Cleveland or Bust!

Hello COMC Nation! It’s almost here – the 35th annual National Sports Collectors Convention is just around the corner and we’re pretty excited to see as many people as we can during the week. We’ve got a few, last-minute announcements to make before we head to the airport, that we wanted to share with everyone.

We are accepting submissions!

It’s not a big surprise, sure, but we wanted to assure everyone that we will be accepting card submissions in Cleveland, including cards/boxes that qualify for this year’s “Lucky 7″ National Special. We’ll have our computers set up and our team will be able to walk you through the submission process – why carry those boxes of cards around when you can drop them off with us, right?

Free History Points!

With fewer COMC Challenges available, we know it’s been harder for members of the COMC Nation to earn history points – but, if you drop by our booth (#459 in the Corporate Area) and say “Hello!” (Or “Hi!”, or “What’s up?”…we’re flexible), we’ll have a sign up sheet where you can write down your COMC username and earn 1000 points…just for being social. Doesn’t get much easier than that, right?

Suggested List Prices

This has been such a hot button topic for awhile now…the COMC Suggested List Price Feature. Tim first introduced it at the Industry Summit in Las Vegas, last March.

We’re ready to introduce a beta version of the Suggested List Pricing Feature in time for the National show, and we’ll be giving demonstrations of how this great, new feature will work for our users. Be sure to drop by and see how we’re ready to shape the future of the hobby.

Note: As of Monday afternoon, Tim started running the code that activates the SLP feature, and some of our users will notice that the asking prices on some of their cards have been deleted, as a result. We apologize for any inconvenience in this.

Shift in Customer Service Capacity

Since Steve and Moe are going to Cleveland this year, we’re leaving Norbert to occupy the COMC Customer Service office by himself for 4 days. We’re pretty confident that Norbert is up to the challenge, but if you get our voice mail or a slower than usual response to your email, please be patient – For a few days, Norbert’s going to be busier than a 1-eyed cat watching 2 mouse holes.

A new member of the COMC Social Media family

It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve finally got our Instagram account up and running – you can follow us for all kinds of great and occasionally candid pics of the COMC team, in Cleveland and after! And, as well, you can also check out our Facebook and Twitter for #NSCC2014 updates all week long!

COMC Offices closed for July 4th

Hello COMC Nation! We just wanted to let everyone know that the COMC offices will be closed on Friday, July 4th, in observance of Independence Day.

Happy Birthday, America! Seriously, you don't look 238 years old...

Happy Birthday, America! Seriously, you don’t look 238 years old…

We wish everyone a fun, enjoyable, and (most importantly) safe long weekend. We’ll be out of the office, hanging out with friends and family, celebrating the birth of our nation by blowing up a small portion of it with dubiously-acquired fireworks.

(It’s not my joke, but it’s still darn funny…)

We’ll be back in the offices on Monday, July 7th. Have a great weekend!

COMC Offices closed Monday, May 26th for Memorial Day

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Hello COMC Nation! We wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that this coming Monday is Memorial Day.  As it’s a national holiday, our doors will be closed and our staff will not be in their offices. With this:

Customer Service will be closed Monday, May 26th & will reopen Tuesday, May 27th at 9 a.m. PDT.

If you need to contact us over the holiday, feel free to email us via staff@comc.com or leave a voice message at 1-800-517-3540 – Moe or Norbert will get back to you as quickly as possible when we return Tuesday morning.

Everyone at COMC wishes you all a safe and happy long weekend, as we remember those who have put themselves into harm’s way for this country – those who have come back to their country, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Did someone say “Championship Parade”?

Hello COMC Nation – In his bid for the title of “Best Boss Ever”, Tim has made the announcement that any COMC employees who want to attend the Seattle Seahawks Championship parade would be able to do so – and, he’s even supplying bus passes for everyone, to help them get downtown. How cool is that?

Someone order this mug for Tim...stat! (Wait, does he even drink coffee?)

Someone order this mug for Tim…stat! (Wait, does he even drink coffee?)

With that in mind, we’re going to be a little short-staffed around the office on Wednesday. Our shipping crew is pushing to get more orders out Tuesday, and will be in early Wednesday (before the parade) to make sure we don’t fall behind in getting your orders out.

