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  • JC

People sometimes ask me about Craigslist and how supposed buyer offer to send a deposit or payment and have a shipping company pick up the pinball machine. My response - NO!!!!! The only way to be safe is to receive cash! (a bank wire is also good provided it clears before you release the game).

Here are some common questions/scams.


Example: Buyer said he would paypal me a small deposit, send the rest when the shipping company arrives. Is this ok? Is paypal safe?

Answer: Paypal is not a recommended method for receiving payment for a pinball machine. Why? Because even if the buyer sends the money "Friends and Family", he can still reverse the charge if he paid with a credit card.

Here is typically how this occurs - you sell your beautiful game via Craiglist and a buyer offers to pay asking price. He offers a small deposit to hold the game. He organizes the shipping company to come pack and ship the game. A day before pickup, he sends final payment. All is good right? - WRONG - Buyer received the pinball machine then claims there is a problem with it (although there is nothing wrong with it). Buyer, because he used a credit card to fund the paypal transaction, files a dispute with the credit card company which then issues a chargeback to paypal. Your money is now stuck.

The Buyer then claims he wants to return the item or wants money back. You are now stuck and have no choice but to fight it ( and have your money tied up ) or take money off for a bogus problem. Bottom line - always deal in cash unless you know the Buyer!

Read our posts to learn about other scams. To sell your pinball, please contact us!

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  • JC

We often talk here about selling pinball machines but if you happen to stumble upon this website while looking to buy a game, here are a few tips:

1) If you are a first time buyer, buy from a retailer that offers a warranty. Yes, you will pay more for the game but the reality is that pinball machines break. Having a retailer in your corner is great and provides piece of mind.

2) Before dropping thousands on a game, head to a pinball show in your area. Most shows cost less than $20 to enter and have 100-300 games. Its a great way to find games you love. The last thing you want to do is buy a game for $5000 then hate it.

3) Research the game in forum sites. Find out what to look for when looking at the game. What is the game supposed to look and play like. For example, artwork on the cabinets often faded...this certainly affects value.

4) Dont buy from your friends neighbor who is moving. 90% of the time, there is something wrong with the game.

Email us with any questions. Good luck!

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I often get asked when discussing appraisals "Should I sell this game on Craigslist"?

Unfortunately it's not an easy answer. There are a few things which I tell sellers about craigslist which they should consider before selling their game:

  1. There is no guarantee that you will obtain a higher selling price. I have been doing this for years and when I sell a game, I get the highest price when selling to a collector. Why? Because collectors understand the market and what the pinball machine value is currently. Pinball Machine prices fluctuate like the stock market. One month a pinball machine can be hot and selling for top dollar whereas the next month it will slow down. Collectors understand this volatility more so than anyone else and tend to pay the best.

  2. Flakes. if you have ever sold on Craigslist, you know that people low ball you, commit to buying, then don't show up. Excuse after excuse. Do you want to deal with that?

  3. Random people in your home. Do you want random people showing up and trampling through your home to look at an old pinball machine? How do you know these people are even going to buy it? Are they wasting my time?

  4. Danger. I could only imagine the millions of sales that take place thanks to Craigslist all over this country every day. Most take place in a parking lot or well populated location for a reason - safety. I personally don't like anyone coming to my home so when I sell good on CL, I meet in a parking lot. Again, do you want strangers in your home?

  5. Experience moving the machine. Many buyers on CL have no clue how to move and disassemble a machine without damaging the machine and/or your property. Collectors come prepared with the tools and muscle needed to get it out.

So, the above are my reasons for NOT selling on Craigslist. Can you be successful at selling through Craigslist? Yes! However, why chance it?

Pinballvalue puts you into contact with actual pinball machine collectors who want your machine. They are not flakes and will pay a fair market value for your game. Plus, we know how to move your machine out safely and quickly.

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