Official Trading Guidelines
Trades and purchases performed in this site should follow the steps and rules indicated below. This will prevent most of the problems you can encounter when trading cards online. Please read carefully and refer back to this page when in doubt about how to proceed with a trade.
If you have suggestions on ways to improve these guidelines, please let us know.
A successful trade normally goes through the following stages:
- Stage 1: Initiate Trade
- Stage 2: Confirm Trade
- Stage 3: Exchange Information
- Stage 4: First User Sends
- Stage 5: Second User Sends
Stage1: Initiate Trade
The stage where two members communicate their needs and wants to each other and negotiate a possible trade.
- This can be done on the site via forum, chat or private messaging, or even outside the site if you are ok to disclose your email address or other contact info to other people, which is not recommended.
You can find people to trade with through the 'look for trades' section, from the automatic report on possible trades, searching for a given card, or through the list of users.
- When deciding which users to contact for trades, you should take several factors into account:
- how long they have been registered on the site,
- the number of references they have, and also how many references their referrers in turn have,
- their Trader Level, as this is a measure of how many times they have traded successfully,
- the Trade Evaluations they have received, as they give you a very valuable information on how their trades and purchases have developed on average.
You can get all this information from the users' web page.
Then you should also consider the trade offers themselves: if you get an offer that seems too good to be true, then maybe it is, and you should think about it very carefully before accepting it.
- The negotiation should only be between two members, no third member needs to be involved.
Stage 2: Confirm Trade
This stage is where both members confirm the details on the intended trade.
- This must be done always using the site's Tracked Trades system so that all the data gets registered and both members can refer back to it.
- In this stage several things should be established: the quantity to send, the condition of the card(s), the exact expansion set they belong to, and how to send; i.e. with confirmed delivery, through registered or insured mail, etc.
Warning: all items are expected to be in mint or near-mint condition. If a card you are sending in a trade is not in perfect condition, you MUST indicate this in the comment for that card in the Trade form, and make sure that the other party is aware of it. Also, the sender is responsible for any damages the items suffer during delivery, so you must make sure to package things properly.
- A maximum of 120 cards can be included on each side of the trade.
- You should respond promptly to the Trade offers you receive, by either accepting them, rejecting them, or modifying them to your liking (in this latter case you will need the other party to accept the new details). Letting Trade offers simply expire is considered bad etiquette and may lead to your being blocked from the use of the Tracked Trades service.
Stage 3: Exchange Information
During this stage the logistic details of the trade are established.
- Deciding who sends first:
- There should be no "same time send" trades. You can never know if the other party is really sending their cards when you have already sent yours!
- The user sending first will be the one with the lowest amount of references, but only if at least one of the traders has more than 10 references and has been registered on the site for more than 3 months. This rule is evaluated and enforced in each case by the Tracked Trades system.
- In case of equal references between members, or if both have less than 10 references or less than 3 months, the first sender should be decided upon and agreed to by both members. If no agreement can be made on this, then the trade should not be performed.
- You should not consider only the amount of references, but also how they are spread in time, and how many references and how old on the site the referrers in turn are. You should also contact one or two of the referrers and ask them for their opinion about the trader in question.
- No references obtained at other web sites should be computed, as you can not trust that the references actually belong to the user at Trade Cards Online, even if the user names match. If you want nevertheless to count those references, you would need to contact the user at the other site and ask them to confirm they are indeed registered on our site with the given user name.
- Addresses are exchanged at this time. Users enter them on the Tracked Trade form when they accept the trade. Do not ship to user names, always request the real name. And do not accept PO Boxes, you need to send to the actual personal address of the other person.
- Once both members have agreed, the trade DOES NOT change. If a change is requested by either member it needs to be accepted by the other member, otherwise the trade stays as is and must be finished in the initial conditions. In this case the requested change should be done with a second trade after the first trade has been completed.
Stage 4: First User Sends
Sending stage where First User sends their part of the trade to Second User.
- First User packages the cards with protection against bends and ships them the way it was agreed in Stage 3. Please remember that the sender is responsible for the shipment, and, if there are any problems, has to provide evidence that the cards have been received correctly. So we recommend to always send with delivery confirmation, or at least for valuable or international trades.
- First User updates the Tracked Trade indicating they have sent their part. This sends an automatic message to the Second User so they know the cards have been sent.
- Second User receives the cards and updates the Tracked Trade indicating they have received them and giving a reference for First User. First User gets notified automatically too.
Stage 5: Second User Sends
Sending stage where Second User sends their part of the trade to First User.
- Second User packages the cards with protection against bends and ships them the way it was agreed in Stage 3. Please remember that the sender is responsible for the shipment, and, if there are any problems, has to provide evidence that the cards have been received correctly. So we recommend to always send with delivery confirmation, or at least for valuable or international trades.
- Second User updates the Tracked Trade indicating they have sent their part. This sends an automatic message to the First User so they know the cards have been sent.
- First User receives the cards and updates the Tracked Trade indicating they have received them and giving a reference for Second User. Second User gets notified automatically too.
The trade is now complete.
Once a trade or purchase gets completed both users should fill in the Trade Evaluation form to rate their experience in that transaction and to help build the other user's trader reputation.
A Bad Trade is considered to have occurred when either user does not fulfill their part of Stage 4 or Stage 5. This should be quickly registered by filing a Bad Trader Report. Violations of Stages 1 through 3 are viewed as broken agreements or a dropped trade. No cards are exchanged during this process so neither member is at a loss. Members that violate Stages 1 through 3 should be privately noted and that information used in future trades or given to other members who request it while doing trade research on that user.
If you do receive the cards but you are not satisfied by them (eg. if the cards are not in the right condition, if they are bent, scratched, or damaged any other way, or if they are fake) you should not register on the Tracked Trade that you have received. Pressing on the "Cards Received" button signifies that you have received and that the items were the right ones and in the right condition. You should instead return the cards or try to reach another agreement with the other party.