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From: tony_jones@no.spam
Newsgroups: rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace
Subject: FAQ POSTING (rgva.marketplace)

                      Frequently Asked Questions

                   rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace

	     $Revision: 1.2 $   $Date: 1997/11/05 03:24:21 $


This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for the Usenet newsgroup
rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace.

This FAQ is posted weekly and the current copy should be considered to
supersede all previous postings.

This FAQ was developed by Tony Jones with help from Steve Ozdemir and 
reviewed by Doug Jefferys. The document may be freely distributed, as 
long as all credits remain in place.

This document has been designed for viewing on an 80 column display. 

Comments and suggestions for improvement welcomed.
Send email to tony@rtd[DOT]com (please replace [DOT] with a period)


Disclaimer
----------

This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only.  Although the
authors have made every effort to provide accurate information, they
cannot guarantee the accuracy or usefulness of any of the information
contained herein due to the complexity of the issues involved.

The authors take no responsibility for anything arising as a result of
anyone using the information provided in this FAQ, and the reader hereby
absolves the authors of any and all liability arising from any activities
resulting from the use of any information contained herein.

If you're new to collecting, before you start buying and selling items
on this newsgroup, you are advised to read the sister newsgroup 
rec.games.video.arcade.collecting and it's associated FAQ.


Index of Items
--------------
	> indicates a change since the last revision of the FAQ
	* indicates new information

*1. What is rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace?
*2. Guidelines to posting to rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace
*3. Tips for buyers and sellers
*4. Other related FAQs


1) What is rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace?

   The newsgroup rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace (hereafter abbreviated 
   to rgva.marketplace) is an online forum for the sale and purchase of 
   arcade COIN-OP video games and parts. 

   Postings regarding console, pc or other 'home' games (regardless of whether
   they mimic the coin-op version) are expressly PROHIBITED.
   
   General collecting issues, technical discussion of game hardware, the 
   maintenance/repair of games, game conversion and purchasing games from 
   sources other than the Internet (for example: operators and public auctions)
   should continue to be posted to rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (hereafter
   abbreviated to rgva.collecting).

   Messages should not be crossposted (this includes separately posting the
   same article contents) to both rgva.marketplace and rgva.collecting. Pick 
   one or the other based on the the subject matter and the above 
   classification.

1.1) What types of posting are prohibited on rgva.marketplace

   The charter of rgva.marketplace (which was voted upon) prohibits the 
   following types of posting:

        - Any posting related to console/pc/home games. 
          Yes, this includes SNES, PSX, N64, that ancient Atari 2600 which
          is collecting dust in the corner and anything else that is not an 
          ARCADE COIN-OP VIDEO game.

        - Non video arcade items, such as (but not limited to) pinball 
          machines, jukeboxes and slot machines.

        - General/technical collecting traffic which should continue to be 
          posted to rgva.collecting. 

        - Cross posting (or posting the same article contents) to 
          rgva.marketplace and rgva.collecting.


1.2) History of rgva.marketplace

   In 1997 the quantity of commerce related postings in rgva.collecting 
   reached a level where a newsgroup split was necessary. The CFV to split 
   out marketplace traffic was organised by Steve Ozdemir. Rgva.marketplace 
   came into existence on October 7th 1997 having passed the vote 6 days 
   earlier by a margin of 132 to 29.

   When the newsgroup split was originally discussed, moderation of the
   marketplace group was suggested. However, it was decided that the new
   group would be initially proposed to be non-moderated. Only if off-topic
   and cross-posting became a problem would moderation be considered.


2) Guidelines to posting to rgva.marketplace.

   rgva.marketplace is a Usenet group, no different from any other.
   As such, most, if not all, of the published 'netiquette' guidelines apply. 
   If you are unsure what these guidelines are, please read the following 
   documents:
	
	http://www.dejanews.com/info/primer3.shtml
	http://www.dejanews.com/info/primer4.shtml
	http://www.dejanews.com/info/primer5.shtml
	http://www.dejanews.com/info/primer6.shtml

   You are, of course, free to ignore all of this advice.  You should,
   however, remember that your postings reflect upon yourself.  If you
   choose to continue buying and selling video games on the Internet, 
   you will be dealing with people who read your postings, and first 
   impressions can often be lasting.

2.1) Choosing an appropriate Subject: line.

   Adhering to some common conventions allows your posting to stand out.
   It also allows people who may only be interested in a subset of the
   traffic on rgva.marketplace (i.e for sale postings) to filter out the
   remaining traffic (for details on how to set up filtering, see the
   instructions that accompanied your news reading software).

   Please begin each subject line with one of the following keywords:
   	FS      (items offered for sale)
   	FT      (items offered for exchange/trade)
   	AUC     (items offered for auction)
   	WTB     (items wanted for cash)
   	WTT     (items wanted for trade)
	REF     (reference check desired)

   Following the keyword, it is important that you state your geographical 
   location. For the United States, please use the standard 2 letter state 
   abbreviation. For other countries, use the 2 letter ISO country code 
   identifier (which will usually be the final component in your e-mail 
   address).

   Examples:
	"FS: (UK) Defender upright"	(United Kingdom)
	"FS: (OR) PacMan pcb"		(USA/Oregon)
	"WTB: (NY) Tempest cocktail"	(USA/New York)
	"FS: (NO) Shinobi"		(Norway)
	"AUC: (CA) Rare uprights	(USA/California)
	"REF: John Doe"

   See Section 3.4 for more information on running auctions.
   See Section 3.2 for more information on checking references.
	
2.2) Content of your message

   If the geographic region listed in the Subject line (you did list one 
   - right ?) is very large, you might consider providing more detail
   on your location in the body of your posting, i.e :

	Subject: FS: (CA) uprights

		For sale in the Bay Area
		....

