The Sports Card Collectors Guide to Trading on the
Chapter 1 - Now that’s progress!
Chapter 2 -
- How to trade
- Packing and shipping
- After the trade: the good, the bad and the…gulp…ugly.
- Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$
- The BIG LIST of “Smart trader tips”
Sports card resources
Chapter 5: After the
trade: the good, the bad and the...gulp...ugly.
Once you have received your sports cards from the person
with whom you traded, inform them by email. It is a good
idea to award good trader points or whatever feedback
method the site uses when both traders involved have
confirmed that they are happy with the trade. There have
been times when one trader has awarded positive feedback
only to want to retract it later because the person they
traded with was not satisfied with the trade and or
treated them rudely.
Do not consider any baseball cards you have received in
a trade yours to trade away until you have confirmed
that your trading partner is happy with the cards you
have sent to him. Make sure that there is no reason to
undo a trade that you cannot undo as you have already
traded away those cards! Furthermore, never trade away
sports cards that you do not have in your possession.
Some traders have run into problems arranging trades for
cards that they are still expecting from another trader.
TRADE PROBLEMS HAPPEN
It is inevitable that if you trade a lot, eventually you
will encounter some type of problem. Generally, most of
these problems are minor and can be easily resolved. No
matter if you are on the receiving or sending end of a
trade problem, stay calm, communicate clearly, and be
willing to ask the manager of the site for some help.
Resolving trade problems can sometimes require both
traders to compromise. If you are not willing to
compromise in a particular situation; stop and ask
yourself if your position is worth all of the time,
energy, and resulting stress it might cause. It is
advisable to be open to some level of compromise. Also,
remember that a trade problem does not mean that the
traders involved are “bad traders”. Unless there is a
pattern of an individual being involved in trade
conflicts, usually the people involved in trade problems
are good traders who are unfortunately the victims of
circumstances beyond their control.
Undoing a sports card trade
Be prepared to undo a trade should a fellow trader be
unhappy with the cards you have sent or visa versa. This
will happen occasionally when a trader is not happy with
the condition of a card, or perhaps was expecting
something other than what he received. Sometimes it is
simply a matter of accidentally sending the wrong card
to the wrong trader! Undoing a sports card trade is
frequently the best way to avoid additional problems. If
you do have to undo a trade use a traceable and or
secure shipping method such as insured mail, registered
mail, or at least delivery confirmation. This will avoid
the possibility of adding any additional problems onto
an already problem trade.
Trade problem tip
Do not send email when you are upset. Take a day or two
to calm down and think about the situation before
sending an email message that will possibly cause more
problems. Many trade problems that take care of
themselves if given a few days.
Another tip - Avoid sports card trading burn out
Trading is a wonderful hobby but it does require time
and energy for you to stay organized. If you find
yourself getting involved in a lot of disputed trades,
take a break for a while and come back to trading later
when you are reinvigorated and ready to go!
Who takes the loss?
When two "excellent traders" make a trade and one
person's sports cards shows up and the other's does not
(get lost in the mail), who takes the loss? "Excellent
traders" would generally mean that the person has no
major complaints on file with the trading club, a
substantial amount of Sportscardfun.com good trader
points, and or other positive feedback from sites such
as eBay, Beckett, or other trading sites.
Ideally, I would prefer to see the two traders come up
with some type of compromise to ease the "sting" of the
loss that one of them will likely experience. However,
compromising is not a requirement, and the bottom line
in this situation is that the person who sent the cards
that got lost (and did not use a traceable shipping
method) is responsible for the loss, and should either
send back the card he received or send equal value
replacement cards. This is why it is so important to use
additional shipping protection with your higher valued
In addition to both traders staying calm and contacting
the site manager for help here are the options to
consider if you find yourself in this situation:
1. Request that your trading partner wait one or two
weeks and see if the cards finally arrive.
2. Come up with some type of compromise. (Get on the
telephone if need be)
3. The trader who had his cards get lost in the mail
sends back the card that he received from the other
trader. Always send using insured or registered mail
when undoing a trade!
4. The trader who had his/her cards get lost in the mail
send an equal valued replacement card for the one that
went missing. (Use insured or registered mail!)
How do you avoid this type of problem in the first
place? When making larger trades, you should seriously
consider making it part of your personal trading policy
to require BOTH traders to send via insured or
registered mail; if the other person is not open to
doing this then do not make the trade.
Personally, I can not imagine sending hundreds of
dollars worth of cards without using Registered Mail
(the most secure shipping method available.) A large
trade is a subjective thing and will vary from person to
person; personally, I think of a larger trade as
starting in the $50.00 dollar range. Another option to
consider when making a more expensive trade is to at
least make sure that YOU add some sort of additional
protection to your shipping method! Even if the other
guy does not, at least you have added a measure of
protection for yourself. If you are planning to require
the other trader to add insurance or registered mail on
a particular trade you should post that requirement in
your original trade message.
