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The Repercussions of Events

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As a site we are here to promote the use of speculation and smart time buying in order to help you secure profits for yourself. For the most part I would consider this to be a success, as most of the time we're able to get out information on items to buy before they jump and what items to sell before they fall as well. While those readers who stay on top of articles and twitter feeds are commonly able to hit cards just as they go up, this is a double edged sword. Today, we look at the ugly side of the business, its shortcomings and pitfalls, and see if we can do anything to prevent it.

Anyone remember the buying spree on this?

Two weeks ago two people were watching worlds coverage. Person A was reading the articles on match ups, and person B was watching videos and keeping track of twitter. Person A was able to see by round 5 coverage that a few name players were playing UB control, and if he was following standings he would have seen that they were doing well through the day. He has time to buy a few grave titans for resell in the next couple of days for a higher value, or secure other UB control staples that had gone down in price recently, again for profit at the resell. This is a smart move, and if he acted quickly enough he was ahead of the game since, sadly, most people don't truly read anymore.

Person B was watching videos for Deck Tech, and saw the rise of Caw-Go in the hands of Brian Kibler (@bmkibler) and was able to buy Gideon Jura, a card which has seen a slow but steady price drop, at a good rate before everyone else caught on. His window was much smaller since he was competing against everyone else watching the deck tech videos, but his edge was twitter where Kibler himself gave a few hints away. Both situations were profitable if they acted within the time frame before the price jumps happened. This is smart buying and later smart selling. This is the good side of things, but its not always so......

Enter the extended portion of Worlds. We all know the story of Necrotic Ooze and how it exploded for a short time in price as a buy rush hit it. Some people placed large orders for Ooze to resell for profit or trade away at a later point. While some argue that this is morally wrong, I argue that if money was taken from a bank account and you got an order confirmation number, doing anything except shipping the order is bad business, and causes repercussions within the community.

Brian Doran (@MTGveteran) "Matchplay wont ship my bulk order even though they took money out of my bank account, I don't see how vendors get away with this. And so did Shuffle and Cut, they (Shuffle and Cut) didn't even bother giving me a reason other than "due to the card's demand". That's just sloppy."

Moving away from worlds, and onto the Banned and Restricted list announcements, the community was in a buying frenzy, quickly followed by community uproar as multiple orders of Time Spiral were refunded. Not an isolated incident in the least, it quickly gained momentum as people on twitter expressed their outrage at multiple vendors.

(name removed by request) "Card Haus is terrible... They refused to sell me Time spirals for $5 I bought them at because they are out of stock but will have Them back in stock for 29.99.. Are you kidding me?"

Edwin Aragon (@edwin_aragon) "Ordered from gathering ground, and was told they had to refund my order at this time. If I get a order conf # I should get my stuff."

Did you get refunded? We want to know about it!

This is the ugly side of this business. Canceled orders, no explanation of refunds, and other underhanded business practices plague our secondary market. Every so often though, someone steps up to do something about it, and sometimes it works such as the Cape Fear Games Fiasco of August which can be read in the link if you're interested in reading about it. This time it seems the champion for the Time Spiral Disaster is Jonathan Medina (@mtgmetagame)

Mtgmetagame "Tweet me the names of the stores who pulled out and if they shipped you any copies. RE: Time Spiral - #letsbattle"

This is basically a call to action on the parts of individuals, and while he posted that tweet as I'm writing this, it will be interesting to see where this goes. I have a feeling that as the secondary market continues to evolve over the next year we will continue to see stores deny and refund orders, but we will also see a growing number of people become very vocal about these issues. I encourage this, because its up to us to protect our market from underhanded business practices such as this.