Also, Moe (Go 49ers!) will be running solo in the Customer Service department, as Norbert and Greg are heading downtown later tonight to secure their positions along the parade route. We wish them well, and hope they don’t freeze to the pavement overnight…in the meantime, any replies to your questions or concerns on Wednesday may be a little slower than usual.

Operations will return to normal at COMC on Thursday. However, our staff may never be the same.

An Apology To Our Most Important Partners

Hello COMC Nation. On Tuesday, July 9th, Beckett book values became no longer available for free on COMC.com. For the last 6 years, Beckett has been gracious in allowing us to provide their data to you, but the time has come where they are no longer able to extend this service through COMC.  Because we realize this tool is valuable to many of our users, we designed the ability to purchase Beckett subscriptions using COMC Store Credit, allowing our users to continue viewing book values while browsing items on the site.  Additionally, we are branching into offering our own COMC sales history as an added benefit.  As always, we are listening to you, your feedback, and truly care about you and the hobby.  While we are a business, we are also collectors, and we are passionate about building an awesome space for buyers, sellers, and flippers.

Learning From Our Mistakes

Through this, we realize an area in which we can improve as a company is communication, and we have taken steps to do that.  In this case, we should have communicated more clearly and repeatedly with you about these impending changes, and we apologize for that oversight.  Going forward, we now have a plan to build into every new site feature when and how we will communicate changes to our customers.  In the haste of making this necessary change to the site, we overlooked ensuring we communicated it well to you. We’re very sorry, will do better next time, and have already altered our system to do so.

Sales History

The loss of free book values on the site is, understandably, going to be a somewhat difficult transition for many users.  However, we are committed to our customers, and are working to provide a tool to aid you in your purchases and sales.  We are in the process of launching a new tool that will display historical sales data of actual sales on our site.  With access to this information, we believe that you will be able to even more accurately see what your cards are worth on the market.

This new tool is in its beta stages and we want your input on this new service.  For the time being, when you click on the asking price of a card, you can spend a History Point to see the historical data of the item.  Right now, this includes how many are currently on the site, how many have sold on COMC, and the highest price the card has ever sold and shipped for.

Why Do I Have To Answer Questions to Get History Points?

One of the first questions we were asked about the Sales History tool was why a user needed to answer questions in order to earn historical data points.  As some of you have guessed, one of the reasons Beckett has decided to no longer provide book values on COMC for free is because our site could be scraped for that data by various programs and that data could be used and sold to other sites.

The Sales History that we provide to our users falls under a similar category.  If the data is simply provided on the site, it can be scraped and that data sold.  In order to protect this data, our initial method is the COMC IQ Test, a sort of CAPTCHA which proves that the user is human and allows them to earn the credit needed to conduct healthy buying and selling practices.

How can we make Sales History better?

We want to make this feature available as quickly as possible and we want it to provide the value our customers need.  To do that, we need the help of our most important partners: you.  Our site exists to encourage users to enjoy collecting, easily sell items, and flip items to make money and have fun.

Please, tell us how we can make our new Sales History tool better for you.  We need to protect this information, but we want it to be more accessible and useful to our users.  What other sorts of information should be displayed?  Do you have a good idea for where the data should be displayed to make it easier for you to utilize it?  Is there an easier better way for us to protect this data while still making it more easily accessible?

Flippers

We understand this change is having a big impact on you, but we are not abandoning you.  Flipping is one of the unique things about COMC, and you are in important part of our ecosystem.  In light of this change, we are brainstorming ways to support you and give you the tools you need to do what you do.   In considering our new Sales History tool, what information and functionality could best help you get the job done?

New Cost

We are committed to making COMC an enjoyable place to buy and sell collectibles online. We always strive to keep costs down for our customers. Some issues, such as the loss of Beckett book values, are out of our control. We designed a way for our users to link their Beckett OPG accounts and purchase subscriptions with Store Credit to provide our users with the option of viewing book values while browsing COMC. We’re working hard to find creative ways to adjust to the loss of book values on the site and your input and ideas are invaluable as we continue to do so.

We Are In This Together

We eagerly look forward to your ideas on how to make this tool easier to use.  Please leave your thoughts in the comments below or send your suggestions to our Customer Service team.    As a final note, if you send us an email within the next 24 hours with the subject “Discussions with Tim,” concerning your thoughts on either the Beckett Subscription feature or our Sales History feature, your feedback may be featured in Tim’s upcoming video.

