Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Buying local the Ebay way

Ebay is THE central hub for finding just about any sportcard (or anything else for that matter) that your little heart could desire. Even with recent changes to listing fees that disenfranchised many dealers there are still more sportscards sold on Ebay than probably all other venues combined.

In Canada, at least, shipping charges are often the rusty nail in the bag. Even if sellers charge actual shipping and the cost of shipping materials the shipping charge can often be many multiples of the selling price of the lot. Trying to find those last few singles to finish a set (the white whales I discussed in a previous post) can get quite a bit more expensive.

To deal with this I have taken to searching Ebay listings sorted by distance and contacting sellers to see if they will allow local pickups. Often in this way I am able to avoid shipping charges entirely or negotiate a much reduced "pickup" fee. Some sellers will not allow local pickups - and I can understand this. It is a hassle to arrange at times - the seller is forced to schedule a time and place for the pickup, possibly identifying their home address in the process or instead find a time to meet in a public place. And of course safety is paramount so make sure you make the usual precautions before arranging such a transaction - take a friend, meet in a coffee shop and so on. In spite of these potential difficulties I have been able to purchase numerous quantities of cards from local sellers - indeed I often end up buying cards that I didn't set out to purchase - which the sellers enjoy. The sellers avoid having to package up the cards and avoid a trip to the post office and I get cards and save a few dollars in the process.

The way to do this on Ebay has changed over the years - currently browse to the appropriate category and then watch the left pane of the screen as you scroll down and you will see a "Distance" menu item, click on this and you can specify a distance and a postal code.

In NS I developed a nice list of local ebay sellers who were willing to allow local pickups. These folks got to know the type of stuff I liked and the price I would pay and would end up sending me emails periodically to offer their goods.

As mentioned previously in this blog I recently moved to Newfoundland. And although I haven't yet made a purchase from a local seller I have added the local search to my usual ebay browsing
and I would guess it is only a matter of time before I take advantage of this option. Till next time.

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