Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi,

I've been reading BGG for over a year now, but only recently started posting here. Since I still consider myself new to the site, and definitely new to the Geek Market, I would like to ask a question regarding a used, "complete" game which proved to be incomplete when I received it.

Long story short: I bought a game from a seller located in a very distant country. This game cost me USD 25 + shipping, along with another game which came in the same package (for the purposes of this post, this second game is almost completely irrelevant). The game in question was described as only missing the shrinkwrap, but otherwise new and complete. However, the game was actually missing five components, four of which are not actual *game* components (think organizers, dividers etc.) and, more alarmingly, a key component without which the game is completely unplayable, even though said item can be easily proxied. I don't like proxies, but that's another story.

The really bad part: I had to pay hefty import taxes when I picked the games up at the post office (over USD 50 for both games). This detail makes the game for all practical purposes unreturnable, since even if the seller were eventually willing to cover return shipping *and* give me a full refund for both the game and the original shipping, I would still be short of at least USD 25 (remember there were two games, so let's say USD 25 for each -- and that's the best-case scenario).

The good part: Once I started a topic about the subjeti here on BGG, another user has kindly offered to send me the missing item, of which -- against all expectations and all odds -- he had a spare copy lying around.

Both me and the original seller had contacted the manufacturer about a replacement part. The manufacturer replied saying they would send it to me *if* they had one, which a couple of days later they unfortunately found out they didn't. The seller also contacted FLGSs in his country to try and get a replacement part, but no one could help him out since the game is out of print.

Now, I like to believe that mistakes like this are honest mistakes, so I am not considering the possibility that the seller willfully misrepresented the item. Having said said, the game is still incomplete and unplayable unless I have a proxy, which I think is wholly unacceptable when I bought a game represented by the seller as complete game and paid import duties on it (which I understand are not to blame on the seller -- but the fact that I ended up short-changed is, even if that was not their original intention), so I would like to ask everyone willing to answer, and particularly folks who sell at the Geek Market:

1) When sellers list a used game as "Complete", is it reasonable to expect that they have actually counted its components and checked their count against the game's component list? (Because unless told otherwise I will continue to expect just that.) Would you be annoyed if somebody sent you questions like "Can you count the components to make sure the used game you have for sale is actually complete before I buy it?" (Because I am planning on doing just that from now on)?

2) Since the game I bought is for all practical purposes unreturnable due to the high import taxes mentioned above, I am talking to the seller about a partial refund (a 1/3 refund, to be precise) even though a completely unrelated BGG user has gone out of his way to help me make my game complete. I really appreciate that gesture, but I don't think I should have to rely on other people's goodwill in order to actually have a complete game when I have paid for a complete game. This guy could just as well never have showed up. Also, I don't like the idea that the seller could just get away with sending me an incomplete game (even if that was not intentional, which I believe was just the case) without any kind of inconvenience to themselves just because there happened to be a nice guy around. Would you agree that is also reasonable?

3) How would you as a seller handle the situation just described?

Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Wurtsboro
NY
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
We always have time for the things we put first.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
(personal, non-official opinion)

If I understand correctly, you're still short 4 things which you expected in the box.

I think a 30% refund to you, and $5 or so to the person who sent you the missing part would be reasonable, and the minimum I would expect in this case. If someone says complete, unless it's in shrink, it should be counted, and they should know that the pieces are really there. If you asked if it had been counted, the answer should be yes, and if not, then it would spur them to count (saving later issues).

The bigger picture is that when there are issues when things have been shipped internationally, there is more postage (and often other fees like your import taxes) at stake. If it had been a US purchase, refunding the $25 game and $10-12 of postage is very different than facing at least the cost of the game in postage and again in import fees, which scares a lot of people off from international shipping. Which isn't your fault, but these sorts of things are likely to deter people (including possibly the seller in this case?) from offering international shipping.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
...these sorts of things are likely to deter people (including possibly the seller in this case?) from offering international shipping.

I could understand a seller having second thoughts about shipping abroad once they have a problem with an item lost in a foreign country even if the buyer didn't hold them responsible for the loss, and even more so if they did; but I don't think the same logic would be applied -- not even from the seller's perspective -- to a package that arrived safe and sound, but with components missing specifically because the seller did not bother to check them before posting.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
And to address the other points that you've raised: I've already sent four bucks to the guy who helped me out and am currently waiting for a seven dollars refund (out of the original 25) which the seller agreed to pay, so it looks like things are settled. I just am not sure about how to proceed with future purchases!

Coincidentally, only days before this happened I had bought a used Nightfall set with several expansions from a seller here in Brazil. When I received it, it was missing over 60 cards (out of, I don't know, a thousand or so, maybe). I got in touch, the seller apologized and sent all of them to me (at his expense) a couple of days later -- he had just separated the cards that he regularly used (which he had initially sent to me ) from the repeated ones that came from different base sets and weren't necessary to play the game when you had several sets (whose existence he had completely forgotten) and which would only be needed ir you wanted to disassemble the large collection and separate everything back according to the original expansions each card belonged to, which was exactly what I started doing the second I opened the boxes.

