Keep your unruly Joltiks organized with these guidelines!
Please read all of these group auctions guidelines if you plan to participate in or run one! If your question, problem, issue, or concern is not addressed in these rules and guidelines, or you just want some math help, GA specialist moderator contact info is at the top of the rules post!

Group Auction Calculator!
  All prices in USD
Currently being tweaked a bit -- but still useable! May be off by a few cents!
ga calc
Auction Total: $
Amount Raised: $
Person's Bid: $
Total (w/ discount if applicable): $0
Amount owed with PayPal's fee: $0
Amount owed with PayPal's fee (Non-US): $0
Final amount including PayPal's is based on $0.30 transaction fee and 2.9% of the transaction. If the person is sending you money from another country, PayPal charges $0.30 transaction fee and 3.9% of the transaction to convert the forgein currency into USD.



[Link to What is a Group Auction?]
A group auction occurs when a PKMNcollector comes across a lot of multiple items (sometimes hundreds!), and organizes a post where members can all participate by bidding on auction items individually. All the money raised by the Group Auction is then used to attempt to win the lot itself.

The point of a group auction is for folks to work together to get items for good prices!

GROUP AUCTIONS ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR THE ONE WHO ORGANIZES IT TO MAKE A MONETARY PROFIT. If more money is raised than what is required, all participants will get a discount which can be easily determined using the GA calculator above.

WHAT KINDS OF GROUP AUCTIONS ARE THERE?

CLAIM STYLE GA (popularly called Group Buy)
All items are given a set price. The first member to comment in regards to an item, claims the item. Especially useful for "Buy-it-now" lots.

AUCTION STYLE GA
Items are given separate threads in which members bid against each other in order to raise money for the group auction. Best used for expensive auctions.

---Please Note---
1. A lot that you have already purchased cannot become a GA or a GB... because you already bought it! You may sell from it only once the items are all in hand in accordance to the regular sales rules. Do not call an auction for items you already purchased a "Group Auction/Group Buy". It's not!

2. Due to many issues that arose from the practice of hosting Group Auction for lots that are sold on the community by community members, this is no longer allowed. If the member's lot is hosted by a third party auction site (such as eBay), you may host the Group Auction as per usual. Selling many items in a lot to one member is still allowed, of course.
Also note: SHILL BIDDING is what it's called when someone uses a friend (and often a reserve price) to place fake bids to raise the current bid on their eBay (or other third party site) auction at the community's expense. This is very easily detected, and WILL result in an instant ban.

HOW CAN I RUN A GROUP AUCTION? READ THIS TEN-RULE CHECKLIST!

Running a GA isn't as scary as it seems once you understand how they work. Once you have been around them long enough to think you are ready to run one, first of all, remember that the Rules for Sellers apply to Group Auction runners as well!
After that, these are the rules you must follow when running a group auction/group buy (be clear in your post which kind yours is!).
  1. A user may NOT be participating in the running of more than 2 group auctions/group buys at one time.
  2. No more than two runners are necessary, and at least one runner must have prior GA expierience. The bidder/shipper/payment collector (these responsibilities cannot be split up) must have sales permission. The GA organizer (posting/making threads/tallying totals/chasing non-payers) does not require sales permission as they are handling no money or goods.
  3. Keep all posts "members only" to help prevent outside competition.
  4. State which items you plan to claim, and the price you are claiming them for. It is also USUALLY unreasonable to claim more than 2 items per runner (case-by-case basis). See "Claims" info below for how to determine if your claim price and amount is fair or not.
  5. Two group auctions for the same lot cannot be run at the same time, though it is not forbidden for members to bid against the group auction if nothing else can be worked out.
  6. Keep the URL to the auction private. If a participant would like to see the URL, it should be shared in private at the discretion of the runners.
  7. At the end of the auction please post a screenshot of the invoice and the link to the finished auction.
  8. In the event that items are left unclaimed or unpaid for, there are various options. Please look under "GA Issues" for more details.
  9. Members who seem unfamiliar with the GA process and unsure of how to run one properly will be asked to take down their auction. Members who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy may be banned from hosting group auctions.
  10. Use a countdown timer to avoid confusion about the end time of your GA. Here is one that is used often!

WHAT ABOUT "CLAIMS"?

The members who run the GA are allowed to claim the items that they want before bidding begins. Only the runners may claim items - claims for "friends" not involved are not allowed. This is their reward and "profit" for the hard work of running a GA. And it is hard work! Keep in mind that you still must be willing to pay around what the item is worth. A little lower (maybe as low as 75% of its going rate) is just fine, since the idea of a Group Auction IS to save everyone money.


What is "realistic worth"?
If it is a rather rare or sought after item, check/ask the community or ebay/Y!J to see what sorts of prices the item has recently sold for.

