Friday, March 6, 2015

Can We Have A Quick Conversation about eBay?

Yesterday, I logged on to Freedom Cardboard (I like to look at the box breaks section) and I came across a discussion thread regarding one seller's opinion on being, well...I'll just share the whole post with you:

This is directed at the buyers who have absolutely zero clue what tact is. If you want to buy something on eBay from someone and think or even know that an item is overpriced, insulting the seller and telling them the Price of their item is not the way to go. It is a quick way to lose all credibility and willingness from a seller to work with you. If you want the item or are interested, maybe try a different approach. Maybe reach out to the seller and say… I am interested in this card/item but it is out of my price range. If you ever decide to come down in price please keep me in mind. Just, anything other than trying to tell someone what THEIR card is WORTH. It isn’t your card, you are not required to buy or even LOOK at it. As a buyer and seller I am from both sides of the coin.

As a buyer: are there cards that I want that I feel are overvalued. Of course I do. Do I fault the seller for pricing it high? NO. It is their card. THEY can do what they want with it. Would I ever tell a seller what their card is worth and try and shame them into lowering the price. NOPE. Tell me how many times this has ever worked for you? I will try to build a rapport with that seller in a positive way then, see if they would negotiate/work with me.

As a seller: Any person that tries to TELL me “how it is” immediately goes on my BLOCK list. Do I price things up high? I do, because I am in no need or rush to sell, and if someone is willing to pay a premium for a card then I will be willing to sell it. Also, if people approach me in a reasonable/positive manner then I also may be willing to negotiate a deal, or at the least I keep an open conversation. Then, if I ever do decide to sell at a lower price, they are on my list of people I will reach out to and make a deal.

This isn’t a call out to anyone in particular; I am just tired of some people telling me HOW IT IS? Enough already!!! 
Okay, that seemed a little angry. Sure, if there is debate on the value of a card, I get it. But there are also instances where a seller is CLEARLY overpriced (remember this one that PATP shared with us?). These are borderline scandalous, in my opinion, because I feel the seller is trying to dupe someone with little knowledge of the card into paying an exorbitant amount for it. It's dishonest and shameful, and I wish there was some way for eBay to fix that (now, if it is listed as as auction and someone overpays, that's their own fault).

With that in mind, I responded to the post with this:
So, honest question here: if you had an item listed with a high BIN with OBO, do you get offended if someone makes an offer and, in the comments, notes that the last few cards have sold for a significant amount less? I've done that...I want to make a fair offer, but the last thing I want to do is offend the seller, so I explain the reasoning for my offer. However, if that is still a problem for sellers, I would like to know so I don't offend.
Naturally, I got something like this back:
Is telling someone that their same item sold for less really going to change their mind most of the time though? Probably not. If someone was truly lacking knowledge on pricing for something, then they might recognize a pricing error and adjust via this method, but most people want the price they feel in their head is what "it is worth". It's funny though, people get butt hurt about the funniest things sometimes.
So, what do you think? Personally, I think the original poster went overboard. eBay is an anonymous marketplace where buyers and sellers never actually have to meet, so lowballing and similar tactics are the norm. That being said, if you aren't sure you want to sell the card or are in "no rush" to sell it, why even list it? You are setting yourself up for a headache and it's on you, as the seller, for setting something so high they feel the need to tell you about it. Obviously, there are going to be people on occasion that tell you you are overpriced because a) they think you are overpriced when you aren't, or b) are jsut trying to get you to lower the card so they can get it for a steal. But I think the majority of people are trying to negotiate in good faith.

What say you, oh mighty blogospere?


  1. I believe Ebay sucks, even though I make purchases from time to time, or win what I obviously way under bid for which is great for me. In the past, I would win/buy 30 items a month at times, now maybe 20 a year. Here is why Ebay sucks, it was created for the buyers, and is now all about the benjamins, more seller friendly than buyer friendly. I say this because if you check my feedback nearly half of which was as a seller (perfect feedback mind you), whereas I seen the writing on the wall 10 years ago (quit selling in 2005), and decided I wouldn't be selling cards anymore, luckily the blogosphere benefits from trading and so do I. Keeps our Hobby a Hobby, and not a business. I sold somewhere around 900 lots (thousands of cards), not as a business, but to get rid of cards I didn't want or need with no rush or need to sell. I typically started them at .99 (regardless of their worth) and made the lots worth while for sure, and go figure nearly 100% success in getting rid of them. I was happy the buyers were obviously happy and came back over and over again which should be the point of a "business" (return customers). I would take any proceeds and then spend them right back on Ebay. I don't do too much there these days because if you just so happen to find and win a SUPER deal, they ALWAYS come up with a reason to refund your money, and Ebay allows this. I've had to get refunds 4 times in the last 18 months for the very thing. That is not to say all sellers do this, but many do. One day when I win the lottery (LOL), I will upstart something to demolish the competition). LOL! thanks for the venting forum. LOL.

  2. John's story, above, is much like mine. I've used it sell off a large part of my junk wax collection as team lots and was just happy to find a home for the cards and make a little change on the side.

    I don't know that Ebay "sucks", but I guess it all depends on how you want to use it OR how you think you should be able to use it as a card buying tool.

    I generally stay away from the BIN auctions because I find them to be overpriced, but I understand why they are that way. Occasionally I'll throw an OBO out there, but it rarely works. I'm not bent out of shape when/if it's rejected and I hope the seller isn't either. I've never mentioned to a seller that their card was priced to high or given them comparison pricing, but I figure my lower offers might send the same message.

