I just won an auction for an old website for $2700. I contacted the seller and he is from a country near Russia (I'm from the U.S.), and he barely spoke English. In fact, when I contacted him, it was over Skype (no video) and we couldn't really understand each other, so we used chat most of the time.
He was trying to explain to me that his bank does not accept transactions from American companies (or something?), so he cannot use Flippa Escrow or any escrow for that matter. Instead, he wants to send me the domain, then I'll pay him half, then he'll send me the files/content, then I'll send him the other half, then he'll set up the FTP. This doesn't make any sense and wasn't mentioned on the auction page, or during any communication before the auction ended.
On Skype, I told him I was in this with a few partners and would need to check with them first, but also told him that we were getting the money together and setting up a host. After thinking it through and discussing it with my partners, I emailed him explaining that we don't feel comfortable without using escrow and taking care of this in one transaction. I also mentioned that I confirmed with Escrow.com over the phone that they do business in his country and often.
What do you think about this? Has anyone used Flippa enough to know if the sales are usually handled this way, since Flippa pretty much leaves it to the seller and auction winner to figure everything out (although they do strongly recommend using escrow). We had some serious plans for this thing, and now it seems a bit questionable.
Anyway, thanks for any help you can give!