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Author Topic: A Guide to Proper Trading (Please read)  (Read 8446 times)

Douglas Brown

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A Guide to Proper Trading (Please read)
« on: August 11, 2009, 06:27:29 PM »
B/S/T Stands for the Buying/Selling/Trading forum. It is an invaluable resource. However, some may need some advice on how to best do things. It is not all that complicated a process, but there are little nuances that can make all the difference.

Important Note: The following are only a set of suggestions. They serve as only a guide and are not mandatory at all. As in, we're not going to ban you from the boards for using a padded envelope or communicating poorly. But if ignoring the advice in this thread leads your trade to go really badly, we will gladly enforce the negative feedback you've earned.

A Note on Perseverance
A Note on Reputation
A Note on Responsibility
A Note on Maximizing Trades:  by William Wilhelm
A Note on Bubble Envelopes
Buying and Trading
   I. First Contact
   II. Subsequent Emails
Trading and Selling
   I. Your Wares
   II. What do you want?
   III. First Contact
   IV. Subsequent Emails
   I. Money Order
   II. Personal Check
   III. Cash
   IV. Paypal
   I. Ways to Ship
   II. What to charge
   III. How to Pack
   I. It’s not here!
   II. Misrepresentation
   III. Feedback

Buying, selling, pawning, hocking, “wheelin’ and dealin’,” swap meeting, and trading can be a confusing, irritating, almost always daunting, and surely vomit-inducing process ready to make any newbie yo-yoer think twice about putting his precious 10 dollars FH2 in the mail. However, if you were able to get through that terrible first sentence there, this guide should help ease things up for you.

A Note on Perseverance
You will get what you want, or something close to it. You are allowed one bump per day, and this is enough. Just bump every day. Try bumping at different times. I like to look at the main page of YYN, because at the bottom is the number of online users. Then I can bump when there are a large amount of people online. Don’t get discouraged because you are not getting what you want. Just stick with it, bump with intelligence, and eventually you will find something great in the B/S/T.

A Note On Reputation
Unless the person you are trading with is a well known member of the B/S/T community, ALWAYS read their feedback. Click on the little number by their name. Look at number of feedback. Look at who left the feedback. Are they only getting feedback from unknown users? Look at the time the feedbacks were left. Sometimes people will create multiple accounts to bump their threads and give themselves feedback. There will be a lot of feedback from “unknown” users in a very short period of time. If you think someone is abusing the system, please report it. Also, sometimes a trader will act very poorly, but the other party does not leave feedback. You really need to also search through the trader feedback forum. Please be well informed of the person you are dealing with to insure that you both have a solid transaction.

A Note on Responsibility
If you're going to do something risky, establish responsibility.  Sometimes you don't have paypal. Sometimes you don't want to deal with Paypal fees. Sometimes things happen and you want/need to cut corners. In these situations where you're doing something that isn't insured, ESTABLISH RESPONSIBILITY. If things go downhill later, someone needs to take the blame. For instance, if a user asks that you send cash in an envelope, they need to make it clear which of you will take responsibility if the cash is lost. Since it's the seller that's asking the user to do things their (more risky) way, the seller should take responsibility for it. Otherwise, I wouldn't advise the action to go through. Or, if a user asks you to "send the Paypal as a gift" to circumvent the Paypal fees, you both need to understand that there's no insurance if the seller screws up the trade. That means that the buyer gets nothing if it goes wrong. It is usually the seller's responsibility to ship with a confirmation number for insurance in case things go south. If a seller won't (again, they should) buy it and the buyer won't pay for it, you should both understand that the buyer could just be screwed if there's no proof of delivery. Understanding how the transition is insured, if at all, is very important.

A Note on Maximizing Trades
This is an informative guide to more advanced B/S/T techniques written by William Wilhelm. In his words...
If there's one thing important to me when trading it's making decent profit in the right places. I call this Trade Value, or rather a good estimate of money throughout your yo-yo collection or within a certain group of yo-yos. Today, in this guide, I'll talk about Trade Value and how it can help your collection and your goals for creating the perfect collection. It's rather important to me that I share this with everyone because on a normal basis, I see people offering more for less, and taking the deal. This is important to your pocket and your collection. Lets go!
Click here to read on.