    I used to watch auctions like a hawk and true to snipe them at the last minute, but anymore I throw a max bid out there early and if I win I'm happy because I got what I thought was a good deal. If I didn't, fine. That just means somebody valued the card more and I'm okay with that.

  3. I think the seller is off the mark. List it at a crazy price and scoop up someone that is unaware of the common-ness of the card = jagoff. Ebay has just become another way to scam the buyer. I have seen many a card I want, but the hell if I will add it to my collection at that price. The poster's argument of "Do I fault the seller for pricing it high? NO. It is their card. THEY can do what they want with it." is total BS. He says "...most people want the price they feel in their head is what "it is worth". The opposite it the truth as well - the seller wants the prince of what THEY think it's worth. However, the sellers on ebay are not following the simple adage of supply and demand. Price is set by what people are willing to pay for an item, not what the seller wants to sell the item.

    Granted, this isn't always true. However, the few items that break this trend are necessities, not luxuries. And that's outright price gouging.

    I do get his general point - don't be a dick. However, I think your reasoning is perfect: explain why you have come to the price you are offering. The market should dictate the price. If the seller gets all bent because you explain your reasoning, move on. I think it's crappy we can't block sellers, but they can block buyers. I don't want to see the crap from an a-hole.

    And don't get me started on the sellers that use shipping to recoup fees. Don't charge me $2.50 to ship and drop it to me in a PWE. That's douche.

    1. You hit the nail on the head with most of this. Many a seller in the Bay is just looking to get more $$ out of what he is trying to sell. Many of them know full well that their card is really worth and they want to try to double that. They also will ignore any reasonable "best offer" claiming it is low balling.

      Now those guys who try to sell a card that is worth $20 or less for $19,000 with $200 shipping are the extreme BS sellers.

      I hate those sellers who up the shipping price to recoup fees. Many are obvious with an auction starting at 99cents with shipping $10 and + those are supposed to be banned by Ebay but are usually just one day auctions and by the time they are reported the auction is over. Yes the charging a reasonable $2.50 shipping and then sending in a 49cent PWE is being a douche. That is what neutral feedback is for.

      I am also sick of things being stored in the card savers with regular tape over the top of the thing with nothing to keep the card from sliding up to that sticky spot. The only tape that should be used is painters tape (blue or whatever color), it leaves no residue and is super easy to remove. Regular tape leaves residue and is a huge pain in dabutt to remove plus it risks damage to the card. If any tape is used preferably it is used on something like an outer wrapper of plain paper so the actual card and it's toploader or pennysleeve doesnt' suffer damage or tape residue

  4. I don't know that you could say eBay is "more seller friendly than buyer friendly". I've never sold anything there, myself, but I know longtime sellers and there are certainly headaches on both ends. The sellers have to pay both eBay and Paypal out of their proceeds and I've found "customer service" from both to be miserable at best (as have sellers). Lots of buyers lie to recapture the money they spent while keeping or copying the item they bought and, in those disputes, the buyer often prevails when he shouldn't. If you see something you think is overpriced, just chuckle and move on. In addition to cards, I buy a lot of records off eBay. When I see something priced beyond all sanity, I'll "watch" it. Why? Because it's usually something I own and I want to see if there truly is that kind of interest in it. If I see a record I bought for $2.50 with a $100 opening bid and it generates more than a few bids then it was obviously not over-priced, was it? I recently bought a 45 for over $260. I guarantee it was a record and group you've never heard of, but I've been looking for it for over 30 years (and it was 20 years older than that). Was it overpriced? Not to me and clearly not to the bidders I was competing with. It is not the sellers' responsibility, nor mine nor yours, to look out for the under-educated buyer. Now, if the seller is out to deceive, inappropriately using words such as "rare", that's a little different...but only a little. My biggest eBay complaints are with over-grading and--MOST ESPECIALLY--packaging. NO card or cards purchased on eBay should EVER be sent in a PWE. Frankly, it bugs me when traders use PWE as well. When I send cards through the mail, I package them in a way that says I care that they arrive in one piece--no matter what the postal service subjects them to. I would expect others to do the same. It isn't that hard and it isn't that expensive. Act like you give a crap.

    My biggest beef with eBay is in not taking action against a particular seller who is clearly bad for everyone--including eBay itself. I have in mind a seller who would list an item, collect the cash, and then never send the item but, instead, list it again. He had several sock puppet accounts to sell from, but it was a numbered it was pretty easy to see what was going on. EBay did NOTHING, in spite of numerous complaints, while the guy sold the same card nearly a DOZEN times. The sock puppet accounts kept people from finding such complaints in the feedback. And eBay and Paypal did NOTHING to refund or recoup the money of those swindled, nor did they do anything to the offending seller for a very long time. But I blame eBay and Paypal for that sleazeball more than I blame the sleazeball himself.

    Overall, eBay (or any other on-line service) is a tool. Buyer beware. Seller beware. There are people on both ends looking to take advantage of one another. That's the nature of some human beings. Read the feedback before you buy. If it seems overpriced to you, move on. If you have a bad experience with a seller, don't buy from them again. But, OTOH, I know I would never have found that $260 45 (more than a dollar a second) had eBay not existed. On balance, I'm happy they exist.

  5. I agree with you Judson. That seller is a little extreme in his comments. But I guess that is his right. Just as it is the right of a potential buyer to make comments about a particular card. I have made offers and cited previous sales of the same or similar cards and it has worked before. I've also done that and the seller has just declined and said nothing at all. No counter offer, nothing. A card is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The seller has to understand that.. If they want to hold onto the card in hopes of finding someone else that is willing to pay more for it, then they can do that, but neither party should be rude about it.