Buying and Selling Tips
This page is to help offer some tips for buying and selling in the secondhand market, as well as offering custom services and products to people. This is information that can be used on any platform or website, to help you navigate the BJD market safely, and professionally.
Try to be aware of scammer issues in the hobby. It is an unfortunate fact that there are people out there who will try to take advantage of BJD hobbyists.
Some scammer tactics include:
-Initiating or accepting a trade and not sending their half.
-Selling an item but never shipping anything, or even selling items that they don't even have to begin with.
-Organizing splits but not completing them. Some scammers may organize a split, and take your money, but never actually order the doll from the company.
-Giving fake tracking numbers. When selling or trading something, a scammer could give you a nonexistent number, or a working number attached to someone else's package. When asked for a working or correct number, they may give another fake number, or they may stop communicating entirely.
-Continued excuses about shipping delays or other problems. This could include things like a split scammer saying there were delays with ordering/confirming payment/shipping from the company, or that there were broken or missing parts that need to be sorted. When asked for photos of damage, it is unlikely they would provide any.
-Communication delays - when asking for an update or information, a scammer may not respond for days, or might stop responding entirely.
Scammers try to take advantage of hobbyists' patience, trust, and compassion. When they make a sale and take your money, and then do not ship the item, they will slow down communications, and try to delay everything as much as possible. They will try to alleviate your fears with apologies and explanations, and some may even claim medical or family emergencies to make you feel bad for them, so you don't take any further action.
They do this to make you feel comfortable waiting for them for a long time, hoping they can run out Paypal's Buyer Protection time frame.
This is why scammers try to drag things out as long as possible - if you do not file a claim within Paypal's standard 180 days of the payment date, you cannot file a claim for a refund. Or, they may even insist that people use the Friends and Family option. But if done this way, a buyer cannot attempt to get their money back at all.
If you are ever concerned with how a transaction is proceeding, just remember to keep that 180 days in mind. You can file a claim any time within that time frame, and claims can be cancelled as well, if it turns out you are dealing with a legitimate sale.
To avoid scammers:
-Keep an eye on feedback sites. There are BJD groups and pages on different social media sites, like Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/LiveJournal/Flickr/etc, in addition to DoA, that have scammer warnings available for review. If you know to avoid someone beforehand, you can avoid a problem before it starts!
-Look around for the person on the internet. Do they have social media accounts or websites under the same username? Is there any history of negative feedback/bad transactions? If there is little to no information about the person, it could be a fake account -- like an Instagram or Facebook account with no posts or bio information, or a brand-new Ebay or Etsy account with no content.
-Always use PayPal's Goods payment to ensure you can use PayPal's resources to recoup losses from a scam.
-Always know your available resources. This will entail things like knowing how long you have to make Paypal claims, or possibly even contacting police.
-Research typical scam operations. If you know how scammers are likely to behave, you can see it coming beforehand, and avoid entering into a transaction with them at all.
When purchasing an item:
-Check seller's feedback.
-Make sure to send payment to the correct email address. Copy the seller's email from your conversations to avoid typing it wrong.
-Avoid sending Friends and Family payments. Paypal's Goods and Services payments offer their Buyer Protection; you can file claims with Paypal to get your money back in the event someone tries to scam you.
-Layaway; before entering into a layaway, make sure you will be able to see it through to the end. Many sellers will not refund payments after they've been received, so it can be a bad idea if you need to change your mind a few payments down the road. Schedule a payment plan and stick to it. Try marking payment dates on a calendar, or set up alerts on a smart device or computer. Follow up to make sure that your seller has received your payment after you've sent it.
-Sending shipping info; make sure your name and shipping address are spelled correctly. Don't forget your apartment number if you have one! Double-check for any typographical errors. If your address is wrong in any way, it can lengthen the time it takes for you to get your item, or cause your package to be returned to the sender.
-Avoid using a nickname or user name for shipping - use your real name. In the event you need to pick up a package, you may be required to show ID, and there may be delays in receiving your item if the name on your ID does not match that on the package. For instance, someone with the name 'Vincent' on their ID might not be able to accept a package if it has been addressed to 'Vinny.'
-Consider purchasing extra services for shipping. If you are concerned that the postal service may damage your item, purchase insurance. If you are concerned that a package may be stolen from your porch or mailbox, consider purchasing a signature confirmation service, or have the package held for pickup at the post office for you.