DO NOT CONFRONT OR HARASS GROUP AUCTION RUNNERS IF YOU THINK THEIR CLAIM IS TOO LOW. Contact a moderator if you have a concern about claim prices. Before you do this, remember that claim prices DO NOT need to be the EXACT cost the item last sold for. No need to get upset over a 5-10$ difference in the cost of a very expensive item!

What is a reasonable amount of claims?
Up to 2 items per auction runner is what is typically acceptable. If the lot is very large it may be appropriate to claim a couple more items. If you are hoping to claim the majority of the items, then a GA is not the route you should be taking -- just buy it instead! Ask a mod if you are unsure.

The claims belong ONLY to the two people who will be running the auction, even if you believe you've found the auction first.




[
Link to Fees & Shipping Costs]
These rules are standard for all group auctions. If you disagree with these methods, then do not participate in group auctions.


UNDERSTANDING DEPUTY SERVICE FEES + SHIPPING COSTS

Fees:
If your auction uses a deputy service, then all deputy service fees/other applicable fees will be totaled and divided by the number of group auction participants.This is non-negotiable no matter how many items one person may have won, as the auction's final winning price cannot be blamed on any one single item. Sometimes the smallest is what someone else was bidding and driving up the price for. :)

Shipping: There are usually three installments of shipping in a GA:
1. Internal shipping (Original seller ships items to deputy service.)
2. International shipping (Deputy service ships package to GA runner.)
3. Final shipping (Group auction runner ships to GA participants)


REGARDING JAPANESE DEPUTY SHIPPING COSTS
Internal shipping inside of Japan and the deputy fees are usually all charged together in one invoice by the deputy, along with the cost of the lot itself. Because internal shipping inside of Japan is often very cheap (usually 2500 yen or less even for very large and heavy lots) it, along with all deputy fees, will be divided evenly amongst all participants.

International shipping is often costly and in the event that most items are roughly the same size and weight, should be divided up per item, not per person.

In the event of a participant winning most or the very heaviest of items that obviously will make the package much bigger and heavier, that participant should pay more shipping on a reasonable, case-by-case basis. How much more to pay should be discussed between the participant and the runners.


(Obviously, any GA that does not require the use of a deputy service skips steps 1 and 2 of shipping a GA and only concerns itself with step 3, the final shipping.)

GA Runners in the USA can use this USPS calculator to help figure out shipping costs!

Of course all packing material costs are included in S/H fees charged to the buyers, so it helps everyone out. If your auction was really large, GA runners can save money for everyone and buy packing materials in bulk!


CALCULATING THE COSTS!
USE CALCULATOR, or the below formula if you do not trust robots.
The formula to figure out what everyone owes is simple: (person's bid) x (total cost / total raised)

EXAMPLE:
If your group auction raised a total of $40...
Your cost of auction is $50 (including fees).
Your shipping cost is $10.
Now it's time to figure out what your bidders owe.
Bidder1 has a bid of $10.00... ( $10.00 ) X ( $50/$40 ) = $12.50 (MATH RULE: DO STUFF INSIDE PARENTHESIS FIRST!)

RAISING (a lot) MORE THAN THE TOTAL COST
Our CALCULATOR WILL calculate discounts automatically!

If more than is needed to win is raised, those lucky enough to have won their item will get a discount. This discount will be determined by taking the same PERCENTAGE off everyone's total. NOT the same dollar amount!

Remember that the runner of an auction may keep a small percentage of the available extra for materials cost and their own labor cost if the auction was especially large or stressful.

Here is the formula for calculating your group auction's totals: (person's bid) x (total cost / total raised)

EXAMPLE:
If your group auction raised a total of $80 BUT...
Your cost of auction is only $50 (including fees).
Your shipping cost is $10.
Now it's time to figure out what your bidders owe.
Bidder1 has a bid of $10.00... ( $10.00 ) X ( $60/$80 ) = $7.50 (MATH RULE: DO STUFF INSIDE PARENTHESIS FIRST!)


DO NOT BID COUNTING ON A DISCOUNT! It's your lucky day if you happen to get a discount, but you are agreeing to pay the full amount when placing a bid.

IF YOU BID MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY, YOU RISK BEING BANNED FOR IT. Not worth it, folks.




[
Link to Group Auction Issues]

A GROUP AUCTION WAS MADE FOR AN AUCTION I WANTED TO BID ON/I PLANNED TO GA MYSELF! HELP!

Even if you think you found the auction first, it is not off-limits to be Group Auctioned. Do not comment to or PM the runner to try and conjole them into taking it down (if this ever happens to you as a runner, contact a mod IMMEDIATELY). Do NOT post comments about how you were bidding on it in an attempt to make the runners feel bad, or for any other reason. Consider bidding on the item you wanted as a part of the GA instead. If the runner has claimed the item you wanted, you are still well within your rights to bid on the auction yourself.

