Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ebay's New "Rent-a-Deck" Policy

Don't forget the ban list is official now as well, sorry to have to remind you lol.

Anyways, I received the Spring Seller Update newsletter from eBay but didn't bother to read it since I do very minimal selling on there anyway these days. I figured it was just a message saying they increased their fees yet again or some crap. So I hop on to DGz last night and notice a thread that was talking about this update. Mr. Allen C. Pennington breaks it down Barney-style very nicely:
There are a few updates, but here is the biggest one:

"Starting in June, Top-rated sellers will need to have tracking information uploaded to eBay within their stated handling time on 90% or more of their transactions with US buyers. As of June 1, the 20% final value fee discount and greatest on average boost in Best Match will go to those listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return policy with a money-back refund option."

Basically, everyone wants to qualify for being a top seller since it boosts your sales and gives you a discount on fees. Starting in June in order to be a top seller you have to offer a 14-day return on all listings. So let me spell this out for you for those who don't get it:

1. Pick a random big-name store.
2. Go to their eBay store.
3. Buy a ygo deck shortly before a YCS.
4. Duel
5. Return the deck after YCS.
6. ???

So basically you now get to "rent a deck" for 2-weeks at no cost to yourself.
My mind was promptly blown after reading this and the subsequent messages on the thread. It is pretty clear that this new policy is very abusable, besides just what Allen mentioned. I'll go over what I think are the potential impacts this new policy has:

1. You can now play what ever deck you want at any Regional, YCS, or Nationals
This one is a gimme since Allen mentions it, but just thought I'd reiterate that now you can simply buy the cards to build any deck like a week before a Regional, play in it, and send them back for your money back. The impact that this has is that now semi-budget players can "afford" to play the best deck. I say semi since pure budget players probably wouldn't have the money in the first place to "buy" the card(s) at all. I'd expect an increase in play in "the best decks/cards" in most major tourneys.

2. Investing in the ban list is now virtually 100% safe
The ban list is arguably one of the biggest factors when it comes to profit/loss. Within a week Maxx C went from a $60-70 card to a $90-100 one. Glow-Up Bulb went from $40+ to $12-15 and is probably near un-tradable in most locals. You hear occasional stories of people buying hundreds of some specific card because they "heard it was coming back", it ends up not coming back, and pretty much all that money was wasted. But now you can essentially go "nilly willy" on buying up large quantities of "you never know" cards. Most of the banned cards are cards that are pretty low in value but if they ever came off the list in any fashion, would fetch a pretty penny. Look at BLS's jump from $5 to $50+ (initially). The same could probably be said for cards like Imperial Order, Ring of Destruction, CED, holo versions of things like MoF, etc. Simply buy up large quantities of what ever you think has even the remote chance of coming back maybe a few days before when the ban list usually leaks, wait for the leak, and return what ever didn't end up coming back. It may seem like a pain in the ass but the potential profits are huge. This one user, BGBK, on DGz summed it up very well:

"let's all pretend you did this with imperial order, who is roughly going for $4.

if it got unbanned it would at least be $20 from initial hype. it wouldn't be hard to get 100 copies of it, at 16$ profit each that is 1600$. that's low balling the profit you could get from it too"

This can also work for purchasing cards that you think may go up if they are not hit or if the list is made in some fashion. In Maxx C's and Wind-Up Rabbit's case, I looked at the list and immediately knew they would both shoot up, so I purchased all of the ~$60 Maxx C's I could find (only like 4) and six $30 Rabbits. In hindsight I probably should've gotten a lot more Wind-Up Rabbit :(

3. You can now "endless-loop rent" cards
This one can be a pain in the ass, but you can basically "rent" cards for a week and a half for the cost of shipping and rinse-and-repeat to your heart's content. Let's pretend the Tour Guide reprint wasn't coming out til like October so this policy could actually be useful. Say you wanted to play with a set of Tour Guides but didn't want to outright shell out the $450 or whatever to play with them because you knew they were getting reprinted. Simply purchase a set from some store, play with them at what ever tourneys you have for like a week and a half, return them, wait to get your money back, and re-order from a different store. If you were ballsy you could re-order them from the same store and simply say "oh I changed my mind again about the purchase." Ideally you would want to plan out when you order and return them to have your "down time" correlate with days that you don't have tourneys. The logistics can get kind of confusing with this since you have to take into account the number of days it'll take your items to arrive, initiating the eBay return process, the number of days it'll take your items to go back to the seller, and however long it'll take for the refund to process. Those that are persistent and savvy could probably orchestrate this easily though, and the "simple" solution is to have 2 loops going on at the same time so when it's one loop's "down time", the other loop is "active". Hopefully that made sense.

4. Secondary market may become skewed
This one is hard to predict, but the one thing I know is that being an individual-based eBay seller isn't really a fruitful endeavor. Between all the fees and the potential ways of getting screwed by buyers, what's the point? I actually think eBay is trying to steer towards a "bigger stores only" type of market, for what ever reason. As the number of individual-based sellers decreases, the supply of in-demand cards decrease. As the supply decreases, buyers are potentially having to compete even more to obtain what they need/want, which increases the bid amount, with the mentality of "crap, there's only like 5 of these up for auction and the next one ends in 3 days. I need this now and have to win it." As the bid amount increases, that's reflected in the Completed Listings, so that value becomes the new standard value for the card. With this rinse-and-repeat, you can end up with value hikes and the bigger stores will take advantage of that, further cementing the increased value. Lots of people go by eBay Completeds for values, and even with this policy in effect they still will. All this will do is cause everyone to value their cards higher because "that's what they're going for on eBay."

Personally the ban list aspect of it is the most relevant one to me, unfortunately I know other people will be looking to do the same. For this September, I'd recommend to start saving money in like June or July so you have enough to buy large amounts of cards, maybe around August 10th. List leak should happen around the 17th, just like it did for this one. This gives you a week to return the cards that didn't come off the list or you know won't rise in value. I don't mind sharing this strategy with y'all because the majority of you will probably forget all about it in a week or two lol. Just sayin'.


  1. Quick question.
    Ebay says: Top-rated sellers will need to have tracking information uploaded to eBay within their stated handling time on 90% or more of their transactions with US buyers.

    However, it does not mention anything for Canadian buyers on the '14-day return policy'.

    So, will Canadian buyers be able to abuse this new policy?

  2. Um I'm gonna give you a link to the DGz thread discussing the Canadian version of the policy as I'm not sure and not gonna bother reading into it too much as I'm not Canadian. I don't know how your guys' postal system works either.

    I glanced over the thread though, and in a nutshell, it seems like Canadian sellers don't have to bother since there are more US-based buyers, and any form of international tracking is expensive.

    For more info/discussion: