This is complilation of some common sense tips that will help to make your online trading experience much more enjoyable.
Always, always, ask for and check references.
It seems so simple and yet so few people actually do it. All it takes is a simple e-mail messages out to each of the references the person your trading with supplies. If the person you’re trading with is a member of MOTL, be sure to check out their references list on the site. This is THE MOST important thing to do when trading online. If you do nothing else, at least do this.
Save your e-mail messages.
The best thing to do is to create a folder with the e-mail program you use and store all your trade-related e-mail messages there. I keep hearing “I lost your address” from people I’ve just given my address to only a day ago. This will also help you out in the unfortunate event that you get ripped off, as it’s a almost impossible to track rippers down without detailed information such as an address.
If it’s too good to be true, it is.
This may seem like a tired phrase, but trust me, it’s true. If someone seems very eager to give you an incredibly good deal for your cards, be wary. A lot of problems in life can be avoided if you stop and take a moment to analyze your possible risk vs. your possible gain in a given situation. If you can’t risk losing your cards, find another person to trade with, which brings me to my next point.
There are lots of people to trade with.
Don’t feel pressured into a deal because you don’t think you’ll be able to trade your cards to anyone else. You will. The Internet is not your local card shop, there are millions of people on the Net and a couple thousand on this site alone. Don’t worry, other people will want your cards.
Don’t assume every card is in mint condition.
Always be sure to describe the conditions of the cards you’re trading and ask the person you’re trading with to do the same. You wouldn’t do a trade at a card shop or convention blindfolded, so don’t do it on the Net.
Nothing upsets people more than to deal with someone who never contacts them, and nothing pleases them more than to deal with someone who does. If the person you’re trading with sends you an e-mail message, e-mail them back promptly. Make sure to send an e-mail message out when you send your cards and when you receive theirs.
Ask permission for references.
Don’t just assume that the person you just traded with wants you to use them as a reference. When you receive their cards, make sure you tell them whether or not they may use you as a reference. There’s nothing worse than having someone check on your references and having one of them respond negatively.
Don’t force people to send first.
If you have a well-established online reputation, you may ask that the person you’re trading with send first, but if you act arrogantly about it, they’ll probably just break off the trade. Don’t assume that since you belong to such-and-such organization, including this one, that it makes you better than everyone else, it doesn’t. Also, if the person you’re trading with does end up sending first, throw in some extra cards with what you send. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just maybe a couple uncommons to thank them for trusting you.
Sometimes the mail is fast, sometimes it’s slow. If the person you’re trading with is in another country, even Canada, expect the trade to take considerably longer. Don’t go crying “ripper!” if their cards didn’t arrive in a week, no one will listen to you. Also consider that some people also can’t afford to drop everything and go to the post office when your cards arrive. If you haven’t heard anything from the person you’re trading with a week after sending your cards, send them a polite e-mail messages asking if they got your cards, whether you received theirs or not. Remember, the cards you send are your responsibility until they reach the hands of the person you’re trading with, so make sure that they got to their destination.
Take steps to safely ship your cards.
Using a hard sleeve and a bubble mailer can go a long way to insuring that your cards get to their destination safely. The post office typically pays more attention to these type of packages, and they’ll actually honor the “Do Not Bend” markings. It only costs a dollar, on average, to send your cards like this. Look at it this way, the stamp you’d normally use + the price of a candy bar = great happiness for the person you’re trading with.
Things don’t get lost in the mail (at least in the U.S.).
Face it, it just doesn’t happen anymore. You could label a package with just a name and a zip code and it would still probably get to it’s destination. If someone tries to give you the excuse that the cards got lost in the mail, they’re probably full of it, plus, they are still responsible for making sure you get your cards. If you think something may have been lost, go to your local post office and have them do a trace on your package. If you want to be absolutely sure that your cards get to their destination, send them by certified mail and the person you’re trading with will have to sign for them when they arrive.
Ripping someone off is mail fraud.
This is another reason to save your e-mail messages. Any documented deal in which you agreed to send a certain item in exchange for another by mail, is under the jurisdiction of laws pertaining to mail fraud. If you don’t believe me, read Title 18, Section 1341 of the US Code. Those found guilty of mail fraud can be fined and sent to jail for up to 5 years. Contact your local postmaster if you seriously believe you’ve been ripped off, and he or she will tell you what you can do.
Finally, most people are honest.
Although there are some rippers out there, online trading wouldn’t exist if most people weren’t honest. If you just use some common sense and try to follow these guidelines, you should have many successful trades.