I'm both a Buyer and Seller of Disney pins. If you're a Buyer, I would encourage you to demand this kind of relationship with your Seller on eBay.
1. Demand Accuracy
My biggest peeve with eBay pin Sellers is people using words like "Rare" for common pins. It is a deceptive way to get people to look at an auction; but in the end, it undermines a Seller's credibility.
I understand that the word "rare" is subjective in its definition. The American Heritage Dictionary defines "rare" as "Infrequently occurring; uncommon." When I use "rare" to describe a pin, I base my words on how uncommon the pins are on pin trader boards. Five people owning a pin and being willing to trade it on the trader boards is pretty rare; 89 people wanting to trade theirs is not (and yet I see common pins being marketed as rare all the time).
In addition, some Sellers play upon a Buyer's ignorance. New pin collectors don't realize that Sedesma pins are cheaply made or that certain European pins are not tradeable in the parks. Others buy cheap imitation Scrapper pins from unscrupulous Sellers. To list a pin on eBay without giving its history - or at least its manufacturer if known - is unethical at worse, inconsiderate at best. It is especially wrong to state that Scrapper pins (2nds and overruns from Chinese factories, not authorized by The Disney Company) "are real Disney pins" or "genuine Disney pins." Just because a pin has a Disney copyright on it doesn't mean it's a genuine Disney pin! Yet Scrapper Sellers routinely use that sales ploy to promote their pins as being genuine. I wish The Disney Company would do more to shut these Scrappers and their factories down!
2. Demand Protective Packing
A close 2nd on my aggravation list is when I purchase pins and they are mailed without any padding or protection. I've received packages where pins are sticking through the envelopes, or where pinbacks are bent or broken because of no padding. Pins are simply thrown in together, allowing them to rub and scratch each other in shipping.
Personally, I believe it's the Buyer's right to ask that pins be individually bubble-wrapped, paying extra attention to the pin backs and building up extra padding on either side of the pinback, to keep them from being bent over. If a Seller won't use bubblewrap, they need to at least wrap pins in a Kleenex to keep one pin separate from another. Don't just throw pins in a ziplock bag or envelope created for letters. Standard envelopes are not going to protect pins! Request a bubblewrap envelope or a box with packing peanuts.
As a Buyer, there's nothing wrong with requesting that your pin(s) be carefully protected, or to say, "Positive feedback after receipt of your carefully-protected pin." I'm not offended when someone asks me to take care of their pins... they pay good money for my items and deserve their item to arrive in the same condition as what they purchased.
3. Demand a Picture
On eBay, a picture is worth far more than 1,000 words...it's a protection for both the Buyer and the Seller that the pin a person receives is the same pin that they bought.
I do use stock photos on occasion, as I sell a lot of pins. But if a certain pin is in a condition that's worse than the stock picture, I re-shoot a picture of the flawed pin and point out the problem within the auction. To send a pin that's worse than the picture shows is "bait and switch," which is illegal.
In the same respects, Buyers need to understand that there are subtle scratches and flaws that a photograph will not pick up, and that no pin is "perfect." I've sold pins that are brand new, hidden behind the glass of a framed set until I sell it, and there are slight blemishes on it. This is just the nature of the medium: pins are not perfect. So as a Seller, we should be honest to point out noticeable flaws; but as a Buyer, we need to be understanding that what we're buying is not a flawless diamond...it's a piece of fairly common jewelry.
4. Demand Realistic Pricing
If you regularly purchase pins, you'll know what a pin is going to sell for, normally. And eBay is a marketplace where the Buyer has complete control of what they want to pay for an item. But some Sellers are fleecing unknowledgeable Buyers by putting ridiculous prices on items.
I recall an auction that was trying to sell common pins for over $30 a pin, claiming the pins were super rare. Most of the pins they had for sale normally would bring a couple of dollars, but not everyone knows that. P.T. Barnam was right when he said, "There's a sucker born every minute." But an ethical Seller doesn't seek to take advantage of such poor souls. Normally (in 99% of my auctions), rare pins start at $4.95 and other pins start at $3.95 or $2.95. Then, the free marketplace takes over and I receive as a Seller whatever the market dictates. Have I sold pins for hundreds of dollars? Sure. But it has been the marketplace - not inaccurate pricing - that dictated the final price.
Next time you see someone trying to fleece others online, write them and ask, "Surely you're not asking THAT much for these common pins." You may not get a response - or get a sarcastic reply - but at least your comment lets Sellers know that others are watching their actions and will not support their auctions if they continue to try to rip off people.
5. Demand Honesty
Finally, let's just talk about honest dealings. You would think this wouldn't have to be mentioned, but unfortunately there are always going to be Sharks in the ocean of pin trading and buying.
At Walt Disney World, I run into a certain professional trader (Shark) who likes hanging out at Downtown Disney's Pin Trader shop. Every time I talk with him (as he has forgotten my face though I haven't forgotten his), he always says, "Yeah...I'm just down here vacationing, trying to do some trading." In fact, he lives in the Orlando area and makes it his profession to rip off unsuspecting and sincere pin traders out of their valuable lanyard pins and other Disney pins, giving them back junk in return. It's a shameful practice.
The same thing happens on eBay. I've seen Sellers who have been "selling my collection" for the past three years. There are Scrapper Sellers who claim they're marketing "real pins...genuine pins." The inference is that they are genuine Disney pins, purchased in the parks originally (when if fact, they buy them from Chinese factories for pennies on the dollar and then sell them to innocent victims). If something seems too good to be true...well, you know the rest. Buyers should report dishonest Sellers to VerO through eBay. Don't just grumble; do something about it so others don't get ripped off. And if you're a Seller, realize that you're only hurting yourself by lying to Buyers. We're not as stupid as you think we are.
There is a code of ethics eBay expects from both its Buyers and Sellers. What I'm saying is nothing beyond eBay's Terms of Service. And as both a Seller and a Buyer, I'm talking to myself when I write this. As Buyers, if we make demands for excellence with Sellers, that's what we'll get. As Sellers, if we walk with integrity and excellence in our dealings on eBay, it will pay off for us in the end.
Now that eBay has expanded their Feedback - allowing buyers to rate sellers on such things as speed in shipping, honest descriptions, etc., things should improve.
Thanks for reading! If you agree with what I'm saying - or if you learned something, I'd appreciate you marking this Guide "Helpful."