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Guide to the SCB Marketplace (Read before buying or selling)

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SCB and Imperium members,

 

Just like many Markets, SCB has had some issues related to scams, scammers, fencers, and all-around unseemly characters showing up on our forums and attempting to scam members or fence stolen products upon the entire Star Citizen Base (SCB) community. Because of SCB’s status as being both a Star Citizen-focused community AND the home of Imperium, we strive to make sure our community is as informed as possible when it comes to things related to the Grey Market.  So, without further rambling, here is a quick and simple guide to the standard “dos” and “don’ts” and “understoods” of the Grey Market. (Spoilers show the "Why")

 

1.  ALL TRANSACTIONS CONCERNING VIRTUAL GOODS ARE INHERENTLY HIGH RISK.

Whether it is buying gold from a Gold Farming site, buying an account off of ebay, or buying CIG ships from people, there’s always an inherent risk involved that goes above that of a normal transaction. Because of “customer service” policies by multiple online companies and currency handlers like Paypal, Ebay, Amazon, and etc… The “original owner” is always given the higher level of credence than the “buyer”. Because of this it is not uncommon for people to find they have bought a virtual good such as an account or asset like a ship or cash, only to be contacted by the company running the game and be told they are permanently banned for stealing an account or asset, or try to log in to the account they have bought to find that it has been “reclaimed” by its owner. In instances of this nature, rarely do things like emails, screenshots, or even recorded conversations actually matter, as the EULAs of most of these games state that the goods belong to the COMPANY that creates them, and that the original owner receives more trust than the buyer. As a result of this fact, a buyer of virtual goods should understand that they are doing so at a risk that is higher than that of say…buying a used car or a physical good, and any transactions they engage in are AT THEIR OWN RISK.

 

2. DON’T EVER PURCHASE FROM SOMEONE IF THE DEAL SEEMS “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”. (Unless it’s a “trusted” seller)  

Whether it’s an “at cost” LTI Aurora, a $50 Elite:Dangerous Premium Beta account because the seller “just wants to offload it”, or a $30 World of Warcraft account with a few 80s, a couple 90s, and 50k gold that the seller “just doesn’t want to think about anymore”, chances are if someone who doesn’t already have an established reputation on a marketplace is trying to sell something far below what is the “perceived” value of the item, it’s probably either a scam, or it’s a hacked item/account/etc… In some cases there are reputable middle-man sellers that are contracted to connect a seller and a buyer for a price, but at that point the “risk” is on the middle-man more than on the buyer. Either way, it is ill-advised to buy if a deal seems “too good to be true”.

 

3. DON’T BUY FROM UNKNOWN SELLERS.

Think about Ebay. If you happen to notice someone who has a rating of “0” on Ebay, are you likely to purchase much from them? Especially if they are offering items that could be “Too good to be true”? No. The Grey Market is the same. Anyone can sit back and type out a story about how they need to sell because of “x” or “y” reason, but in the end, the person taking the risk is YOU. Don’t buy from a “0” unless you are willing to take the risk.

 

4. DO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DELAYED PAYMENTS THROUGH PAYPAL. 

Whatever setting you have to use in Paypal, make sure you have a window of time in which you’ll see a “payment processing” window when dealing with virtual goods. Mind you,

IN THE CASE OF A TRUSTED SELLER, this is not necessarily needed. However, as with number 3, you need to consider your risk versus the pressure of a seller. If a seller is pressuring you to pay via an expedited payment system, do NOT comply, cancel the transaction, and protect yourself.

 

5. DO MAKE SURE THAT THE BUYER IS VERIFIED AS A SELLER AND THROUGH PAYPAL.

The verification process via Paypal requires that some level of personal identification has been shared and confirmed through Paypal. While this is not difficult to fake in many cases (such as a school dormitory or a large housing complex) it is an additional security verification step that a scammer/fencer must go through. To either PURCHASE FROM or SELL FROM an un-verified Paypal account is like walking into an Ebola infested village without a Hazmat suit and self-contained breathing system. You WILL get burned.

