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The Sports Card Bulletin

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Book Title: The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet

CONTENTS
(Book cover)

Chapter 1 - Now that’s progress!
Chapter 2 -
Tools required
Chapter 3 - How to trade
Chapter 4 - Packing and shipping
Chapter 5 - After the trade: the good, the bad and the…gulp…ugly.
Chapter 6 - Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$
Chapter 7 - The BIG LIST of “Smart trader tips”
Sports card resources


Chapter 5: After the trade: the good, the bad and the...gulp...ugly.

Once you have received your sports cards from the person with whom you traded, inform them by email. It is a good idea to award good trader points or whatever feedback method the site uses when both traders involved have confirmed that they are happy with the trade. There have been times when one trader has awarded positive feedback only to want to retract it later because the person they traded with was not satisfied with the trade and or treated them rudely.

Do not consider any baseball cards you have received in a trade yours to trade away until you have confirmed that your trading partner is happy with the cards you have sent to him. Make sure that there is no reason to undo a trade that you cannot undo as you have already traded away those cards! Furthermore, never trade away sports cards that you do not have in your possession. Some traders have run into problems arranging trades for cards that they are still expecting from another trader.
 

TRADE PROBLEMS HAPPEN

It is inevitable that if you trade a lot, eventually you will encounter some type of problem. Generally, most of these problems are minor and can be easily resolved. No matter if you are on the receiving or sending end of a trade problem, stay calm, communicate clearly, and be willing to ask the manager of the site for some help.

Compromise
Resolving trade problems can sometimes require both traders to compromise. If you are not willing to compromise in a particular situation; stop and ask yourself if your position is worth all of the time, energy, and resulting stress it might cause. It is advisable to be open to some level of compromise. Also, remember that a trade problem does not mean that the traders involved are “bad traders”. Unless there is a pattern of an individual being involved in trade conflicts, usually the people involved in trade problems are good traders who are unfortunately the victims of circumstances beyond their control.

Undoing a sports card trade
Be prepared to undo a trade should a fellow trader be unhappy with the cards you have sent or visa versa. This will happen occasionally when a trader is not happy with the condition of a card, or perhaps was expecting something other than what he received. Sometimes it is simply a matter of accidentally sending the wrong card to the wrong trader! Undoing a sports card trade is frequently the best way to avoid additional problems. If you do have to undo a trade use a traceable and or secure shipping method such as insured mail, registered mail, or at least delivery confirmation. This will avoid the possibility of adding any additional problems onto an already problem trade.

Trade problem tip
Do not send email when you are upset. Take a day or two to calm down and think about the situation before sending an email message that will possibly cause more problems.  Many trade problems that take care of themselves if given a few days.

Another tip - Avoid sports card trading burn out
Trading is a wonderful hobby but it does require time and energy for you to stay organized. If you find yourself getting involved in a lot of disputed trades, take a break for a while and come back to trading later when you are reinvigorated and ready to go!

Trading baseball cards!

 

Who takes the loss?
When two "excellent traders" make a trade and one person's sports cards shows up and the other's does not (get lost in the mail), who takes the loss? "Excellent traders" would generally mean that the person has no major complaints on file with the trading club, a substantial amount of Sportscardfun.com good trader points, and or other positive feedback from sites such as eBay, Beckett, or other trading sites.

Ideally, I would prefer to see the two traders come up with some type of compromise to ease the "sting" of the loss that one of them will likely experience. However, compromising is not a requirement, and the bottom line in this situation is that the person who sent the cards that got lost (and did not use a traceable shipping method) is responsible for the loss, and should either send back the card he received or send equal value replacement cards. This is why it is so important to use additional shipping protection with your higher valued trades!!

In addition to both traders staying calm and contacting the site manager for help here are the options to consider if you find yourself in this situation:

1. Request that your trading partner wait one or two weeks and see if the cards finally arrive.
2. Come up with some type of compromise. (Get on the telephone if need be)
3. The trader who had his cards get lost in the mail sends back the card that he received from the other trader. Always send using insured or registered mail when undoing a trade!
4. The trader who had his/her cards get lost in the mail send an equal valued replacement card for the one that went missing. (Use insured or registered mail!)

How do you avoid this type of problem in the first place? When making larger trades, you should seriously consider making it part of your personal trading policy to require BOTH traders to send via insured or registered mail; if the other person is not open to doing this then do not make the trade.

