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Just wondering how the members sell more expensive items at train shows. Do you accept checks and let the item leave or do you hold item till check clears (adding a shipping charge to the price)? I am not set up to take credit cards. Do you think verifying D.L. # and photo safe enough? Maybe have an ink pad for thumb print on check? Thanks for any input.

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I think most of the time it is cash only. Although there was a seller at the TCA York Meet that more than once accepted a check from me. However, that is different because if the check was not good and the seller couldn’t resolve it with me the TCA can get involved and I could have been removed from the TCA. If you are talking about a Greenberg show or some other non TCA show I would not accept checks. Cash only.

I have seen guys pull lots of $100 bills out of their pockets. If they want your item they will get you cash.

Last edited by Hudson J1e

Search "credit card reader for iphone (or android)".  Realize that you will be paying around 3.5% of the sale to the credit card company.

My question in regards to selling at train shows is the tax.  I don't have a specific EIN for selling my personal collection.  How do others do it?  Is it something I'd have to worry about?

Last edited by Frank Mulligan

Almost always it is cash only, but a lot of folks actually know each so taking a check is not improbable or impossible.  I have taken checks at several O scale shows.

But I think most come prepared with cash in hand and a roll of $100 bills.  Also, there's almost always a teller machine not too far off.  I have held an item for a buy to make a run to get cash from the machine.

I have a bigger problem making change!

my club puts on two shows every year. I see more and more vendors excepting cards but the cost of running that card can add up. (Square last I checked charges 2.6% +10¢) For sales tax in Kansas we as the host have to provide the state with the name and address of all individuals and businesses selling at the show. If they have a EIN then it’s a little easier and we can just provide that. Then when vendors arrive we supply them with all the necessary sales tax related forums to then settle up with the state. Again this is in Kansas other states may do it differently

Most people at train shows outside established dealers tend to be cash only. Most shows do have ATM's on site, though usually you pay anywhere from 3-5 bucks for the privilege, plus your own banks fees.

One alternative that won't involve credit card companies would be to use paypal or apps like Venmo, given that most people have smart phones with them, it is pretty easy to make a sale, have them pay it through pay pal or venmo or the like, and verify payment. When you are talking things costing a lot of money, cash becomes awkward (not to mention things like having to make change!). Personally even with the cost of credit card fees (I can't talk about the tax situation, it varies from venue to venue. Technically unless a state exempts private transations from sales tax, like PA apparently does (hence the dealer buildings/member buildings divide from what I have been told), you are supposed to collect sales tax even if it is cash... ), I would say it is worth it, I suspect it would increase impulse buying, whereas if they see a 500 or 600 buck engine, and have to run to the ATM, might give them time to think about it and they don't.....

I've never had a problem paying with a check at a TCA meet, but cash speaks more loudly.  If I was selling, I'd beware of taking cash - there are too many counterfeit $100 bills floating around.  I don't think that another TCA member (or the vast majority of train guys) would try to pass a bad bill, but some of them look good enough that a person could unwittingly have one.  A marker for testing bills is a start, but not 100% foolproof.

If we knew how much cash was in the pockets of train show attendees, especially at major meets like York, I think we'd be astounded.

@Mallard4468 posted:

I've never had a problem paying with a check at a TCA meet, but cash speaks more loudly.  If I was selling, I'd beware of taking cash - there are too many counterfeit $100 bills floating around.  I don't think that another TCA member (or the vast majority of train guys) would try to pass a bad bill, but some of them look good enough that a person could unwittingly have one.  A marker for testing bills is a start, but not 100% foolproof.

If we knew how much cash was in the pockets of train show attendees, especially at major meets like York, I think we'd be astounded.

Agree with Mallard, if accepting cash, get a pen to verify it. I’ve used them in the past and have not had a problem.

Steve

@Mallard4468 posted:

I've never had a problem paying with a check at a TCA meet, but cash speaks more loudly.  If I was selling, I'd beware of taking cash - there are too many counterfeit $100 bills floating around.  I don't think that another TCA member (or the vast majority of train guys) would try to pass a bad bill, but some of them look good enough that a person could unwittingly have one.  A marker for testing bills is a start, but not 100% foolproof.

If we knew how much cash was in the pockets of train show attendees, especially at major meets like York, I think we'd be astounded.

This used to be a much bigger problem than it is now.

Newer $100 notes, i.e. last 5 to 10 years, have many security features such as the thread woven into the paper/fabric that's easily seen when held up to a light, textured ink, holographic patterns in pictures and seals, etc.

The pen is only one of the methods to determine if a $100 bill is real.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike
@scott5011 posted:

Just wondering how the members sell more expensive items at train shows. Do you accept checks and let the item leave or do you hold item till check clears (adding a shipping charge to the price)? I am not set up to take credit cards. Do you think verifying D.L. # and photo safe enough? Maybe have an ink pad for thumb print on check? Thanks for any input.

Where do you draw the line for 'more expensive'?  If a potential buyer is looking for a GGD Santa Fe set he more than likely brought three thousand in cash with him.  If he is looking at twenty dollar cars and sees an eight hundred dollar engine, he/she may not have that much cash with them.  If they live within a reasonable distance, accept a non-refundable deposit, give them a receipt and wait for them to return with the balance.  John

Last edited by rattler21

Good advice all. While we are on the subject of selling at a train show, like many of us on this forum, I am at the point in life where I need to try selling some of my collection.  Having never tried this, from what other advice can a first timer like me benefit?   I would be most grateful for your input.