Most importantly, however, we want to take this opportunity to express our dedication to you: our buyers, sellers, and flippers. COMC is nothing without you. We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve the experience of buying and selling collectibles for all of our users. Whatever direction we take, or obstacle we face, we will never compromise our commitment to you.

Moving forward, we hope you will continue to give us your input, ideas, and concerns. We’re fortunate to have customers who are as passionate about COMC as we are. Our service is only great because of you and will only get better with you by our side.

Thank you for partnering with us for 6 amazing years.

Explaining COMC Return Policies

Hello Folks, and happy Monday!  There has been some recent discussion concerning COMC’s return policies, so we felt it would be appropriate to take some time to clarify, give explanations, and help answer questions.

Return Policy – Buyers

On the buyer’s end, we have what we consider to be the best return policy in our industry.  The buyer has 14 days from the time the item ships to examine their item and, if they don’t want it, have it returned to us.  This very easy and open return policy encourages buyer confidence and security.  This in turn stimulates more sales, which is better for everyone.

Return Policy – Sellers

Regarding our sellers, COMC operates under a very simple principle: We don’t want our sellers to be any worse off than they were before they made the sale.  To that end, we work to shield sellers from various costs associated with buyer returns as well as from having to do any of the more aggravating, associated tasks.  We handle the shipping and receiving, the customer service, our ID teams confirm that the item is the original, and we do the re-processing.  When an item is returned, we carefully and thoroughly examine it to ensure it is the exact card in the exact condition as the one originally sent to us.  Should we verify that it is, we reverse the purchase and return the item to the last seller’s account within 45 days of the sale.  If it is not possible to have the item back into the seller’s account within 45 days, we will credit the seller a restocking fee equal to 10% of the original sales price.

For instance, if I had a $1 return that didn’t make it into my account until after 45 days had passed, I would receive a $0.10 credit.   If a returned item is lost, damaged, or different, we absorb the cost of that item.  We never return damaged or different items to our sellers’ accounts.  In the event that the item is returned in worse condition than when it was sent out, we cover the cost of the card, so sellers don’t even need to worry about shipping wear and tear.

We also vigilantly monitor returns to insure buyers are not trying to pull any scams.  Should we notice suspicious activity, we act immediately to protect sellers and COMC.  We track and block all buyers and users who are using the site maliciously.  As this is a service we provide, it is one less thing for our sellers to worry about.

Who has time do deal with returns…. oh wait…we do.

Explanation & History

Sellers may have noticed this change as we’ve grown as a site and as we’ve partnered with Amazon.  When COMC was a smaller company, we got very few, if any, returns in a given month.  As such, it was much more feasible for COMC to absorb the cost of these cards and move on.  As COMC continued to grow, and eventually synced up with Amazon.com, we were able to provide our sellers a MUCH broader audience.  However, this also brought, not only an increasing numbers of returns, but also a greater potential for fraud against which we need to protect all parties.

A good example of why we cannot absorb all returns ourselves is it would be easy for someone to buy an N/A BV card for a dollar, price it at $1000, and then have his friend buy it and return it for instant profit at our expense.  No business could continue to operate absorbing loss blindly, so we must use discretion and try to create sensible policies that protect all our customers – buyers and sellers – as effectively as we can while still making sure that COMC has a solid foundation.

Additionally, once we teamed with Amazon, our number of returns increased dramatically.  Amazon’s model makes it so easy for people to buy and sell on their site that sometimes you can even make a purchase without meaning to.  Amazon is designed this way.

We Care About Your Satisfaction

We hope that this better explains our policy moving forward, and helps to better explain exactly what we want to do for you in these regards.  If you have any other questions about our Return Policy, please contact our Customer Support folks via Email, or give us a call at 1-800-517-3540.

Card Pricing & Beckett Book Value Updates

Over the last few days, you’ve probably noticed a lot of activity on your Dashboard, mostly in regards to prices being removed from your cards. This is happening due to some extensive software updates happening between COMC and Beckett.

In the past, we had developed a system for scheduling updates from Beckett, to ensure the prices we had for our sellers were up to date. However, the algorithm we used might take up to 6 months to catch every update, which meant some prices weren’t as up to date as they could have been. This past weekend, we (with the help of Beckett) changed how we manage the updates, as we move closer to live updates.

This means that all prices for all cards will soon be updated within 24 hours of their change via Beckett. But, unfortunately, when we initiated the change to the live update system, our software detected that many of the prices within our database had not been updated for weeks, or even months.

