Great Gifts: Buy Board Games Online!
Buy board games online and enjoy free shipping to your door, endless choice, and hassle-free gift giving! Whether you're shopping for friends or family, board games make superb gift ideas.
The Best Way To Buy Board Games Online
If you want to buy board games online, there are several important considerations. Most important is the quality of the source: are you dealing with a reputable company or intermediary? Is there a recourse if you do not receive the item you paid for?
Then you should consider the accuracy of the description. Do you know exactly what you are buying and what its condition is? Finally, the mundane question of cost. What is the full price including shipping, handling and any import duties?
Check out this roundup of the Best Board Games Award Winners.
UK buyers: check out LegendGames.co.uk -- a superb independent, really nice to do business with, gets some pretty hard-to-find stuff, highly recommended!
Buying collectible board games:
the quality of the source
Your choice of sources to buy new, used or collectible board games is fairly limited, considering how powerful the Internet has become in the world of commerce. Ignoring online classified ads for now, I will focus on the big boys, eBay and Amazon.
Boardgame pieces and parts links
It's impossible to over-estimate the importance of brand in online shopping. Only eBay and Amazon have the total respect of the modern consumer; to some extent, even eBay is a tier 2 company compared to Amazon, but the avid board game collector will need to explore eBay if they want to track down missing board game parts and pieces, as well as older, out of print board games and foreign editions. In many cases, there is no other choice, apart from going to board game fairs and conventions, or visiting dealers.
Amazon is hands-down the most reassuring place to buy board games online. This destination guarantees items shipped by third parties as stringently as it does its own products. Amazon's returns policy is second to none. There is a fair amount of vintage and out of print items from third-party sellers on Amazon, but on this score at least, eBay cannot be matched.
Popular eBay searches
eBay has made strides towards securing customer satisfaction, but there is always the sense that it is more like a dating website than a central administrator of commerce. eBay connects collectors with sellers and does not possess its own inventory.
There is always an element of trust when you buy board games online from an eBay seller, but the PowerSeller program goes a long, long way towards making life less stressful for buyers.
We recommend only buying from PowerSellers if you have any choice at all. Of course, the millions of eBay sellers means you will find tons of items you would never, ever get a chance to acquire otherwise.
As a PowerSeller of nearly 10 years' experience, I can assure readers that in the vast majority of cases, eBay trades go smoothly and people are honest. Paypal is a huge assistance in speeding up transactions (indeed, sellers can no longer accept other forms of payment these days).
Buy board games online:
the accuracy of the description
You can always rely on Amazon to refund you if you buy something that's been incorrectly described, but it's getting more and more difficult to know precisely what's what in the last couple of years. This is because so many third-party sellers use Amazon's automated upload process to get all their inventory listed. Many of the items have weird-looking titles, with odd characters not properly interpreted by the auto uploader, plus incomplete or missing descriptions.
We recommend doing some research before you buy board games online from Amazon sellers. Not because you will get ripped off (Amazon HQ has your back), but because it's just such a pain in the neck and a waste of your precious time to find an item, buy it, receive it and then have to return it.
eBay is more open to abuse, because so many of the sellers are part-time dealers, or collectors trading doubles, extra pieces or older versions of games they bought. And, yes, there are occasional bad apples out there, too. (In my 10,000+ trades, I had problems with less than 50 buyers or sellers.) You are advised to ask lots of questions and read the descriptions very carefully before buying. One person's "near mint condition" is another person's "fine used".
eBay does offer a supposed full refund policy if you are disappointed, but we've heard stories of this process taking months to be resolved. Really, you are doing business with another person rather than a company, so DO NOT BUY if the person has no feedback, bad feedback, or just gives you a "bad vibe" during communication. Consider travelling to pick up large or valuable collections, and use Escrow to hold your cash for you until a more expensive trade has been completed to your satisfaction.
Buy board games online:
the full price
What is the full price of your collectible board game, including shipping, handling and taxes?
Most companies charge sales tax only in states, provinces or countries where they are registered. In Amazon's case, the price quoted on the screen is almost always subject to local sales tax when you buy board games online. eBay traders are responsible for collecting their own taxes and most are not registered to collect sales tax, making it nominally cheaper to buy new or nearly new board game items from an eBay seller.
However, shipping and handling is a really thorny issue when you buy games online. Amazon leads the way, again, with its free SuperSaver shipping. Spend a threshold amount ($39 in the US) and you get FREE shipping. Amazing value, but it doesn't apply to most third party shipments.
Buy board games online:
shipping and handling fees
Shipping and handling on eBay is once again about the trader giving you the full picture. The seller MUST state whether there is a handling charge ahead of time and if they try to apply it afterwards, you should not pay and report them to eBay. Read the fine print in their item description before you bid.
You should remember that eBay is an auction website, so you may end up paying much less than your top price for an item when you buy board games online from eBay. This can offset the expense of shipping charges. When we did a round-up of Monopoly games editions, it was surprising how much of a gap there can be between Amazon and eBay: Amazon's prices are often much higher for out of print stuff like Batman Monopoly; Amazon's prices change all the time based on stock availability.
Another factor is the state of the economy. We've tracked several big vintage board games collections which have been broken up on eBay lately due to the financial crisis. When times are hard, it's possible to get bargains if you have cash available.
Import taxes vary from country to country. Customs duties on items entering Canada and the UK are painful; the US rarely bothers their citizens with import taxes. Check your local laws before you make a major overseas purchase.
Buy board games online: conclusion
Only a truly paranoid collector would refuse point-blank to buy board games online due to fear of being taken for a ride. The Internet is a huge resource for collectors of any item, so make the most of it, do your homework and most of all, have fun.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact us.
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