   

Earl, if possible have the items in their original box. The importance of the box varies by train show, if it is primarily two rail and brass (The March Meet) or a local show where grandma and grandpa are looking for a 'Lionel train' for little Johnny at Christmas time.  Have change for at least two C-Notes.  I usually have a cloth for the surface of a table. unless the venue furnishes table cloths with the tables. Colored bedsheets seem to be okay.  Have prices on tags or stick ems.  Keep track of what you sell as soon as practical after the sale.  Do not flash your money.  John

Last edited by rattler21

On a couple occasions I have taken a check ( not train show) from out of state seller, that bounce. I contact them first, if no response or feel I'm being drag along, I turn it over to the States attorney general. Then the state will go after them, and if it's over $500 ( I think might be $300 ) they can be arrested and charged as a crime. Usually the state makes them pay the amount + $50 for my banks fee, and then a fee to them and the state has mailed me a check.

Do people get EIN's just so they can sell at shows?  I'm talking your average person, not a dealer.

Are you selling in the state your from, if not then you would have to get one for that state as your selling in that state. Most people would not bother, but technically you might. Would I? No, unless you turn it into a business.

I'm not a seller, but I am a TCA member and  I've been to plenty of York's.   My experience is cash always works.  A lot of folks take checks from TCA members.  IMHO fellow TCA members should be considered  trust worthy.  Credit cards are are widely accepted by the larger sellers.  For any large dollar purchase I pay by check or credit card.  I'd prefer credit card since with cash or check as a consumer I have to be warry of product defects.

@shorling posted:

I'm not a seller, but I am a TCA member and  I've been to plenty of York's.   My experience is cash always works.  A lot of folks take checks from TCA members.  IMHO fellow TCA members should be considered  trust worthy.  Credit cards are are widely accepted by the larger sellers.  For any large dollar purchase I pay by check or credit card.  I'd prefer credit card since with cash or check as a consumer I have to be warry of product defects.

Most shows have a test track to check for defects.  The problem with Cards is that who knows what happens to the item after the show.  Buyer accidentally drops it causing damage then wants his money back by opening a dispute of payment.  I will never take a credit card payment for that reason.  One of the best attributes of shows is that it is the fairest way to buy and sell since it is truly an “as is” transaction.  The biggest of cause of defects in this hobby is the postal system, followed by UPS and FedEx.

As mentioned above, TCA membership is pretty slim at 2 rail shows.   On the other hand, the 2 rail community is fairly small and most people know or have seen each other.    And generally if there is a unscrupulous person around a show, the word spreads pretty quickly.      Generally there are people around who are  common acquaintances.  

I have taken checks when I have sold things at shows.    Generally if I don't know the person I prefer cash, but on the other hand, I have never had a bad check.    I am not a dealer and just sell some personal items and use the table as a place to store my coat and sit and rest, so I don't have a lot of experience.

I agree with all on this.   When I was selling off my old HO collection when getting into O scale, way back in the early 80s, I usually asked for cash only.   I did except one personal check, which cleared, but only after getting a copy of the buyers state DL.   They were most happy to comply, and all was good, and they did seem honest!    The couple looking at my items just literally minutes before, wanted to give me a check, and got huffy over me wanting their IDs.......   They DID seen shady, and after a few words (mostly from me on their demeanors), I told then to take a hike!!!!   The guy selling behind me, told me they had bounced a check earlier in the year from on of his sales, but being it was a small amount, nothing legally could be done.   It boils down to seller beware,  most people are straight up, but spotting the turds in the group can be a challenge sometimes.....

I was at a large train show, and negotiating a purchase of several standard gauge train sets.  The seller was being extremely stubborn about the price which was well over a thousand dollars. I couldn’t believe it but when I counted my money I was ten dollars short, and he wouldn’t budge on the price. I asked if I could write a check for the ten dollars and he said keep the cash and write a check for the total amount. I asked if he wanted my ID and he said no just write your phone number on the check.   A few weeks later I was at the Fall York and had the same situation but I had sufficient funds that time and when I pulled the cash out the seller said he would prefer a check if I had one.

Do people get EIN's just so they can sell at shows?  I'm talking your average person, not a dealer.

Nope.  I am selling the things from my personal collection that I bought at retail elsewhere.

I've yet to turn a "profit" on a train item and I don't buy to resell.

Deity help them if people ever get serious about "writing off" all the money they lost at their train hobby over the years.

I have even used Paypal to make up for a shortfall on cash at a show.  Many dealers, especially the younger ones have an account.  You can do friends and family in that instant as your standing right there and not hoping the stranger ships your train to you.   Many shows also have an ATM in the building.  While they have a fee, if you want the train bad enough, you pay the piper.   AD

I usually go to a train show with enough cash on hand to purchase even the largest item I see, around $1500, I carry hundreds and that's all. I never haggle with the seller, I feel that is degrading to him or her, the price they post is the price I'm willing to pay if I think it's worth it. As far as change, well that's up to the seller, if they can't make change, I don't pay over, no matter how much I like the item. I don't go to the concession stand to make change either, I'm there to buy trains, nothing else.

@ConrailFan posted:

I usually go to a train show with enough cash on hand to purchase even the largest item I see, around $1500, I carry hundreds and that's all. I never haggle with the seller, I feel that is degrading to him or her, the price they post is the price I'm willing to pay if I think it's worth it. As far as change, well that's up to the seller, if they can't make change, I don't pay over, no matter how much I like the item. I don't go to the concession stand to make change either, I'm there to buy trains, nothing else.

Everyone's entitled to shop the way they want.   I usually carry a decent amount of cash, but there are times that I don't have sufficient funds for a large purchase.  I have access to lots of cash via PayPal, so that's my fallback position.  As far as haggling, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that point.  I may be willing to pay what they're asking, or I may not, but if I can get it for a better price, I'm all in!  I've never really had an issue with change for a purchase, and I usually carry some level of smaller bills anyway.

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