It's been a little while since eBay announced the first steps to help alleviate the wrath of counterfeit cards sold on its platform.
I thought it would be a good time to update collectors on some of the feeback from the program, while helping to provide more clarity on the details.
First things first, let's take a step back to discuss the details of eBay's Authenticty Gurantee for sports cards.
This past January, eBay announced its first Authenticity Gurantee for sports cards. Under the program, eBay offers a guarantee on any ungraded card sold on its platform for $250 or higher.
The grading services for these ungraded cards are provided by CSG (Certified Sports Guarantee), a newer grading competitior in the sports card industry.
Here's how it works with eBay. If you purchase an ungraded card on eBay marked with a 'Authenticity Guarantee', the card is sent to CSG.
CSG will then examine the raw card, checking for authenticity and that it matches the description posted by the eBay seller.
If CSG determines that the card is indeed authentic and consistent with the listing, it sends it directly to the buyer.
The card is put into a sleeve with an eBay authentication bar code and held inside a decorative box.
If CSG determines that the card is not authentic, the card is returned to the seller and your funds are returned to you.
Note that eBay is now also offering an Authenticity Guarantee on graded cards, yet this is handled by PSA and good for any graded card sold for $750 or higher. PSA is not grading or regrading the card, but verifying that the case has not been tampered with or in some instances wasn't completely forged.
What Items Are Available for eBay's Authenticity Guarantee?
Based on the fine print from eBay's website:
"Authenticity Guarantee "is available for individual sports trading cards, collectible card games, pack pulled autograph cards, and non‑sports trading cards $250 and above for ungraded cards, and $350 and above for pack pulled autograph and other graded cards"
Are Cards Graded During The Authenticity Guarantee?
No. In terms of ungraded cards, CSG is just examining the card to determine that the card is indeed authentic. You cannot get a card graded at the same time.
In terms of graded cards (handled by PSA), the graded card is examined to ensure that the case has not been tampered with and that the graded card is indeed original and authentic. PSA is not evaluating a card for grading, just for authenticity.
Are Sellers Forced To Adhere To The eBay Authenticity Guarantee?
Yes if a seller is selling a graded sports card ($750 or higher) or an ungraded sports card ($250 or higher) their listing automatically defaults to offering the Authenticity Guarantee. There is no way of opting out of the program for a seller (or a buyer for that matter).
Is The eBay Authenticity Guarantee Good For The Hobby?
I think it is. Sure it has the possibility of backing up the grading companies if the hobby heats up again, but this was a move that eBay had to make. Their platform had (and still is) littered with fake cards.
It's clear that they got sick and tired of dealing with all of the complaints from buyers that got scammed by buying a fake card on their platform.
Some have voiced their frustrations of extended wait times, especially on graded cards from reputable sellers that have clearly not been tampered with. It would probably make sense over the long term to loosen the restrictions on sellers with a very low incidence of complaints and returns.
The biggest concern that I probably have is that it adds another step of handling in the process. Two additional shipments with handling of the card, which leads to the higher likelihood that the card is damaged or even lost via shipping.
Is eBay's Authenticity Guarantee Free?
Note, there is no added cost to the buyer or seller for the grading guarantee YET. In the fine print for eBay's terms on it's authenticity guarantee program it does not that the service is free, for a limited time.
So, I fully expect in the future, that eBay will use the Authenticity Guarantee program as a way to help revitalize its top line growth.
Personally, if I'm buying a high dollar ungraded card that I might have some questions about, the Authenticity Guarantee might be enough to push me over the line.
Now as an added cost, it still could be worth the investment, just as long as it isn't entirelhy cost prohibitive.
Do you have any experience with eBay's Authenticity Gurantee? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.