There are some very important legal issues to be aware of when doing consignment selling. Some states and cities have regulations that require you to hold any consignment goods valued at over $100 for a period of up to ten days to give the police time to determine if they are stolen merchandise. In these situations, you have to fax the police a description of the merchandise and any serial numbers of computers, stereos, cameras, and so on. If you don’t hear back from them within seven to ten days, you can then go ahead and sell the item.Pro TipProtect Yourself from Illegal Activity
What is the best way to protect yourself from illegal activity? It is actually very easy. Create a sales policy that lays out this information:
Anyone wanting you to sell goods has to provide a driver’s license, which you should photocopy. You explain to your consignors that you pay all consignment proceeds by check only and you will only mail the check to the address on the driver’s license.
Now any thief would be crazy to provide you his real name and address. If he is stupid enough to do this and the goods turn out to be stolen, you simply give the information to the police and you are legally off the hook. If anyone approaches you to sell goods and wants to be paid in cash, simply demonstrate them a copy of your (written) policies and explain that you are sorry, but this is the only way you will do business.Even if your location does not have any such regulations, you want to be very careful about selling stolen goods. I assure as soon as you advertise that you are an eBay consignment seller or open a consignment storefront, you will be approached by someone (or several people) attempting to sell stolen goods. If you do not take due caution, and the police determine that you have sold stolen goods, you can be in deep trouble.Getting HelpMost community universities/colleges offer courses in starting and running a small e-commerce web site business and some have free business resource centers that can help with all sorts of things you may run into.
A great resource is SCORE. This stands for the Service Core of Retired Executives (http://www.score.org). SCORE is a government-sponsored volunteer organization of retired small business owners who provide consulting and advice to new startup business owners. These folks are often very well connected in the community and can introduce you to lots of valuable contacts. They can also be a source of potential investors.
Taking the time to set up and organize your e-commerce web business correctly will pay dividends almost immediately and save you time and energy as you build and grow your e-commerce site business.