A Note on Bubble Envelopes
Please do not mail your yo-yos in "bubble envelopes," or any other kind of envelope. Envelopes are made for mailing documents, photos, CDs, DVDS, small books, and other similar size and shaped items. Yo-Yos are fragile things, and they are NOT meant to be sent in a bubble envelope. There are many horror stories of 100 dollar yo-yos being lost because the bubble envelope became ripped open by the mail machines. These machines are expecting flat and relatively lightweight items, not yo-yos. If you send in a bubble envelope, you are sending at your own risk. If anything goes wrong, it is YOUR FAULT for sending in such an irresponsible fashion, and you will be expected to compensate the other person in full. Please, please, please, for the love of all that is awesome and fun about yo-yo trading, DO NOT USE BUBBLE ENVELOPES TO SEND YO-YOS. This thread has a lot of stories about people screwing up padded envelopes. Yeah, they can be used correctly, but it's pretty dang easy to screw it up and get something lost or damaged. Boxes are just more idiot proof. ;)

Buying and Trading

I. First Contact:

a.)  Trading:
Say you’re perusing a member’s wares and low and behold, there’s a yo-yo you’ve been looking for. Now, STOP. Do not post in the thread, saying that you have the wanted yo-yo and instructing the trader to PM you if they want it. First of all, that is against the rules. Second of all, it’s rude. You know they want it, it says so right there. Instead, PM the trader with your name, the yo-yo, and a brief description of such. Include color and a description.  Pictures are great, if you have them on hand, but don’t sweat it on a first email. It is perhaps the trader only wanted mint, or a certain color. Make quite sure that what you have is probably what they want, though unless they are adamant about a certain color, it doesn’t hurt to offer. Remember, you are coming to them with this, be always courteous and informative. Try to avoid grammatically incorrect and information devoid PMs (“i hve a sfhg do u want it”). Traders are more likely to respond if you have a more professional PM. Remember these are almost sort of contracts you are making.  You can keep your PM short and sweet (easier on the both of you) the first time, in order to see if trader is considering your offer, just make sure they’ve got something to work with.

b.) Buying:
Buying is much more simple. A seller will post the item along with a price, most times. If there is no price, ask for it in the PM. If they ask you to "make an offer," they mean for you to PM them a price you'd pay, not ask them to name the price. You need to supply the number. As a buyer, you have the right to ask for whatever information you need. Always make sure you get a condition, and hopefully pictures. You can even try and negotiate lower if you need to. However, if you think the price is too good to be true, chances are, so do several other people, so try and get in there fast. Note, if the seller does supply a price, and you think it's too high, just ignore it. The market will decide whether or not it's too high a price and you'll save needlessly bumping a thread, which is, again, against the rules.

II. Subsequent Emails:
A.) Trading:
After the trader has expressed interest in what you have, you’re going to want to keep contact with them. Try to answer their PMs as quickly as possible. It sounds silly, but “treat others the way to want to be treated.” Do you want to be blown off and left hanging for days on what shipping method the other guy prefers? Now, you’re going to want to make sure the trader gets whatever information they want, and you get whatever you want. Do not let the other seller say that they’re shipping without feeling confident that you know exactly what you will be getting.  In fact, I like to send a sort of “confirmation email,” detailing what exactly will be traded for what. There’s going to be some negotiating going on, items added and subtracting, parties promising to “throw this in,” a confirmation email sums it all up and helps everyone get things straight so that there are no unpleasant surprises come delivery day. Finally, you must figure out who will ship first. The person with lower feedback should offer to ship first, unless the two of you agree to ship at the same time. If you do ship at the same time, don't forget confirmation (covered later). Make sure you've checked on their feedback, maybe even checked the forum to see if they're got a rep you don't want to deal with.

B.) Buying:
 A confirmation email is even better for buying. One a price has been decided on, there are shipping charges that must be calculated. There are also sometimes PayPal fees that are sometimes asked for. A seller should probably send a confirmation email with the final price to be agreed, but if you’re overzealous or the seller is flaking, try sending one to them for verification.

