For the past several months Proxiblog, a major buyer on Proxibid for more than four years, has been bidding more on eBay and less on Proxibid. We analyzed the reasons, and they affect everyone–including our favorite sellers who know if you want to sell on Internet, you have to provide service, from APN clearance to shipping.
Auctioneers who only recently made the belated decision to sell on Internet (because that’s where the coin-buying business is heading) have had it their own way onsite for so many years they just can’t understand the point of catering to the online crowd.
- ALL SALES FINAL, they scream in their service terms.
- SEND US YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION, they demand.
- SHIPPING IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY, they yell.
- WE CHARGE HANDLING FEES FOR SHIPPING, they retort.
In sum, they want the same power on Internet that they have in their hometowns.
And Proxibid is allowing this in its own service terms without realizing how it will begin to erode business in the long term. If a dedicated buyer like Proxiblog (which formerly hated eBay which in turn led to the discovery of Proxibid) is stating this, it’s time to take a hard look at Proxibid’s future in the coin business.
If you’re one of our favorite sellers in the right sidebar, you are a veteran understanding how to sell to the digital audience. But this affects you, too.
Here’s why: Major coin buyers (k***n, M***5, T***R, S***O, etc., and there are about a dozen more) increasingly are bidding for the same coins, competing against each other with the discipline to stop bidding beyond their researched maximums. Moreover, returning to eBay, they find that company has made great gains in customer service, requiring important courtesies and rules for online bidding.
Shipping is mostly free or nominal on eBay. There are rules for replicas, counterfeits, hype, etc. eBay bans seller shill bidding. Mostly, however, eBay is not dealing with the arrogance of tardy onsite auctioneers who had it their way for so long they believe they can impose their will online.
When veteran Proxibidders, including yours truly, bid on eBay, we also deplete our numismatic budget there with less to spend on Proxibid.
We hate PayPal, but we deal with it on eBay because too many Proxibid houses refuse to subscribe to APN.
We preferred Proxibid to eBay because of Proxibid’s exemplary customer service department; but eBay has made vast improvements, even there.
In the past 30 days, 65% of our bidding budget went to eBay over Proxibid, and that should sound an alert in the Omaha company.
Take a look at some shipping service terms from new sellers on Proxibid:
- After you have successfully complete your purchase, you will need to make arrangements for pickup or delivery for your parcel.
- Shipping Instructions: [We] do not have a shipping department. If you are in need of a shipper in order to receive your purchases, we have two shippers in our area. … Contact them directly to obtain quotes for the packaging and delivery of your items, or make your own arrangements. Payment for shipping is due directly to the shipper. Please notify us of the shipper you will be using. …
- Shipping Instructions: Shipping cost is the sole responsibility of the buyer. … [H]andling fee of 9.50 will be charged (per boxed item or items) … this is to cover the wrappers wage, bubble, box, tape etc. plus Ins and the shipping cost.
- [We] will not handle payments for shipping. Any special shipping requests must be made directly to The UPS Store. Any claims for damaged or lost items are to be handled through the shipping service, as all sales are final. Please allow up to 10 business days after receipt of full payment, and verification of the receipt of funds, for your purchases to ship.
We can find several more examples in the 30 or so sellers who vend coins on Proxibid at any one time.
This is an early warning post to Proxibid. We have advised them in the past–to the point of establishing a coin and currency category–an indication of how long we have bought on the portal. If it wants to compete with eBay in this category, it has to revise its Unified User Agreement to protect bidders.
- Mandate in-house shipping in a timely manner and hold auctioneers accountable if items are lost en route.
- Ban auctioneer shill bidding. Those transparency disclosures aren’t helping.
- Stop the hype and require sellers to validate value in their lot descriptions from reputable sources.
- Require APN, PayPal or other secure credit-card company for online purchases.
- All sales are NOT final; so demand that auctioneers adhere to the Unified User Agreement in their published service terms, especially as this relates to counterfeit or altered coins.
eBay offers all of the above.
Perhaps when Proxibid starts publishing buyer feedback, it will stop the migration to eBay. We’ll see. We’ll report. We’ll recommend. We want a strong and secure Proxibid coin and currency category.
We trust you do, too.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.