I've bought two online without problems. I knew the size I wanted, and they had trees that were adjustable (Passier wooden trees, not easy-adjust like Wintecs).
The first was from a tack shop in California in 2003 - I found the saddle online then emailed the store - they were nice & helpful and said I could return the saddle if it didn't fit. That was across the border to Canada too!
The second was on ebay 2007 - I knew the exact model and size I wanted, but it took over a year to find it - so was really only taking a chance on the tree being sound. I used a sniping program to make sure I got it! The (private) seller had a good feedback rating and was nice and prompt. I got it shipped to a friend in the US who was then coming through the border and brought it to me.
Both were about $650 US - well worth it for Passier saddles that will likely last me for 20+ years.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
Did it once from a private seller. Worked out nicely all 'round.
Bought a different one from usedsaddles.com. Traded in the one I bought from the private seller. The trade price was fair and the saddle purchased was even better than the description (it was virtually "new in the box").
So we're two for two.
That said, there is clearly a risk in such transactions. A lot depends on the "vibes" you get from the e-mails or in any phone conversations.
Guilherme's First Rule of Hippie Common Sense is "If it feels good, do it; if it doesn't feel good, don't do it." So far the rule has worked for me.
If you're really worried, you can use an escrow service such as escrow.com Of course the seller would have to agree, but really it is protection for both of you so that no one has to be worried about getting ripped off.
If the sale is through a BB similar to this one, you may want to read the user's posts to get a feel for them, and also see if they have had other sales transactions with other BB users who could provide feedback.
I'd be so nervous without that paypal buyer protection! Good luck!
Luckily MOST people selling via online BB's do use PayPal (probably b/c they are just as afraid of being burned...I def was when I sold my saddle online). You could always tell the seller you are most comfortable going through PayPal and see if they agree (some shy away due to the commission taken). I've never had to use the buyer protection but it does seem they have a good one: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/we...BPInfo-outside
you can take the girl outta NY, but ya can't take NY outta the girl
Use Paypal, or a USPS Postal Money order.
I have used a bartering board, which up until recently has been very good.
I had good experiences with most of the people, and have traded saddles with a very nice woman. She had what I wanted, I had what she wanted. Very nice trade.
to err is human, to whinny, Equine.
Ebay-aholic! Carolina clique, BITS AND BARTER BOARD BUDDY
EYEGLASSES MISSIONS FOR ARMENIA-send me your old glasses!
I hope a horse person would be nice enough to send the saddle...
Let me tell you about how God (and horse people!) take care of fools!
A few years ago, when I got back into riding after a long hiatus, I was told by my barnmates that my anchient Prix de Saute (and back-up Prix de Nations) just wouldn't do (BTW, I am now smarter than that and riding happily in my PdS).
So armed with a VERY small budget and a Dover catalogue (read: no Anteres, Butets, County, etc...even on my radar) I decided on a very nice Pessoa Eq on Ebay. The woman had EXCELLENT feedback on mostly horsey items.
Since Pessoa's were going like hotcakes at that time on Ebay (SOMEBODY must like them, even though they are the red-headed stepchild of H/J's) I couldn't figure out why no one was bidding against me.
I didn't even NOTICE until the auction was over that she didn't take paypal. No wonder no one else was bidding- who wants to risk $$ like that?
She WAS an honest seller; but, since she waited until my cashier's check cleared until she shipped, I sweated bullets for about 5 weeks until my saddle arrived. And the saddle was beautiful, btw, no complaints about Pessoas from me.
BUT I would NEVER do that again. Not for that kind of money. No way.
You are pretty much covered with paypal, or even if you pay by credit card. But don't spend more cash than you can afford to lose.
Rhythm the perfect OTTB;Spock the will-be perfect OTTB;Mia the Arab/appendix COTH giveaway
I've sold on Bits and Barter with no problem--the buyer and I were both very happy with the transaction. I've always bought two saddles online--one on ebay, one on tacktrader. Both went well. The woman I bought from on tacktrader was friendly and gave me lots of information and pictures. Now, I did pay by personal check (didn't want to pay the additional $$ in paypal fees), and was VERY nervous until the saddle arrived safe and sound, so I'd be hesitant about paying with any method that doesn't give you some kind of protection.
I've probably done a dozen saddle transactions, maybe half on eBay the rest on BBs, and all have worked out well. If a seller won't take Paypal (and the Paypal fees can be a good chunk, so I understand it) I have offered to pay the Paypal fees. No refusals yet, and I've gotten some good deals, because as others have pointed out, folks tend not to bid if Paypal isn't an option.
Use a CREDIT CARD through PayPal. PP offers little protection, but your CC company will back you up if the transaction goes bad.
Check the back of your card. Most CC companies will back you up ONLY if the purchase was made less than 100 miles from your home/billing address.
I've sold two saddles and bought one online. All great transactions. The first was my old Beval Devon in college through equine.com. The buyer and I negoiated through email and then she sent a MO and I waited to ship it until I got it. The second was my Beval Stanford last year on ebay. Again, quick and easy transaction. The purchaser paid through paypal and yes, I lost a bit of money in the fees but I felt much better about it and since she paid asap, I shipped the saddle out two days later (and refunded the difference in the shipping costs to her). I did list it as no returns and the girl who bought it knew exactly what she was looking for. Then I bought my Beval Natural on tacktrader.com. It was my 3rd Beval saddle so I knew what I wanted. I paid through paypal, no issues, saddle came in perfect shape.
"I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"
I bought a saddle off of Tacktrader.com. I had a lot of back and forth e-mails with the seller. She was responding from her work e-mail and so was I.(both very well know financial institutions)--and I felt fine with the transaction.
I sent a cashier's check and she sent the saddle a few days after receiving the check. Very well wrapped and boxed!
I guess a lot of the transaction is just the gut feel you get with your back & forth correspondence.
I have purchased a saddle from a BB. It is a really nice Bona Allen reining saddle that I got off Trentriders. We sent several e-mails and agreed on a price. I sent a money order, so I had her address and she had a trusted form of payment. The saddle came quickly and it was even better than I expected. It's like new, the hand tooling is far nicer than the pictures and it is now my favourite western saddle.
I have bought/sold about a dozen saddles on eBay and a few from private sellers on bulletin boards. So far, no problems.
I prefer to pay via Paypal using my Credit card, but I'll admit to having sent a few checks or money orders and hoping for the best. Personally, I think that a seller should bite the bullet and accept Paypal if that's what makes the buyer more comfortable. The people I've bought from have always been honest but I also ask a lot of questions up front and don't buy unless I feel comfortable with the answers.
Right now, the saddle market is s l o w! I have a nearly new saddle that I've been trying to sell (to pay off my vet bills) and have listed it twice on eBay with no takers. I'm now trying the free bulletin boards like bits & barters to see if I can't get it to move. It's especially frustrating because I've always thought I was good at selling saddles.
So, if you're actually in the market to buy, you're sitting in the cat bird's seat!