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Thread: Buyer beware...but what about seller beware too?

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    Member mrmopar's Avatar
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    Buyer beware...but what about seller beware too?

    I am 99.9% a buyer in this hobby. I also consider myself to have a pretty decent moral compass when it comes to decisions that might be borderline. This leads me into my story for the day. I was scanning some Sports Illustrated issues recently, in hopes of making a few bucks off the boxes of them I have taking up way too much space in my garage. One of the features that caught my eye in one issue was a bit they did on the famous Nolan Ryan rookie card transaction that happened in 1990. Some of you may know what I am talking about from this brief description, but if you don't know the story...

    Basically, a kid walks into a store (in Chicago area, I believe) that was being watched by an employee while the owner was out or indisposed of at the time and walks out of the store with a near mint 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan for a cool $12! It was not clear to me from what I read that the card was clearly marked or not as we all have seen a variety of pricing programs at shops and shows, but as the sale ended up being $12.00 instead of the asking price at the time of $1,200.00, clearly there were deeper issues surrounding this transaction. Some stories report that the kid offered $12 and the uninformed employee didn't know any better. and accepted, perhaps thinking no baseball card could be worth $1200.00. Others seemed to suggest that the employee misunderstood/misquoted the price and the buyer accepted, knowing full well it was supposed to be priced $1,200.00. This created a moral dilemma that is probably still used in case studies. The card shop owner tried to get the card back using a variety of tactics, but finally deciding to sue because the kid (and parents) refused to return the card or settle on what was considered a reasonable bounty offered by the shop owner for a card that was supposedly purchased under dubious conditions. In the end, I think the card was auctioned off and the proceeds donated to charity. One article I read suggested that if the kid had just kept his mouth shut instead of bragging about his $12 Ryan rookie deal, this would never have become a case. However, is that really the right way to view this situation? I'm sure there are still 2 sides to this case and it could be hotly argued either way.

    That being said, you often see stories shared online from people who have found great deals. Sometimes the comments from others are jealousy of such great luck or praise and other times people are bashed for taking advantage of the other party. We are often quick to point out in similar cases that a buyer should be aware of what they are buying if they got ripped off and yet shouldn't a seller who may have left money on the table not have that same responsibility? In the case of the Ryan though, it was a lot different than clicking a buy it now item on eBay or paying the asking price of something posted online or at a show from an owner. Perhaps the closest you could come to the same moral dilemma in an electronic sale example is to find a freshly listed item on eBay at a fraction of the market price, with the assumption that the seller listed it incorrectly. It does happen. Still, you have opportunity as a seller to edit your listing before it goes live. At what point do you just have to accept responsibility for a foolish mistake and congratulate a savvy buyer for a deal of a lifetime, much the way a buyer has to educate themselves or fall victim to scammers?

    I bring this topic up, partially because of the SI article that refreshed my memory about the incident described above, partly because of the thread posted a few days ago about the guy selling base cards with a "free" autograph that were almost certainly all fake, but also because I recently hit a BIN on an auction that I consider to be similar to the "seller beware" theory above, except that the seller named their own price and offered it electronically on an open market. There was no misreading the price or haggling, for that matter. The price paid was the full price asked. I presume the seller had the access and ability to research their item and to price it accordingly. Still, I feel a slight tinge of guilt in that I know the seller could have done much better price wise with either more research or simply a better description of the item. Not so much that I felt the need to point this out or question the asking price.

    I likely would have missed this listing on just about any other day. On this particular day though, I think I was working from home and took a short break to hop on to eBay. I can tell you that my eBay time is evenings only, 95% of the time, except weekends. I will sometimes miss great items that are listed during the work day that I never get to see because they are BIN/BO and someone snags it immediately. I don't have the option to sit on eBay all day like some may have. They say something is only worth what some done will pay for it, but sometimes we see a deal that can't be missed and you may wonder what is the catch. I did my daily search this day and saw a "too good to be true" listing with a BIN or BO price. Without disclosing exactly what it was (not ready to do that just yet), there was some question in my mind that this item I was viewing may have not been exactly what I thought it to be and I crafted a question for the buyer. As soon as I sent the question off, I kept checking back for an answer every couple of minutes. Not sure how much time actually passed before I decided that even if what I was considering buying was not what I suspected it was and simply a "lesser" version, I decided I should pull the trigger before someone else discovered it. Even at the BIN price, I felt the item was a decent, if not slightly overpriced deal if the item consisted entirely of what I'll call basic versions. If they were all what I'll call premium, then it was a fantastic deal, a steal might even be a better term for it. For the sake of further clarification of this example, the difference between basic and premium was not something that could be easily missed/overlooked, like some of the modern inserts/parallels that have tiny color or image differences or hard to see serial numbering.

    I could wait no longer and finally hit the item at the BIN price and paid immediately. No way was I going to change an offer on this item to save 10 or 20%. I usually pay instantly regardless, but wanted to make sure there was no hesitation on my part that suggested I didn't really want this item. The seller got back to me sometime later that day and answered my question...confirming that all of the items were what I call "premium"! There was no hesitation by the seller with the transaction, he thanked me for the purchase and a few days later it arrived. I was still a little nervous that a possible bait and switch might be in order, but I was happy to find what I was told I was getting when the package arrived.

