Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Green Eggs and Scams

Lets face it, eBay is the most scam ridden place to buy cards on the planet. Yeah, I know, if you can make money on it, people will exploit it. That happened with the site more in the 90s, as now they are slowly improving community standards through buyer protection on paypal, updates to the feedback structure (both good and bad), and making it easier for people to handle any problems through the many channels they offer. eBay has also taken steps to make sure that you never even have to leave their structure of sites when bidding on/paying for an item. That helps.

Yet, with all the focus on internet security, it seems like the last place it trickles down to is collectables. The scam auctions never seem to disappear and maybe its because the idiot conglomerate never wises up. People never cease to be idiots, so the people who run the scams never go out of business.

For us in the privileged portion of collectors, here is a list of things that should automatically set off alarms in your mind. If ANY of the following are true for the item you are bidding on, let it go. It wont be worth the trouble you spend on trying to fight the guy who is taking your money.

Private Listings: If you see a fake patch auction, chances are that the donkey raper who is selling it has disabled the display of the user name who is bidding on it. This is to prevent people from emailing the high bidder and letting them know it is a fake patch. Now, more than ever, scammers are using this as a way to protect themselves, and trust me, I never bid on anything with a private bidder list.

Private feedback: I have seen a lot of sellers who have private feedback lately. This means that you can see the overall score and percentage of negatives, but you cant see what was said. Ebay says that this is a way to hide the fact that they are purchasing/selling adult items, or other things, but I am calling bullshit. This could be the worst thing ever for a buyer. Stay far away.

No Paypal payments: Sellers who don’t take paypal are becoming less and less common, but that doesn’t mean they cant take you for all you are worth. I used to not buy from these people because it meant work for me in sending the crap to them. Now, after being scammed myself, I wont do it because there is no protection other than what the cashier's check or money order offers. Trust me, that isnt enough. If the item is a one time thing and the guy has GREAT feedback, I might consider breaking this rule. Otherwise Ill wait for something better. Paypal will offer protection on numerous types of transactions, and they have saved me a bunch of times. They may cost a lot in the long run, but it is more than worth it. There are people that do have their problems, buyers and sellers, but I would think they are in the majority. I would much rather take my chances with paypal than with the post office or the bank.

Very small scans/no scans: If you bid on these items you are almost guaranteed to be scammed with a bad condition card or some other kind of flaw. They use small scans for a reason, and the only person who will be hurt is you. Trust me, its better to wait for someone who actually scans correctly than taking a chance.

Auctions from overseas: Yeah, this can be tricky, but I never bid on overseas items. Its not worth the time or headache to me. I have seen videos on youtube of people opening empty packages or packages containing the wrong items, and then you are screwed. I would rather buy from someone who I can return the item to in less than a week if there is a problem. That’s my rule.

Price is way too low: If it is too good to be true, it is. I see people bidding on the dumbest things just because they think it’s a steal. Well, if it’s a card/item that should go for 300 and you are getting it for 50, there is a problem. Sometimes, there are deals to be had, but most of them are just scams in disguise. I saw an auction for a Mickey Mantle/Babe Ruth dual signed ball that was going for 75 bucks, and I laughed because it was signed on a ball that wasn’t invented until 5 years after the Babe died. Good job idiots.

Listen people, its really easy to stay safe if you are smart. If you get so excited over an item that you throw caution to the wind, you deserve to face the consequences. In a perfect world these people would be stopped by the powers that be over at TWGM, but in all reality that will never happen because eBay makes so much money off of them. Just remember to watch out for those red flags and to trust your judgment, and that way you wont end up with a empty package or an empty feeling of disgust.


  1. I think that private listings have been the default on eBay for a few months now. Every single item that I look at now has the actual name of the bidders changed to something like a***b (894). So if you avoid all auctions with private bidder listings, I think you're missing out on 95% of the items being sold on eBay now.

  2. this is true, but Im talking about the deliberately private listings.

  3. How can you tell which ones are deliberate?

  4. It says "User ID Kept Private" instead of the "u***s (54)" or whatever.