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Avoid Scams: The Dos and Don’ts of Buying Used Tack Online – with Harris Leather & Silverworks


According to Phil Harris of Harris Leather & Silverworks, there is a huge push from saddle scammers on social media right now. “They go back and find old posts of saddles for sale and then steal the pictures and the serial numbers and sell a saddle that has already been sold,” warns Harris. “They have pictures and a serial number and it looks legit. Most people would not believe some of the horror stories we hear from our customers on a regular basis.”

Over the past decade we have witnessed a tremendous growth in technology in all areas of society. Everywhere you turn it seems someone is browsing on a smartphone or working on a tablet or computer. Along with this surge in technological advances we have witnessed the growth of used tack being readily traded on websites such as Facebook, Tack Trader and eBay. Websites such as these can be tremendous tools to help individuals buy, sell and trade used saddles and tack with ease and with great results.

Harris saddles do don't saddles onlineThere are many benefits to using these sites to your advantage, whether you are shopping for quality pre-owned equipment or trying to clean out your tack room and make some extra cash. However, buying and selling on these sites can have drawbacks, and you would not believe some of the horror stories we hear from our customers on a daily basis.

At Harris Leather & Silverworks, our customers are very important to us so it’s distressing when we hear about their bad experiences buying and selling tack online. As the company that manufactures much of the tack that is regularly traded on eBay, Facebook groups, and the like, we feel it is our responsibility to educate and assist our customers by providing you with several do’s and don’ts concerning the trading of Harris brand saddles and tack online.

DO: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get a serial number for any Harris saddle that you are considering purchasing online. The same goes if you are selling a saddle as well. Make sure you provide those considering buying your used saddle with its serial number. We keep detailed records of saddles by their serial numbers and encourage our customers to report to us first if a saddle should become stolen, so we can flag it in our database.

Buying a saddle on Facebook, eBay, or Tack Trader without first seeing a picture of the serial number could get you in the middle of a mess if the saddle were to be stolen. Once you have the number, give us a call and we can confirm its legitimacy and provide you with more information regarding that particular saddle.

DON’T: Do not wholly accept what a seller online tells you about the seat size, year model or original price of a Harris saddle. Request a photo of the saddle’s serial number. A Harris saddle’s serial number can tell you the seat size of the saddle as well as the year in which it was built.

Give us a call and we will be happy to tell you about reading the serial number. You would not believe how often we hear from customers who have bought saddles from private individuals and have been misinformed about the seat size, year model, and even the original price of the saddle new.

DO: Check our website to compare any used Harris tack or merchandise that you are viewing online to our current products. This often helps you compare a used item against the cost of the same item or similar items new. It’s amazing the items we see selling on Facebook, eBay and Tack Trader that are selling for more money than what you could get an exactly the same new item for from our website.

DON’T: Do not buy a saddle online from a private seller that has provided just one picture of the saddle. We’ve heard from several customers who hastily bought a saddle online based off only one or two pictures, only to realize that several damaged parts, tears, or stains were concealed in the picture.

Remember, buying a used saddle from a reputable business helps guarantee that the saddle is safe and not worn to a dangerous point. You do not have that guarantee when buying from a private individual. Do your homework first to ensure that you don’t end up with a saddle that is unsafe and in need of costly repairs to make it safe again.

DO: Ask the seller about their return policy. Our return policy for almost every item we sell, including used saddles and tack is very accommodating. We understand that buying a saddle or tack online is not like buying it face to face at a show. Sometimes a saddle or tack item may not fit a rider or horse exactly the way you imagined so the ability to return it is a huge advantage.

Many sellers on eBay and Facebook are open to returns; however, some are not. Don’t get stuck with something you’re not happy with because you didn’t discuss the possibility of a return before reaching an agreement.

DON’T: Do not purchase a saddle or tack item from someone on eBay that has a poor feedback score or rating. eBay offers the chance for both buyers and sellers to leave either positive or negative feedback ratings about the performance of either party involved in the deal. This score should be checked before buying from someone on eBay. Unlike Facebook, eBay also has a buyer protection program that guarantees that if you were to get scammed, cheated or mislead that eBay will do what is necessary to right any wrong.

If you are not happy with the way a deal was handled on Facebook and the buyer or seller is not willing to make it right, you are out of luck. Remember, Facebook was designed for individuals to share pictures, videos, ideas and other social aspects of life. It was never originally designed for commerce, nor is it designed for commerce today.

This is not saying that Facebook cannot be utilized as a wonderful tool in buying and selling saddles and tack, just keep in mind that there is no scam protection for buyers and sellers who have been wrongfully treated.

DO: Always discuss shipping methods, costs and procedures with the person selling the used tack item. When dealing with a business you are usually guaranteed that your item will be professionally packed in an appropriate size and strength box. We ship saddles and tack all over the world on a daily basis and know how to ensure that a fancy show saddle will arrive at your door unharmed.

Often times, individuals selling saddles on Facebook, eBay and Tack Trader are not professionals and have little to no experience shipping high value saddles across the country. Request that your saddle or tack item be packed in a sturdy cardboard carton that is the proper size for that item.

Saddles shipped in a box that is too big often have room to move around in the box and get damaged when being transported in shipping. Also, make sure you insure or request insurance for each package with the proper dollar amount necessary to replace the item should it be lost or damaged in shipping.

DO: Discuss the expected time frame for buyers to pay and sellers to ship the saddle or tack. We’ve heard from customers who reached an agreement with buyers on a price but did not receive payment for the item until weeks later. We’ve also heard from customers who bought a used item on Facebook and didn’t receive the item until weeks after they paid for that item. Make sure your buyer or seller knows how quickly you expect the transaction to the handled.

Utilizing some, or all, of the above suggestions when buying or selling Harris saddles and tack online is sure to save you lots of headache next time you buy or sell online. Facebook, eBay, Tack Trader and other sites have become great tools for our industry to buy, sell and trade Harris products.

Doing business on each of these sites can however come with many unforeseen problems when the proper precautions are not taken. We strive for all of our customers to be treated fairly when buying and selling tack online and hope this article will assist in making that desire a reality in the future.

CLICK HERE for more information about Harris Leather & Silverworks including a section dedicated to pre-owned Harris saddles.


Portions of this article originally published January 2016.

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