Personally, I can not imagine sending hundreds of dollars worth of cards without using Registered Mail (the most secure shipping method available.) A large trade is a subjective thing and will vary from person to person; personally, I think of a larger trade as starting in the $50.00 dollar range. Another option to consider when making a more expensive trade is to at least make sure that YOU add some sort of additional protection to your shipping method! Even if the other guy does not, at least you have added a measure of protection for yourself. If you are planning to require the other trader to add insurance or registered mail on a particular trade you should post that requirement in your original trade message.

Suspicion of Theft

Sports card trading on the Internet IS NOT WITHOUT RISK and there are criminals lurking out there that will steal from you when given the chance!

The good news is that most people trading baseball cards, basketball cards, and other sports cards. on-line are honest and friendly and simply trying to build their collections and have chosen the Internet to get more enjoyment from their sports card hobby. Out of thousands of trades transacted those involving criminal intent are of a very low or minimal percent

Most of the problems that happen in the world of on-line sports card trading are not those  involving a thief, but are problems involving communication or some form of shipping issue, but there are times when a true thief will try to take advantage of someone who is not “trading smart”. If you have followed the suggestions outlined throughout this guide you will be less likely to become victimized by a crook. However, if you are lazy and choose not to practice good trading habits, do not be surprised if someone takes advantage of you.  When good traders let their guards down they have learned this lesson the hard way.

Trust your instincts. If something just does not seem right about a trade or trade negotiation, you should listen to that feeling and halt the trade. Contact the site moderator for an opinion. The site manager should be able to provide you with some type of helpful information. A good trading site manager or moderator might be able to let you know something about the person with whom you are trading that will help put your mind at ease. Perhaps your trading partner has a record of negotiating a bit differently, or maybe there is a language barrier that must be overcome. Conversely, perhaps by contacting the manager of the site a warning signal will be set off that alerts you to someone with less than honest intentions.

At Sportscardfun.com we have the experience to spot the cons and the thieves very quickly. Generally a crook will attempt to steal from more than one person at a time in order to obtain as many cards as possible in a short period of time and then disappear. If a trading site supervisor receives more than one report of a strange trade negotiation or behavior from someone, it often provides the information needed to inform the parties involved to exercise extra caution. If, out of the blue, five people report something suspicious about the same trader, the manager will immediately know to take additional action. However, even if a number of people report suspicious behavior about a trader, it is also possible that the person in question has had some sort of emergency in his life that is taking him away from his computer.

It has been interesting to note that with the addition a temporary membership fee for joining Sportscardfun.com several years ago now, the number of sports card crooks dropped dramatically. Apparently, sports card thieves do not like to pay in order to steal from people.

Try not to panic
It is really easy to panic if you think you have been stolen from, especially if the trade is expensive. Joining a good trading site will minimize the likelihood of theft. Such a trading site will do all that they can to help resolve trading problems. At Sportscardfun.com, once you have contacted us about a possible crook, we set into action a system of attempting to reach the trader in question. Be patient and let the site manager try to contact that person. In the meantime, you should refrain from sending threats or crude email messages. This only makes matters worse and usually creates more work for everyone involved. Sometimes it will take a week or two for a trader to reappear and resolve the issue. It will be important to remember that people do have lives outside of trading sports cards. It is not uncommon for people to go out of town on short notice and tell a friend or family member to mail their cards for them, only to have that friend or family member forget! People get sick, computers break, etc. Keep all of this in mind. People seemingly disappear off the face of the earth, only to innocently come back to an email box full of mean accusations, threats, etc. Try not to panic.
 

You have been “ripped off”
If after all possible avenues have been exhausted, and it appears you have been a victim of theft; that there is not a lot that a sports card trading site can do for you. We cannot go get the cards for you or magically undo the crime, but there are a few helpful things that we can do. This includes providing you with resource information so that you can take further action on your own with the authorities, alerting the other members of the community, blocking the person in question from using the site, and making specific suggestions with each individual case. Sadly, a majority of the crooks we have encountered have been juveniles who think they have figured out an easy way to get good cards; sometimes finding and contacting their parents does wonders.

Here are a few tangible things you can do:
Frankly, you might want to just chalk up your loss as a learning experience and leave it at that. Let the trading site block them and enter them into their system as a sports card crook to alert other traders If you have lost a substantial amount of cards you can explore legal options to get them back.

Do not make bodily harm threats or try to make contact in person with anyone who may have stolen from you. Doing so could place you in the legal hot seat. Enlist the help of the proper authorities.