    Without knowing all of the facts, it may be hard to judge a case like this, but as I said, we have seen many stories of shared deals that were met with mixed reviews, sometimes leading the member to be shunned! Maybe sometimes it is best to keep your mouth shut, but if you feel you have truly done nothing wrong except to accept a sweet deal before the next guy gets it, then why worry about facing the "jury" when you share the deal you just found.

    I know this was a fairly long ramble. However, if you made it through I not looking for speculation on my transaction per se, but rather any general thoughts on the buyer/seller responsibilities within a transaction to know and be fully informed with what they are dealing with?

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    I read the whole thing. Great read but feel like last two pages missing. When are you gonna explain the details.


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    Junior Member caster513's Avatar
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    Ok well now Im curious, what was the steal? I wont shun you.
    Buying Rare Autograph's & Insert's of Kenny Lofton.

    Website (work in progress): http://kennylofton.weebly.com/

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    I agree, there are bargains i find on occasion that I wonder if the seller knew what they had and I do have a little guilt but ultimately it could be many different reasons so I don't let it linger too long. Secondly i also think you can't go on that long and not share what this deal was...inquiring minds want to know.

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    Junior Member Letch77's Avatar
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    You shouldn't feel guilty, but it speaks volumes to your character that you do feel just a little guilty. I have the same moment of "guilt" when I hit a good deal, too, as I want to be fair. This situation is particularly true when you find something at a garage sale or estate sale.
    In the online market, the seller had to make a conscious effort to list the item and put an asking price to it. A number of factors aside from not knowing value could cause them to list it extremely low. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it, though. Just know that you helped out the seller by giving them exactly what they were asking.
    So, when do we get the big reveal?
    Wanting to buy '96 Select Certified Mirror Gold baseball...commons & stars

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    Senior Member Pinbreaker's Avatar
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    This reminds me of the Red Griffey Crusade that the seller had listed for cheap.. ($50 or so) and someone snagged it..

    I think there were several members that instantly sent the seller a note letting him know that is was a $2500 card..

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    Member Randy Shields's Avatar
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    Another way to look at it here is that if you don't hit that BIN button someone else will.

    In these situations I put much more blame on the seller. If you're going to sell something you need to know its value and what it's worth plain and simple. I mean if the seller's going to throw it up having no clue what its true value is worth, that's on him. Buy it up or like I said someone else will snag it and then you just lost a good deal. And that would include anything that is misspelled because people look things up that way all the time.



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    Randy

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    Member banjar's Avatar
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    Considering how many sellers are out there with vastly overpriced offerings, I don't lose sleep on the rare occasion when I find a great deal on a card. Online anyway. An estate sale is another thing, where maybe the sellers have no idea what's in this box or that box.

    But online, the seller is selling cards, usually one by one. They have to upload a scan, write a description, and post the listing. If they are doing this and don't want to at least do a spot check on a rough value for that card, when I don't think anyone should feel guilty for buying it!
    Collecting Roberto Alomar. Over 4000 unique cards, but always looking for those I'm missing!

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    I basically make a career out of badly listed, under listed steals. Itís 2018 with numerous avenues to search the worth of an item. If you want the most money put in the work. If someone lists something for a price and I hit BIN I do not feel even remotely bad.

    Iíve sold stuff at auction way under value on some occasions I have never received a message from someone saying hey let me pay you more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinbreaker View Post
    This reminds me of the Red Griffey Crusade that the seller had listed for cheap.. ($50 or so) and someone snagged it..

    I think there were several members that instantly sent the seller a note letting him know that is was a $2500 card..
    I hate people that send messages after something sells. I got a gold embossed refractor robbed from me by someone doing that.

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    Senior Member death2redemptions's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey_peapod View Post
    I basically make a career out of badly listed, under listed steals. It’s 2018 with numerous avenues to search the worth of an item. If you want the most money put in the work. If someone lists something for a price and I hit BIN I do not feel even remotely bad.

    I’ve sold stuff at auction way under value on some occasions I have never received a message from someone saying hey let me pay you more.
    When searching for steals of a certain player I'll include common typos of the players name in the search engine. You'd be surprised how often it happens.
    Look, I'm gonna be honest with you. I really need a job. And I will take any position, as long as it doesn't involve having sex with old ladies for money or bear traps. Those are my two bugaboos. While mulling over my resume feel free to check out my baseball card collection, it's small and simple, kinda like me - >>>>> http://s822.photobucket.com/user/JDf...ds%20n%20stuff


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    Member mrmopar's Avatar
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    Ok, seems the crowd wants the details. I have wanted to share the find as well, but the timing was nice for a discussion about both sides of the coin too.

    The premium factor I was speaking of is a back variation of the MSA discs issues in the 70s. The specific back I am referring to is what I consider one of, if not the hardest, back to find...Customized Sports Disc ad back. If not the toughest, one of the top 2 or 3. In my esperience, they just are not offered for sale as often as most others and the prices realized are higher on average.

