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Subject: Math Trade Insurance Fund rss

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Ben R
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For the last several weeks I've been brainstorming about ways to start some sort of "Math Trade Insurance Fund". I am both looking for your feedback on my ideas, as well as ideas that I haven't thought of.

For those that don't know, a math trade is a circular trade in which person A sends their game to person B, who in turn sends their game to person C, etc. All trades are shipped at the same time, so by the time a recipient realizes they've been taken advantage of, the perpetrator has most likely gotten their game. As risky as this sounds, overall the math trading community is made up of amazing people.

To provide some context, I've run a monthly US shipping trade since October. In those 5 months, we've had created 4582 trades. Of those, 2 people were completely stiffed and 2 people received games were damaged with the shipper unwilling to resolve. I do assume there were more damaged games that I never heard about. There was also about a dozen issues that were brought to my attention but were happily resolved. We also had someone donate a few dollars to be sent to someone that gets stiffed.

The argument can be made that with this low of a %, the need is not there, but I truly feel bad for those folks that were wronged. Being victimized, even if it’s a small thing can feel very personal. While I've personally participated in 45 shipping trades, and never been ripped off, I can image that it turns some folks off to the whole idea. My idea is to create a small pile of money to reimburse people that get stiffed. Here are my thoughts:

Options for funding?

Gofundme /Paypal donations.
Games donated for auction, with the proceeds being donated to the fund.
Geek Gold donations (would need to be sold).
$X/successful trade until a reserve of $X is met.

Who would be eligible?

This model would be for the US shipping trades run here on BGG. Hopefully, the model will be duplicated if successful, but the scope would be limited to these trades.

Option A: Anyone who is wronged.
Option B: Only those who opt in by donating.

How would payouts be determined?


For non-shipped/lost items: The lower value of: A) The replacement cost of the game you should have received or B) the replacement value + shipping of the game you shipped.

For damaged items: A flat rate based on the extent of the damage.

For missing components: Varies by impact on playability.

Who would administer the fund?

I would do so for the inception. I would open a separate bank account. There would be full transparency. Monthly statements would be posted, as well as payouts made public. I would look to form a team to help with valuations and any issues that arise.

Pros:

Restoration for those wronged in math trades.
Additional confidence for traders that are worried about being taken advantage of.

Potential Cons:

People decided to “let the fund” make up for their mistake, rather than making things right themselves.
People become pickier and decided to file a claim for minor issues that they would have just lived with previously.
The existence of this fund attracts people that will try and take advantage of its existence.
Should I ever fall out of love with math trades, someone would need to administer the fund.

It's worth noting, I am keeping a list of traders that have taken advantage of others. They are banned from participating in my trades until they make it right. Having this fund payout would land someone on that list.

So, here is where I need your feedback.

Poll
1. Would you donate to the fund?
Yes - Money
Yes - Game(s)
Yes - GeekGold
Yes - Other(please comment)
No - But I support the idea
No - I think it's a bad idea(please comment)
2. Who should be eligible for payouts?
Only those who donate - Like Insurance
Everyone - Like a charity.
      61 answers
Poll created by BentlyCash


Thanks!
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Stephen Eckman
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If I were to contribute games/geekgold/money to the fund, I feel strongly that it be available to anyone who is wronged in a math trade.

I think the fund should have a cap, meaning if the fund ever finds itself with more than $X that the excess should be donated to some pre-designated cause.

I think the fund should be transparent, maybe with a GL that tracks the current balance along with an item for every time the fund made a payout.

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Bella
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How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?
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maf man
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I'm kinda not for this being a big thing. Though I would support the intent.
How big of a problem is this?
there are a lot of cons and I think it would also add a chance to make math trades more attractive to people trying to take advantage. I have been very successful with math trades and hope that it continues. This does not make me feel more safe, it makes me doubt math trades.

I'd be more for some kind of idea like a yearly support drive where the problems that happened through the year are posted and ask for donations to help make up for the problems.

I am VERY much opposed to only covering whoever donates.
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Derry Salewski
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I think it would be a decent idea if people wanted.

It sure would have helped me the time I got ripped off and no one could do anything, even though the guy still gets to be an active bgg user after stealing.



I'd likely contribute a little. I mean even if everyone paid a dollar it'd cover forever probably.

It should cover everyone. Thankful people contributing after being saved by it will surely donate.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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Quote:
To provide some context, I've run a monthly US shipping trade since October. In those 5 months, we've had created 4582 trades. Of those, 2 people were completely stiffed and 2 people received games were damaged with the shipper unwilling to resolve.

more info needed... can you provide the details of these 4 items and their owners (ie. those who had them up for trade)?

If the issue is with folks who either a "new user", have no trade and/or marketplace feedback, etc... then maybe an alternative to an insurance fund may or may not make more sense... long suggested ideas such as having such users either be required to have them ship their items and be received/inspected by recipient(s) before the person sending them game(s) ships... or having those users put up $$ that will be refunded if all goes well.

