Author Topic: Read First! General Tips, Etiquette and Rules  (Read 2328 times)

Offline Chris

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Read First! General Tips, Etiquette and Rules
« on: October 18, 2002, 07:19 PM »
By: Thomas Grey

GENERAL[/size]

- General guide to fair trading. This is short and sweet, so if you have any questions about trade fairness, or want an outside opinion, email a moderator of this forum topic or post the trade and get response from other traders and staff.

- Trading according to value: Use an agreed upon price guide (annual or monthly) and post the momc (mint on mint card) value after the figure. Trade equal figures or multiple figures that add up to the total value each trader comes up with. If condition is an issue, agree upon the value of the lesser condition. It is recommended you subtract 10-15% of momc value for each lower grade.

- Trading 1 figure to 1 figure: This is usually the way to go unless there are premium figures involved (then use the above value trade system or your best judgement). This can get difficult when dealing with larger figures, vehicles, etc... It is recommended you follow this system:

- One 12” figure for 3 basic figures or a premium of equal value

- Cinema scenes and multi packs, just break them down to individual figures

- Beast Assortments for 2 figures or one premium of equal value

- Vehicles for 3 or more (depending on the vehicle) or one or more premium figures of equal value. Just use your best judgement and be honest about how fair you think the trade is shaping up to be. Again, if you are not sure, post a thread with the proposed trade for responses or contact a staff member.

- Create folders for each prospective trade in your email archive area. Keep all emails in these folders until the trade is complete. You never know when you will need proof of the agreed upon trade (figure missing, promised momc condition and received less or to protect yourself). It’s unfortunate that these measures be taken, but in the event of a trade-gone-bad, you will have evidence to back you up.

- Develop a folder for addresses of people you trade with in your email address book. This is for quick reference and to keep track of the “good people” out there.

- Be specific about the condition you expect and always double check (“These are all momc, right?”). Unfortunately, you need to be specific or it could come back to haunt you. I feel that it should be a given, but there are those out there that take advantage of not being asked.

- Take photos, scans or digital photos of the items you are sending prior to packing them. Include these in an envelope with the items you send. This will be a great source of evidence of the condition of the figure before you sent it. I feel this will put any damage they receive on the postal system and free you of being responsible. Just make sure they are packed nicely (see packing tips below).

- Ask for references of prior trades. Most should have feedback posted somewhere, so ask where you can find it. Make sure you check it out!!! Also look into the “Bad Trader Threads” on the sites they have feedback. They may be showing you the gloss and not the ugly side. Even posting a thread on the feedback thread asking if anyone has traded with them is a good idea. This is from experience and it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to check!

If you are a trusting person and just let it go, you are setting yourself up for a bad trade. If they do not have feedback anywhere, ask the community if they know the person or can back up they are trustworthy. Protect yourself!

Trading should be a worry-free experience, but unfortunately, it’s not. If you are still not convinced of how important this step is, then go to any site and scan through a “bad trader thread”. Don’t take chances, take precaution.

- Include a little something extra as a signature or gesture of good will. This is always received warmly and gives the receiver an extra little grin to go with their new goodies. Things like cereal prizes, Pez, pins, trading cards are all small, expendable things you can add that will just top things off nicely.

- Agree on a date that you will both send out the packages. If you have to postpone sending, notify the other person and set a new one. This frees both people of hounding the other to send the package and continually asking when?

- Agree on the method or service to send the packages. Let each other know what service you prefer when sending and/or receiving mail.

- Be aware of postal service fees. The size and weight of a package matter. Find out the specifications of the service you chose for sending the package and what the limits are before an increased rate is applied. You can acquire pamphlets from your local post office that detail the rates for different services. Be aware of receiving charges and taxes in some areas. If you live in an area where they tax the package based on the value declared, let your fellow trader know what value to put so you do not have to pay these taxes or receiving charges.

- Agree on fair reimbursement prior to mailing the items to one-another. The postal system is notorious for delivering banged up boxes. If something should happen and it comes back to you to be a good person, at least you know how it should be settled. If you packed the items well and sent photographic proof, you are in the clear. If you forgot an item or packed the items poorly, then make good! An agreement beforehand will make the process of reimbursement easier. Here are some basic suggestions for compensation:

- Slight dings or minor damage are not reasons to complain or valid for reimbursement.

- Base it on value. Use a monthly figure price guide (I recommend “Toy Fare” or “Lee’s Toy Review”). Look up the values of each figure and deduct according to the damage. Corner bends, slight crease, tears and bubble damage take a figure down to Very Good or NM. This should not affect the value too much, so I’d say 20% of top value is the limit.

Major crease damage, corner bends, card warps and bubble damage take it down to Very Good to G to Fine and deserve a 50 reimbursement. If the card is almost beyond hope, then it is basically a loose figure and that amount, subtracted from the top amount should be reimbursed. This is in equal figure value, not money. I do not recommend sending or receiving money as compensation.

