The Most Frustrating Hobby Purchase I Can Remember.

I’ve been buying and selling cards online sometime in 1997.  Initially, it was through AOL chat rooms.  I joined eBay in 1999 and that’s when I really picked up.  Initially eBay was great but over the years, it’s gotten worse and worse.  Fees have gone up dramatically.  Sellers now can’t leave a non-payer negative feedback.  Those are just two issues.  This year I’ve taken to and written about other outlets, like Sports Card Direct, twitter and Facebook groups.

I’m sure that some people will call me lucky, but in the 18 years I’ve been buying online, I’ve never been “ripped off.”  I’ve always received my items.  Sometimes it wasn’t in as timely a manner as it should have been, but even those experiences were few and far between.  I prefer to think that I’m smart about my purchases more than lucky, but that’s for another day.  I am just now off the worst experience I remember having.

I won an auction for a lot of five cards off an eBay group on August 16th.  I paid later that evening and was told that the cards would ship the next day.  On the 25th, I received a Paypal email that my package had shipped.  Nine days later.  I messaged the seller asking if this was correct and got no reply.

On the 28th, I sent another message as a follow-up.  He replied and just said yes and that everything was mailed “back on Monday or Tuesday.”  I wasn’t happy that I was told it would ship one day and didn’t go out for over a week.  However, I know that things happen.  A tip to sellers, if something like this happens, just let the buyer know.  It’s both good business and just respectful to others.

I had been checking the tracking number and there was no movement.  I messaged on September 1 asking for the tracking number.  The message I received back was “I just found these cards. I could have sworn they shipped but they were sitting in an envelope with no label on it and got thrown into a box with other mailers.”  At this point I was concerned that I’d been taken.

Going back to what I said earlier, some will say I am lucky.  However, I think I am smarter than some others and that’s how I might have been so “lucky” all these years.  The seller was not someone who I had seen on there before.  If this was a $50 item, there’s no way I would have bid without doing a lot of research.  However, I was willing to risk the money it was going to cost.  I didn’t just bump the bid up a quarter over the previous bid.  I wanted this lot, so I bid where I was comfortable.  The shipping was $3, so I bid $9 for the lot.  Even if I lost the $12, it isn’t the end of the world.  It’s a calculated risk.  I’m not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m not over here eating Ramen Noodles nightly just so I can buy cards.

The seller told me that the item would ship the next day and that he’d get me tracking that night (the first).  The next morning, I hadn’t received tracking info, so I requested it.  He replied asking for my address.  Obviously it wasn’t getting out that day either.  On the third, I asked for the tracking number and he finally replied the next day with it.

Much to my surprise (okay, not so much at that point), when I entered the tracking number, there was no number found for it.  Again I message, asking if the number was correct and he stated that it was, or he wrote it down wrong.  My immediate thought was “you print these out at home, you should have an email record of it,” but at this point, I was tired of even dealing with it.  He said he’d double-check and I heard nothing from him that night.  I followed up the next morning and he said that it was right and he promised it was on its way and to keep him posted.  Whatever.

Finally, when I checked my mail Saturday it was in there, only five says short of a month since I’d paid.  The label wasn’t printed out in black, it looked to be the cyan color.  The tracking number was hand written below it.  I’m sure this is why there was no movement showing, they couldn’t scan it.  It shouldn’t have taken over a week to arrive either, so it appears it slowed that down as well.

I am rather proud of myself.  I never sent what I felt was a rude message.  I did at one point ask for a group admin to message me, but none did.  It arrived before I followed up.  Here’s what I know – as a seller, with all the “problems” and delays, I would have bitten the bullet and shipped it priority to keep the customer happy and show some goodwill.  That’s just me, though.

For all the nonsense I went through and time I spent going back and forth (and the money I spent), I ended up with the five cards below of former WVU Mountaineer Kevin White.

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It was a frustrating ordeal, but I’m really happy to have added these cards all at once to the PC.  It was much cheaper than buying them all separately and paying for individual shipping.  If you assume that shipping would have been $3 per card (buying separately), I saved $3, not counting what I’d even pay for the cards.  Hail, West Virginia!

If you like what we’re doing and would like updates when we post new pieces, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please take the time and also look through some other pieces on the site.  I’m still looking for more folks that would like to contribute, so let me know if you are!  You can follow me on my other Twitter handles at @kin_kinsley and @DFW_Card_Shows.

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