Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Purposely Bought a Panini Card Off of eBay (and Now I Sound Off)

Last week, I found myself aimlessly perusing eBay (which is definitely a dangerous thing).  For some unknown reason, I decided to do a search of Barry Larkin cards that were ending soon.  My Larkin Collection is quite large (368 cards and counting listed online plus another 300 or so cards that I still need to scan and post about) but I'm always hoping to add even more, more, more!

Anyhow, I did find an auction for a new-to-me Barry Larkin card from Panini's 2014 Hall of Fame something-or-other set.  I don't even actually know what the set is officially - but I knew I didn't have the card so I put in a bid on it.

And yes, I won!

The card itself is nice enough (for a Panini card anyhow).  I like the fact that it's serially numbered - I don't own a lot of serially numbered Larkin cards so that in and of itself is a nice addition to my collection.  The card is also a lot shinier than it looks in the scan.  I'll talk more about the card itself when I feature in my ongoing Barry Larkin Collection series of posts.

Today, I'd rather discuss what I didn't like about this purchase.

What I didn't like about the card was the seller's shipping.

I had to pay $2.49 for shipping which, when I bid on the auction, sure sounded just about right for a bubble mailer with postage.


What I got was a PWE with four pieces of computer paper holding my card.

Total postage cost?  $0.91 according to the stamp on the envelope.

Trust me, I know shipping costs are exorbitant.

I deal with it with every single group break that I host (not to mention that tens and hundreds - depending on the year - of trade packages that I send out).

...And speaking of group breaks, go here to sign up for my 2015 Archives Case Group Break where I promise not to mail using PWEs!

Back to the shipping issue, I get it that sellers want to make as much money as possible.  I also understand that eBay has taken to charging their fees in a way that also includes shipping costs (which is idiotic - it virtually forces sellers to lie about their shipping charges).  I also get that PayPal eats another chunk out of whatever the final sale price ends up being.

I get all that.

It sucks.  It really sucks in fact.  So much so that I have all but stopped using eBay to actually sell stuff.  But, that was my choice to quit eBay.

If I'm a seller who is active on eBay, then it's on ME to make the costs transparent.  It's on ME to be honest with what I charge.  And yes, it's on ME to make sure I don't ship something that someone paid for in a PWE (at least while charging them for a bubble mailer).

Now, don't get me wrong about PWEs.  They can be great.  I send small trade packages in PWEs quite often.  And I also know that a bubble mailer isn't a postal savior.  Speaking of a savior, the good Lord knows the post office can screw up a bubble mailer just as easily as a PWE.

No, it's the principal of it.

If you sell.  Be honest.

If you charge something, be transparent.

And if you force someone to pay a bubble mailer price, for the love of all that is holy, ship in a bubble mailer.

At least the Larkin is nice enough..and yes, this time it did arrive unscathed.  The only thing damaged in the transaction was my wallet...and I guess my patience as evidenced by today's diatribe.


JediJeff said...

If your actual shipping costs are not within a dollar of what you charged me, you get ripped when I leave feedback, plain and simple. And if you don't like it, tough shit. Don't jack me $2.50 and spend two quarters sending me what I bought. One person claimed it was a way to recoup the fees for selling. Hey - that's not my problem. We all know there are fees. If you don't like what you earn on the site, sell somewhere else.

Matthew Scott said...

I agree with Jeff. I'm fine with the seller sending cards in a PWE if it was free shipping and the card is of lower value. Just don't go charging $3. It is shipping and handling, not shipping and handling and recouping of fees.

The Lost Collector said...

Anything over $2 I'm usually anticipating a bubble mailer. Free shipping (for a cheap card), I'm totally cool with PWE. $2.49 for a Larkin that probably didn't run you very much? Not ok to send in a PWE.

CaptKirk42 said...

I agree with what everyone has said. PWEs are fine for lower end cards and free shipping. Shipping fees should ALWAYS either be close to the actual cost of shipping, or much cheaper. NEVER twice as much. I can't stand when sellers ship in PWE but charge $2.00 or more. Actually if sending via PWE the charge should be no more than a single buck at the most.

One of my horror stories of a PWE I posted about because it was a pretty valuable card shipped very poorly (back in 2010 so the shipping prices I quote have of course gone up). In it I rant about it being shipped in a PWE and the damn card "saver" it was in. I hate those things for shipping. For Card Shop Displays or your own PC they are fine but not for shipping not at all and many sellers have the brass kahoonas to even tape them up without any protection using regular cellophane "scotch" tape.

The Junior Junkie said...

I raised hell once about a seller who did this but got zero help. The seller literally mocked my efforts via e-mail. There is absolutely no recourse for being overcharged for shipping through eBay. None. It's like they expect it to happen.

cynicalbuddha said...

I'm with you, unacceptable. As a person who still buys, from time to time, and sells, from time to time, on eBay. I make sure to ship like I want my cards to be shipped.

Brian said...

I will rarely buy anything on eBay if there is a shipping charge, since I am pretty sure that the seller is already charging more online than they would in person. I understand that the seller is dealing with fees in all directions to sell on eBay. I am sympathetic to that, as long as those fees are up front. I have shifted to use eBay for cards that I can't find elsewhere (lower serial numbered items, old old vintage, etc.). If I think I can get a card somewhere else, I will just be patient.

Question for everyone reading - when you shop eBay, do you read the seller's feedback before bidding/buying? I am pretty lazy about that, but I might think twice about buying from a seller if I saw the kind of feedback that Chris is putting out there.

Matthew Scott said...


I always check feedback. Usually I can tolerate negatives as long as they are spread out. If I see a bunch of them grouped together that is usually a sign the seller is sub par. If I'm buying an expensive card then I will check just about everything possible when it comes to the seller.

Overall I have only had a few bad experiences. Only once have I never received the cards in question. It was pretty easy to get a refund through paypal as long as you have given the seller ample time to make things right.

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