-Customs fees; if you are in a country that charges customs fees and are making an international purchase, make sure to let your seller know if you want them to underdeclare an item's value. Make sure to give them a specific amount. In the case of more expensive items, this may be inadvisable - in the event of damage or a missing package, the item will effectively be worth only what is written on the box.
When selling an item to someone else:
-Make sure to accurately represent the item. Use current photos, and disclose the item's age and complete condition. Specify any and all damages; staining, discoloration, chips, cuts, tears, etc. It can cause serious problems in a transaction if a seller tries to hide severe yellowing or broken pieces. As long as you disclose everything that could be seen as damage, a buyer will know what they are agreeing to buy, which will stop problems before they start.
-Disclose any Paypal fees. Paypal does specifically say that sellers are responsible for paying them, and that they may not charge the fees to their buyers, but it is up to you as a seller to decide whether or not you need to. And if you do, make sure to spell them out clearly. No one likes a surprise additional amount tacked on in the middle of a transaction.
-Avoid asking for Friends and Family payments only. Goods and Services payments make sure that buyers are protected in the event of a problem, so asking a prospective buyer to forgo those protections may make them less interested.
-Make sure to give the correct Paypal address for receiving payment. If you misspell it, you won't receive the payment. And if someone else has that misspelled address, then someone else would end up getting the money!
-Report back to your buyer when you have successfully received the payment.
-Layaway; schedule a payment plan. Make sure that you've given the correct address to receive payments. Be prepared to touch base around the payment date if needed. Follow up to let your buyer know you've received a payment when they send each one. Double-check on the correct shipping address before actually mailing an item.
-Offer your feedback if needed; DoA's feedback threads are only for transactions that happened on DoA, but they are publicly visible, so they can be viewed by people off-site as well. If you have feedback on other sites, you can link a buyer to that as well.
-Check buyer feedback if you are selling a large-ticket item, or a long layaway, to make sure that you are comfortable with their behavior in past transactions.
-Stick to shipping schedules if you have stated one. Make sure to let your buyer know if you will be delayed in actually getting the package into the mail system.
When trading items with someone:
-Check your trade partner's feedback. DoA's feedback threads are only for transactions that happened on DoA, but they are publicly visible, so they can be viewed by people off-site as well. Your trade partner may have feedback on other sites as well, so you can always ask if they have any.
-If you have very little feedback of your own, you may consider offering to ship your item before your trade partner, if you are comfortable with your trade partner's feedback.
-Ask your trade partner for photos of their item up for trade, perhaps with a specific item, or a note with your user name and theirs and the date, to make sure that they actually have the item they are offering. It may help for you to do the same.
-Specify how you want the item shipped. Using the USPS, you can pay for various versions of signature confirmation, so that someone needs to be there and sign for the item, or even a specific person. You can also purchase return receipts for merchandise, which offer proof that you shipped an item as well as proof that it was delivered. Different countries and different shipping services should all have similar options.
-Note that trading can sometimes be the most risky kind of transaction. You have no buyer protection from Paypal when there is no money involved. You need to be extra careful that you trust your trade partner, particularly if you are trading higher-ticket items.
Participating in a group order or split
-See section on Buying Items.
-Make sure to follow your order host's instructions on how to join. Every order host may have a different way that they prefer to organize their information. Making sure to give them what they ask for, in the way they ask for it, will expedite the process.
Hosting a group order or split
-Be clear with requesting all of the information that you need from others.
-Be clear with deadlines. State when the order will close, and specify what happens if someone misses a payment date.
-Keep hosted order money separate. If you know you are organizing an order, consider postponing other purchases until you have successfully submitted payment for the order.
-Don't forget to account for Paypal fees. In the case of a hosted order, you will need to charge participants for the fees - if they order something for $10, and they send you a Goods payment of $10, Paypal fees will remove $0.59 from that, and you will then need to cover those missing $0.59 cents yourself when sending payment to a company. Use a Paypal fees calculator to get an accurate number. Or you can offer to accept a Friends and Family payment to forgo the fees if your participants are willing.
-Double-check your math. Or triple-check! If an amount is off even a little, you may be short, and end up needing to cover the rest out of your own pocket.
-Consider packaging costs. Padded envelopes, boxes, bubblewrap, and tape, all cost extra money. Unless you are willing to front the extra cost yourself, you may consider adding a small additional fee to help cover packaging supplies. Or, you can recycle boxes, padded envelopes, and other packing supplies that you already have to save some money, and charge less, or nothing, to your participants.