How else can we protect our market? Some sites are reputable for shipping orders even at a lower price. They aren't taking a "loss" since the product is still being sold, they just aren't capitalizing on the greed factor that other sites are. Supporting these sites helps to encourage their continued customer related business practices. The biggest name in singles also happens to be the best site for this; Starcitygames.com. While their prices tend to be a bit higher from other shops, running $1-$5 on most big ticket items, they also didn't cancel orders for Time Spiral or Necrotic Ooze when they were cheaper. You pay a bit more, but you have a higher chance of actually getting the product you paid for, so I have to give them props. An $8 Time Spiral from them yesterday is better then getting refunded for all of your $5 Time spirals from another site and seeing them reposted at $29.99 today. I have a feeling that the current Time Spiral rush will die down in the next week, and unless its part of the next breakout deck from the Legacy Open, it will see a fate similar to Grim Monolith.

That's all for this week, I figured we needed a bit of controversy to spark some discussion, and I look forward to talking with you more in the discussion portions!If you have any ideas on how else to stop these refunds, speak up!

Until next week,

Stephen Moss

@MTGstephenmoss on twitter

mtgstephenmoss@gmail.com

Ps. How about that Jets/Steelers game?! Go New York!

Stephen Moss

Stephen Moss currently lives in Lancaster, CA, is a usual PTQ grinder in the southwest region and working on his Masters in Business Administration. He has an obsession with playing League of Legends when not working on articles or school work. His articles often take on a business minded tone, and usually contain information applicable to magic trading as well as real world business.

View More By Stephen Moss

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23 thoughts on “The Repercussions of Events

  1. Apparently Shuffle and Cut Canceled someone's Time Spiral Order, I saw it later re posted at 17.99. Poor customer service, most orders are show up late, if it wasn't for the fact that their local and have amazingly low prices I would never bother with them. They really need to step it up, how hard is it to just bs a policy in an email?

    There's more to this tho I'm aware, but I would like the shops that I actually go into and play tournaments at to not treat me like a number.

  2. If I ran a shop, I would just shut my store for a few hours every B&R update while I reprice things. It baffles me that no one does this.

    I placed an order for 4x Time Spiral at two different vendors, seconds after I read the B&R update. So far, one has marked my order as 'shipped' (good for them!) and the other has sent me an email confirming that I placed an order, along with the paypal confirmation email of the same. We'll see how that shakes out.

    I did manage to hit up a local store for one copy, at $6+tax. That was cool.

    1. Of all the different suggestions that have been proposed, I think I like this one the most. Its a great way to protect both ends. It protects the buyer from feeling cheated on price, and it protects the seller/dealer from earning a band name in a community that communicates ideas in a matter of moments. The simplest solution is usually the best one, great job!

    2. I totally agree. I am surprised that stores are still open during this time. I'd shut mine down at 11:50 and reopen at 12:15am whenever they happen. 25 minutes of downtime is fine when it happens only four times a year. You can even just drop it down "for maintenance" during that time.

      If you're uninterested in protecting your reputation by shutting down for 100 minutes per year, then you probably shouldn't be selling cards!

  3. MtgCity cancelled my order as well. It is really a shame for people who just want to play with the damn card. It obviously makes Spring Tide better but I don't see it breaking the format just like I didn't see Grim break the format.

    1. Yes, Spring Tide does get better, but i'm not sure it gets good enough to make people play that rather than Solidarity. As I stated before, I also think that unless it sees an amazing performance at the next couple legacy opens, Time Spiral won't do much. It could be that it will need time to mature in the format as people tinker with it, but I would be surprised to see any immediate impact.

  4. Well, my second order (from cardaddiction.com) was cancelled. Here's what I wrote back:

    "Oh please, that 'oversold' lie demeans us both. Just come out and say that you were too slow to update your price, and don't want to honor the price I ordered at.

    I expected this, so I ordered another set from a different internet store that DID honor the price. That store will now be first in my mind for future buys, and will be recommended to other players, while your store can consider itself blacklisted. Negative publicity will hurt your store a lot more than just sending the cards your customers pay for."

    And then I linked him to http://www.mananation.com/cancelled/

    😀

  5. I had a playset I was in the process of paying for on thegameacademyonline.com when a popup said that my order had changed and the price had gone from 4.99 to 13.99! If only I was a few seconds faster!

