Dilemma: how to solve the problem of trust in buying/selling at classified sites
My dilemma: I've created a classified site for advertising fairly unusual used items. These items are priced anywhere from $300-$4000 USD and generally buyers and sellers live too far apart to be able to physically meet up and make a switch. So, most buyers are going to have to make arrangements to send money (either online or by cheque) and then trust that the seller sends the item back to them upon receipt of the money.
So, the problems: (a) How to create enough trust between buyer and seller? (b) How to minimise the possibility of the seller not sending?
This is something I'm trying to figure out. I'd be interested in hearing what ideas people have about it.
Two suggestions I've had so far have been:
1. To 'vet' sellers - to have them use their real names and provide the site admin with I.D.
2. To implement a rating system.
Neither of these is really ideal. Vetting is not foolproof - sellers could easily send me a fake 'doctored' passport or bill and most people wouldn't bother to go through this kind of process, they'd probably just defect to a site like ebay where they could start selling right away. And using a rating system isn't ideal as most people would be 'one time' or 'occasional' sellers, so it's unlikely they'd be able or interested in creating a good rating.
Anyhow. Please let me know any thoughts or ideas out there. Thanks.