If you were planning on GAing it yourself, unfortunately, it is "first come, first serve" for whoever posts first. Occasionally people work privately to set up a GA post only to find someone else posted a GA for the same auction while they were at work. Whoever posts the GA to the community first has the right to run it there -- so if you want to GA something very badly, I recommend against taking many long hours or even days just to set it up!

If your GA is outbid by a member or the auction you wanted was made into a GA - it happens, and it is a bad feeling, but try not to take it personally. There will be another chance!



SHILL BIDDING/DISHONEST BIDDING - IMPORTANT!
Shill bidding, in short, is when someone calculates how much a group auction has raised, and bids up the auction to force participants to pay the maximum amount, or more in order to win.

This is against auction site rules (such as eBay) as well as our own rules, and will NOT be tolerated. We've become very good at rooting out fake bidders, and you will be banned immediately when you are found out.

Similarly, if you are found to be continuously exploiting "internal bidding" of deputy systems to win auctions with intent of simply keeping the community from winning, or selling your winnings back to the GA participants, you will be banned promptly.

AUCTION SECURITY TIPS
1. Keep the url to the auction private. Share the url with participants when requested, but in private.
2. The amount of money raised should NOT be shared with the community.
3. Posts on the community concerning group auctions should be "members locked" (you can change the privacy of an entry at the bottom of a post).
4. Spreadsheets made using google documents should NOT be public, to avoid deletion by dishonest members
5. Do not hotlink images from the auction site - save them to your computer and upload them using Imgur, or any image hosting site. Hotlinking allows easy tracing of the original auction site!

PLEASE report ANY suspicions of shill bidding or dishonest exploitation of middleman internal bidding.

Again, if you are caught shill-bidding, you will be automatically banned for life from the community, as well as having your behavior reported to any other applicable site involved.


OOPS....THE ACTUAL AUCTION ENDED BEFORE THE GA BIDDING WAS COMPLETE...
This has also happened now and again due to bad math or situations like LJ downtime, etc.

If this happens, DO NOT GO ANNOUNCING TO THE COMMUNITY THAT THE ACTUAL AUCTION IS ENDED. This will result in people bidding beyond their actual capacity as they know they are assured of a discount, and can cause major problems for the entire Group Auction.

End the GA at the date and time originally intended, and all should be just fine.


SOMEONE ONLY PAID SOME OF THEIR PAYMENTS...OR DIDN'T PAY AT ALL
It sounds weird, but indeed some folks do pay only one or two payments, then don't pay the rest, meaning their item cannot be shipped to them. Some people simply never pay at all. Here is how to handle these two situations.

If you only receive a partial payment:
If someone has paid for any of the owed payments, but not all of them, attempt to contact them through as many means as possible (comment, PM, email, etc.).

If no contact is able to be made after 30 days, the item becomes "public domain" for the GA runner. You may sell it for profit, but if sold you MUST refund the missing member the money they paid (even if you still cannot get in contact). If the item remains unsold, you are not required to refund them, as it would have to come out of your own pocket.

No Payment Received:
If members do not make payments on time, things get really problematic! Sellers and middlemen need to be paid in a timely fashion.

If 7 days pass with no contact (do try your best to get in touch!) or payment from the participant, the runner must offer it to the community for someone else to claim for the same price.

Please report either situation to a moderator immediately so action can be taken against the non-paying bidders, and also leave them negative feedback for their actions.


I PLAN TO BID ON ITEMS IN A GA TO GET THEM CHEAP - THEN I WILL RESELL THEM FOR PROFIT TO THE PEOPLE I BEAT!
Not allowed! The idea here is to get everyone cheap items by working together.

If you are found to be buying items at discounted GA price just to re-sell them to the losers at full price later, you will be warned, banned from future GAs, or just plain old banned from the community all together!

Note that this only applies to items won in the GA -- not lots you won on your own for resale later. They are not related issues.



THERE IS A BUNCH OF LEFTOVER STUFF NOBODY BIDDED ON/ KNEW WHAT IT WAS!
Leftovers that were CLEARLY VISIBLE but still got NO TAKERS, are released into the "public domain": the runner may sell or keep them.

If there were UNIDENTIFIABLE ITEMS, you can offer a generic bid option for "random stuff" if there is a thing or pile of things in the photo you cannot see clearly -- circle it, and let people "take a chance" and bid for whatever it might be.

Another option is to offer the items to the participants of the GA FIRST after they've arrived and you can see what they are. GA's are not designed for profit, so keep the items priced under 5$ if possible when offering to the community.

If there are STILL no takers for previously unidentified items after all these options are exhausted, they go into the "public domain" for the runner/s to do what they wish with.


I DON'T TRUST/FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH WHO IS RUNNING THE GA...
Contact our GA mod if this is the case.

All GA runners should post the total invoice (copy and pasted or screenshot) and a link to the auction once it is over, so it should be tough to scam GA participants, but just let us know if something is making you feel uncomfortable about how a GA is being run.




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Group Auction Calculator by Ritzyfoxx!