Suspicion of Theft
Sports card trading on the Internet
IS NOT WITHOUT RISK and there are criminals lurking
out there that will steal from you when given the
The good news is that most people trading
baseball cards, basketball cards, and other sports
cards. on-line are honest and friendly and simply trying
to build their collections and have chosen the Internet
to get more enjoyment from their sports card hobby. Out
of thousands of trades transacted those involving
criminal intent are of a very low or minimal percent
Most of the problems that happen in the world of on-line
sports card trading are not those involving a thief,
but are problems involving communication or some form of
shipping issue, but there are times when a true thief
will try to take advantage of someone who is not
“trading smart”. If you have followed the suggestions
outlined throughout this guide you will be less likely
to become victimized by a crook. However, if you are
lazy and choose not to practice good trading habits, do
not be surprised if someone takes advantage of you.
When good traders let their guards down they have
learned this lesson the hard way.
Trust your instincts. If something just does not seem
right about a trade or trade negotiation, you should
listen to that feeling and halt the trade. Contact the
site moderator for an opinion. The site manager should
be able to provide you with some type of helpful
information. A good trading site manager or moderator
might be able to let you know something about the person
with whom you are trading that will help put your mind
at ease. Perhaps your trading partner has a record of
negotiating a bit differently, or maybe there is a
language barrier that must be overcome. Conversely,
perhaps by contacting the manager of the site a warning
signal will be set off that alerts you to someone with
less than honest intentions.
At Sportscardfun.com we have the experience to spot the
cons and the thieves very quickly. Generally a crook
will attempt to steal from more than one person at a
time in order to obtain as many cards as possible in a
short period of time and then disappear. If a trading
site supervisor receives more than one report of a
strange trade negotiation or behavior from someone, it
often provides the information needed to inform the
parties involved to exercise extra caution. If, out of
the blue, five people report something suspicious about
the same trader, the manager will immediately know to
take additional action. However, even if a number of
people report suspicious behavior about a trader, it is
also possible that the person in question has had some
sort of emergency in his life that is taking him away
from his computer.
It has been interesting to note that with the addition a
temporary membership fee for joining Sportscardfun.com several
years ago now, the number of sports card crooks dropped
dramatically. Apparently, sports card thieves do not
like to pay in order to steal from people.
Try not to panic
It is really easy to panic if you think you have been
stolen from, especially if the trade is expensive.
Joining a good trading site will minimize the likelihood
of theft. Such a trading site will do all that they can
to help resolve trading problems. At Sportscardfun.com,
once you have contacted us about a possible crook, we
set into action a system of attempting to reach the
trader in question. Be patient and let the site manager
try to contact that person. In the meantime, you should
refrain from sending threats or crude email messages.
This only makes matters worse and usually creates more
work for everyone involved. Sometimes it will take a
week or two for a trader to reappear and resolve the
issue. It will be important to remember that people do
have lives outside of trading sports cards. It is not
uncommon for people to go out of town on short notice
and tell a friend or family member to mail their cards
for them, only to have that friend or family member
forget! People get sick, computers break, etc. Keep all
of this in mind. People seemingly disappear off the face
of the earth, only to innocently come back to an email
box full of mean accusations, threats, etc. Try not to
You have been “ripped off”
If after all possible avenues have been exhausted, and
it appears you have been a victim of theft; that there
is not a lot that a sports card trading site can do for
you. We cannot go get the cards for you or magically
undo the crime, but there are a few helpful things that
we can do. This includes providing you with
resource information so that you can take further action
on your own with the authorities, alerting the other
members of the community, blocking the person in
question from using the site, and making specific
suggestions with each individual case. Sadly, a majority
of the crooks we have encountered have been juveniles
who think they have figured out an easy way to get good
cards; sometimes finding and contacting their parents
Here are a few tangible things you can do:
Frankly, you might want to just chalk up your loss as a
learning experience and leave it at that. Let the
trading site block them and enter them into their system
as a sports card crook to alert other traders If you
have lost a substantial amount of cards you can explore
legal options to get them back.
Do not make bodily harm threats or try to make contact
in person with anyone who may have stolen from you.
Doing so could place you in the legal hot seat. Enlist
the help of the proper authorities.
Below is a list of groups to whom you can complain:
1. Internet Crime Complaint Center
The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership
between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and
the National White Collar Crime Center.
2. National Fraud Center
File a complaint Website address: http://www.fraud.org.