- Look over the person that received the damaged items list again and see what you have that you can send as an act of good will. Do not tell them what you are sending, make it a gift and let them be surprised. It will make the gesture that much more healing.

- Keep them posted on the progress of sending the reimbursement items so they can rest easy and there is no tension developing. Communication is key in these circumstances!

- If you are reimbursed, you owe it to that person to thank them and post an extra nice feedback thread detailing how they went out of their way to make a trade-gone-bad  into a trade-made-good.

- If you are not sure about what would be fair for reimbursing a person or how someone should reimburse you, ask others. Post a thread with the situation or send an email to a staff member. An outside opinion can be very helpful in these matters.

PACKING TIPS[/size]

- Use a box that will hold everything and allow room for packing materials. If you want to be extra cautious, individually wrap and tape each item with bubble wrap prior to packing them. Line the bottom of the box ( 2” from bottom) with packing peanuts and/or crumpled up newspaper. Place the items in the box, allowing about 2” of space on all sides and to the top. Put packing peanuts and/or newspaper in on all sides and on top. It is recommended that you leave about an inch of space at the top. There are 2 philosophies on how to pack; they are as follows:

- The first is to leave some room for things to have a little give. This way,  if the box does endure some damage, it just affects the box and not the contents. Leaving that 1” space at the top should do the job nicely.

- The second method is to pack it tightly. Fill the box and then press out the sides slightly to allow more packing material to fill the sides. Then fill to the top and seal. This method is intended to repel other objects and provide an effective, protective barrier. The only downside, is the contents have no way to adapt if pressure is applied and even with all that packing material, damage can occur (but is usually minor). Both methods are fine and 99% of the time will get the items to your fellow trader safely.

- Taping the box is an important step as well. It is recommended that you use packing tape (clear or brown) and place 3 long strips across the top, a strip on each end and the same on the bottom. This is to make it air tight and to prevent it from opening during the shipping process.

- Labeling the box can be done in a number of ways. Using printed adhesive labels, blank adhesive labels, printer paper, or on the box itself are all acceptable. Make sure everything is clearly written and correct. If you use paper, it is recommended that you use clear tape to seal it to the box.

TRADING ETIQUETTE[/size]

Below is a list of items regarding Trading Etiquette. We feel that it would be beneficial for you to read this to make your trades a success!

1. Respect for fellow traders. Treat the person you are trading with as you expect to be treated in all phases of the trade.

2. Communication. Communication is vital in the trader world and lack of it can result in misunderstandings and can be taken out of context. Silence can make people think you are avoiding them, so be sure to respond to emails promptly and keep your fellow trader updated on the status of things.

3. Honesty and Specifics. Don’t wait for fellow traders to ask about the condition of the items you are trading to them. Be honest, up front and specific aboutany and all damage if any exists (dings, tears, bubble dents, creases...). Also be specific about the condition you expect the items to be in that you are interested in. It’s okay to decline and say no. Don’t just settle on something that is less than you want in order to get a trade done. Being honest and up front and specific goes far in the trust building department (take digital photos or scan figures and send jpegs to be extra detailed). Most traders will just be relieved and happy to know they are trading with an honest person. Most minor damage is overlooked because a trader is honest about it. Don’t set yourself up for a trade gone bad because you weren’t honest about the condition and the other person becomes upset and disappointed because you did not mention the damage. A rule of thumb that all traders should go by is to assume all figures to be traded are Mint On Mint Card (MOMC). If they are even a slight grade lower, you need to disclose that to your fellow trader.

4. Protect the items effectively that you send. Avoid damage by packing the items you are trading out carefully and nicely (see Helpful Trading Hints thread). Take the time and care the items deserve to insure they arrive in the same condition they are in when you send them out. Providing quality items to your fellow trader should be a major priority!

5. Be fair. Whether you do a 1:1 trade (1 figure for 1 figure) or a trade based on value, be as fair as possible. If you feel like you are getting a better deal, then use your conscience and let the other person know. Not everyone is well informed about value and if you are and the other person is ignorant, don’t take advantage of them. Be fair! Sometimes your fellow trader is just playing dumb to test your honesty and they will call you on it if you attempt to go through with it.

6. Be empathetic and reimburse when necessary. If a fellow trader receives damaged goods, is missing an item(s) or feels short-changed, listen and be empathetic. Put yourself in their shoes, ask yourself how you would feel if the same happened to you and how you would expect the other person to respond. Keep your reputation in good standing and make up for the mistakes or damage done. Reimburse your fellow trader fairly and you will feel better. You will also be a person the other recommends to others as a trustworthy trader.  

7. Always Post Feedback! Don’t put it off or forget, post feedback as soon as all phases of the trade are complete. Help them develop or continue to keep a good trader reputation. Send an email of thanks, confirm to them that you have posted positive feedback and include a link so they can view it.

GENERAL REGULATIONS AND RULES[/size]

Please read the Trading Regulations before creating or planning a trade. These rules are essential to the success of the Collector's Corner.

Thank You and Have Fun!!!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2003, 03:16 PM by Chris Berry »