- read all of the seller's information. Some sellers won't ship overseas, or won't accept CC Paypal, or list prices in Euros or pounds instead of US$, and for a seller, constantly answering questions when the answers are already covered in your post gets annoying.
- feel free to ask questions, especially if there isn't enough information about sizing/wear/damage.
- ask for a photo of the actual item, especially if the seller uses stock images or other people's images.
- ask for feedback. Even if it's the first time for the seller using egl_comm_sales, people will often have feedback on eBay or similar auction sites. If it's a new seller with no feedback and you don't recognise the user name, be cautious about purchasing, especially if they're using stock photos etc.
- read feedback communities like loligoth_dbs.
- consider paying with Paypal, especially credit card Paypal, instead of a money order or concealed cash. Cash is dangerous to mail and once a money order is cashed, it's difficult to reverse. Paypal offers protection to file a claim if the item never arrives, and if you use a credit card you may also be able to dispute the charge with your credit card company.
- check what currency the item is for sale in and use www.xe.com to convert. It's never fun to find out after getting excited that you can't actually afford something, and it's not pleasant for the seller either.
- offer to pay or share the Paypal fees, especially if you've posted through a want-to-buy or if you're paying with a credit card. Some sellers will cover these, but I've noticed it's common for them to be covered by the buyer.
- think about paying for track and trace. It's sometimes a lot more expensive (the NZ post office used to charge $50 extra for it!) but if you're buying a very expensive item, being able to trace where it is is usually worth it.
- email the seller and let them know when the package has arrived. It's often worrying when you're sending something expensive overseas, and it's always good to know that it has arrived safely.
- ask for photos of a commissioner's previous work. If you're commissioning a very complicated item, and the commissioner only has photos of simple skirts and dresses, consider whether they'll have the skill to make yours the way you want it.
- realise that complex outfits will cost more to commission than a simple skirt. Quality costs money.
- ask for updates on your item. A commissioner should be able to let you know what they're working on.
- lead the seller on for comment after comment, and then drop off the face of the earth. It takes about 30 seconds to reply and tell them you're no longer interested, and it means that they won't feel obliged to hold it for you when other buyers are interested.
- ask for a hold on an item and then never pay for it.
- agree to buy something and then never send payment.
- ask for a huge discount, especially on an item which has already been reduced in price. If something is damaged or worn and you think it's worth a bit less, it's sometimes okay to haggle, but remember that you're often getting something very nearly new for a lesser price than brands would charge.
- offer a trade when the seller has specified no trades (it's okay to ask if they'll consider one, but sellers often need the money more than a new outfit) or offer items for trade which are obviously worth much less than what they're selling.
- pay for something in dollars when the price is listed in pounds, or vice versa.
- resell the item for a much higher price than you paid for it, especially if you've worn it out a lot. Sometimes with rare items, the price will increase, but try to remember what you paid for it and take that into account when pricing it to sell.
- harass the seller with emails when you've paid for the item and are waiting for it to arrive. We all have busy lives, and not everyone can check emails 24/7. In addition, some international mail will take a week or two to arrive, or even longer if it's a busy time of year like Christmas. At the same time, be aware of how long the transaction has taken, and don't be afraid to file a Paypal claim if it's approaching a month or longer.
Selling/Acting as a commissioner:
- take as many good-quality photos of your item as you can. If it's a brand item, you may want to link to the brand page or show the stock photo, but taking your own photos proves that you do have the items in possession (and will also show any details of damage, stains etc.)
- specify if the items are new with tags, new without tags, worn or damaged in any way (missing buttons, loose threads, stains, torn lace etc.)
- reduce your price slightly if there is damage to the item or if you've posted it many times previously and it hasn't sold.
- give details about whether the price includes shipping, rough estimates of shipping to various areas (US, UK/Europe, Australasia) and what payment methods/currency you accept.
- package well. Post shops usually sell packaging bags and boxes. Charging $3 more in shipping and using a proper packing box is infinitely better to receiving an item stained, broken or crushed by the mail. I think we've all heard the horror story about the cutsew with melted plastic from the bag it was packed in.
- label the customs slip carefully. The buyer might want you to mark down the price or mark it as a gift to avoid customs fees, especially in the UK and Europe. Marking it as a gift is usually alright, but bear in mind that if you mark down the price and the package goes missing, the mail service may not cover insurance.
- think about sending the buyer a photo of the receipt to prove that it's been sent, or at least an email to let them know.
- take responsibility for the package if it goes missing. This does not mean that you should pay for the cost of the item, but it's often easier for you to call your postage company than for a buyer overseas.
- think about using some form of tracking or delivery confirmation, especially for expensive items.
- write addresses etc clearly. Some packages I've received have been addressed so messily I can barely read them, and I'm amazed that my mailman can.
- remove sold items from a sales post, or cross them out so that people know they've been claimed.
- link directly to your lolita items if linking to a personal sales journal. Nobody wants to fish through pages of anime when they're just looking for the Angelic Pretty JSK your sales_comm post said you were selling.
- try to answer questions promptly. Sometimes you're in class or at work and it's unavoidable, but when potential buyers have to wait for a day or two just to get an answer to the size of the item, they may wonder how long it'll take you to ship out the item if they buy it.
- refuse to hold items if you really need the money. Holding items is a nice thing to do, but it's not required of you.
- email a commissioner with photos of the item in progress, so that they're reassured about what you're working on.
- steal other people's photos for your sales. It implies that you don't have the photos of your own item, and therefore might not have the item either. Not everyone has a digital camera, but try taking a photo on a camera phone, borrowing someone else's, or even using a meetup photo of yourself to prove that you own the item.
- post items repeatedly. It's against the rules of the sales comm, and it's rude to potential buyers to spam them with your sales.
- overcharge on shipping. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly how much shipping will cost, but if you quote a price and it comes to significantly less, consider refunding the remainder.
- drop off the face of the earth once you've received payment. Send a quick email or leave a comment to the buyer once you've received payment and when you've mailed the item.
- agree to hold something and then sell it to someone else, especially without a comment to the original holder to let them know. If you can't hold something, don't agree to hold it in the first place.
- promise a complicated commission and then send something sub-par. If your skills are not up to it, don't agree to the commission.
If anyone else has a suggestion, please leave a comment and I'll add it in. I can also make a section for buying from shopping services if needed.