Telephone number: 1-800-876-7060
3. U.S. Postal Service
If your complaint involves the U.S. Postal Service visit
them on the web.
Website address: http://www.usps.com/websites/depart/inspect
Contact the Postal Inspectors at 1-800-353-8177.
Email the details of your situation to the USPS
inspection Service at email@example.com.
4. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau
Website address: http://www.bbb.org/complaint.asp (This
really only applies to those people claiming to be a
5. Also contact the State Attorney General’s office
in the state where the accused resides; most offices
have fraud/consumer affairs offices, ask to file a
6. Report them to their ISP (for example hotmail,
etc.)** Most ISP's do not want their email addresses
used for illegal activities and will shut down any
7. Occasionally it is effective to call the local
police department where the thief lives.
8. Public Records Search
Sometimes baseball card thieves will attempt to make it
hard for you to find them by using unlisted phone
numbers, fake names, etc.
One effective way to locate someone that has stolen from
you is to do a public records search for the mailing
address that they had you send your cards to. Most local
municipalities provide the ability for people to
find-out the name and contact information of the person
who owns a particular home or apartment building. Once
you have the name and contact information for the owner
of the property you have made a big step in the right
direction. Often times simply making the thief aware of
this ability is enough to inspire them to make good on a
trade, so you could send them an email message stating
your plan to do this.
To do a public records search you just need to go to the
website for the county (all counties have a website
these days) that the person lives in and follow the
directions. Normally a public records search costs
around $5 and can take a little time, but can be well
worth the effort. This suggestion may not help in all
cases but is just one more tool to use should you ever
be a victim of a thief. A Public records search will not
work if the person used a PO Box for his mailing
Thankfully, it truly is a very small percentage of
people who are out there looking to steal sports cards
from you. However, having been in the midst of traders
in an uproar about being the victims of a thief, I can
tell you that when it happens, you really do appreciate
the saying “a few bad apples can spoil the whole crop”.
These sports memorabilia crooks will happily take the
fun out of a good thing when given the chance. When you
are the victim of a crook, it is definitely not fun!
This is why it is so important that YOU do all
that you can to prevent this type of thing from
happening BEFORE it happens to you!
Parents: help your kids learn how
to trade sports cards!
A word of caution:
Trading over the Internet involves providing your
personal information to those you do not know. Parents
and guardians of minors should be aware of all Internet
activities of minors for whom they are responsible for.
Children should NEVER meet in person anyone they meet on
the Internet unless accompanied by their parents or
guardians. Everyone should use caution when giving out
personal information to those who they meet online.
With a little guidance and support
from parents, kids can use the Internet to trade.
Parents of a young sports card enthusiast who wants to
start trading should “learn the ropes” themselves so
that they can effectively help their child. Often times
collecting sports cards is a hobby that kids and parents
do together anyway, so online trading is just an
extension of that common interest. Even if you are not a
big sports card fan you might just find yourself getting
excited about the trades your child starts to make.
Speaking from experience, it is fun to see your child
take an interest in what time the mail gets delivered in
anticipation of some good sports cards heading his way.
I have seen that at around the age of 13 some kids can
start to handle a little bit of independent trading, but
should still be closely monitored by mom or dad.
Personally I am a big fan of parents being in the same
room as their children when the child is online;
sometimes this means putting the computer in the living
room, but it is in everyone’s best interest and allows
for easier monitoring of online activities.
These days it is usually not the
technical aspects of using the Internet and computer
that kids need help with; more often than not it is
usually a matter of helping them communicate clearly and
get the hang of negotiating trades that they might need
your assistance. Parents will likely have to help their
child obtain their shipping supplies, but hopefully
before too long they will have supplies to reuse!
Kids will be kids and teenagers will
be teenagers. As I mentioned, some younger sports card
traders might view trading as a good opportunity to
bolster their collection through less than honest means.
When I first started Sportscardfun.com, and before we
had a temporary membership fee and more safety measures in place, I had to
help a few good traders contact the parents of Juvenal
trader in order to help sort out the monkey business
their youth was involved in. Since that time we have
added several additional security measures on our site;
one of which is a parental consent form. For kids under
the age of 13 who want an account of their own on our
site they must have their parents or legal guardian
approve this first. That being said, most kids seem to
do just fine with a little help from mom or dad and
thieves certainly do not only come in the youth variety,
an equal number of crooks I have encountered are of
legal age. It is worth stating again that it is in
everyone best interest for parents to monitor their
child’s on line sports card trading ventures closely.
Smart trader tip!
Some folks will set up a PO Box in order to avoid
giving out a home street address.
Chapter 6 -
Upgrade and MAKE $MONEY$