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 members 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 for an item claims the item. Especially useful for "Buy-it-now" lots.

**Claim Style can only be used for lots containing items of identical value or lots easily divided into categories (e.g., "rares" are $10 and "non-rares" are $5).
Otherwise, the lot must be run auction-style.

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. Remember that the Rules for Sellers apply to Group Auction runners as well! These are the additional rules you must follow when running a group auction/group buy (be clear in your post which kind yours is!)
  1. A member may not run more than 2 GA/GBs at one time.
    A GA is considered "completed" once all payments are collected and items are shipped.
  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 organizer (posting/making threads/tallying totals/chasing non-payers) does not require sales permission as they are handling no money or goods.
    (A GA does not require two hosts, but most members find it helpful to divide the work between two people).
  3. Posts must be kept "members-locked" to prevent outside competition.
    Keep the URL to the auction private. If a participant would like to see the URL, it can be shared in private at the discretion of the runners.
  4. State which items you plan to claim & the price you are claiming them for.
    It is USUALLY unreasonable to claim more than 2 items per runner. 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.
    However, it is not forbidden for members to independently bid against the group auction if nothing else can be worked out.
  6. Use a countdown timer to avoid confusion about the end time of your GA.
    Here is one that is used often! Do not change the end time of the auction.
  7. Do not make a separate "GA status update" post at the end of the auction.
    Update the original GA post with whether the auction was won or lost instead of making a new post to the community.
  8. Screenshots of all invoices must be provided when collecting payments.
    All invoices (auction, shipping, and customs charges if applicable) must be posted at the end of the auction. A link to the completed auction should also be provided.
  9. Any visible items that received no bids must be made available to the community.
    Please see the "GA Extras" section for more information on how to properly handle unclaimed items.
  10. In the event that items are left unpaid for, there are various options.
    Please look under "GA Issues" section for more details.
**Members who seem unfamiliar with the GA rules will be asked to take down their auction. Please be sure to contact a moderator if you have a question about any part of the GA process. Members who have shown themselves to be generally untrustworthy may also be banned from hosting group auctions at the discretion of the moderators.

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 - private claims for friends or members 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"?
Use the community's Price Check Guide 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.




[
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

Deputy Fees:
If your auction uses a deputy service, then all deputy service fees will be divided proportionately based on winning bid. The GA calculator can be easily used to divide deputy fees as "total cost" is the auction price + deputy fees. Please see the "Calculating the Costs" section directly below for more information on dividing costs proportionally.

Shipping Fees: 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)

DIVIDING INTERNAL AND INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING:
Internal shipping inside of Japan (shipping #1) and the deputy fees are usually all charged together in one invoice by the deputy, along with the cost of the lot itself.
This shipping cost should NOT be included in the GA calculator "total cost" and instead be divided by item.

International shipping (shipping #2) is often costly and also should be divided up by item, provided that most items are roughly the same size and weight.
**If there are items that are obviously much bigger and heavier, those items should bear a higher proportion of the shipping cost on a case-by-case basis.


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.

The final shipping payment should consist of the exact cost to ship items to GA participants, as well as any reasonable fees for materials and handling. If your auction was really large, GA runners should try to save money for everyone and buy packing materials in bulk!

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

Customs Fees: Occasionally, a GA will be charged an import tax (usually if the GA bidder/shipper is located in a European country). Customs charges should always be divided proportionally based on bid.

If your GA bidder/shipper lives in a country that usually gets hit with customs taxes, please be sure to mention this in the original GA post or consider taking on the organizer role instead. Remember that the whole point of GAs is to save money for everyone and avoiding an import tax is preferable!

CALCULATING THE COSTS!
USE CALCULATOR, or the below formula if you do not trust robots.

The formula to figure out what everyone owes for the auction total is simple: (Participant's Bid) x (Total Cost / Total Raised)
Total Cost consists of the final auction price + deputy service fees (if applicable). Do not include shipping in the total cost!

