWAY! Grrrrr.

I have been unable to contact him yet, although the auction just recently ended.

What would you guys do?

I could just consider it unsold and re-list it (which would also mean dealing with the auction company to consider the sale "cancelled" so I don't have to pay them the fees as if it was sold)... OR, could try to work with him to get it to him. I really don't have the time or energy to do that... yet he has already committed to spend a not insignificant amount to buy it.

What to do, what to do....


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Scott SheriffRe: Dealing with a foreign equipment buyer
by on Nov 24, 2012 at 6:43:22 pm

I've had this happen, and it's very frustrating when someone outside your area bids and wins, and then won't agree to cancel. But if you're buyer is outside your shipping region, you can eventually get the auction site to cancel it. It just takes a lot longer.
On the other hand, it sounds like a big sale that you would hate to lose, especially for gear that is depreciating at a logarithmic rate. If you continue with a sale outside of your selling/shipping area there won't be any terms listed for who pays the shipping, customs, and the insurance. All important items since this sounds like a pricey item.
You can ship this fedex or ups and it's not that big of a deal. Best bet is to use an expedited service even though it costs more.
Cancel the auction and send the buyer a notice that you'll put it up on a buy it now for the price he paid with new terms to cover the costs of getting it there. That way it will be clearly spelled out who is paying for what.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

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Nick GriffinRe: Dealing with a foreign equipment buyer
by on Nov 24, 2012 at 9:21:27 pm

For what it's worth I had something like this, albeit on a smaller scale because it was only a single piece of equipment.

I simply made it the responsibility of the buyer to supply a domestic address where I could ship to. From that point on it was his responsibility to move the item out of the country and to pay whatever duties his country required.

Perhaps, if nothing else, your buyer can get the commerce section of the Saudi embassy here to help with the process. But, I do wholeheartedly agree that you need to make sure that all of the intricacies are the buyer's problem, NOT yours.

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Chris TompkinsRe: Dealing with a foreign equipment buyer
by on Nov 25, 2012 at 2:55:20 pm

I had this happen with some wireless gear I was selling, the guy was in the UAE. I forgot to specify domestic bidders only.

I calculated the shipping and simply emailed him and said you need to pay $xx more for the shipping and I sent it.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC

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