eBay Buys out TCG Player

What does the eBay buyout of TCG Player mean...

For Buyers?

On the whole this news is very good for the customers of TCG Player. Having access to more money will allow TCG Player to expand (maybe begin to include Japanese cards for Pokemon?) and will make the purchasing experience even more fluid and easy for the customer. TCG Player has stated that they will be running independently under eBay’s ownership, which of course is not true as eBay will get the final word on the direction the company takes, but overall the interface should remain familiar and easily navigable by veteran buyers. Ideally eBay will keep what is already working well for TCG Player, and hopefully simply layer on perks that it can provide, such as 99 cent tracking on card shipments. Buyers should not be worried, as the volume of inventory and sellers should only increase with eBay’s takeover, and as TCG Player is already doing quite well, there is no impetus for eBay to step in and gum up the works. At the end of the day eBay wants to make money, and small improvements to the TCG Player buying experience will only help them in that goal.

For Sellers?

Well here is where things may take a turn for the worse…

While buyers can hope for a range of new benefits from the buyout, over time sellers will likely begin to feel the effects of eBay’s ownership with raised fees and unfavorable outcomes with customer disputes. Ebay did  not purchase TCG Player just for fun. They did it because of the booming trading card market and the ability to profit off of their competition’s success. Like all companies, eBay expects profits to grow year over year, and while the market exploded organically during the pandemic, profit growth for a company like TCG Player can’t be expected to continue to put up wild numbers while the market for cards has cooled off since the peak. The profits will have to come from somewhere else, and that place is likely going to be the sellers using TCG Player. As a seller on eBay myself, I have experienced the turn for the worse over the last ten years as fees grow and protection for sellers has gone downhill. While I understand scammers are aplenty, and I agree that eBay has taken steps to prevent them from ruining the marketplace, buyers can get away with a lot when it comes to lying about receiving packages even after a signature has been required, or giving the wrong shipping address and expecting a full refund. Ebay has backed them up and in many cases, left sellers out to dry. For this reason, I am worried that sellers on TCG Player may experience a similar decline in profit and protection, but I hope I am ultimately proved wrong. Unfortunately I am not convinced that I will be but only time will tell. The good news is, the buyout will not go through until Q1 of 2023. Even then it still may take a year or two before any significant changes are seen on the platform which gives sellers a chance to prepare and plan in case the worst outcomes come to pass.

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