eBay may be the king of online auctions, but in the world of comics, Facebook’s comic auction pages are a nice alternative.
When it comes to buying comics, it’s hard to beat eBay. On the massive site, there’s virtually every mainstream comic available. Sellers benefit from the major traffic the site generates. However, eBay fees cut into the profits which lead to higher prices to compensate for it.
Over the years, many collectors are putting their listings on social media to avoid “FeeBay.” Personally, I have acquired many comics through a handful of Facebook groups, and I have always been satisfied with what I have gotten.
HOW FACEBOOK AUCTIONS WORK
Like eBay, sellers post their comics either as a set price or in an auction format. When it comes to the set prices, those are generally listed through the Facebook Marketplace, and the price tags are included in the listing. The fun part with Facebook is that you can contact the seller and negotiate. I have found that most sellers are willing to listen to reasonable offers, especially if you are a repeat customer and have a reputation for paying quickly. This is unlike eBay when the “or best offer” option is indiscriminately rejected most times.
If you want to have some fun, try bidding on Facebook comic auctions. Here’s how they work: sellers create posts and list the comics for sale in the comments sections. They will then set a time frame for their auctions’ start and close times. As a buyer, you reply to the comic you want with your bid. The seller will view the timestamp of the last bid and decide the winning bid.
The auctions have what’s referred to as “hard” and “soft” closes. A hard close means that at the exact time specified beforehand, say 8 p.m. EST, bidding is closed for that auction. Then there’s the soft close, which entails a seller giving extra time for more bids past the close. Personally, I find the soft closes risky. I have witnessed sellers extending and extending the closing times in order to run up the bids, which is a disreputable practice at best.
IS IT SAFE?
Fortunately for me, I have never had a bad experience buying comics through Facebook auctions. However, unless you are buying comics in person, there is always a risk when it comes to online purchases. The plus side of buying through Facebook is there are no fees, but you are giving up some protection in doing so.
It may seem riskier to buy comics through Facebook or Instagram, and you would be right. By going through a large site like eBay, you have added security. Let’s say you buy a comic that was described as near-mint only to get a battered, worn copy in the mail. You can take action through eBay to get a refund. However, that added security is part of the high fees that come from using the site.
When it comes to Facebook purchases, I advise using PayPal and a major credit card. If you don’t get what you paid for, you can initiate an investigation through PayPal and the credit card company. If you don’t receive your purchases, most credit card companies will refund the amount back to your card.
A word of caution: always be suspicious of anyone wanting you to pay using PayPal’s “friends and family” option on PayPal. This option affords you less protection and recourse in the event there is a dispute between you and the seller.
WHERE TO START
There are plenty of Facebook groups for comic buyers. Here are three that I have used in the past with no complaints: Comic Book Lovers Buy, Sell, Trade and Auction, Comic Book Collectors Marketplace, and Low Grade Comic Collectors. While I haven’t had any bad experiences in these groups, be diligent and ask other members about sellers before you make any purchases.
Let us know your experience with Facebook auctions in the comments below.