Selling and Trading :

I. Your Wares: Setting up shop isn’t too hard. Make sure to include the name of the yo-yo, the color (where applicable), super brief description (to keep things short), and a price. People like to see a price, that way they can see whether or not PMing would be a waste of time. Note if you will negotiate price. If you really don’t know, say so, it’s understandable, and just ask for offers.  Pictures are also great, and good ones will really help you sell/trade. Especially with dings on metals, you need to have pics. Including a couple in the thread is good, or you can link to a photo album with pics. Some people make albums and then put the description and price in the album. I actually quite enjoy these, but whatever you want to do. With HUGE collections, separating by brand is a nice thing to do.

II What you want! (baby, do you go it?) – Your trade list needs to contain as much information as you want people to have. If you want a specific yo-yo in a specific color, say so. Do you want a specific brand, or anything except yo-yos from a specific brand? Do you just want anything you can get? Trades only? Money only? Think hard about these things, it saves you from wasting other peoples’ time and frees you from a million useless PMs.

III. First Contact: This time, you just set up your little booth. As a seller, you will be the one approached. If you’re not interested, it is polite to respond saying so, maybe even include a reason or a “do you have any other YYFs” sort of thing. Do not feel bad about rejecting offers, it’s all part of the process. You also have the option of “putting an offer on hold,” meaning you like it, but you think you could get something more or better. Most times it is good to tell the trader/buyer this so that they aren’t left hanging. Make sure to try and get around to telling them and everyone, for that matter, if you aren’t accepting their offers. If you do accept an offer, make sure you ask about condition and so forth and get all the information you need.

IV. Subsequent Emails: Continue to hammer out details, getting what you and giving what they need. Always have pictures. Respond quickly and politely. Never feel like they’re inconveniencing you, and if they make you feel like you’re inconveniencing them, then they’re not the sort of person you should be trading with. If the person is on the fence, you can always throw in some extras. G-string, o-rings, cheap yo-yos, “deal sweeteners.” Whatever you have extra, just offer and see if that helps the person want to make the deal. However, with yo-yos, if they don’t want it, don’t include it, because it drives up shipping cost. When you think you’ve reached a consensus, send a confirmation email with the agreed upon items and shipping and so forth, and make sure they wish to make the deal. This is a no-brainer, but don't ship until you've received payment, no matter what excuses the other party has. Always make sure you've checked on their feedback, maybe even checked the forum to see if they're got a rep you don't want to deal with.

:As a buyer, you’re going to be buying things. Buying things requires money, and there are a couple different ways to get that money. Check with the seller to see what they will accept.
I. Money Order: These are very popular. You go to a post office, or grocery store, any place that sells them (ask your parents), hand them the money in cash, and they give you a sheet a paper that you then mail to the seller. These are more secure, generally preferred, and require only a 50 cent fee and a car ride to the store to get.

II. Personal Checks: Checks can bounce. Checks can be edited. These are a lot less popular to use, so you’ll need to check with the seller to see if they’ll take it.

III. Cash: Good ol’ cash! So easy to get, and so easy to lose. While everyone has cash, it is not wise to send in the mail. Letters change hands many times on the way to the seller, and if any of those hands are greedy, it’s as simple as opening the letter to get at your cash. No protection, whatsoever. However, if it is only 10-15 bucks, say for a YYJ, it’s not THAT bad to send cash. I’ve done it. Just make sure to wrap the bills in a sheet computer paper or something to keep the cash from being seen from the outside. Hey, you might even use the paper to write a note thanking he seller for the nice deal. (Note: Sellers may have “cash” listed on their trades list. This does not mean they’re only accepting cash, this means that they also want money, or whatever type.)

IV. Paypal(you can click that): Also, very popular. This is an instant money-sending service. It requires a credit card to set up an account to send money, and to this credit card the amount will be charged. It is great because the transfer is instant, and since the seller gets the money faster, they ship faster, and you get a new yo-yo faster. However, there are fees, around 3%, so be wary when you accept this as a payment method.  Also, as a seller - you cannot force users to pay the Paypal fee. It's against the Paypal User Agreement, and could result in Paypal taking serious action against you. Thanks to TTThomas for this information.