-Also see sections on shipping and packaging.
-Be prepared to deal with problems. Sometimes a company may send the wrong size or color item; you'll need to follow through with them to get the correct item in the end.
-List any and all important info in your shop. Make sure to list things like your prices, turnaround time, and location. It may also help to list things like your payment and shipping options, materials, and refund/return policy. In the case of non-specific prices, it can help to list a rough price quote in your shop, then settle on a final number with your client.
-Pay attention to your client. Make sure to listen to what they have asked for - don't make them something totally different than requested, or something using different colors or materials than the ones they asked for.
-Communicate. Be in touch with your client regularly - don't go weeks with no contact, or expect them to always ask you for an update. Be prepared to reach out on your own, to simply touch base, share WIP photos, let your client know if any issues have come up, or if there is some problem that will lengthen the work time.
-Know your workload. People who are new to offering custom services or products may be unfamiliar with having a deadline, and multiple jobs on the table at once. Perhaps you can do a faceup, or sew a shirt and pants outfit in one week. But can you do three faceups, or three outfits in the same amount of time? Consider only taking on a few commissions at a time - you can always use a waitlist for other people who want to commission you while you have a full workload.
-Know your own habits. Do you have mental or physical health issues that could stop your work or slow you down? Are you forgetful, and might forget to take packages to the post office? Or perhaps you are a perfectionist, and re-do one thing over and over because it's not perfect? Be prepared to use helpful resources like calendars, journals, spreadsheets, or apps on smartphones/mobile devices to help stay on top of jobs.
Commissioning Someone Else
-Check feedback. Does the person you want to commission have good feedback? Do they have a reputation of taking forever to complete a job? Do they do amazing work, but never contact you? Have other people reported having trouble with them? Few people are actually like this, but you always want to know what you are getting into.
-Make sure you are ready to get started. (for customization work) An artist needs to know if you will actually be sending them something to work on. If you reach out to someone for a faceup, but don't send out your head promptly, the artist may give your slot to someone else. Or, they could still accept your head, but take longer to complete all of their work. If you just want to get some preliminary information first, let the artist know that you aren't looking to book a slot immediately.
-Be clear. When commissioning someone, try to give them any and all information they ask for. If they have not requested information on something that you believe is important, try to provide that information yourself.
-Know what you want. Don't commission someone else with a loose idea of what you want (unless you are open to the artist offering suggestions). If you decide you would like a different color or material halfway through the process, the artist will likely need to start the entire process all over again. This can be disappointing and stressful for you both, so try to figure out exactly what you want before the work has started. Or you can ask the artist to pick something they think is good! You may end up with a surprise that you love!
-Be prepared to wait. Sometimes getting a custom faceup or custom outfit can take a long time. Sometimes a customizer or seamstress might run into snags with the work, or in real life, that may make the process take longer. Some people work faster or slower than others, so turnaround time depends on the person, as well as the complexity of the job you want done.
-Be ready to pay a deposit. Some artists require a down payment on commissions or custom work. This is to protect them a bit, so they do not expend energy or materials to make something and end up having their customer cancel afterwards. This can be anywhere from 10%-50%, with the remainder usually due when the work is completed.
-Check in. Ideally, your artist will touch base with you regularly to let you know of their progress. Sometimes this doesn't happen though, so be ready to reach out and ask for updates if needed.
-More contact info. Try to get more than one way to contact your artist. If they stop logging on to one platform, can you contact them another way?
-Be ready to pay. A clothesmaker (or eye or wig maker) will use their time and materials, and sometimes buy new materials to make your item. Sometimes artists request payment in advance, and many will not ship your item, or newly faceup-ed head, until after they have received payment in full.
Packaging for shipment
-Use strong boxes to ship full dolls. Thin or weak cardboard can be easily damaged in transit, resulting in damage to the doll.
-Avoid using the doll's default box alone - use an outer shipping box. If you cannot obtain a suitable outer shipping box, wrap the default box in brown shipping paper first. This will still leave the box susceptible to damage.
-Use soft facial tissue to wrap blushed parts or heads with faceups for protection in transit.
-Use a plastic face protector to keep applied upper eyelashes from being crushed. Make sure to use the soft facial tissue as well, so the face protector doesn't scratch the faceup.
