Diary of a doomed trader

I wish this was the first time I’ve heard this story…but it’s not.  Please accept this story as a warning of all the things a barter exchange should NOT do. In case you are not familiar with what a “barter exchange” is please check it out here.

I just got off the phone with a former member of an exchange I’m in.  I say former because he tells me that he told the exchange that he was closing his account over 6 months ago.  The reason I was calling him was because the exchange had recently sold me a gift certificate for his services (that he will not be honoring).

Mistake #1
The vendor says that he was led to believe that there were many members in his immediate area when in fact there were not.  I’m a firm believer that a member’s success (or lack there of) is directly related to the volume of members in their geographical area.  If you are recruiting a member that isn’t in an area with a lot of other members you have to be up front about that.

Mistake #2
The vendor says that the exchange does not police member pricing.   Over pricing is a major industry problem and I don’t see it going away any time soon.  I think the solution is for exchanges to police pricing and kick out gouging members, but honestly I don’t think most exchanges have enough staff to stay on top of this.  What I told this particular person was that if his exchange won’t watch out for over-pricing then he’d have to do it himself.

Mistake #3
The vendor says he was given poor customer service in general by the exchange.  He says they didn’t do any training with him and weren’t particularly helpful when he ran into problems.  From his point of view the only time they ever called him was after he decided to sever the relationship and even then it was just to harass him for monthly fees.

Please note that what I’m telling you is all from this former member’s point of view.  The conversation I had with him was lucid and cordial and I tend to believe what he said.  That being said I’m quite sure that his former exchange would have a different take on the events.

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