Vintage Note Policy Update (round 3)

A few weeks ago, we instituted new procedures with how we issue and assign condtion notes.  For the most part, the Bucket system was well-received.  After some customer feedback, and consideration of our own, we have decided to make the following changes going forward.

-We will be changing our “Damaged” description to “Has Flaws”.  While “Damaged” covers many of the flaws that would place a card in our Bucket 1 category, we did not feel it was a broad enough term to include some of the issues we assign this description to, and may told us that they felt it was loaded with too many negative connotations.  This change will be applied retroactively to all cards with a “damaged” note.

-If we are asked to reexamine a vintage card’s condition note, it is now our policy to only assign a detailed condition note to any card we investigate (i.e. “Has Flaws” would not be changed to “Vintage Wear” or vice versa).  This service will cost $1.00 per card examined, as this is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that actually costs us about a dollar to perform.  This only applies to cards with the “Has Flaws” or “Vintage Wear” descriptions; if a condition note or description is actually wrong, please tell us with the same old “Something Wrong” button and you will not be charged.

So, just to recap, here is our updated Vintage Note Policy:

Bucket 1: “Has Flaws”. This would be any card that has any creases, writing, stains, water damage, holes, tears, severely rounded corners, extremely off-center, tape marks… any kind of severe wear or issue.

– If the card has a book value of $50 or more, we will give it a detailed condition note listing the specific issues.

– If the card is vintage (pre-1980) and has a book value of less than $50, we will simply list it with a condition note of “Has Flaws”

– If the card is modern (1980 to present) and has a book value of less than $50, we will generally return the card to the seller, but in some cases we will list it with a detailed condition note.

Bucket 2: “Vintage Wear”. This would be any card that has soft corners, minor scratches, or other normal wear.

– If the card has a book value of $20 or more, we will give it a detailed condition note listing the specific issues.

– If the card is vintage and has a book value of less than $20, we will simply list it with a condition note of “Vintage Wear”

– If the card is modern and has a book value of less than $20, we will generally return the card to the seller, but in some cases we will list it with a detailed condition note.

Bucket 3: No Condition Note. This is any card that has no issues that we deem worthy of a condition note.  Not to say they’ll grade PSA 10, but generally in fairly good shape.

– These cards are listed without condition notes.

———

Condition Notes Fee

– If we give a card the generic “Has flaws” or “Vintage wear” condition note, we will charge only $0.05.

– If we give a detailed condition note, we will charge the old standard of $0.25.

– If we are asked to reexamine any “Has flaws” or “Vintage wear” card, we will always assign it a detailed condition note.  We will charge $1.00 per card for this service, which can be requested and paid for by either the consigner or by an interested buyer.  This is NOT the same as sending us a correction request on a card, which will always remain a free feature.

As always, we would like to thank the COMC community for their open feedback, and for working with us as we make improvements to the site.  Our goal is ultimately to make using the site as enjoyable for our users as we can, and so naturally we can’t do it without your help.  Thank You.

18 thoughts on “Vintage Note Policy Update (round 3)

  1. Tim, I want to thank you for making another sound decision. I would rather sell my pre-1980 cards here than deal with the trouble of selling them on eBay, but I did not want to risk paying $0.45 per card for everything that grades less than near mint. Now, I can send those cards knowing that I will have no surprise charges when the cards are posted. If you can pull off this bucket system for the majority of cards for a nickel per card, I think it will be great for the site.
    If I am buying, I learned a long time ago NOT to rely on the condition notes as they often missed flaws. I always look at the full scan anyway, so the notes will prompt me to figure out why a card “has flaws” or “vintage wear”. The detailed condition notes help me only if the card contains a flaw not evident in the scan. Keep up the good work!

      • The concept is great…as far as the breakdown…and the front end fees are reasonable…
        However….Not AT ALL a fan as a buyer of being charged $1 for the “assurance” I am getting what I expect. To me answering questions from a buyer is part of customer service and paying $1 to get a question answered is something no other site would even attempt to get away with. Guys I get this site is all about labor fees…. however there is no way anyone at this office would ever pay $1 as a buyer to verify the condition of a card.

  2. Terrific solution; “Has Flaws” makes the buyer beware but does not chase them away as much as “Damaged”. Going back and changing the condition notes saying “Damaged” to “Has Flaws” is also a great idea. The option of being able to request a card be re-examined is a terrific idea and it will be interesting to see if more buyers or sellers make the requests. Well Done!!!!!

  3. Sounds great! I really like this idea of grouping the cards into categories based on the condition.
    I am just wondering if a modern card gets put in the second bucket category, would you still write “vintage wear”? Kind of sounds like an oxymoron.

    • It sounds as if it would be returned to the owner.

      I guess anything can have vintage wear, though, even if it isn’t a vintage card. It’s like a 20-year-old guy with gray hair.