 

6. IF YOU ARE SUSPICIOUS OF A TRANSACTION, CANCEL IT.

Many people will purchase an item based off of a flashy ad, or a nice price, only to find their communications with the seller tend to be…less flashy for lack of a better term. If your gut tells you that something is off when negotiating or replying to communications related to a virtual transaction, LISTEN TO YOUR GUT AND BACK OUT. One of the things that scammers play on is people’s psychological unwillingness to back out of an agreement once they have made it.  If a transaction communication feels suspicious, don’t go through with it.

 

7. TAKE PRECAUTIONS THROUGH YOUR BANK.

If you decide to tie a bank debit or credit card to a transaction there tends to be a level of “purchaser protection” involved that can supersede Paypal’s levels of purchaser protection. If you have made a purchase and the money has been pulled, generally you have within the time-period of the monthly statement to dispute the charges or “catch” the charges and claim fraud. Be warned, however, that doing this too often will then put YOU on a FRAUD LIST in which your claims may be tagged as possible fraud in and of themselves.

 

 

8. USE COMMON SENSE.

Think about the real world. Think about doing transactions and sales in real life. Imagine that the “Grey Market” is like a giant Garage/Yard Sale, except the seller can claim you either 1. Stole his property (after you bought it) or 2. Will price to sell only to have seller’s remorse later.  Now, in the real world, is there really a way for the seller to counteract this? No. In the virtual world? YOU BET YOUR ASS THEY CAN! This is really the truth of the Grey Market/Online market. People who are disreputable are going to try to take advantage of anyone they can to get what they can, and then claim they were “hacked” or “cheated” or “phished” and the buyer ends up being banned, having their items removed, or just-in general-being out the money they paid for something that is very easy to “cheat” getting back.  For some reason new buyers to the Grey Market believe that taking screenshots, saving emails, copying conversations, etc… will help them in a dispute. 9 out of 10 times it does NOT because of the prevalence of “falsified” electronic evidence. Yep, that’s right-blame Photoshop.  The fact is, you should ALWAYS check yourself if you find yourself salivating at what appears to be a “too good to be true” offer.

 

9. THE SCB FORUM AND THE IMPERIUM FORUM ARE NOT THE SAME.

If you notice, the pre-amble to this huge wall-of-text started out with stating that the Star Citizen Base website has two layers. Layer one is the general community area for people who want to talk about, discuss, and enjoy waiting for Star Citizen. People who are only members of this community still have access to the Marketplace because we want to make sure our community AND the members of Imperium have a good shot at getting some good deals (notice GOOD, not “TOO GOOD”). If a person on the Marketplace has a title of “Members”, that means they are nothing more than a SCB member. Before purchasing, check their post history, joining history, feedback, when the feedback was created, etc… and make a decision from there.

 

10. IF YOU SERIOUSLY DO NOT FEEL YOU SHOULD GET IT, DO NOT GET IT!!!! 

Above all, if there are any aspects of your life, the sale, your finances, the seller, etc… that give you a gut feeling that you shouldn’t buy, LISTEN TO THEM and DO NOT BUY (OR SELL)!!! Don’t put yourself, your finances, your accounts, or your family through the possible stress and credit-history pain that a fraud investigation can bring.

 

FINALLY, REMEMBER THAT ALL ONLINE MARKETPLACES-INCLUDING THIS ONE-ARE NOT LIABLE FOR YOUR PROBLEMS.

  If that were the case, Reddit, Craigslist, Ebay, etc…would have been shut down YEARS ago. If you wish to debate the "liability issue" check our "Rules" post: The SCB Marketplace is a place for people to connect to people. Unlike Ebay, we take no monetary gain from any connections made between buyers and sellers on this site. We are not liable if there is a fraudulent transaction engaged upon. HOWEVER, that having been said, we have admins that police the forum and watch for fraud as best as possible in order to make this place a “cut above” other marketplaces.

 

That having been said, we are not there all the time, we are not able to police all the time. We are all volunteers. All people who are just trying to create a great community. SO IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS, CLICK THE “REPORT” BUTTON AND SAY WHY. WE WILL CHECK AND DETERMINE IF IT IS WORTHY OF NEEDING CHECKED.

 

Thanks all, and happy sells/buys!

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