Open Letter to People Who Sell Tarot Cards on EBay

I’ve bought a great number of decks from sellers on EBay, and the vast majority of the time, the transaction has gone beautifully. However, there have been occasions where what was billed as a ‘complete’ deck turned out to be one or two cards short. I don’t know about others, but for myself, if a deck is missing even one card, I won’t use it. Also, it’s value as a collectible is greatly diminished. Not to mention it’s false advertising.

I see so many listings that say “full deck” (insert joke here).  Seems straightforward, no? Apparently not. I have learned to question the seller as to exactly what they mean by that. There are a great many sellers on EBay who, for one reason or another, are not at all familiar with Tarot cards, and have no idea what they have. I’ve bought decks billed as a particular one (supposed to have been the Fantastical Tarot by Nathalie Hertz) only to have a completely different deck slide out of the box when it arrived (Ibis Tarot).

So, here are my suggestions for people selling decks on Ebay, because unless this basic information is stated, I won’t be bidding on your wares:

1. Obviously this only applies to used, or open decks: Count the cards. (If they’re still shrink-wrapped don’t open the package). This goes especially for sellers who are unfamiliar with Tarot.  If you don’t want to put the deck back in order, make a physical count of how many cards are present and STATE IT IN THE AD. Just saying ‘complete’ or ‘all cards present’ isn’t going to cut it.  Unless I am familiar with the seller (and there are a few well-known sellers whose reputation for dealing in Tarot cards is stellar) I’m going to push back and make you count them. And believe me you’ll hear back from me if it’s missing cards and you lied about it. So count them. Twice.

2. Put up more than one bad photo. A blurry dark photo tells me you’re hiding something. Like a dating site where the person puts up one crappy picture taken from half a mile away of someone in full ski regalia (is it them? Who knows?) you need to put up a good selection of clear, viewable photos showing the a) original box if you have it, b) some samples of the cards, and c) especially close-ups of any that may have defects (creases, stains, tears, ink marks, writing, etc.). I may buy it anyway, depending on what it is, but I want to know ahead of time what I’m getting. Especially those of you who say “NO RETURNS!” Also, it’s usually helpful to have photos of the back of one of the cards. This can matter a lot to collectors and can aid identification. And please don’t use the stock photos from the manufacturer. I know what they’re selling, I need to know what YOU are selling.

3. Describe the item. What is it you have? Is it new or used? Give the name of the deck, general condition, whether or not the original box and little white book (LWB) are present and what condition those are in. If you don’t know the name of the deck (some cards have long since been separated from the title card/box/instruction book-LWB and are not well-known) again, put some photos up. If you have zero to little information, I’m unlikely to bid on it. If there’s no information I’m going to assume you’re trying to put one over on us. And please don’t just cut and paste the manufacturer’s description of the item. Many decks are sold as a set with a companion book. Specify what you’re selling. State whether you have the deck, the book, both, or a complete unopened set. If it’s opened, LIST WHAT’S THERE. There can be many components to these things: Deck, book, layout sheet, plastic clamshell case, cardboard slipcase, a piece of silk (for laying the cards out on, or wrapping them in) and so on. BE SPECIFIC.

4. C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E. I pay immediately after winning an auction. Let me know you received the payment. Especially those of you who put loads and loads of conditions on who can or cannot bid on your wares. Tell me when you expect to ship the item, then tell me when it has shipped and give me a tracking number. I bid and pay in good faith, and if two weeks go by after the end of an auction and I’ve had no word, don’t get snippy with me when I write to ask what’s up. Especially those of you who insist on payment within 24 hours or you cancel the sale. I pay on time, I expect you to ship in a timely manner. This is a business transaction, you’re not doing me a favor by shipping something I’ve already paid for. If you’re unable to ship due to circumstances beyond your control (a death in the family, extreme weather, etc.) let me know. I’m writing this four days after winning an auction, and have had no word from the seller. Is he in town? Away on vacation for a month? Already blew the money on booze and can’t ship until his next payday? Forgot about the auction and moved to Belize? I have no idea.

Every seller wants a 5-star rating, but you need to earn it.

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2 thoughts on “Open Letter to People Who Sell Tarot Cards on EBay

  1. great post.

    One would assume people would know what they were selling. Especially If they want to receive and maintain a good, respectible business reputation!

  2. You would think so, wouldn’t you? I have seen so many ads where the seller says they don’t really know anything about Tarot, or don’t know the name of the deck (and they were not obscure, limited edition decks). And that’s fine, I suppose, if you happen to come into possession of a deck or decks through some other route (inherited, found among other belongings of a loved one who has passed, etc.) but you’d think they’d at least be able to put up more than one bad photo. Or no photos at all. If you’re selling stuff on EBay (or any online site) people are going to want to see what they’re bidding on/buying.

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