Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 UPDATES: Topps, eBay, State Of The Hobby, etc.

Let's Start With Topps

Over a month ago (mid-June) I received seven (7) of the THIRTEEN Topps Redemptions I'm owed from OVER A YEAR AGO! But the only reason that I believe I received these when I did is due to my relentless e-mails I kept sending to Topps Customer Service. I finally got my four 2013 Bowman Inception BB Corey Seager Prospect Autographs which I really wanted and nothing else I really cared whether I got or not- so I donate those.
I'm still UNPATIENTLY waiting for the only two 2013 UFC Knockout Base Card autographs I wanted for my collection (now I really don't care anymore): Alistair Overeem and Antonio Nogueira. But since Topps sends ABSOLUTE CRAP replacements, I'll have to wait for these cards. I'll never waste my time trying to call Topps on the phone again after being put on HOLD for over 30-minutes the last several times I called and NEVER DID GET A HUMAN: I had to give up instead because I couldn't hold my phone anymore (I have MD).

Aug. 4th 2014 UPDATE- I received two more of the cheapest redemptions that I was owed from Topps for over a year. There's only two left that I care about getting (2013 UFC On Card Autos: Overeem & Nogueira) and who knows if I'll ever get them.
I have to blame Topps complete downfall of their Customer Service Department on Michael Eisner. With his 100% Corporate background, he thought he could run a sports card company with a Corporate Asshole mentality: THAT'S NOT WORKING and if he bothered to test the waters and see if it would, he would have seen that being a Corporate Asshole Company DOESN'T FIT in this or any hobby like this!!!
Topps has a Facebook July 21, 2014 Redemption Update here:
But it's the first time I've ever seen it (as I don't live on Twitter, or Facebook, or ANY "Social Networks" because you literally have to live on those sites to keep up with everything these days- STUPID!!!), and it only shows one month's worth of updates: July 2014. NOT ONE of the redemptions I'm waiting for from Topps was on their FOUR lists, so what good did these updates do for me? NONE!
So I scrolled down Topps' Twitter page (all the way back to Jan. 2014) for the Facebook Update links and found only FOUR previous Redemption Updates covering only July 2014 so obviously this is a new Topps thing (that should have been done ALL ALONG!!!).

So why aren't all the TOPPS REDEMPTION UPDATES on the same page so we can check old updates if we missed any??? Oh why do I bother? I can teach anyone other than stupid & Topps is STUPID!


Now On To eBay...