Shipping – Aaah, the hassle of shipping. So hard to do, but so vital.

I. Ways to Ship
First of all, make sure you and the seller have agreed on a shipping method. With the United States Postal Service (USPS) First Class is cheaper, but Priority is faster and lets you use their tape (more on that later). You’ll almost always want to get a confirmation number so the buyer / trader knows you shipped and knows where the package is (fun to track.) See if the buyer/trader has any requests, though, like insurance.

Courtesy of onedef1
USPS Priority offers several advantages over other forms of shipment. its easy, convenient, offers tracking, and ships worldwide. Another little known fact about USPS Priority is that supplies are FREE!  That's right!  USPS offers various size shipping boxes available for the asking. Just visit USPS.com and browse the store. Youll find everything you need there, for the most part available at no cost to you.  Just fill out an order, and they will ship the supplies to you, also free of charge. Boxes, Priority tape, Customs envelopes; practically everything you will ever need.

When it comes time for shipment, USPS Priority also offers the ease of use of online postage. Creating an account allows you to create, print, and schedule a pickup for whatever you need to ship, wherever you need to ship it. There is no need to take the package to the post office!  Either utilize the handy Schedule Pickup function, or simply put the package out with your regular mail.  As you have created the label online, should Customs documentation be required, it will print these forms for you automatically, based on information you input at the label creating, which can avoid mistakes in form-filling that can cause your package unnecessary delays.

Shipping one yoyo USPS Priority within the states usually costs a paltry $4.45 to $6.00, not a bad price at all considering you have all of your bases covered, and the recipient has an immediate record of shipment and is able to track it almost to their door.  Outside the States, costs are much higher, but still, not too unreasonable for the peace of mind."

This is a better method if you simply have no other way of obtaining packing materials, or if you like the convenience of online postage. If you decide to ship USPS with the free USPS priority box and tape, you HAVE to ship priority. If you're shipping one yo-yo, it is usually (for me) two to three dollars first class, and takes 2-4 days. If you're forced to use priority because of the box, then it will be the above stated $4.45 to $6.00. Also, if you're using the free boxes, you have to wait for them to arrive. However, it is only an extra dollar or two for not even having to leave your home to get everything you need done. If you have the extra money, this is totally a viable method. I, personally, have never used this, preferring to use found boxes and make the drive to save the money. Also, one of the postal workers is named Doug and I find this amusing.

II. What to charge: Because shipping is included in trades (you pay yours, they pay theirs), this is more for sellers. Again, it depends on what the buyer / trader wants. If the two of you haven’t gotten that detailed into things, you should. You could ask if they want to pay the actual fee. This is harder, because you’d have to go the post office, get the shipping cost, go home, email them the cost, and wait for payment. You could also do a vague charge that should cover it (Ex. I’ve shipped yo-yos for 3-4 dollars, so I’d ask 4-5 dollars shipping, depending on the weight, even though I don't have the actual cost), but then you might be over-charging them. However, this is generally accepted to save time and energy.

III. How to pack: This is a toughy, and will generally be a case-to-case thing, but here are some good rules. Pay attention, now, this is important. NO PADDED ENVELOPES! I'm typing it twice, NO PADDED ENVELOPES. They will bend axles and hurt yo-yos. I have seen so many problems arise, with the other person always citing the use of a padded envelope as the cause. It is more than worth the extra 1-2 dollars to use a box and cover your behind. I re purpose boxes all the time to ship yo-yos.
        Now, never just put something in a box. Make sure it’s in a little yo-yo box, if you have one, or a baggy or something. Anything that directly surrounds the yo-yo and offers a bit of protection from scratches or anything on the box. Loose items like o-rings and string most definitely need their own containers. If not, they can fall out of tiny holes in the box (or envelope, if you decided to ignore my advice). Tiny zip locks, lunch bags, it’s all fine as long as it’s marginally neat and first and foremost protects and keeps everything together. Then get some bubble wrap, if you have it, or newspaper and pad the box. You want it to be so that when you close the box, the yo-yo does not rattle. If you can do this without padding, hey, more power to you. Just make sure the yo-yo isn’t going to be bouncing around in the box and possibly getting hurt. Remember, newspaper can stain things, so make everything is wrapped up. This is just a personal preference, but I like to add a little note on the top of the box thanking the person or something. Use clear tape to tape a box up. Packing tape must be used. Scotch will not work. Masking will not work. Duct will not work. They will not let you use these tapes. Make sure the tape is tight. Use long pieces to wrap all around the box. Tape the address label down straight and well, try and cover it. On the off-chance you’ve got no packing tape or scotch tape, they will let you use the “priority tape” when you use priority shipping. However, this is not recommended because it makes you and everyone else in line wait. Once everything is taped up, send it out (ASAP. I know it's boring and you want to put it off, but you must ship quickly), and hope nothing goes wrong. If you’ve read this guide, it shouldn’t.