    Cardhaus did cancel my order this time, but they did honor my Mind over Matter order last time. I think the biggest problem is the difference in coding for the shopping carts. Most websites don't reduce the inventory as purchases go, so when there is a run on cards during the night, you could be the 34th person trying to buy their 6 copies of a card. First come first serve.

  6. I'm not saying that speculators should "like what they get," but I'm just as reticent to lay all blame on the dealer's doorstep either. Most arguments in that direction tend to sound pretty self-serving with enough repetition. "Well, the dealer should have updated their prices," or "It's not -my- fault…", etc. Speculation by its very nature frequently thrives in that grey area between taking advantage and straightforward trading. And that's perfectly fine- most of them tend to do a ton of footwork, and certainly deserve to profit from their efforts. But the demonising of the dealers gets a little off-putting.

    QED2 posted the most sensible suggestion I've seen about this issue to date: "If I ran a shop, I would just shut my store for a few hours every B&R update while I reprice things. It baffles me that no one does this."

    1. I totally agree. But until dealers see the sense in this, canceled orders need to be seen as a part of doing business. No use railing about what *should* be- money tends to care only about what -is.- Blacklist the speculator-unfriendly places, and vote with your feet.

      Great article, and great discussion!

      1. Great points, glad to see someone arguing on the side the the "house" as it were. Yes I think that the most sensible thing to do would be to just close down your online shop for the B/R announcements, its seems the safest route to go. I also think the previous incident you were referring to I posted a link to in the article.

  7. There is nothing wrong with what dealers are doing. I also would cancel orders if I were a dealer. And why in hell would you want to shut your doors? That is like telling a Hallmark store to close before every holiday. B/R updates create a lot of buzz and people want to purchase cards. This is one of the best times to be a dealer. Excitement in the secondary market means profit is to be made. If you don't like that dealers spike pricess on such unbanned cards like Time Spiral, don't buy them. It is as simple as that.

    The whole idea that Grim Monolith or Time Spiral is a 30-40$ card is complete and utter bullshit. This price is only because speculators make it that way. Time Spiral is maybe a 15$ card MAXIMUM right now. But because ppl are trying to make a quick profit, everyone gets pissy. Get over it. If you really want to speculate properly, do it at prereleases.

    1. Actually there are a lot of things wrong with what the dealers are doing, not just ethically and morally, but at this point some of us are looking at the legal aspect of it since it is a digitally signed contract and monetary exchange that they aren't honoring. This leads some of us who spent a fair chunk of money to start Better Business Bureau complaints against companies, and look at the legal side of online contracts made between buyer and seller. While I am not a lawyer, it doesn't take one to read through the safeguards for a buyer that have been put in place for online transactions. Companies are replaceable, customers are not.

  8. @ertaislament: A stated policy that isn't available when placing orders through TCGPlayer. A stated policy that required an email argument to happen before being brought to attention. The extremes that had to be gone through in order to be treated like a human being. Injustices hardly, unnecessary yes. Vendors just need to take some time and re-read some of the things they send to customers that they are canceling orders for.

    Matchplay felt it necessary to be snarky to me about it, apparently they can speak on the behalf of tcgplayer as to why that can never happen. It would of been easier to disregard my suggestion or lie to me about how you plan on looking into it. So much for being civil and polite because speculators are second class customers and should be treated poorly?

  9. I just cant see how companies haven't figured this out yet. Its better to lose 2 hours of business and gain peoples respect than to try and catch a mistake that was stricktly your fault. If anything I would respect a shop much more for closing down, I feel like at the very least I know they are a diligent shop who more than likely is very good at keeping up with thier pricing.

  10. Here's the thing though. Do you really want to go through all the legal matter to force them to do something? I'm pretty sure the time and money spent doing that wouldn't be worth your the profits off the cards. Plus, by the time it would be settled, the cards bought often won't reflect the huge price spike it once did. My point is, there are so many ways around this and it isn't worth the buyer's time to fight it. Boycotting is the only way you can truly stop this, and even then the effort to do so isn't worth it.

  11. @QED: my time spirals that have not been canceled are coming in from cardaddiction, there might be some truth behind their inventory claim. I haven't received any email other than the one that the order has been placed.

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