I'm afraid an "insurance fund" may cause more problems with folks becoming more lax inventorying games before listing/shipping, noting condition in listings, or plain "stiffing" someone knowing the insurance will take care of it.

btw regarding the 2 damaged games... were they damaged prior to packing/shipping or did they appear to be damaged by a shipper?
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Derry Salewski
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Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?


Everything is tracked these days.
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Ben R
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Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?


Tracking. The responsibility is on the shipper to deliver the game. If they ship it without tracking and insurance, they are taking on the risk of the item getting lost/damaged, and responsible to make their partner whole.
 
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Jeff Michaud
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Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?

these days tracking is included in usps priority and parcel post (which they call something else now), and has always been with fedex and ups

harder to determine w/lost package what actually was "shipped" or w/out post office help determine exactly where package was shipped to (you are told post office and town delivered in... but sender could have typoed address)
 
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Bella
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BentlyCash wrote:
Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?


Tracking. The responsibility is on the shipper to deliver the game. If they ship it without tracking and insurance, they are taking on the risk of the item getting lost/damaged, and responsible to make their partner whole.


So items small enough to fit into a regular envelope and stay under 1 oz. (like promo cards) should not be shipped USPS first class mail? (i.e. just a regular stamp)
Even if you take a picture of it (addressed) before sending?
 
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Ben R
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JeffyJeff wrote:
Quote:
To provide some context, I've run a monthly US shipping trade since October. In those 5 months, we've had created 4582 trades. Of those, 2 people were completely stiffed and 2 people received games were damaged with the shipper unwilling to resolve.

more info needed... can you provide the details of these 4 items and their owners (ie. those who had them up for trade)?

If the issue is with folks who either a "new user", have no trade and/or marketplace feedback, etc... then maybe an alternative to an insurance fund may or may not make more sense... long suggested ideas such as having such users either be required to have them ship their items and be received/inspected by recipient(s) before the person sending them game(s) ships... or having those users put up $$ that will be refunded if all goes well.

I'm afraid an "insurance fund" may cause more problems with folks becoming more lax inventorying games before listing/shipping, noting condition in listings, or plain "stiffing" someone knowing the insurance will take care of it.

btw regarding the 2 damaged games... were they damaged prior to packing/shipping or did they appear to be damaged by a shipper?


None of the 4 were "new users".

# 1) User had double-digit feedback, the game was probably damaged before it was shipped.

# 2) User has a few successful trades, shipped a game that was already damaged.

# 3) Double digit feedback, going back 2+ years - Never Shipped

# 4) Single digit feedback, going back 2+ years - Never Shipped

Regarding "more lax", if you get a claim filed against you, you're out of trades unless you make the issue right yourself, so I don't think this would happen, but do acknowledge the risk.
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Ben R
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Litespeed Rider wrote:
BentlyCash wrote:
Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?


Tracking. The responsibility is on the shipper to deliver the game. If they ship it without tracking and insurance, they are taking on the risk of the item getting lost/damaged, and responsible to make their partner whole.


So items small enough to fit into a regular envelope and stay under 1 oz. (like promo cards) should not be shipped USPS first class mail? (i.e. just a regular stamp)
Even if you take a picture of it (addressed) before sending?


I would ship it this way, but in doing so I would understand that I'm taking the risk if it doesn't show up on the other end.
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Will Morgan
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I don't understand being opposed to covering only those who opt in. I guess if this is charity vs insurance that makes sense - but insurance is something you buy into in order to mitigate risk (sounds like this scenario) - not to just draw from if you run afoul of something.

I'd be fine with this being called a charity fund in that case - but I have much more important charities to donate to (GiveWell, Against Malaria, etc. etc.)

I've been 'wronged' slightly in quite a few trades but it usually is worked out or I just suck it up. I've made listing/trade mistakes which 'cost' me far more than any of the horrible packing jobs or inaccurate descriptions.

Perhaps just make the price of entry into math trades cost 1 dollar for everyone on the honor system? I find generally people tend to be honorable. Of course then I think you'd need to implement some kind of drain if this is monthly - something like a raffle to keep the fund at a specific level based upon participants.

If, say, you had a few hundred dollars and it just keeps increasing - draw NNN participants and they win GCs or something to bring the fund balance back at the beginning of each trade (after known payouts etc).

I'm probably over-complicating this - but wouldn't be that tough to administer I wouldn't think. And if the fund keeps over-growing then either up the raffles or have an every-other MT or 'this is a free MT' scheduled every NN months.

