I've been receiving more and more email from people regarding their trades on OCAU. They are all along the lines of: this person has received money but hasn't sent a (product), another person said they'd send a receipt but didn't, another person sent a (product) that now seems to be faulty.. etc etc. In the past, I have sometimes sent an email to the other party in an attempt to get them to stay in contact with the person they're trading with and work out some kind of resolution. However, lately people have been approaching me as some kind of arbitrator of trading disputes on OCAU. This is pointless, because in any dispute I have no idea who is telling the truth and no way to verify either side of the story. This kind of futile conversation has been chewing up more and more of my time lately and I think it's time I made OCAU's position clearer.
Let me quote from the Forum Terms and Conditions that you all agreed to when you signed up for your forum account:
OCAU has no part in price negotiation in the forums, nor are we responsible for ensuring delivery, quality or even existence of goods advertised, bought or sold in the forums. Buyer beware!
Imagine if you rang up the publishers of a major newspaper and said you wanted them to ring up and hassle someone who hadn't sent you something you'd paid for from their classifieds section. It wouldn't happen.
When you decide you are interested in buying or selling on OCAU, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure you have enough information about the person you are trading with, that you can pursue them if the trade goes sour. If they don't want to provide as much information as you require, then don't trade with them! There are some other suggestions in this Wiki which may make your trading safer.
In extreme cases - usually where there are several complaints about a single user and it seems they are running some kind of scam - we will suspend their forum account. That will be the limit of OCAU's involvement, unless requested to provide information to the Police or a Court.
Most importantly: If you believe you have been defrauded, then it is a Police matter and you should take it to them. We will happily provide all information we have about a forum user, including email addresses, IP addresses and posting times, to the Police or a Court if they ask for such information. However, we cannot provide it directly to you because of privacy concerns.
So, be wary when trading on OCAU - just as you would be wary when trading via any other medium. OCAU's trading forums are extremely busy now and, like any marketplace, they will attract some percentage of unscrupulous people. It is YOUR responsibility to carefully evaluate any potential trade and YOUR responsibility to chase things up if they go sour - NOT OCAU's.
Update: Let me just clarify that I am still willing to receive complaints about traders - but that you can't expect me to be some kind of mediator in your dispute. Of course, we don't want the forums to become a haven for shonky traders who can rip people off with no fear of repercussions, so if you have a bad experience let me know and I will keep your email on file. As I explained in the previous message, if I receive enough complaints about someone, I may suspend their forum account. You can also report threads and request they be archived in the Admin Forum if you think they will be required as evidence later.