eBay is a fantastic website to source and purchase things from independent sellers, so the likelihood of finding something that you wouldn’t find in stores anywhere else is high – particularly older products that are no longer in circulation.
This can be brilliant and a great way to buy collectible cards like baseball cards, you might be able to find a golden gem for a fraction of what you thought it would cost!
But sometimes, if it looks too good to be true, it could be. Independent sellers are much more difficult to deal with, as you can’t just go back to a store that you bought it from!
So that begs the question – is it safe to buy cards from eBay?
This guide will look at the pros and cons of buying cards on eBay and what you can do to remain safe purchasing online.
Pros Of Purchasing Cards On eBay
eBay is a very popular auction site and there’s good reasons for its popularity.
It was one of the first sites of its kind and allows buyers and sellers to make deals and agree transactions online. So, as such it has many advantages like:
Snatch A Deal
There are many sellers on eBay that use the platform to get rid of their old items from their homes. They feel as though they’re hoarding things in their house and would prefer the space.
Why waste something when you can sell it?
So, they’ll turn to eBay. Now, sometimes, they have items that they might not know the true value of, or they want to make a quick buck and sell immediately.
When this is the case, buyers can grab a very good deal on cards.
Of course, you’ll need to be careful when you see cheap cards listed, but we’ll get to that later.
Comfort Of Your Home
Searching for some cards can be difficult and nobody wants to travel from state to state looking at vintage stores or swap meets.
eBay allows you the comfort to look for the cards you want at home and in your time.
Additionally, with eBay’s notification features, you can always keep an eye on how your bid on a card is going and have real time updates on how much it is selling for.
eBay has had many horror stories but has curtailed them by working in conjunction with PayPal and adding PayPal guarantees.
In effect, if a seller has failed to meet a purchase agreement, and you’ve used PayPal, you can open a dispute to reclaim your dollars.
Cons Of Purchasing Cards On eBay
With all the pros of making a purchase of your favorite cards on eBay, there will always be cons. Nothing is consistently a good thing! These cons include:
No Store Protection
If you purchase something at a store, you’re covered by laws that allow you to expect to receive what you’re purchasing.
Generally, if this has not happened – you can visit the store you bought the item from and resolve the situation.
With eBay, it’s not that easy. If you don’t get what you think you paid for, you might find the seller has disappeared, their contact information is wrong or non-existent, or you accidentally misread the ad.
Whatever the case, it can be extremely difficult to retrieve your money. Moreover, if you paid via your bank account and not PayPal, disputing the transaction might be impossible.
Fakes, Counterfeits, Copies
Without seeing a card with your own eyes physically, you can never be sure that the card you’re purchasing is genuine, and sometimes the seller might not even know their card is fake!
Again, this comes at a problem. You’re taking a gamble on the purchase of the card because you are not sure whether this card is genuine.
If the description of the product is simply “Babe Ruth baseball card”, what are you meant to do with that?
As a result, many people are caught out with very eye-catching and attractive prices of vintage cards which they purchase, only to discover that they’re copies or counterfeit.
eBay as yet does not have an authenticity tool for cards, like they do with sneakers or other clothing items.
Hopefully in the future they will, but until then, use the mantra, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If you accidentally bid too much on an item, you can’t change your bid through eBay. This puts you into a bind of having to pay over the odds for a card because of an error!
How To Stay Safe Buying Cards On eBay
We have a few top tips for you to purchase cards on eBay in the safest way possible.
Research The Seller
Before you go buying a card that you like, you should always research the seller. It’s a good idea to copy and paste their username into a search engine and see what comes up.
Often, there are forums or groups that have been scammed by the seller.
If you uncover this, don’t make the transaction.
Another way to research the seller is by looking at their feedback. The higher the feedback, usually they are more trustworthy – but not necessarily, so be careful here.
Check the comments and more importantly, check the negatives.
Be aware that in the past, some sellers have falsely increased their eBay feedback with fake accounts.
Check what they’ve sold and if possible, who they sold it too. You might be able to tell if the accounts are false.
Feel free to send the seller a message or question too. If you get a response, and they provide contact information that works – you might feel better about buying cards from them.
Check The Product
Avoid common scamming techniques by checking basic things. If the product has no image – don’t tempt fate by buying it.
If the autograph (if applicable) was made on the card after release, you cannot prove that it is a genuine signature, so avoid that too!
When you’re looking at genuine card grading, you’d be wise to use PSA or BGS and avoid any others. They’re the best graders around, and you’ll know you’re in safe hands.
Always look out for phrases like “reprint” too. These aren’t genuine cards and some sneaky sellers will include these words in the very small print or hidden within other words.
Use Safe Purchase Options
If you’re ready to buy a card, try to use safe purchasing options like PayPal, so you have protection if your card does not arrive.
You can always raise a dispute and get your money back pretty quickly. Then, make sure you report the seller to eBay and other buyers immediately.
When we’re asking if eBay is safe to buy cards from, the answer is really yes and no. No online purchases will ever be 100% safe, but you can take steps to protect yourself and protect your hard-earned dollars.
Happy shopping all!