/ramble

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I guess I've always been treating MT as just a more fun way to shuffle games in and out of my collection with the idea there is some risk that I get a less good deal, even if I'm trying to maximize my trades. Still, it was kind of a lottery to me. Having said that, I play on the shallow end, and some are trading rare, expensive, money etc. I would say that group has more of a vested interest than I would in this kind of service, but not sure it makes sense to split or opt in or out of it.
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maf man
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Masterhit wrote:
I don't understand being opposed to covering only those who opt in. I guess if this is charity vs insurance that makes sense - but insurance is something you buy into in order to mitigate risk (sounds like this scenario) - not to just draw from if you run afoul of something.


why I would be opposed to this as insurance is I would feel pressured into paying that. And if that was the way it was for my first math trade I would not have done it.
yes calling it a charity might not be the exact right word but I rather have the community try to come together a help out our own who got taken advantage of rather than trying to buy insurance on something so informal.
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Ian Klinck
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We've had a couple of issues recently (i.e. within the past year or two) in the Canada trades. In those cases, the community stepped up pretty well on an ad hoc basis.
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Will Morgan
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mafman6 wrote:
Masterhit wrote:
I don't understand being opposed to covering only those who opt in. I guess if this is charity vs insurance that makes sense - but insurance is something you buy into in order to mitigate risk (sounds like this scenario) - not to just draw from if you run afoul of something.


why I would be opposed to this as insurance is I would feel pressured into paying that. And if that was the way it was for my first math trade I would not have done it.
yes calling it a charity might not be the exact right word but I rather have the community try to come together a help out our own who got taken advantage of rather than trying to buy insurance on something so informal.


That's funny because insurance (to me) would be no pressure. I am either willing to buy in to mitigate my risk (especially in the case I offered up a very valuable game) or I'd just opt out. Generally I would opt out because I generally never list games worth more than say $50-$80

I dare say most people in our hobby are not in a position that losing out on a trade deal will harm them in a meaningful way - it'd just be a very sour experience. And while that is a complete shame and would diminish our community a tad (and our MT reputations) I think the shaming of those who renege on the deal is a better fix.

I'm kind of a blow hard though lol. I would much rather go to GiveWell and put an extra $50 towards curing blindness, giving prenatal vitamins in Africa or even hopping onto Donorschoose etc.

Opportunity costs and all that


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Stephen Eckman
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Masterhit wrote:
I think the shaming of those who renege on the deal is a better fix.

This is against BGG's Community Rules.
 
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I gotta say, the opportunity for abuse of this system feels high for a relatively small number of cases. And giving people the belief that there is NO risk in a math trade seems like a bad idea.

What if some one trades for a copy of Gloomhaven (or whatever is crazy expensive on ebay at the time) and it never ships?
 
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steckman wrote:
Masterhit wrote:
I think the shaming of those who renege on the deal is a better fix.

This is against BGG's Community Rules.


Is it? Where is it called out? Slander and liable are for false claims.
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Bulkoth wrote:
steckman wrote:
Masterhit wrote:
I think the shaming of those who renege on the deal is a better fix.

This is against BGG's Community Rules.


Is it? Where is it called out? Slander and liable are for false claims.


There used to be a GeekList of "bad traders" and the BGG admins put a stop to that. (See here: Resolving Trade Disputes)

But to quote some prohibited actions from the referenced rules:

Quote:
Accusing other users of committing rules violations

Quote:
Personal attacks, including but not limited to:
Statements that abuse, harass, mock, insult, stalk, demean, threaten, or otherwise belittle another user, directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly, even if the other user started it, and even if you think the other user deserves it.
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Ben Stephenson
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BentlyCash wrote:
Litespeed Rider wrote:
How do you differentiate between someone who properly sent a package (but it then got lost in transit) and someone who never sent it?


Tracking. The responsibility is on the shipper to deliver the game. If they ship it without tracking and insurance, they are taking on the risk of the item getting lost/damaged, and responsible to make their partner whole.


Why not setup an account on USPS/UPS/FedEx so we can better log shipping info and possibly get discounted shipping as well.

You could link it to this bank account you suggested setting up.
 
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Ben Stephenson
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Would these insurances rates be different based on your trade rating?
 
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Traditionally, people within a given MT have voluntarily stepped up to cover a bad trader. It happened rarely, as far as I know (as in most trades went without a hitch). It seems times have changed.

Having an average of almost one default (including damage) per trade is somewhat alarming. And if nobody has volunteered to pitch in to cover someone's loss, that's sad.

I'm mostly out of math trades now (I pretty much only do no-ship ones), and I don't have a brilliant solution to offer. I guess I just needed to reminisce about the "good old days" of 2012-14.
 
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Ben R
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peakhope wrote:
Traditionally, people within a given MT have voluntarily stepped up to cover a bad trader. It happened rarely, as far as I know (as in most trades went without a hitch). It seems times have changed.

Having an average of almost one default (including damage) per trade is somewhat alarming. And if nobody has volunteered to pitch in to cover someone's loss, that's sad.

I'm mostly out of math trades now (I pretty much only do no-ship ones), and I don't have a brilliant solution to offer. I guess I just needed to reminisce about the "good old days" of 2012-14.


It's not that people haven't been willing to step up, looking at the survey shows they're willing, but you have to publically complain so that people know you've been stiffed. This isn't everyone's style.

Honestly, < 1/1000 trades is a pretty good result as far as I'm concerned.

If each person donated 10 cents per trade that they get, we'd have a large surplus by this point.
 
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