Damage Control: Saving Yourself From Bad Situations
There’s nothing I hate more than seeing members get into sticky situations.
Whether that has to do with:
1) Having a brokering deal go south because they didn’t manage the progress efficiently
2) Purchasing and/or reselling a fake watch unknowingly
3) Customer difficulties during/after the sale
4) Unforeseen technical issues with a watch
When any of these occur, you want to ensure you’re running damage control. This means you want to reduce your risk and make the deal right again so you don’t end up getting screwed.
There’s some easy things you can do as a precursor to save yourself major headaches. Also, there’s preventative measures you can take and creative solutions during and after the fact to come out of the situation unscathed.
I’ll expose some of these dangerous situations and detail some solutions so you can protect yourself Trading.
Let’s start with BROKERING. Brokering as you may know is a great way to make money without needing a lot of money. It can be addicting because of that, but it can also be risky if you don’t know how to manage the process.
Always ensure that you are clearly communicating expectations and timelines to both you’re potential seller and buyer. As the middleman in a broker deal, YOU are solely responsible for anything that may potentially go wrong. When you are working both counterparties, don’t overpromise and underdeliver. That sets you up for failure. Always communicate conservative timelines and conditions. Make sure that your seller you’re buying the deal from is crystal clear about the condition of the watch and can send you multiple images so you can not only feel confident about the watch before buying it but can also show the buyer the same images.
With the buyer make sure they know not only the condition of the watch explicitly, but that once you pay them for the watch you will deliver it within (X) amount of time. Whether that’s 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, doesn’t matter. But you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to get the watch to yourself and inspect it for external issues and also timekeeping issues.
When completing the transaction, ensure the buyer pays you upfront via payment method that they can’t charge-back on (like a bank wire), and then you can ship it out to them. Shipping with adult signature required is a MUST, and you should elect for overnight with FedEx or UPS always over a government logistics company like USPS.
When brokering, you’re either taking the buyers payment all up front or getting a deposit. You need to do either of these so you can manage your risk. The last thing you want is your buyer flaking on you after you buy a watch as you’ll be stuck with it. At least with a deposit, you buy off your margin so you can move it ASAP if needed and can even make a lot of money still.
When it comes to FAKES, things can get very hairy. Replicas are so good today, that it’s hard for even some veteran dealers to tell they have one.
There are a few ways you can protect yourself no matter what timepiece you’re buying.
a.) Always Buy the seller first. By that I mean buy their reputation and their ability to take a watch back if it’s proven to be a fake. Reputable persons who don’t want their name tarnished will always work with you to make the issue right over making a quick dollar.
b.) Make a relationship with a watch maker or dealer local to you. Having someone you can bring your watches to as soon as you get them is a big way to manage your risk. If you get into the good habit of getting everything checked out ASAP, you can address any issues with the seller immediately and protect yourself from screwing yourself with the future potential buyer. Most seasoned watch makers can spot a fake by opening the case back and/or taking a closer look at a watch.
c.). Keep records of who you buy from and sell to. Even if you don’t know their real name and it’s just a seudo name like an eBay handle, having this handy will help you track down the chain of counterparties involved.
d.). You’re only as good as the last person involved with the deal. If the watch has been sold multiple times, and it comes back to you, and you can’t track down or hold the previous person responsible who sold it to you, guess who most likely is taking that hit? YOU. Don’t just bend over immediately however and accept to take it back without checking it out.
You have to protect yourself, and ensure this is in fact the same watch you had at the time. That’s why….
e.) Taking multiple photos and videos of the watch as soon as you get it and right before you ship it is so helpful. It allows you to protect yourself if someone tries to make a false claim against you.
Many of your UNFORESEEN TECHNICAL ISSUES, and CUSTOMER DIFFICULTIES can be avoided in similar ways as described above.
If you take the short amount of time it takes to do just these simple extra steps and make them a habit, you will save yourself huge headaches down the line.
With Unforeseen technical issues, you can turn a total disaster that would put you negative into a still profitable deal if you have a watch technician who can service watches for much less than the manufacturer. You can also have them assess the issue to see if it’s even as bad as you think. This is similar to having a great independent car mechanic that you like vs. taking your car into the dealer and getting absolutely destroyed. Remember you’ll always spend about 2-4X more time and money shipping it out to the manufacturer vs. letting a skilled independent do it.
When it comes to damage control handling difficult customers and their issues, always make sure you are not only communicating everything about condition and timing very clearly, but make sure to document and record your messages and the watch itself. Always let the person you’re dealing with know upfront your return policy, how you take payment, and the terms in which you prefer to do business.
This will help you combat those trying to scam you, and prevent the flaky customers from having buyers remorse trying to give it back to you.
When you take the steps to do these little things, and form relationships with industry vets, you can handle pretty much anything that’s thrown at you. Issues happen all the time in watch Trading. So arm yourself with the ability to make any situation work in your favor.
And finally always always remember NOT to get emotional or panic. When you do this, you start making decisions that will hurt you. Take some deep breaths, assess the situation unbiasedly, and think about how to make it right for the counterparties you’re dealing with while still best benefiting you.