From time to time we get questions such as “How do I know that the seller I’m buying from is legitimate?” or “What is the safest form of payment to use when sending someone money for their drone?”
These are valid and important questions that we would like to discuss in the following post.
First, a little background about DroneTrader…
DroneTrader was launched in the summer of 2018 in order to provide a easy-to-use classifieds system for the rapidly growing used UAV market. It was built by commercial drone operators and drone shop owners who saw the need for a robust marketplace built specifically for preowned drones.
One of the pitfalls we saw in existing solutions was rampant spam and sites that were stuffed full of Adsense advertising. They were difficult to navigate and frustrating to use.
And so DroneTrader was launched.
When a seller posts an ad to DroneTrader it is important to note that it does not automatically appear on the site.
All of our ads are moderated prior to going live and need to pass a series of basic checks. We work very hard to keep ads spam free and relevant to buyers, and many ads never make it onto the site for a wide variety of reasons (no clear photos, no description, photos not matching description etc).
Please note however, DroneTrader was designed as a local classifieds system (similar to Craigslist, Kijiji, AutoTrader etc) where buyers see the item in person prior to purchasing. Although we weed out many spammy ads we can not guarantee that ads are all 100% legitimate, and it is important to exercise caution on any local classifieds site.
What are some things you can do to ensure a safe transaction on DroneTrader?
We have bought and sold several of our own UAVs on DroneTrader and want to share some tips on transacting safely for both buyers and sellers.
Tips for sellers:
It is important to describe your item in as much detail as possible (we go over why this is important in more detail here).
In short, this helps build trust with potential buyers and gives greater confidence in the DroneTrader marketplace. It also helps to get your ad approved (we routinely deny ads with limited descriptions such as “Drone for sale, cheap” or “white drone for sale” etc.)
If you end up coming to an agreement with a potential buyer and decide to ship your drone to them, it usually doesn’t hurt to setup a quick phone call with them prior to sealing the deal.
If they are difficult to get ahold of via phone and refusing to take your call, be cautious in sending them your equipment. We always recommend receiving payment for your equipment prior to shipping anything anywhere.
As far as receiving payment goes cash or etransfer are typically your best bet (especially when selling in person), as they are guaranteed funds. Please be cautious when buyers recommend using “third party etransfer escrow” or “Interac escrow”. These are typically fraudulent escrow systems and we do not recommend their use. When an etransfer is accepted the funds should show up in your account, Interac does not offer an escrow system at this time.
If you are shipping your drone to someone however you will typically want to use a payment processor such as Paypal or ShieldPay. Be sure to ship to Paypal accounts with a “confirmed address” only, as this offers the seller some protection if the buyer were to put in a Paypal claim as “item not received.” ShieldPay is also a great payment service but at the time of this writing is only available to US DroneTrader users.
Also, always use tracking and insurance if you are shipping your equipment. If you are looking to save a little money on shipping check out NetParcel for some great discounts on shipping. Be sure to record your tracking number and keep your shipment receipt in case something were to go wrong in transit.
Tips for buyers:
As mentioned above, DroneTrader moderators weed out a LOT of spam ads. This does not mean we can ensure 100% of the ads are completely legitimate and it is important to use caution, especially when purchasing items site unseen.
If you find a drone you like on DroneTrader but it is too far too drive you can request that the seller ship the drone to you.
Before you do so we recommend giving them a call and asking a few questions such as “Why are you selling?” or “Where was it purchased?” or “Do you have the original invoice available.” You can ask these questions via email first and then give them a call to double check that everything lines up.
If they refuse to communicate via phone/Skype/Facetime etc. be cautious when doing a transaction with them, especially if the item is of high value.
If you are having the drone shipped to you it may be in your best interest to use a service such as ShieldPay or Paypal to pay for items, both of which offer some forms of buyer and seller protection when transacting online. They do take a small percentage of the transaction however it is worth the peace of mind knowing that your funds are held in escrow until you’ve confirmed the items you received are in as-described condition!
For items that you are purchasing sight unseen we do not typically recommend paying via irreversible payment methods such as wire, etransfer, bank transfer, Venmo etc as this offers no protection for the buyer in case something were to go wrong.
If you go to buy from a local seller in person be sure to follow some best practices that you should follow when using any local classifieds system:
- Insist on a public meeting place like a busy cafe, bank, or mall. More and more police stations also offer “safe exchange zones” in their parking lots for exactly this purpose.
- Never meet in a secluded or remote place, and never invite strangers into your home.
- Be especially cautious when buying or selling high value or rare items.
- Be sure to tell a friend or family member where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
- Take your cell phone along with you if you have one.
- Consider having a friend accompany you for the duration of the transaction.
- Always trust your instincts. If something feels off to you, don’t do it!
We feel that DroneTrader is hands down the best online classifieds system for used drones and are proud of what we have built. Whether you are searching for “used dji mavic drones” or “second hand commercial uavs” DroneTrader is sure to have a great selection of pre owned drones for everyone.
We are currently exploring several options for integrating some of the top security and risk reduction software into the backend of the site to make it even more secure (and more valuable) to buyers and sellers of used drones.