-Use bubblewrap to protect every part of the doll - use small sections and wrap them around torso, limbs, and extremities, using tape to keep it in place. Even if you ship a doll with default pillows, the doll can still bang around inside the box if it is treated roughly in transit, and this can break fingers or crack other parts. Use additional filler like packing peanuts or crumbled paper if needed.
-Do not ship eyes loose in the package. Wrap eyes in bubble wrap for protection, and use packing peanuts or crumpled newspaper as filler if needed.
-Wrap each eye separately with soft facial tissue to prevent them from rubbing against, and chipping or scratching each other.
-Make sure to use padded envelopes (the kind with bubble wrap inside) or a small box, not a regular letter envelope.
-Keep wigs in a wig net to keep the hair from tangling while in transit.
-Place wigs/shoes inside a ziplock-style bag to keep dirt, dust, and moisture out.
-Use boxes for shipping wigs and shoes. Soft or flat shoes, or faux fur wigs, may fit in padded envelopes.
-Use crumpled tissue paper inside wig caps and inside shoes to retain the item's correct shape while in transit.
-Place clothing in ziplock-style bags to keep dirt, dust, and moisture out.
-Fold clothing carefully - it can be hard to de-wrinkle doll clothing due to the items' size. And some material, like leather or faux leather, can rip or tear on the surface, if folded too hard or pressed too flat.
-Use an appropriate-sized shipping container. For shipping one or two items (like a shirt or pair of pants), a padded envelope is fine. For more than a few items, a thin, flat box may be better. If an outfit is very complex or has fluffy components, you'll want to use a larger box to make sure the outfit isn't crushed in transit.
-Make sure to weigh your packages correctly if printing postage from home. If it weighs more than you pay for, the package may be returned due to insufficient postage, and then you'd need to buy postage all over again.
-Make sure your addresses and labels are secure. Sometimes a label may fall off or become damaged. If you tape something onto a box, make sure the tape is strong. If it is a sticky label, make sure it is secured well. You can also write it directly on the box. You may consider including a copy of the to and from address, and perhaps the purchase order, inside the box itself as well for further security.
-Make sure to securely tape boxes. If a box is not taped closed properly, it could tear or pop open in transit, losing the contents.
-Format your address layout exactly as given to you by your buyer/trade partner. For international mail, some countries' address layouts may differ from that of your home country. If printing postage online, the service you use may have specific fields for certain info; double check which name is a city or borough, if necessary.
-Take a photo of the package before shipping it. You could consider taking photos of items in the box as you are packing them to go, after the package has been closed and sealed, and showing the labels. It is not necessary, but it can help prove that you are actually getting the item into the mail, if you do not have much feedback yet.
-Provide a tracking number. Make sure the number given is correct. For the USPS, their basic Delivery Confirmation number is included for free. For international mail (US to other countries), tracking numbers usually cost extra, but a customs form number does offer limited information. Other countries should have similar tracking systems.
-Keep your receipts. It can help to keep receipts, whether they are from shipping a package, or from dropping off prepaid mail, at a physical post office. This receipt is often your only proof of having actually shipped an item, so don't misplace it! It can maybe help to take a photo of a post office receipt, and post it your buyer or trade partner, to prove that the item has been mailed. When printing postage from home, there will be no physical proof that the item has actually entered into the mail system unless you drop it off at a post office and get a receipt.
-Stay in touch with your transaction partner. Make sure to inform the other party if there are any problems, or delays in sending a payment or shipping something. Make sure that you are available, and frequently check your messages during your transaction, to make sure that everything concludes well.
-Remember to leave feedback. While leaving feedback isn't mandatory for DoA transactions, it is courteous to do so. If is helpful for newer hobbyists who need to build up their reputation; everyone needs to start somewhere, so if they do not have much feedback, every new feedback post helps. And older hobbyists need to maintain their reputation too; someone can have 8 years of great feedback, but no one will know if they continue to have good buying/selling practices if their feedback suddenly stops because everyone stopped leaving feedback for them.
It is up to every person in the hobby to make sure that they are using safe practices when buying, selling, and trading in the secondhand market. You can see in DoA's Problem Transaction area, that any number of issues can arise during a transaction. So, make sure to do your research, be professional, attentive, and aware, and do your due diligence to carefully communicate and follow through, and you'll have smooth sailing from beginning to end of your transaction.