With all the Topps On Card Baseball Autograph releases in July (Ginter, Gypsy Queen, Tier One, Bowman Inception, plus others), I had to buy several to add to my next (and likely last) card donation in December 2014 to Beth Israel/Mount Sinai Pediatric Surgery Unit whom I've periodically been bringing smaller donations to every three months since the start of 2014.  I bought a whole bunch of Bowman Inception autographs since many Prospects this year are NY Yankees and Mets. I paid an average of $3.00 per autograph (with S&H calculated in). Those make great NY hospital donations!
As always, I went after sellers who drastically overcharged for shipping. eBay almost got me believing that they had finally woken up to realize that THEY HAVE RULES that THEY WROTE REGARDING OVERCHARGINBG SHIPPING & HANDLING FEES! The first two sellers I called eBay to complain about overcharged me for shipping fees both stated in their listings "WE COMBINE SHIPPING", but all it said in ANY of their listings was $3.00 Standard Shipping & Handling. There was no mention of any extra fee for additional cards won. According to eBay's rules (that stand NOW) those sellers were only allowed to charge $3.00 Shipping NO MATTER HOW MANY ITEMS I WON on the same day! One seller charged .50 cents for each additional item and the other charged $1.00 for each additional item won. Both sellers had over 2,000 PERFECT seller feedbacks!!! I first tried by being polite explaining that they cannot charge more than $3.00 shipping the way they have their listings set-up and worded. Then the sellers got nasty: BOTH OF THEM! VERY, VERY NASTY- LIKE I DID SOMETHING WRONG??? This is the attitude of most regular eBay sports card sellers. They got this way because cards are not selling for what they used to, so these morons are taking it out on their buyers. ALMOST NOTHING MAKES LESS SENSE!
So I called eBay expecting that I'd have to go through their Call Center IDIOT and explain everything just to be transferred to a REAL eBay Specialist and I'd have to explain everything AGAIN! Well, they shocked me! An actual eBay Specialist was the first person who answered the phone! ARE THE CALL CENTER MORONS GONE? Who knows yet, I don't??? Well I just explained the minimum and the eBay Specialist (male) started finishing my sentences saying "the seller cannot charge above the highest shipping fee listed if they say: we combine shipping". So the first eBay Specialist forcibly refunded the $3.00 overcharge I paid from the seller's account. YEAH! Justice was served!
When I called the second time THE SAME THING HAPPENED! I got an eBay Specialist from the start once again, and again he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about agreeing 100% that the seller broke a few eBay rules. I got a $4.00 forced refund on that one.
UPDATE- I should have known that wouldn't last. The third person I called (female with a very foreign accent) told me "then the seller can charge $3.00 shipping for EACH ITEM!" WHICH IS TOTALLY WRONG AND AGAINST EBAY'S WRITTEN RULES. It seems that perhaps there's a Call Center for overflow calls when eBay Customer Service gets busy!
Next I searched eBay's Customer Service pages to see if they added new rules for shipping for sellers AND THEY DID! You see back in 2010-11 eBay removed all of the correctly worded eBay Rules and replaced them with HARD TO FIND pages that could be interpreted five different ways by five different people. So the next few times I got any seller who broke the new rules, I sent them a link to eBay's Rules page for charging CORRECT Shipping & Handling! It's not that easy to find, so let me tell you how: the only words you can use in the CS search box that work are "UNREASONABLE SHIPPING FEES" which will take you to the SELLER OVERVIEW page. Then look for Shipping & Handling Fees and you will find the list of what sellers can charge for - and what they CANNOT charge for in shipping fees!!! THIS WILL HELP EVERY BUYER WHO IS SICK OF SELLERS MAKING NICE PROFITS FROM THEIR OVERINFLATED SHIPPING FEES! Sellers who use the excuse that they have to spend money on gas & their time to go to the Post Office- NOT ALLOWED TO BE ADDED INTO THE SHIPPING FEES! Sellers who use the excuse that they have to pay for bubble envelopes, top-loaders, penny sleeves, team bags. You tell them this: quality bubble envelopes can be bought RIGHT ON EBAY in lots of (25) or more for .25 cents each (with S&H calculated in), top-loaders are less than .10 cents each, and if you are so cheap that you have to charge me for a penny sleeve and a penny team bag then maybe you should choose another hobby! That's what I tell them & if you want eBay to ever improve THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED TO TELL THEM!
There are still STUPID eBay sellers that mail from the Post Office window (which happens to be TWICE as expensive as a much easier way), many of these sellers also buy the $1.29 padded envelopes that the Post Office sells! Both eBay employees that I spoke to told me that it is the seller's RESPONSIBILITY to find the cheapest way possible (as long as it is as safe as other methods) to ship your items won & then charge shipping fees accordingly. This is what I've been saying since eBay sellers shipping fees started getting out of hand by 2005-06 (ironically when the bottom fell out on MANY card prices).
eBay sellers MUST use eBay's PRINT SHIPPING LABEL service which is free and costs almost half of what they charge for postage at the Post Office window! For example a 3-ounce bubble envelope costs $1.93 postage using eBay's PRINT SHIPPING LABEL service, it's $3.37 (or so) from the Post Office. Both ways give you the Post Office's FREE tracking service! If you are too cheap to buy a $40 BRAND NEW printer then you shouldn't be selling on eBay. You set the printing quality to DRAFT and that free black ink cartridge that comes with your $40 printer will print over (500) pages!!! You print your eBay shipping label on plain paper, and then tape it to the bubble envelope.
PLUS: If you send just one item by Priority Mail, the Post Office will pick up all the packages (1st Class Mail/Parcel Post too) AT THE LOCATION OF YOUR CHOICE: home or work or wherever FOR FREE the next day!!! In other words- don't be such a cheapskate and spend an extra $2.05 to ship an expensive card you sold and then you don't even have to leave your house to mail ALL your outgoing eBay items for a few day period! Also you can order all Priority Mail: boxes, tape, bubble envelopes (which you can use as padding INSIDE boxes) to be shipped to your location FOR FREE as well.
Now why is it that I have to teach every eBay seller how to do these things is beyond my comprehension. THAT'S EBAY'S JOB!!! But hell, I'm in a decent mood so you got more info here to save you more money and in turn you can charge your buyers MUCH CHEAPER shipping fees. Like start with $3.00 S&H and say "NO ADDITIONAL FEES FOR COMBINED SHIPPING ON EXTRA ITEMS WON IN 24-HOURS" or 48-HOURS, or whatever you wish... As long as you sell many items each week, and sell a good selection of items (especially ON CARD CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPH INSERTS) - after a few months you'll find that you will be getting so many more repeat buyers, many more multiple bids by the same bidders, and much more money for the exact same cards that cheapskate ASSHOLE sellers are selling. After the majority of sports card sellers switch over to my method, watch and see how many more buyers return to eBay which makes EVERYONE benefit!!!
My method has been used by me from 1997-2011 and I NEVER CHANGED MY METHODS no matter what happened to the economy, or the Post Office fees, or eBay's fees, or PayPal's fees. PUNISHING YOUR BUYERS BECAUSE THOSE ASSHOLES DON'T KNOW HOW TO BE HAPPY WITH WHAT THEY HAVE IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!
One last thing. BAD SELLERS ban together on message boards (where they won't even let me post for NO REASON & I e-mailed the owner with NO REPLY: PUSSY!) to get eBay to suspend honorable eBay buyers who try to get sellers to follow eBay's rules. Well it's time for eBay BUYERS to get even and ban together against the worst eBay sports card sellers like TNTNORTHNJ who averages (40) negative/neutral feedbacks EVERY MONTH!!! I don't care how many items he sells each month, his bad feedbacks are all for the same few reasons- THEY ARE CROOKS!!!  


The corporate executives have monthly meeting where someone will bring up the issue regarding all of the complaints they are getting from collectors. Then the big shot executive asks: where are our sales figures for that period? Then someone says "about the same". And the big shot executive replies "then the hell with those complaining collectors!". DON'T THINK FOR A SECOND THAT THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN!  Don't forget that I was once a Senior Manager at a BIG Card Company in on those monthly meetings!

From 1992-2008 I was able to buy boxes and sell the best 2-3 cards per box and break even with 8 out of 10 boxes. Then there were boxes that I doubled or tripled my box price on with a great hit. That made up for the bad 2 out of 10 boxes I'd bust, but those days have been gone since 2008 for me. This is how I donated 30,000+ cards to hospitalized children every year from 1992-2008. The few years before & after those years that I donated I either took a personal loss gladly, or had help from those who couldn't care less whether they had the boxes they sent me to help or not.

PLEASE! DO THE RIGHT THINGS, OR GET OUT OF THIS HOBBY! Otherwise this hobby will be gone in a few years.