    So the deal I got was the complete set of 70 discs with the customized ad back for $50 plus shipping. As I stated, even a blank back set at the same price is less than a buck per disc! A bit steep for a blank back, but still a fair deal.

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    Hereís my two cents: if a seller lists it on eBay as a buy it now or at a certain starting price then they are acknowledging that they are happy getting that price for the item. For every low price awesome steal there are many sellers selling cards extremely over priced to rip people off. Iíll use some exact examples that have happened to me.
    1. I bid on a Brian Johnson card numbered to /10 that had a starting bid of $0.99. One day and one hour before the auction was to end the seller cancelled the auction stating it was listed with the wrong price. I felt he did it because it wasnít getting more bids. He since relisted it at $9.99 BIN, then later 7.99 BIN and now 7.99 starting price. If I had seen this card originally at 9.99 BIN I would have bought it outright but since I feel I was cheated out of a deal I havenít bid on the card and Iím not sure if I will.
    2. I purchased 12 Brian Johnson cards from a seller for $200. One of the cards has 2 versions listed on eBay for between $185-195 each. Both me and the seller were happy with outlet transaction. So did I get a steal or are the cards on eBay over priced?
    3. A seller found out Iím a Brian Johnson fan so he listed 4 1/1ís including 2 superfractors and 2 printing plates at 20-25xís the price I paid for other superfractors and printing plates just because he knew I collected him.
    Itís a tough situation with morals on purchasing online. I say donít feel bad for the deals you get because for every good deal there is another seller with something else you want that is looking to make a very bad deal!

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    Member mrmopar's Avatar
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    That is the exact problem I have with advertising you are a player collector, especially one that has a much smaller collecting base. The issue expands further if you list exact items you are seeking. Things that might never get listed because the sellers figure nobody will want them or it isn't worth their time all of the sudden are like gold. We saw this unfold in the recent past specifically with Vizquel and Galarraga, to a new extreme level hardly seen before. People saw bidders fighting hard and paying top dollar and pretty soon everyone had a gold mine of stuff that was worth listing, or worse, they were trying to gouge at obscene BIN prices.

    Others would argue that getting your name out there and providing a top 5 or 10 list gets you lots of leads on deals and stuff that might never cross your path and there is probably truth to that as well.

    I found myself needing a Brian Johnson autograph when I started collecting all of the Dodger players signatures and figured finding one in a Dodger uniform may be a challenge. I prefer certified anyway when I can get them, especially in Dodger uniforms, but settled for the 96 Leaf. That was a great set to pick up some of the more obscure player certified autographs.

    Quote Originally Posted by crypticfreak1 View Post
    Here’s my two cents: if a seller lists it on eBay as a buy it now or at a certain starting price then they are acknowledging that they are happy getting that price for the item. For every low price awesome steal there are many sellers selling cards extremely over priced to rip people off. I’ll use some exact examples that have happened to me.
    1. I bid on a Brian Johnson card numbered to /10 that had a starting bid of $0.99. One day and one hour before the auction was to end the seller cancelled the auction stating it was listed with the wrong price. I felt he did it because it wasn’t getting more bids. He since relisted it at $9.99 BIN, then later 7.99 BIN and now 7.99 starting price. If I had seen this card originally at 9.99 BIN I would have bought it outright but since I feel I was cheated out of a deal I haven’t bid on the card and I’m not sure if I will.
    2. I purchased 12 Brian Johnson cards from a seller for $200. One of the cards has 2 versions listed on eBay for between $185-195 each. Both me and the seller were happy with outlet transaction. So did I get a steal or are the cards on eBay over priced?
    3. A seller found out I’m a Brian Johnson fan so he listed 4 1/1’s including 2 superfractors and 2 printing plates at 20-25x’s the price I paid for other superfractors and printing plates just because he knew I collected him.
    It’s a tough situation with morals on purchasing online. I say don’t feel bad for the deals you get because for every good deal there is another seller with something else you want that is looking to make a very bad deal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmopar View Post
    That is the exact problem I have with advertising you are a player collector, especially one that has a much smaller collecting base. The issue expands further if you list exact items you are seeking. Things that might never get listed because the sellers figure nobody will want them or it isn't worth their time all of the sudden are like gold. We saw this unfold in the recent past specifically with Vizquel and Galarraga, to a new extreme level hardly seen before. People saw bidders fighting hard and paying top dollar and pretty soon everyone had a gold mine of stuff that was worth listing, or worse, they were trying to gouge at obscene BIN prices.

    Others would argue that getting your name out there and providing a top 5 or 10 list gets you lots of leads on deals and stuff that might never cross your path and there is probably truth to that as well.

    I found myself needing a Brian Johnson autograph when I started collecting all of the Dodger players signatures and figured finding one in a Dodger uniform may be a challenge. I prefer certified anyway when I can get them, especially in Dodger uniforms, but settled for the 96 Leaf. That was a great set to pick up some of the more obscure player certified autographs.
    I collect Brian Johnson the Red Sox pitcher and that makes it even worse because supposedly every player on the Red Sox or Yankees are worth gold to collectors!


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