These two similar cases, which happened very close together, really left me wondering whether there aren't more sellers who just go something like "Last time I played this game I didn't notice anything amiss, so it must be ok". Again, when you do this locally, it might not be a big issue since someone might be tempted to just take the risk of having to undo a transaction and pay return postage *in case* something they honestly believe to be complete happens not to be complete than counting over a thousand cards, but for international transactions that is not a real option...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
When someone lists a marketplace item as complete, I definitely expect them to have counted the components and checked them against the component list. I expect them to do the counting/checking (again) immediately before wrapping the item and posting it. If they've counted before, they should check again to make sure that's the current state. (Unless they've sealed it the first time around.)

If the item turns out incomplete, I'd expect them to either rectify the situation so that I get what I paid for, or some sort of compensation. How much compensation depends on how much I paid for it, how much it affects gameplay etc. I might let it slide (after having told them, and asked them to please check and put it in the description next time) if I bought it for a very cheap price and it's something easily substituted, like a single marker/coin etc.

International purchases complicate matters, like in your case, where your costs may be significantly higher than the payment the seller received. If it's completely unplayable, I think a full refund of the price paid to the seller would be reasonable, but that would still leave two people frustrated - the seller, who got nothing (and might not even be sure the buyer isn't scamming him on an item that is actually complete), and the buyer, who's still out of the money for import taxes. It's one of the reasons why I try to stay away from international purchases as far as possible, and if I do, only use sellers with lots of positive feedback. Easier said then done for some countries, I know. For some games I've decided it's just not worth the hassle that might be involved in getting them and got something more easily available instead.

By the way, the worst case of an incomplete game I once bought was a copy of Scrabble (needed the tiles for a craft). The seller basically stopped at a busy road intersection to exchange money/game with me waiting at the sidewalk. So by the time I checked the game, he was gone. Turns out all I got was the box, the rules and the board - not a single tile! Luckily, it was a local sale, the seller didn't think I was trying to scam him when I phoned him, and he found the tiles at home. He delivered them two days later. He'd taken them out when he took the photos for the ad and forgot to put them back in! So no bad intentions on either side and no harm done in the end, but a simple check would have spared us both a bit of time and effort, and him an extra drive across town.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
...that would still leave two people frustrated - the seller, who got nothing (and might not even be sure the buyer isn't scamming him on an item that is actually complete)...

Totally agreed. I've just made a few local sales here in Brazil and I feel that counting the pieces not only ensures that the buyer is getting what they paid for, but also that scammers won't stand a chance. If I made sure everything's in the box (and also that I didn't unintentionally leave stuff out, as in your case), I'm definitely not taking any complaints about the game being incomplete, because I know it for a fact that it's not.

Once while I was abroad I bought a used copy of Torres from a guy who had placed an ad on Finn.no. We arranged to meet at a convenience store, and after I had paid and he handed the box over to me, he made a passing remark about not being sure whether the copy was complete because the game was his brother's and he was making the sale on his behalf. I answered by inviting him to sit down with me in order to count everything, and we spent the next minutes doing just that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's possible that the guy looked at the game, didn't play, and sincerely thought it was complete.

If you've read what I wrote, then you know that this is my #1 hypothesis for what has happened. However, my point is that an incomplete game is still missing components even after the seller goes "Hey, I hadn't noticed it!"
I don't believe manufacturers send incomplete games to buyers on purpose every now and then, yet everyone seems to agree that it is more than reasonable to expect them to solve the problem when it happens, because there is a clear understanding that a new game has to be complete. Why should that be different when buying from a private seller who has made it a point to say a game was complete when it clearly wasn't?

I will definitively say that the fact you won't state the game nor the component makes you look less than sincere.

I understand that dumping a bucketful of righteousness on someone's head is a great way of starting a conversation, but I'd rather leave the improvements we would like to see on each other's character after our single-post long acquaintance out of this board game discussion. Objectively, the game was a basic set of Thunderstone, and it was missing four cards dividers (which were the four minor "non-game" components I mentioned above) and most importantly the single Thunderstone card. If you believe Scrabble is unplayable without a Q (in English!), you should really try playing Thunderstone without the Thunderstone.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Guilherme B.
Portugal
Coimbra
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am rather trying to address the concrete, objective difference between paying actual, real-world cash for

A) An allegedly complete set of Thunderstone which can demonstrably be proven complete due to the fact that the number of cards in the box amounts to 530, the number which according to the manufacturer corresponds to a complete set of said game

and

B) An allegedly complete set of Thunderstone which can demonstrably be proven incomplete due to the fact that the number of cards in the box is more accurately represented by the mathematical formula (530 - 1), in which case the resolution of the formula would result in a number which according to the manufacturer corresponds to an incomplete set of said game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.