Saturday, March 6, 2010

eBay Trials and Tribulations

Selling on eBay obviously has its inherent benefits with a turnkey online sales platform and tailor made audience for sports cards, memorabilia, and collectibles. However it is not without its pitfalls as well. From ever increasing fees to non-paying buyers.

In the span of 1-day, I had two incidents occur that I thought were interesting. One much more of a hassle than the other.

First, after listing a 2010 Topps Ricky Henderson Peak Performance Game Used Bat Card, I was contacted by a potential buyer asking if I would accept a money order. Of course, was the obvious answer. Upon completion of the sale (for a whopping $1.80) he sent me this email:

"I will mail payment sometime next week. I will send $5 cash. The sales total was $4.65. Please send back 1 0r 2 quarters. (My sons can use them for laundry).

In addition, please do not tape the container. ( I am assuming he means top-loader) If you have to tape the container please put a piece of paper around the card first as I will be displaying the card in the container about arrival."

Fine, whatever. But first, why would I send you 2 quarters? I'll send you a quarter and a dime. Or hell, I'll send you 35 pennies if I want to. I am the one that accommodated you by taking what you said would be a money order.

Second, what is the deal with the tape? Just weird.

The second issue involved a NM condition 1969 Topps Nolan Ryan. In all honesty I should have had the card graded first but the consignor didn't want to. I listed all noticeable condition attributes and listed PSA's grading standards in the listing. Now the seller is is saying their is a crease, when I said there weren't.

This is the email from him:

"It appears that you did NOT look very closely at the card. It looked fine at first look and I was excited to have such a nice card. Corners were nice....BUT, when I removed it from the top loader (still in penny sleeve) I instantly noticed the CREASE located at Nolan's right knee...slightly above where the knee cap would be. In relatiuon to the card, it would be on the left side of the card. If you blow up you scan to 200% and look at the area, you can see a fine white line in the photo....I missed it when looking at the listing....just saw where you stated Nice edges, NO creases, etc.

Anyway....look at the scan and see if you notice the crease.....I still like the card, but I overpaid pricewise for the card's condition....Look at the scan and let me know if you see the marking. "

Ok, if I made a mistake fine. But based on what is acceptable for a PSA NM grade, this clearly falls within those guidelines. Here is a picture of the card magnified 200% and link to the listing.

So I replied back asking what he thought was a reasonable solution despite disputing whether this surface mark constitutes being a crease and still falling in the grade listed regardless. I'll make it right for the buyer but this is a clear example of the benefits of grading, particularly when it comes to vintage.


the sewingmachineguy said...

I define a crease as a fold that shows through to the back of the card. What I see here is a wrinkle. Some wrinkles can be 'smoothed-out' if done properly.
Tell that guy you got something for him to blow up 200 percent.

Carl Crawford Cards said...

I kind of agree with sewingmachineguy here. Despite guidelines, etc. grading is ultimately subjective. If you have to blow something up 200x to see an imperfection, I'd say the dude got a bad@ss card and your description was accurate.

That said, when I buy vintage I steer clear of the big-bucks high grade stuff because it's subjective. I also don't sell vintage because of clowns that go nuts over a wrinkle that looks like the Himalayas under an electron microscope.

Captain Canuck said...

on the first one, I say this all the time; "there is a special place in hell for those that put tape on toploaders" however... that person seems too weird.

second, I'm sure you've heard this before, too much detail. State that the card appears good, sharp corners, etc... but please see scan for condition. If you don't slap a label on it (ie NM) then no one can come back to you after.

Anonymous said...

I sell a lot of ephemera and postcards on ebay, I scan them super big (but optimized for easy downloading) and basically explain what imperfections I noticed and invite them to inspect the card and grade it themselves.

Cardboard Icons said...

Actually, that crease is pretty clear in the images in your auctions, especially from the back. And yes, I define that as a crease. Buyer should have asked before the end of the auctions, but the NM+ is a tad misleading, albeit inadvertantly.

As for tape on top loaders, you should use painters tape -- it doesn't stick to the cards.

Cardboard Icons said...

And for what it's worth, I think I see a crease (or crinkle) on that Al Kaline rookie too. Check the left border ...

Jason Presley said...

What's with these tape/toploader nuts? When shipping a card, the toploader is just part of the packing, not part of the product. If I feel the need to tape the bubble mailer, toploader, and penny sleeve if that's what it takes for the card to arrive intact, that's what I'll do!

Cardboard Icons said...

Jason, the problem with some tape on the toploader is that sometimes cards slide in a top loader and eventually get stuck to the tape. If you use the wrong tape (especially packing tap) on a toploader, this card ruin a card. This is why painter's tape is recommended -- the stuff won't stick like other tapes. Painters tape (think blue and paper-like) could probably be applied to vintage cards and removed without any damage ... just a different adhesive.

GCA said...

Scotch tape on packaging is the scourge of my existence. My favorite is that special type that fragments into a billion little pieces when you try to peel it off. Painters/masking tape is much better. But regardless of what type of tape you use, fold a little bit of one end over on itself to make a pull tab.
And I can't figure out why people tape up team bags that stick fine by themselves.

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