      • The part of the explanation regarding modern (post-1980) cards should be cleared up further. If a modern card is deemed to need a condition note it will receive a detailed one regardless of which category it could fall into. Actually, for the purpose of alerting the condition note team to give these cards their specific notes modern cards are sorted within the Has Flaws bucket because by definition a modern card cannot have vintage wear. No post-1980 cards receive notes of Has Flaws or Vintage Wear because these descriptions cause far too many people to argue about the note given. Instead, as it does explain in the description above, if a modern card needs a condition note and it is decided that it will be added to the site it will receive a detailed note. Generally we are allowing certified autographs, game used, serial numbered cards with less than 250 print runs and occasionally under 500, key rookies that don’t already saturate the site or have a proven track record of easy sales, or tough inserts or parallels through to be listed with notes. To give an example on the subject of key RCs and how we decide, we would push a 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr RC and return an 89 Donruss Griffey RC because the Upper Deck still has some value flawed, should move at a reasonable price, and has a pretty low presence on our site while there are currently nearly 300 Donruss Griffeys in stock, some as low as 15% of book value without flaws.

      • Chad – not to get off on a tangental rant or anything, but if there are 300 copies of a card on the site, it’s probably an indication that the Beckett price is too high for that card. I know that this is largely beyond your control, but COMC guys do talk to Beckett guys, so please pass it along.

        Beckett charges $30 a month for their price guide services. The least they could do is actually check the market once in a while for signs that a particular card or set might be overpriced or underpriced.

        If I have to figure out which $8 BV cards are “really” $8 and which $8 BV cards are “not really” $8, then what do I need a price guide for? If I have to make up a price because the card is “Too Scarce” for Beckett to price, then what do I need a price guide for?

        Imagine subscribing to the Wall Street Journal for $1 per day, to figure out what your stocks are selling for, only to find that the prices rarely change, and that they’re all based on some estimated theoretical value that was last derived in 1996. Pets.com at $300 a share? Sounds about right.

        The most glaring example of Beckett just phoning it in is the continued, inexplicably high Beckett values for 1995-96 Collector’s Choice Platinum Player’s Club Hockey:

        http://www.checkoutmycards.com/Cards,sp,=1995-96+Collector%27s+Choice+Player%27s+Club+Platinum

        Until they seriously adjust the multiplier on that set, I’ll know that Beckett isn’t really interested in even propagating the illusion that their price guide is even tenuously related to current market reality.

      • Platinum Players Club parallels just saw a 70-90% reduction in book value. Beckett did recognize the inflated prices and have adjusted accordingly.

  4. I think this is a good, workable system. I admire COMC’s constant efforts to find equitable solutions for its customers.

    While we’re on the subject of condition notes, it would be useful if they were visible in the “Item Details” page (the page that sellers see when they price a card). This would be extremely useful when pricing or repricing a card.

    It would also be extremely useful if the “Manage Inventory” page could filter “cards with condition notes” and “cards without condition notes”.

    It would probably be somewhat useful if the COMC Price Editing program could filter cards with condition notes. (It would also be useful if the COMC Price Editing program could filter by Percentage Off Guide).

    It would probably also be useful if COMC users could opt to run a search which omits results from cards with condition notes. This way, a person looking just for “nice” cards won’t be overwhelmed by results from “flawed” cards.

    • To take this a step further, if you had cards with condition notes as a separate entry in the catalog, it could help reduce Amazon return rates. (In other words, you would have two 1970 Topps Bill Buckner pages on COMC, one for cards with condition notes and one for cards without.)

      • Or, they could just not list cards on Amazon that have condition notes, or list any card with any condition note as “Acceptable” condition. My experience has been that a large percentage of buyers just don’t read the descriptions, and they will frequently return a lower grade item even if the condition of the item was clearly described in the listing.

        Couple this with the fact that very few buyers actually leave feedback on Amazon, and the ones that do leave feedback on Amazon tend to be the ones who are mad about something.

        Even without condition notes, COMC would have well over 1 million items listed on Amazon. Most buyers will probably figure out that COMC exists elsewhere on the internet if they are looking for more items.

        The Amazon buyers who don’t come to COMC are probably Amazon loyalists who don’t want to shop anywhere but Amazon. One of the reasons people become loyal to Amazon is the fact that Amazon has an incredibly generous return policy, and Amazon requires their merchants to also have a return policy which is at least as generous. This means they can buy first, ask questions later, and there isn’t an incentive for them to do it any other way.

      • Amazon does have a liberal return policy but it leads to a pretty high sales rate at prices better than we were getting on the Beckett Marketplace. We’ve had very very few returns. Most of what we list there are coins and higher end cards so sellers with other type of inventory may experience different return rates. Feedback…we have a perfect 5 star rating and feedback count of 20. We’ve sold well over 200 items there. So that tells you about feedback.

    • The “has flaws” note can apply to non-visible flaws as well, which may not show up in a scan. It’s possible this card has some issues which are not visible in the image.

      • It is possible as you say that their are invisible flaws. Unfortunately, with this new policy, there is now way to know what is actually wrong. The employees of COMC have proven previously that they are very inconsistent in their handling of vintage cards. Now it is impossible to tell what the comments mean. I think the change has been for the worse.

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