SK (skdarkdragon) wrote in pkmncollectors,
SK
skdarkdragon
pkmncollectors

Mod Post - The Differences Between Group Buys, Claims, and Group Auctions

Hi everyone! Your friendly neighborhood mod SK here to clear up some confusion that’s been going around lately. I’m here to talk about the difference between the rules regarding Group Buys, and the rules regarding what is frequently known as Claims. I'll also touch on Group Auctions.

** As a note, in order to do ANY of these, you need sales permission. Only exception is as a co-host (threads/spreadsheets ONLY) in Group Auctions, in which you only need trade permission. **

A Group Buy goes as follows:

1.)    Everyone pays the EXACT PRICE of the item they are buying. If there’s a lot with a BIN (buy it now), the organizer divides the total cost EVENLY amongst the items. (In certain cases where the items are of varying values, the organizer can weight the items with AT MOST two different prices. The total must still equal the EXACT LOT TOTAL.)
2.)    Everyone splits the shipping cost to the host. This may be weighted based on who bought more items or who bought heavier items, but always adds up to the total shipping cost.
3.)    Everyone pays for shipping from the host to them.

That is a Group Buy. There is no profit in Group Buys. The goal is to pitch in together to get items for a reasonable price.

A Claims post (which includes most pickups, as well) goes as follows:

1.)    The organizer/seller will put up a post announcing the items they are offering claims on and what the prices are.
2.)    The organizer/seller acquires the items themselves. NO CUSTOMER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HELPING WITH THESE COSTS. Those costs MUST be factored into the seller’s item cost when they put up the post.
3.)    The customer pays for the item and shipping from the organizer/seller to them. A claims post payment will only ever be: ITEM COST (as stated on the post) + SHIPPING TO THE CUSTOMER + PP FEES

The organizer/seller may NOT:

1.)    Take payment for international shipping/transit costs/anything else that was needed in order to acquire the items.
2.)    Charge more for shipping to the customer because the international shipping was more expensive than they expected.
3.)    Add any other non-disclosed fees.

TAKE ALL THESE THINGS INTO CONSIDERATION BEFORE YOU POST YOUR ITEM PRICES. READ UNDER THE CUT FOR MORE IMPORTANT CLAIMS INFORMATION.

I did claims for about 6 months where I would take claims on items that would be coming out from the Pokemon Center in Japan, place the orders online, and have the items shipped to me. I was not special in that I could do this. I am signed up to a forwarding service that provides me with a Japanese address, which I used to create my online accounts and have my items shipped to. Then, they would consolidate and forward the packages on to me. Then, I would contact the customers with their total (ITEM COST + SHIPPING TO THEM). I would package the items and ship them to my customers.

Sounds fun, right? Easy way to make a little change a chance to see new items you might not otherwise get to? What you may not know is that:

THERE WERE FEES INVOLVED TO USE THE FORWARDING SERVICE AND INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING WAS SOMETIMES VERY EXPENSIVE. I lost money. Multiple times.

THOSE CLAIMS WERE INCREDIBLY TIME-CONSUMING. I would spend HOURS making the post, camping out by the computer to make sure I’d place the order in time before things sold out, sorting the items and contacting the customers, packaging everything and then taking them all the post office and doing the shipping labels for them one at a time at the kiosk.

THESE IS A DELAY IN PAYMENT WITH CLAIMS AND MY CREDIT CARDS WOULD HAVE MASSIVE CHARGES ON THEM WHILE I WAS WAITING FOR THE ITEMS TO COME IN. You cannot accept payment for claims items until you have the items in-hand. My credit card would have huge amounts of them while I was waiting until I could get paid for the items I’d bought. My limits and finances allowed this. Yours may not.

PACKAGING PRODUCTS COST MONEY. I would sometimes spend part of my tiny bit of profit money to purchase more mailers.

I only did these claims orders because I:

A.)   Was ordering anyway. I wanted items for myself and I was going to have to pay for international shipping regardless.
B.)   Had the time and found it fun. I enjoyed seeing new items, I enjoyed helping others get items and not have to pay international shipping costs, and I enjoyed the work. It was exciting.
C.)    Wasn’t particularly concerned with profit. I did not make much money on these endeavors when all was said and done, but I didn’t mind because I was enjoying it.

I stopped doing these claims orders because I:

A.)   Was not ordering much/at all from recent promos. There was nothing in it for me, so I wasn’t going to bother doing orders for everyone else.
B.)   Was finding that the amount of time involved was getting to be too much for my schedule.
C.)   Recently got engaged, and have combined finances with my fiancé. With wedding planning, paying off our vehicles, and housing purchases on the horizon, I could no longer afford to have massive charges on my credit card every month.

Anyone can do claims. It’s not particularly difficult if you have the time, organizational skills, and finances available, know the right services to use, and can navigate the websites you want to order from. (I can speak conversational Japanese, but most of the time Google Translate did any of the work I needed for me.) But you absolutely HAVE to take everything above into consideration.

It is NOT easy.

It is NOT a quick way to make a lot of money.

It’s a HOBBY that might work for you if you have the right motivation and circumstances.

Lastly, we have Group Auctions.

For a Group Auction:

Group Auctions are where the community, lead by one or two organizers, go in on an auction lot together. GA's are NOT FOR PROFIT, and you must have a level of sales/trade permission before acting as an organizer for one. (Sales permission, as well as prior experience working on a GA, is necessary to bid/ship, and trade permission is necessary to act as a co-host organizing the threads/spreadsheets. Work as a co-host doing threads for a GA if you've never had experience.)

PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE RUNNING A GA. If you are considering running a GA anytime in the future, please be sure that you A.) meet all the requirements, B.) are familiar with all of the rules, and if there is anything you don’t understand, ASK A MOD. While we are happy to assist during the GA, it is much easier for everyone if mistakes can be avoided up front!

Please remember that all community rules apply, including the no-sniping rule. Plan your end times accordingly! (If you are not familiar with this rule, please read up here.)

If you have any questions regarding Group Buys, Claims/Pickups, or Group Auctions, please feel free to ask me in the comments or as a private message. You can also message me on Twitter @littlescarfgirl.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day everyone! <3

~SK
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