How Book Price Updates Are Handled

In order to protect against the case where a book price might radically increase while your asking prices might be lower than you had hoped, we will automatically clear those asking prices so that you get a chance to reset the price as you desire.

Our software works like this: if a book price increases and the current asking price is less than 50% of the new book price then the asking price is cleared altogether and the card is brought to the seller’s attention for re-pricing.

Temporary Bug over the Weekend

This past weekend, a lot of data got cleared out, and many people received notices that parts of their inventory needed attention, due to book values changing drastically or being removed. However, that was a software glitch and it has been cleared up, with most people having their original prices restored. Those sellers who started re-pricing their cards noticed (a day later) that their prices were cleared again, due to the book value software updating again. And, for this, we are sorry for your inconvenience.

Status of the Beckett Data Synchronization

Our databases are still working to catch up to Beckett, and we hope to be fully synced with them by the end of this week. When it’s completed, then we’ll be doing smaller updates on a daily basis and your book values will be up to date. However, until the updates have finished, some people are still going to be seeing their prices being deleted. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

This upgrade to the book value pricing system has been a long time coming, and we’re thankful to Beckett to assisting us in this endeavor. We do this as we strive to make our customer’s experience as positive as possible.  We thank you for your patience and your input, as we work together to make COMC.com the best place for collecting cards.

Changing Times: Classified Ads

We at COMC hope you all enjoyed a relaxing day of BBQ, family, and festivities on Memorial Day.

Barbeque

As many of you know, we began developing a new set of features to help you promote your products and sell on the site.  These have been gaining popularity over the last few months and are now in daily use on the site.

These new promotion features have now made several of our older features redundant, and as such it is time to make a change.  With the advent of our new Port Sale Promotions feature and the Sales feature, the Port Sale Classified Ads and the Auto Accept Classified Ads are no longer necessary.

COMC will no longer have a separate section of promotions for Auto-Accept or Port Sale Classifieds.  We will require that no mention of whether or not the seller is utilizing Auto-Accept be included in the Title or Description of their advertisement.

(edit: after receiving questions and comments from our users, we wish to clarify that sellers can still post ads in the “For Sale” section of the Classified Ads to let buyers know that they will entertain offers – however, they cannot promote any “auto-accept” offers, as these cannot be monitored by COMC staff. All future ads using such language will not be accepted and store credit used for the ad will be returned to the user’s account.)

That is some change change....

That is some change….

By having all major sales and promotions located in one central location, we believe this will eliminate instances of a buyer looking for a sale and not realizing that there were two places to look for deals.  This will be better for buyers as a whole and will also minimize the cost to sellers who have, in some cases, been paying to have their sales running in two separate locations.

From those of you who have already used our new Port Sale and Sales features, we would like to hear about your experience with the service.   Are there any new sales and promotion features that you think we should add to our current selection?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.  We look forward to hearing from you folks and as always, please follow us on FacebookTwitter, and our new Google+ page.

Saluting an American Tradition – Customer Service Closed

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Greetings from the COMC Team.  We wanted to take a moment to remind everyone a bit early that next week Monday is a very special day in the USA: Memorial Day.  As a national holiday, our doors will be closed on that day and as such:

Customer Service will be closed Monday, May 27th & will reopen Tuesday, May 28th at 8 a.m. PST.

Don’t worry though; we will be back in the full swing of things early Tuesday morning!  If you need to contact over the holiday, feel free to contact us via staff@comc.com and one of our Customer Service Agents will get back to you as quickly as we can when we return.

We hope you all have a beautiful holiday if you’re in the states and feel free to celebrate even if you aren’t within the borders.  There will be barbecues,  parades, and services to attend on that day; so what are your holiday plans?  Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us how you will spend your day away from work!

10 X the traffic = some site hiccups

Let’s start with the good news: we are getting TEN TIMES our normal traffic today!

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This means we have the necessary traffic to reach our goal of increasing sales by 10 times (as part of the previously announced “Perfect 10 Black Friday Special”).

As for the not so good news, as you may have noticed, there have been some site issues today.  Please know that we are working very hard to resolve them all and expect to be fully up to speed very soon!

Even so, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Relations Department if you need help with anything.  You can reach us until midnight tonight at staff@comc.com or by 1-800-517-3540. Here are our Extended Customer Service Hours. Thank you for your patience!