Similar to audiophile products, most mechanical keyboards are built to last and custom production runs are limited. As such, there is a thriving aftermarket when it comes to keyboards. Knowing how to protect yourself is very important. There are many high-value items around our community, which draws the attention of people trying to scam others. Thankfully, our community is a very positive one, but there are bad people no matter where you go.
For starters, make sure you use a protected payment method, like PayPal , which offers very strong buyer protection, if you use the “Goods and Services” or Invoice options. A lot of other services, such as Venmo do not offer this. It’s important to differentiate these services, even though they are owned by the Paypal, Inc. Venmo is supposed to be used between friends, and Paypal is usually used for merchant services or trades. By using Paypal, if the seller decides not to send you the item while keeping your money, you have 180 days to file a dispute, which is usually more than enough time. Sometimes, during a group buy ran by another community member, the actual ship date of the product can be much farther out than 180 days, so it’s not uncommon practice to ask to cancel your initial purchase and re-purchase, thus recycling your active protection and starting it anew. This is a really good habit to get into, in case the organizer decides to run away with your money, which is rare, but not unheard of.
If a seller is insisting on using a non-protected method or PayPal Friends and Family (Gift), which is also unprotected, that should be an immediate red flag to you. There is no shame in canceling that transaction, and it may even be a good idea to let the moderators of that platform know what’s up, if it seems fishy. This may sometimes look very attractive, as you can save a few dollars on Paypal fees, but lets play it safe. It’s not worth trying to get the product you want, if you have a high chance of losing it.
R/Mechmarket is the biggest community-centered marketplace for mechanical keyboards and all things related, so a lot of the person-to-person business happens there. There, we have a flair system that shows you how many completed transactions a user has if you enable the subreddit style. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the subreddit, it will help make your experience a little more seamless (Read the Rules Here).
Other than R/Mechmarket , you can also check out the Geekhack.org Classifieds. They work similarly to R/MM (mechmarket), but use BB forums, and have slightly different rules. Make sure to read up on them here.
People can also link their Heatware accounts to the flair, as well, which is another way of tracing back successful or unsuccessful transactions. Now, I’m not saying you should completely trust someone with a monumental trade count, but it’s often a good indicator of someone that knows what they’re doing and will send you your item(s).
Don’t be afraid to take precautions. This is your hard-earned money you’re spending, and you deserve to get what you paid for.
Lastly, make sure to contribute and help maintain the flair system. It helps with your own future trades, and also helps maintain the safety of our trading platform. It’s a simple process, and all you have to do the following:
- Go to the “[Insert Current Month] Confirmed Trade Thread” on R/Mechmarket
- Comment what you bought, sold, or traded, and tag the other community member.
- Lastly, ask the other community to confirm the trade & you’re all set!
If you’re looking for other places to buy mechanical keyboard related things, please also check out the Geekhack.org Classifieds