Buy Antiques Online
If you decide to buy online, here are a few additional points to consider.
- Ask the seller to send you close-up photographs of the item you’re considering buying.
- Ask if the item can be purchased and shipped to you on an “approval” basis. This allows you to inspect the item and perhaps have a local expert take a look at it, too. Some online sellers will let you buy items this way, often with a condition: if you decide you don’t want the item, you can get a refund if you return the item within a certain time and in the same condition as you received it. If you decide to buy “on approval,” get the terms in writing.
- Another option is to ask the seller about using an escrow service. The primary purpose of online escrow services is to protect buyers and sellers from fraud. Escrow services accept and hold payment from a buyer — often a wire transfer, check, money order, or credit card — until he receives and approves the merchandise. Then, the escrow service forwards the payment to the seller. The buyer pays the fee for an online escrow service — generally a percentage of the cost of the item.
- Ask the seller how the item will be packed and shipped, and the shipping costs.