Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Shop on eBay: A Guide to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Sellers

Buying on eBay: a double-edge sword (...technique).  All jokes aside, this platform for purchasing that much needed Solemn Warning or Black Luster Soldier can be a great way for getting the best deals on cards - and at other times a royal pain.  What every duelist should know is that there are simple things to look out for when making purchases:

1.  Feedback, feedback, feedback!  
It is crucial that you view a seller’s feedback, and not just the percentage of positive feedback, because that can be misleading.  For example, a seller has 99.8% positive feedback.  Sounds good, right?  Take a closer look, though.  Where does the bulk of his sales come from?  Click on the “Feedback as a seller” tab on the seller’s Feedback profile, and if you see a long list of pricey silverware, designer handbags, or clay sculpture replicas of the Statue of David, that seller might not be ideal for purchasing Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.  Why?  Because although he might be an expert in the careful handling of silverware, he might not know the true meaning of card condition simply because he is not accustomed to viewing and selling cards.  So, that “Near Mint Solemn Warning Ultimate” might just be closer to a heavily played one when you excitedly open it in the mail, then realize in distress you did not get what you paid for. 

Also, if you see a lot of “Card condition was not as stated in the listing! Card was damaged!” in the negative feedback section, take that as a warning sign that this particular seller has a history of unhappy customers.  And if you’re buying a high-end card, look at the feedback to check if the seller has in the past sold other high-end cards.  Generally, that means the seller is serious about his product and is “in the know” about what is hot and what is not. In sum, make sure the seller has good feedback, and make sure that feedback comes from selling mainly Yu-Gi-Oh! cards!

2.  Buy domestically. 
When you purchase cards from a seller that resides in the US (that is, if you too live in the US), things are generally a lot easier all around.  For one, there is a lesser chance of the card mysteriously disappearing crossing the Atlantic ocean simply due to the fact that the card has to travel a smaller distance to get to you.  Additionally, the time factor comes in to play.  Need the card before the weekend so you can pwn at locals?  Generally speaking, buying from someone a couple states away will result in a speedier card delivery (that is, if the seller is good at shipping cards soon after purchasing.  Again, view seller feedback before buying!).

3.  Communicate with the seller. 
It's ok to ask questions!  If in the item description it says “Minor play wear around the edges” but is said to be “Near Mint” in the title of the listing, ask the seller to what extent that play wear is.  They might even be able to provide you with a close-up picture of the card itself.    At the end of the day, you can rest assured knowing that you spent your money well if you are confident you chose the right seller. 
I hope these tips have helped you in gaining an insight to smarter eBay buying.  We all know many Yu-Gi-Oh! cards aren’t cheap, so spending your money on the right cards from the right sellers is important!

Ms. K

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