Afterwards - So you've sent the money, the payment, the item, and now you're waiting for what's yours. Be prepared to wait a while, depending on where the item was shipped from. The shipping conformation number should provide you with hours of fun to sit and watch it travel from state to state, country to country. You could look at pictures or reviews of the item to hype you up.

I. It's not here! If the other party did not give you tracking, and you feel that something might be wrong, PM them. If you feel anything could be awry, express it to the other party. Keep solid communication. DO NOT flip out and make a thread saying that the other party is a “no-good ruffian” who “pinched” your “dough”. Give it a while, probably a couple of weeks, maxium. If there person is keeping contact, you can relax a bit. Sometimes things go wrong (anyone remember that thing with Kyle Weems (sp?) a bit back?), and you just gotta roll with it. You want to start worrying only if the person is no responding to any messages and it's been a good while with no package. Then you'll probably want to make a thread in the trader feedback forum calmly alerting the community of the problem, but that's a whole 'nother bag of worms. Hopefully, the item arrives safe, sound, and as awesome as you hoped.

II. Misrepresentation: So, you've got it, and it's not mint at all. There's a scratch or a knife wound something. If it's anything other than what they said, or if you just feel it's so, message them, tell them so, tell them why. See what they do. Contact, once again, is very important.  They might offer cash back to make up for it. They might offer to take it back (they should pay for everything, the price, the original shipping, the new shipping). They might offer to replace it. Make sure it is what YOU want, not what they want. Sellers should have correctly represented items, and if it is anything other than such, it falls squarely on their shoulders to rectify the situation.  Make sure you leave happy, no matter what. If they offer to do nothing, there's not all that much you can, other than feedback, maybe a thread.

III. Feedback: Don't forget to leave feedback! Unless something really bad happened, it should be positive. A little slow shipping? Still positive. Poor packing (didn't follow the guide)? Still positive. Neutral is when there was something wrong with the item that was really their fault, but they fixed it in a reasonably way. Negative is reserved for item/money stealing and misrepresented items that are not corrected. I also find it a good idea to mention how the yo-yo was packaged. If a user only uses bubble envelopes, some users find this a deterrent to trading with them. Remember, what you write helps other decide whether or not to trade with this person.

Glossary of Terms : Use these to alleviate space problems in titles and descriptions.
WTT - Want to Trade
WTTF - Want to Trade For
WTB - Want to Buy
FS - For Sale
FT - For Trade
FS/T and FT/S - For Sale or Trade
MBT - Mint, But Thrown
MIB - Mint in Box
LF - Looking For
ISO - In search of

If you're a skimmer, this is what you absolutely need to know.

- Always check the person’s feedback, in both profile and forum
- Good pictures are key.
- Be courteous and professional
- Keep solid, fast contact getting and giving whatever info you need.
- Make sure that everyone is happy and understands what's going on.
- Use a box to ship
- Ship quickly and use a confirmation number.

And most importantly, treat others the way you want to be treated. Don't try to do it half-ways - this is serious business. We're buying, selling, and trading yo-yos here.  

Thanks to onedef1 for his contribution

Feel free to PM me feedback.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 07:37:32 AM by Douglas Brown »
Quote from: Elephark
Nobody can agree precisely what yoyoing is, yet everybody wants to argue about it and take it way too seriously to the point that people get tired of talking or even thinking about it. Thus, yoyoing is art.