Paying the seller
Escrow.com is Exchange's payment partner, and it offers you the highest level of protection throughout your transaction. You should only pay the seller through Escrow.com. This also gives you a safe window to review all aspects of the transaction before any money is transferred. Do not ask sellers to use anything other than the integrated Escrow.com payment process.
The following are benefits to using the integrated Escrow.com payment process:
- Escrow will securely hold your payment until you accept all milestones in the Escrow transaction. After you accept all milestones, the Shopify Accounts team is notified to turn you from staff to a store owner.
- When you use Escrow.com for an Exchange sale, you can pay using bank transfer, PayPal, or credit card.
Introduction to Escrow Payments
If you've submitted an offer for a listing on Exchange Marketplace and it's been accepted, then the seller will create the Escrow transaction within the Exchange app. You will then receive an email from Escrow.com containing instructions on how to get started with the payment.
Partial payment, payment plans, and payment through installments are not supported on Exchange. The buyer needs to have all funds available to purchase a business on Exchange.
Because the sale itself is arranged privately between sellers and buyers, all sales on Exchange are final and we cannot assist with refunds for transactions. If you've purchased a business on Exchange and you're looking to return it to the previous owner, you'll need to reach out to the seller to arrange this.
Before your purchase, always make sure to ask the seller any questions you might have about the business to ensure that it's the right fit for you.
Step 1: Your offer is accepted and the transaction begins
As soon as your offer is accepted, the seller will be prompted to create an Escrow.com transaction within the Exchange Marketplace app. The seller is responsible for creating the terms of the transaction and finalizing what's going to be included in the sale.
Once the transaction is created, you will receive an email from Escrow.com asking you to agree to the transaction terms.
Step 2: Agree to terms and send payment
Once you've received the email from Escrow.com, click Review terms to create your Escrow account and review the final terms of the sale that the seller has created. Everything that the seller is agreeing to transfer to you should be included in these terms.
If everything looks good, then agree to the terms to proceed to the payment stage. You will need to be logged into your Escrow account to complete the payment using one of the following methods:
- Credit card
- Wire transfer
After you've made the payment, Escrow.com will verify and secure your funds in a trust account. This provides an extra layer of security by making sure that the funds are held until the seller transfers assets to you.
Step 3: Receive the business assets from the seller
The seller will be notified to begin transferring assets to you as soon as your payment has been secured by Escrow.com. You can expect an email from Escrow.com once the seller confirms that they've handed everything over to you.
Everything but ownership of the Shopify account should be transferred to you at this point. You won't be made the Shopify store owner until after you've confirmed that everything has been received. However, the seller must add you as staff. The email used to log in as staff must be the same email address linked to the Facebook or Google account that you used to sign up for Exchange. You cannot request that the seller uses an alternative email address.
It's your responsibility to accept the staff invitation. You'll receive an email from Shopify with an invite that you can use to add yourself as staff. If you don't receive this email, then let the seller know before you confirm that everything has been received.
Do not confirm that you've received the assets until you have access to the Shopify admin through the staff login the seller sets up for you. Normally, the seller is instructed to add you as staff after you pay Escrow.com. The account you are creating will have limited access to the shop for the time being.
At the end of the transaction, you will be made the store owner by Exchange within three business days. It's important that you provide accurate information in the sign-up form so that the assets are properly sent to you. The seller won't receive the payment until you have accepted all milestones in Escrow.com.
Step 4: Review the business during your inspection period
Every Escrow.com transaction involves an detailed inspection period, which is a period of time given to you as the buyer to make sure that everything is as described by the seller. The inspection period can be anywhere from 3-30 days depending on what was agreed to in the terms of the transaction.
It's most important to check the following:
- You can access all the accounts you've agreed to purchase from the seller.
- You confirm that the sales reported by the seller are valid.
- Everything matches what was described by the seller.
Step 5: Accept the assets in Escrow.com
After you've received everything from the seller and you are satisfied with the purchase, you need to accept mark the milestones as accepted in your Escrow account to finalize the sale.
Log into Escrow.com and go to your Transactions tab, then click on the open transaction to accept the milestones.
As soon as you accept, Escrow.com will begin issuing the payment to the seller. The Exchange team will contact you within three business days to confirm and let you know that it's time to log in to your Shopify account as the new business owner.
Protecting yourself during the buying process
Buying a business from someone you've met online can be complicated. But you can follow these guidelines to help makes sure that your transaction goes smoothly.
Always pay the seller through Escrow.com
Exchange has partnered with Escrow.com to provide you with the safest possible trading environment. Instead of paying the seller directly, you'll first pay Escrow.com, who will hold your money until the seller hands ownership of the business over to you. The seller won't be paid unless you get everything you paid for. Other payment methods like PayPal don't offer any protection for the sale of digital goods, such as a Shopify account. All payments must be made in full and can't be completed through multiple installments.
Never let the seller give you the password to their Shopify account
The Exchange support team transfers ownership of the Shopify account to you within three business days. They'll contact you to let you know that they've received an ownership transfer request from the seller. They'll also let you know when the account is ready for you to be made the new owner.
You should never allow a seller to transfer ownership to you themselves. Account transfers are always done by Exchange support.
Be sure to do your own due diligence
Asking the seller questions is the best way to make sure that there are no surprises once you become the new owner of the business.
Even though you can trust that the sales data charts on Exchange listings are verified by Shopify, it never hurts to ask the seller to validate any claims about numbers as well.
As a buyer, you'll always have an inspection period when paying through Escrow.com.