#comicbooktiptuesday - How to Deal with Issues When Buying Books Online

     If you haven't already check out our Instagram @thearchiveofcomics where we've been posting this weekly segment on various tips and pieces of advice for collectors.  Some are short and some are longer as in this case we'll expand on one we've previously posted which is how to deal with any issues when you've bought a book online.

     Buying books online is fun, easy, and can be highly addictive as a new and veteran collector.  And if you start doing a lot of it, there's a bigger chance or possibility of an issue coming up or something going wrong.  Some of these sellers maybe small and others bigger comic shops.  We've found it best to reply with a pleasant tone versus one that outright accuses someone.  A majority of all sellers are collectors and have experienced issues like this in the past themselves.  It's best to be nice and provide photos and proof of anything you're requesting a refund on.  This way if you do have to get PayPal involved, you're covered.  

     Plus it's absolutely free to be nice and it makes everything much easier in our experience.  There could be several unforseen issues that fall out of the seller's control like shipping delays for instance.  This is especially true during the holidays where you should expect your package to not come on time.  As the holiday season adds millions more packages into the system.  Here are three tips to pack your books accordingly for the holiday surge.  There have been a few issues personally that we've run into where the package when checked via tracking was "in transit" for a long period of time.  This being longer than 5 days.  At this point, it could be lost or damaged, so reach out to the seller to make a claim with the USPS.  Clear and consistent communication is something that both sides must have in order to come to a resolution.

     Some issues like when a package is delivered but clearly there was no delivery to your house/work could be an error on the part of the postal worker.  A visit to your local USPS office, remember to make sure it's the one servicing your zipcode, will help track down what happened to it.  I've had a few times where it was marked delivered but it was in fact given to a neighboring business or nearby house by accident. 

     In the picture for this blog post is an actual conversation with a buyer that was settled as we both came to an agreement on what happened.  My point of view on things as a seller is to provide great customer service since it is so rare nowadays.  Even if it's not my fault I apologize for the inconvenince.  I also go on to give a few different ways to make things right and give the buyer a choice as well.  These range from a partial to full refund, free shipping on next order, free books, discounted books and so on.  I make sure to reply to them immediately if not within the hour.  And always like I mentioned earlier to be nice, so lots of please, thanks, sorry, how can I help is sprinkled throughout the conversation.  This amount of respect and courtesy goes a long way.   

   As a buyer, here are a few things I had to learn the hard way.  Be careful to read shipping timelines.  Many shops won't ship a book until it is in hand.  So let's say you order multiple back issues and one book that isn't coming out until next month.  Don't expect your order to be there soon as a lot of shops won't ship until that pre-order book made it to the shop.  There are several variants now that are pre-sale books.  Which means the shop will sell an allocation of books in advance to them being printed and shipped.  Expect delays on this as well.  There have been several instances where shops get damaged shipments/books directly from the distributor which mean it will be longer before they make their way to you. 

     You should get in the habit of checking with sellers prior to a salel so that you won't be let down.  Many times you'll see books at really great prices or that are oddly much lower than their value.  This could be an inexperienced seller who doesn't not only know how to price their books but more than likely doesn't know how to ship them correctly.  I often ask prior to bidding if they use Gemini mailer or how they ship their books.  This tip alone has saved me so much money, time and heartache.  As one of the worst feelings as a collector is getting a good deal on a great book to find it damaged when you get it because they didn't know how to pack it properly.  If you're looking to getting into selling, check out my eBook as it goes over how to sell and ship books as well.  Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments if there's anything else we missed that would help future collectors!

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