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How does eBay / COMC work?
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I live in the UK and my primary source for trading cards is eBay which I check on a daily basis. There are many low value cards that I would like to add to my collection but I ignore them due to the postage and import tax charges which are excessive.
As I only buy cards and don't sell them, I have a limited knowledge of the eBay / COMC system which to me is confusing.
For example, I regularly see cards being sold on the UK site from sellers in the US for £1.50. The postage is an additional £13 with a further import duty of £7. So to purchase the £1.50 card from outside the US is an additional £20 making the transaction £21.50.
Out of curiosity I would like to know:
a) Would these charges still apply to someone purchasing the card from within the US?
b) Are these charges reciprocated. Is a buyer in the US who purchases a card from overseas subject to the same / similar charges?
c) Has anyone actually bought or sold a card with these additional costs attached.
d) What benefit does a seller get if they sign up to the eBay / COMC system.
I can understand it being beneficial for high value cards (insurance etc) but if no-one is buying these low value cards, then the seller is potentially cutting themselves off from a larger market.
I am not knocking this system, I just don't understand it and I hope that someone can explain it to me.
 
Posts: 26 | Location: Wales UK | Registered: January 16, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
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quote:
a) Would these charges still apply to someone purchasing the card from within the US?


A US buyer buying from a US company typically only pays shipping and possibly sales tax.

quote:

b) Are these charges reciprocated. Is a buyer in the US who purchases a card from overseas subject to the same / similar charges?


Typically US buyers do not pay any sort of import duty / VAT when buying from abroad, however the shipping charges from abroad that I have been seeing lately are similar $15-20 for a single card regardless of price.

quote:

c) Has anyone actually bought or sold a card with these additional costs attached.
d) What benefit does a seller get if they sign up to the eBay / COMC system.


I don't generally sell so certainly someone may have more insight than me on this. I think generally people use eBay because it is the largest platform for this type of merchandise by a long shot. Sellers sell there because buyers are there. The high cost of shipping is largely due to eBay requirements -- i.e. packages must be trackable per eBay rules.

COMC is different. While eBay is simply an auction platform, COMC is effectively a consignor. All the cards being sold on/by COMC are housed and shipped at COMC. As a seller I would ship my cards to COMC who would scan them, then list them on COMC's site, and if I wanted to I could have COMC list the cards on eBay on my behalf.

Where it could get interesting for you as a buyer interested in less expensive cards is that you can open a COMC account, and accumulate cards in your COMC account -- all of these cards are housed at COMC until you want them shipped to you. COMC shipping is not cheap, but you can consolidate many purchases into a single shipment which can save a lot of money.

I'm not sure what countries COMC ships to, so definitely take a look at that before jumping in.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: webjon,
 
Posts: 5429 | Location: Parts Unknown. | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Slowly.
 
Posts: 68 | Location: The World | Registered: August 03, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Raven
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I don't buy this way and I never sell anything, so if I state anything wrong about COMC, it's because I got the wrong impression from what I have read. I was on eBay years ago, but dropped it when it changed all the rules. On the few occasions when I really want a card now, a friend grabs it for me. So that's as much as I know or care about eBay. "Tell me what I owe you, thanks". Big Grin

As for COMC, as I understand it there are at least three ways you can get involved with them, either directly or through eBay or through Upper Deck. COMC is its own selling platform and you can buy and sell your cards directly through them. Of course you need an account.

COMC also sells cards on eBay, where you can buy them as an eBay customer without having a COMC account. I bring this up specifically because I'm trying it now. I got my friend to pick up a card for me and it turned out COMC is the seller. I don't know how well this will work, but I'm going to find out. I believe the shipping for one card was a little less than $6 for domestic mail.

Now the thing that interests me is how long it will take for delivery. COMC is running very slow according to internet complaints, but I don't know if that's true on their eBay sales, as opposed to sales made directly on their platform or transfers of cards coming from stored accounts or Upper Deck ePacks. They have also apparently made a few mistakes when trying to find cards.

Which brings us to Upper Deck ePacks which are handled by COMC. Physical cards found in bought ePacks are both stored and mailed through your COMC account, which I assume is set up when you start buying ePacks. I've never done it, never will.

So there may be more ways to interact with COMC, whether you have an actual account or not, but those are the three ways I've heard about it. COMC has been in business for quite a few years and at this point I can only imagine a storage facility something like Iron Mountain, where financial institutions used to send their records. They must be holding on to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of cards, that no one wants to claim for the shipping cost. How do you keep the records and have the space for all this stuff that is too worthless for the owners to move? And given that, who would want to leave expensive cards in a third party vault that has a business model which looks like it will hit capacity eventually just by the sheer accumulation in the accounts?

Anyway I'll let you know how long it takes COMC to send out that card via the eBay purchase. If I misstated anything, please correct me.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
 
Posts: 10498 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
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I don't think I've ever paid an import duty on anything from Canada/overseas. We just pay postage plus a sales tax at the rate determined by state/county (9.13% in my county) when buying something from within the US.

There is a UK seller who charges about $20 to ship to the US. Unless the card is seriously underpriced relative to the market and I really want it, I'm not going to pay that. I haven't seen a deal that good yet. We're all in the same boat that way. It used to cost me about $8 to ship a brick-sized box with a pack of 5-10 cards. That was in the 90's to early 2000's. Now, that same box costs at least $16. I see another UK seller who charges under $5 to ship a card so I don't understand why the other seller charges so much. It's possible it's just a matter of trying to make extra money per transaction but it's my understanding that your VAT charge is determined by the declared value plus the shipping charge.

I saw the increased overseas shipping charges already killing a lot of business back in the 2000's. At a card show, a lot of transactions can be around just $5. A collector would be hesitant to pay even $5 for shipping for card valued at $3-5 unless it was still a good deal or a hard one to find.



quote:
Originally posted by Brian T:
I live in the UK and my primary source for trading cards is eBay which I check on a daily basis. There are many low value cards that I would like to add to my collection but I ignore them due to the postage and import tax charges which are excessive.
As I only buy cards and don't sell them, I have a limited knowledge of the eBay / COMC system which to me is confusing.
For example, I regularly see cards being sold on the UK site from sellers in the US for £1.50. The postage is an additional £13 with a further import duty of £7. So to purchase the £1.50 card from outside the US is an additional £20 making the transaction £21.50.
Out of curiosity I would like to know:
a) Would these charges still apply to someone purchasing the card from within the US?
b) Are these charges reciprocated. Is a buyer in the US who purchases a card from overseas subject to the same / similar charges?
c) Has anyone actually bought or sold a card with these additional costs attached.
d) What benefit does a seller get if they sign up to the eBay / COMC system.
I can understand it being beneficial for high value cards (insurance etc) but if no-one is buying these low value cards, then the seller is potentially cutting themselves off from a larger market.
I am not knocking this system, I just don't understand it and I hope that someone can explain it to me.
 
Posts: 4446 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
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The card I purchased from COMC off of eBay arrived in 15 days, so I would say that there was no unusual delay on that transaction.
 
Posts: 10498 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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