Below is a list of groups to whom you can complain:

   1. Internet Crime Complaint Center
The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center.
http://www.ic3.gov/

    2. National Fraud Center
File a complaint Website address: http://www.fraud.org.
Telephone number: 1-800-876-7060

    3. U.S. Postal Service
If your complaint involves the U.S. Postal Service visit them on the web.
Website address: http://www.usps.com/websites/depart/inspect
Contact the Postal Inspectors at 1-800-353-8177.
Email the details of your situation to the USPS inspection Service at fraud@uspis.gov.

    4. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
Website address: http://www.bbb.org/complaint.asp (This really only applies to those people claiming to be a business)

    5. Also contact the State Attorney General’s office in the state where the accused resides; most offices have fraud/consumer affairs offices, ask to file a report.

    6. Report them to their ISP (for example hotmail, etc.)** Most ISP's do not want their email addresses used for illegal activities and will shut down any verified abuse.

    7. Occasionally it is effective to call the local police department where the thief lives.

    8. Public Records Search

Sometimes baseball card thieves will attempt to make it hard for you to find them by using unlisted phone numbers, fake names, etc.

One effective way to locate someone that has stolen from you is to do a public records search for the mailing address that they had you send your cards to. Most local municipalities provide the ability for people to find-out the name and contact information of the person who owns a particular home or apartment building. Once you have the name and contact information for the owner of the property you have made a big step in the right direction. Often times simply making the thief aware of this ability is enough to inspire them to make good on a trade, so you could send them an email message stating your plan to do this.

To do a public records search you just need to go to the website for the county (all counties have a website these days) that the person lives in and follow the directions. Normally a public records search costs around $5 and can take a little time, but can be well worth the effort. This suggestion may not help in all cases but is just one more tool to use should you ever be a victim of a thief. A Public records search will not work if the person used a PO Box for his mailing address.

Thankfully, it truly is a very small percentage of people who are out there looking to steal sports cards from you. However, having been in the midst of traders in an uproar about being the victims of a thief, I can tell you that when it happens, you really do appreciate the saying “a few bad apples can spoil the whole crop”. These sports memorabilia crooks will happily take the fun out of a good thing when given the chance. When you are the victim of a crook, it is definitely not fun! This is why it is so important that YOU do all that you can to prevent this type of thing from happening BEFORE it happens to you!
 

Parents: help your kids learn how to trade sports cards!

A word of caution: Trading over the Internet involves providing your personal information to those you do not know. Parents and guardians of minors should be aware of all Internet activities of minors for whom they are responsible for. Children should NEVER meet in person anyone they meet on the Internet unless accompanied by their parents or guardians. Everyone should use caution when giving out personal information to those who they meet online.

With a little guidance and support from parents, kids can use the Internet to trade. Parents of a young sports card enthusiast who wants to start trading should “learn the ropes” themselves so that they can effectively help their child. Often times collecting sports cards is a hobby that kids and parents do together anyway, so online trading is just an extension of that common interest. Even if you are not a big sports card fan you might just find yourself getting excited about the trades your child starts to make. Speaking from experience, it is fun to see your child take an interest in what time the mail gets delivered in anticipation of some good sports cards heading his way. I have seen that at around the age of 13 some kids can start to handle a little bit of independent trading, but should still be closely monitored by mom or dad. Personally I am a big fan of parents being in the same room as their children when the child is online; sometimes this means putting the computer in the living room, but it is in everyone’s best interest and allows for easier monitoring of online activities.

These days it is usually not the technical aspects of using the Internet and computer that kids need help with; more often than not it is usually a matter of helping them communicate clearly and get the hang of negotiating trades that they might need your assistance. Parents will likely have to help their child obtain their shipping supplies, but hopefully before too long they will have supplies to reuse!

Kids will be kids and teenagers will be teenagers. As I mentioned, some younger sports card traders might view trading as a good opportunity to bolster their collection through less than honest means. When I first started Sportscardfun.com, and before we had a temporary membership fee and more safety measures in place, I had to help a few good traders contact the parents of Juvenal trader in order to help sort out the monkey business their youth was involved in. Since that time we have added several additional security measures on our site; one of which is a parental consent form. For kids under the age of 13 who want an account of their own on our site they must have their parents or legal guardian approve this first. That being said, most kids seem to do just fine with a little help from mom or dad and thieves certainly do not only come in the youth variety, an equal number of crooks I have encountered are of legal age. It is worth stating again that it is in everyone best interest for parents to monitor their child’s on line sports card trading ventures closely.

Smart trader tip!
Some folks will set up a PO Box in order to avoid giving out a home street address.
 

Chapter 6 - Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$

 

 

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