A difficult aspect of the hobby, which takes some getting used to, is the “blind faith” required in other collectors to hold up their end of a transaction. It also needs to be stated that 98% of the card collecting community are honest and trustworthy people. However, as there is in any industry that involves money changing hands, there are a minority of unsavoury characters who prey on the good nature of collectors!
So with that all being said, what measures can you put in place to best avoid the situation of being scammed?
1. Steering clear of Facebook Marketplace and sticking to Facebook Groups and eBay
This first point isn’t ‘full proof’ as there are genuine sellers on Marketplace and scammers in groups, however if a certain seller has a history of scamming collectors, open trading platforms are a place where they tend to congregate. Sports Card Groups are normally regulated, so the likelihood of getting scammed from other members is minimal. And obviously when purchasing through third-party sites like eBay, you are given that buyer protection in case you have difficulties with the seller.
As we specialise in AFL Trading Cards, if you are looking for a reliable group that curates its members before approval, follow the link below to ‘Really Good Vibes Trading Card Community’ to begin your AFL Trading Card Facebook Group experience!
2. Using ‘PayPal G & S’ for First Transaction With Seller
A good habit to get into during a first transaction with a new seller and you’re feeling cautious about their legitimacy, is sending money via ‘PayPal, Goods and Services’. This form of payment provides buyer protection should a transaction go astray. If you haven’t set up a PayPal account, we highly recommend creating one as the service is both buyer & seller friendly! The only downside of this tip, is that you may have to pay a little extra on top of the agreed price to cover PayPal fees (2.99% +$0.49), however most of the time the added fee is no more than a couple of dollars.
After your able to build repour with the seller, you can then opt to use payment options such as PayPal Friends & Family (no buyer protection, instant payment) or Bank Transfer/PayID. If the seller isn’t willing to take your payment through Goods and Services during first transaction after offering to cover fee’s, maybe take this as a good indication that you should be wary of going into business with that particular person!
3. Asking for ‘Vouches’ from other Collectors
Word of mouth is a very powerful tool in the Sports Card hobby, which is the main reason why scammers don’t last very long in collector circles. One bad experience can derail a seller’s (or buyers) credibility, which is why posting in groups for vouches or referee’s requesting positive experience can be very useful! As stated at the start of this article, there are so many good people in the sports card community, so a vast majority of the time, you’ll see glowing reviews of the seller from buyers who have made countless transactions. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
4. Privately Asking for Additional Photos of the Card in Question
If you’re interested in making a purchase, but the presentation of the card isn’t quite to your liking, don’t hesitate to ask for additional photos to put your mind at ease and to also be certain that what your buying is in top condition. In overseas markets, ‘coining’ cards is quite common with sellers having to take a photo of a card with a note of their name, date and also a trinket, such as a coin, to confirm the card is actually in their possession!
5. Following Up After Payment for Proof of Postage
Everyone lives busy lives, and sometimes a seller posting a card a few days late can happen. But gently asking for proof of postage for untracked packages (don’t recommend), or asking for the tracking number on tracked or registered post is a good way you can keep on top of your purchase. Reputable sellers most of the time will provide proof of purchase without having to follow up, but if you’re frequently purchasing cards it’s a good habit to keep all your tracking numbers handy in case of something unexpected happens.
So, you have followed all the recommended advice above and unfortunately have still been scammed? What’s the best course of action?
If you have been scammed on a Facebook Group, reporting the incident to page administrators in an attempt to have the person removed from the group is a good first step. Sometimes publicly outing the person on the platform you purchased the card off to alert others to be cautious can move proceedings along as the seller tries to salvage their reputation!
There are also pages and groups on Facebook that are dedicated to exposing “scammers”. So sometimes running your eyes over those spaces before you make a deal with someone, can help avoid an awkward situation.