What to do When You Buy a Collectible That Arrives Damaged by Tape or Rubber Bands?

Whether you collect coins, trading cards, or comic books, it’s frustrating to receive a damaged item that was misrepresented. While you can usually return the damaged item for a refund, having to return an item you were excited about is extremely disappointing.

Receiving misrepresented damaged collectibles isn’t a rare experience. Sometimes items are damaged in the mail because of improper packing and other times the items were just not taken care of properly. For example, baseball cards often arrive rubber banded in stacks and comic books sometimes arrive with little pieces of tape stuck to the cover. Sometimes items don’t arrive with the rubber bands or tape attached, the damage is obvious.

For collectors trying to grow their collection either to sell for a profit or wait until the value increases, even slight unexpected damage is disappointing. If you receive a damaged collectible, you only have three choices: return it for a refund, throw it away, or keep it and look for another item. In rare cases you could sell the item to another collector who doesn’t mind the damage, but you should probably conduct the transaction in person to prevent a misunderstanding.

Damaged collectibles aren’t easy to sell

Collectibles that haven’t been cared for don’t have much monetary value. Perhaps some sellers don’t realize how much a bent corner can significantly drop the value of a comic book. An untrained eye might think the item is in mint condition, when in fact, it’s nowhere near mint. Keeping a comic book in mint condition requires proper storage and handling at all times from the moment it’s first purchased.

Meticulously caring for collectibles can be a chore. That’s why so many people end up with damaged collectibles sold by eBay sellers – proper care requires time, effort, and money. Only serious collectors understand this importance.

The only collectibles that would be worth something even in the worst condition are items so rare that just their mere existence is a miracle. Even so, the value won’t be high enough to warrant a large asking price. 

Despite this, some sellers still try to get top dollar for damaged collectibles either by using decoy photos of another item or by trying to cover up the damage.

Is it worth returning a damaged collectible?

If you only spent ten bucks on the item, it’s probably not worth your time to return. Consider how much time you’ll spend taking photos, notifying the seller, packing the item up, shipping it back, and waiting for a refund. You may even need to open an official dispute if the seller doesn’t fess up to the problem.

If that time and effort is worth pursuing over a ten-dollar item, then by all means, return your damaged collectible. Otherwise, start looking for a replacement sold by someone who understands how to properly care for and ship the item.

If you purchased a collectible game with damaged cards and you intend to play the game, find alternative options for storing the game cards. Most collectible games offer replacement card decks from the manufacturer.

You might need to throw your damaged items in the trash

Throwing a comic book or baseball card in the trash sounds harsh, but if the damage is beyond repair, you might just get mad every time you look at the item. Obviously you wouldn’t want to trash an item you can return for money, or something you paid a good amount for. The items worth trashing are the small purchases that won’t put a dent in your bank account if you can’t recover the money you spent. In other words, trash damaged items with zero collectible or resale value.

Keep searching

Whatever collection you’re trying to complete, don’t let a few bad purchases ruin your fun. Keep searching for the items you want. If you have to buy them in decent condition before buying them in mint condition, go for it. 

Find a trusted source for your particular collectible genre and get on their mailing list to find out when new items arrive. If you’ve had several bad experiences, you may want to stop dealing with sellers on eBay unless they are an actual collectible dealership. For example, many comic and card shops have an eBay presence in addition to a store. 

Keep searching for your items and if you receive damaged goods, don’t let it ruin your day. Handle it professionally and allow the situation to motivate you to find a better deal from another seller.




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