EXAMPLE:
If your group auction raised a total of $40...
Your cost of auction is $50 (including deputy fees).
Your shipping cost is $5 and there are 5 items.
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!)
The shipping cost per item is ($5.00) / 5 = $1.00 per item.
Bidder1 owes $13.50 (before Paypal fees) for their first payment.


WHEN COLLECTING PAYMENTS, HOSTS MUST LIST ALL RELEVANT INFORMATION! Participants and moderators have to readily be able to verify math based on information provided. At a minimum, the following must be included:

■ participants' items won and winning bid totals
■ actual totals after fees or discounts are implemented (see below for calculating discounts)
■ shipping prices per item (and customs fees per person if applicable)

RAISING (a lot) MORE THAN THE AUCTION 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!

The same formula for totals also will work to calculate discounts: (Participant'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 deputy fees).
Your shipping cost is $5 and there are 5 items.
Now it's time to figure out what your bidders owe!

Bidder1 has a bid of $10.00... ( $10.00 ) X ( $50/$80 ) = $7.50 (MATH RULE: DO STUFF INSIDE PARENTHESIS FIRST!)
The shipping cost per item is ($5.00) / 5 = $1.00 per item.
Bidder1 owes $8.50 (before Paypal fees) for their first payment.



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.


SELLING GA EXTRAS TO REDUCE FEES & SHIPPING COSTS
Any visible items that received no bids MUST be made available to the community prior to collecting the international shipping payment. Announcing available claims during the first payment post is ideal. Hosts must apply any funds raised from selling GA extras to reduce the international shipping bill (shipping #2).

For eBay lots or other auctions without an international shipping bill, funds should be used to either purchase shipping materials or reduce everyone's final shipping cost equally.

Members who buy GA extras ONLY pay the item's claim price (usually the starting bid) and the final shipping cost from host to them. They do not pay a portion of international shipping (because their claims are being used to "discount" international shipping for everyone else).

Hosts must make any previously unidentifable items available at the final payment post. Some hosts opt to make the items available to GA participants first before offering them to the whole community, although this is usually not a requirement. Prices should be kept to a minimum (no more than a couple of dollars) as GAs aren't intended for profit -- the hosts can use the extra funds for materials cost and their own labor cost if the GA was especially large or stressful.

If there are STILL no takers for extra items after all these options are exhausted, they go into the "public domain" for the host(s) to sell or keep.

**Special circumstances with extra items, such as an unidentifable item turning out to be obscenely rare and worth hundreds (which HAS happened before!), will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact a moderator for assistance in these situations!




[
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 or PM the hosts to try and pressure them into taking it down (if this ever happens to you as a host, contact a mod IMMEDIATELY). Do NOT post comments about how you were bidding on it in an attempt to make the hosts 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, we recommend against taking many long hours 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. You can share the URL with participants if 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 persons.
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 back to 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 unfortunate 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 RECEIEVED:
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 or payment (you DO have to try to get in touch!) 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 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 resell them at full price later, you will be warned, banned from future GAs, or just plain old banned from the community altogether!

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



I DON'T TRUST OR FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH WHO IS RUNNING THE GA...
Please contact one of our moderators 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.

ANY sort of scamming through GAs (adding personal purchases to the GA bill, doctoring screenshots, wrongfully withholding GA extras, etc.) will not be tolerated and the responsible host(s) will be immediately banned from the community.


ALL OF THESE RULES SEEM LIKE AN AWFUL LOT OF DIFFICULT WORK!
Running a GA is a lot of work! Because GAs deal with potentially significant amounts of members' money, we need to have a lot of rules to keep them run fairly and consistently.

GA organizers MUST be comfortable doing many mathematical calculations -- even though no sales permission is required, this is not an easy feat! While the mods are always happy to help guide members through the rules, please keep in mind that we are not here to do your math for you. Please do not offer to run a GA if the calculations seem too confusing.

And remember.. you don't HAVE to run GAs to have fun on the community! Just participating in GAs is a great way to get new collection items too :)





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Group Auction Calculator by Ritzyfoxx!