A few years ago, a student photographer in the UK sold his camera to a customer on Gumtree—or so he believed. The same day, he received some suspicious emails from someone posing as PayPal. The emails claimed the buyer had overpaid for the camera and asked for a refund. It was then that the student realized he’d fallen prey to a scam.
He immediately tried to retrieve the camera from the Post Office before it was sent out, but no luck. In the end, he wasn’t paid a dime, and he’d lost his camera.
That’s when the team at MPB—the world’s largest platform to buy, sell, and trade used photo and video gear—stepped in to help. In response to reading about the scam, the company donated a used mirrorless MPB camera to the student so that he could continue his studies interrupted. They included a nifty fifty lens, kit bag, SD card, and filter as a bonus.
This story had a happy ending, but we read about scams like this one regularly. Maybe a photographer gets swindled on eBay, or perhaps a scammer reaches them through Facebook Marketplace. In 2023, scammers are highly sophisticated, and it pays to do your research and understand your options before you sell.
In general, when selling your gear online, you have two options: you can use a marketplace, where you sell directly to the buyer, or you can use a trusted platform, such as MPB. The benefit of a marketplace is that you can set your own prices. The drawback is that you’re dealing with buyers you don’t know or trust.
A few years ago, the prominent photographer Liz Moughon encountered a fraudster on a popular marketplace. The scam went like this: Moughon sold a mirrorless camera, which was still in the box, for $1,400. The buyer paid, but then they (falsely) claimed that she’d sent a cheaper camera and requested a refund.
The buyer took staged photos of the wrong camera in the box as “evidence,” and he was refunded. He returned the cheaper camera and kept the one Moughon had actually sent. The marketplace ultimately rectified the situation after the case gained some traction online, but it was a massive headache.
“For people using a marketplace to sell gear, I’d recommend filming yourself packaging up the product, closing the box, and sending it off, so that the video could be used as proof of what you sold,” Moughon explains. “In my case, I didn’t have proof like that, so it was my word against theirs.”
MPB works differently from a marketplace. You don’t have to deal with the hassle of listing your gear for sale and then waiting for a buyer to make an offer. Instead, MPB buys gear directly from visual storytellers—and then they resell it to the final buyer.
MPB provides free online quotes to anyone thinking about selling their gear. Just enter your camera or lens model and its condition, and you’ll get an MPB camera (or MPB lens) quote instantly. Quotes are guaranteed for fourteen days, and they are based on real-time market data. The average person who sells to MPB earns $900 with each sale.
If you do decide to sell to MPB, they’ll pick up your gear and bring it to one of their warehouses for a full inspection. You don’t have to leave home, and pickup is free.
After MPB picks up your gear and before they list it for resale, they will confirm everything is in working order and that you’ve accurately described the condition. Then you get paid within a few days and move on with your life, without having to worry about interacting with a buyer at all.
Unlike with a marketplace, you won’t sit around waiting for a buyer. There are no “listings” so there are no “listing fees” that you’ll have to pay. And you won’t have to take photos of your gear—that’s all taken care of by MPB. As a bonus, when they ship your used MPB camera to the final buyer, the company uses 100% plastic-free packaging as part of their sustainability practices.
It might also help to bear in mind that meeting a seller in person doesn’t necessarily protect you from being scammed on a marketplace. A few years ago, scammers devised a sneaky trick using Facebook Marketplace and Venmo. Videographers got their gear stolen, and ultimately, losses were estimated to be between $25,000 and $100,000.
Today’s scammers are smart, so beware of any potential red flags. If an “offer” from a stranger online seems too good to be true, it probably is. This is a technique scammers often use to reel you in. Another red flag to look out for is any situation where a buyer asks you to go “off-platform” and communicate with them via text or email.
Some scammers do this to gain access to your personal info. They will then pose as legitimate platforms (such as PayPal or eBay) and send you emails asking for money (e.g. “refunds,” “shipping fees”) that you don’t actually owe. Others might pose as PayPal or eBay to trick you into thinking the item has been paid for when it hasn’t.
Of course, none of these factors come into play when you sell to MPB. In that case, everything is done safely and securely, without the added chore of inspecting your gear yourself or taking it to the Post Office. And, as a bonus, you don’t have to deal with strangers on the Internet—just the pros. Get a free instant quote for your used photo and video gear from MPB now.
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