   If you are posting multiple items for sale, or are looking to buy
   more than one item, list all the items in one posting. Do not post
   one article per item, to do so is a huge waste of the available 
   Internet bandwidth, not to mention inconsiderate of other's time.

   Please limit reposting the same article to once per week (this limit
   is defined in the rgva.marketplace charter, which was voted upon).

   One of the motivating factors behind this is to eliminate constant 
   posting of for sale items and updates of auction results (see Section 3.3 
   for more details on running an auction in rgva.marketplace).

   For complete games, or large parts, state whether you are prepared to 
   deliver or collect (how far and for delivery, at what cost). Also (for
   both for sale and wanted postings) mention whether you are prepared to 
   freight ship the item (see Section 3.5b for more details on shipping
   complete games).

   Learn something from how you would advertise in a newspaper. You
   wouldn't leave out information such as price and condition, and
   expect people to call you for details. It's no different on Usenet,
   if you are selling state the price you want, whether this includes
   shipping, what the condition of the game is and anything else you feel 
   will help you attract a buyer's attention. Unlike a newspaper, you are not 
   paying by the word, so you are free to be a little more descriptive.

   If you want your wanted (WTB/WTT) posting to be taken seriously, state as 
   precisely as possible what you are searching for (sorry, but "Games wanted, 
   email me your list" just doesn't cut it and you will likely be ignored). 
   In addition to stating your price range, you should include what cosmetic 
   condition will be acceptable.


3) Tips for buyers and sellers

   For a transaction taking place on rgva.marketplace, the chances are
   high that money and goods will be exchanged without either party 
   ever meeting. Buying and selling games via the Internet can be
   extremely rewarding, but this lack of physical contact can be the cause of 
   many problems. The goal of this section is to suggest ways to avoid them.

   Remember, despite what you might infer from reading the newsgroup, most 
   readers are reputable people. Certainly, there there have been cases of 
   fraud, but it is not nearly as pervasive as some like to suggest.

3.1) Arranging payment

   In general, it is expected that the buyer pre-pay for items. 

   If payment is by regular check, and the buyer and seller have never 
   conducted business before, it is normal for the seller to wait for the 
   check to clear before shipping.

   If this delay is a problem, a USPS money order or COD are alternatives. For 
   COD, the buyer should expect to pay any additional COD charges.

   There have been occasional incidents that were reported in the newsgroup
   of transactions taking several months (where the check had been cashed).
   It is for this reason that it is important for the buyer and seller to
   agree on when payment should be received and the items shipped. If either 
   party anticipates delays or other problems, it is their responsibility to 
   communicate this to the other before payment is sent.
   
   Sending payment by certified (return receipt) mail can provide additional
   protection, and you may feel it is worthwhile when dealing with a person
   for the first time to keep a record of all correspondence.
   
3.2) References

   Several options are available if you need a reference on a prospective 
   buyer or seller

        - Check a newsgroup archive for any postings regarding previous
        problems with the individual or company. The two largest archives 
        are Dejanews (www.dejanews.com) and Altavista (altavista.digital.com)

        - Try contacting other collectors in the same geographical area. 
        Lists of collectors and their locations can be obtained from the 
        Video Arcade Preservation Society (www.vaps.org). Remember, the 
        collectors you contact could be friends of the person you are 
        trying to check up on.

        - Post a reference check to rgva.marketplace. Please begin the 
        Subject: line of any such posting with "REF:".

        Rather than clutter up the newsgroup with responses, please state
        clearly in the body of your message that all replies should be VIA
	EMAIL. In addition, please redirect follow-ups to yourself by setting 
        the header line "Followup-To: poster".
   
        Once you have received all the replies (allow 4 days from the when 
        you posted the request), post a single follow-up to rgva.marketplace 
        with the results (again beginning the Subject: line with "REF:". 
        All comments MUST include the e-mail address (and name if 
        available) of the person who originated them.

        If you are not prepared to follow-up as outlined above, you should 
        not post to the newsgroup requesting the information.

3.3) Forsale vs. Auction

   Occasionally the topic of whether items should be posted for sale or
   for auction has arisen. Some of the main reasons presented in favor of
   auctions have been:

	- It allows people with slow (or sporadic) news feeds the chance to
        obtain items.

        - It provides the seller with the greatest potential amount of 
        revenue, albeit at the expense of their time.

        - It allows the market to decide the price of an item, especially 
        when the seller may be uncertain of an item's value.

   Whether you decide to post items for sale, or run an auction, is up to you,
   the seller. 

   If you decide to post the items for sale (listing a price for each), it is 
   considered extremely poor trading practice to later (after your mailbox 
   fills with interest for one or more items) switch over to auctioning these. 
   Pick one method and stay with it.

   Despite claims to the contrary, listing a price of "$x Or Best Offer/OBO"
   does not imply you are running an auction on the item and looking for 
   greater than $x; it indicates you are looking for $x but willing to accept 
   less. 

   If you are auctioning an item or items, clearly state so. Since all items
   being offered should have a Subject: line beginning with either "AUC:" or 
   "FS:" this implies that a single posting cannot contain both items for sale
   and items for auction. If you have both, you will need to post two articles.

3.4) Running an auction 

   The charter of rgva.marketplace limits reposting of articles to once
   per week. The aim of this is to prevent sellers posting auction updates 
   to the newsgroup.

   Although you may feel your auction is the most important event of the
   decade, it's likely not. The number of bidders will be small in relation
   to the size of the rgva.marketplace readership. Many will not be interested
   in your auction. Therefore, rather than using the newsgroup to update the 
   readership on the progress of your auction, please instead maintain a 
   mailing list containing the e-mail addresses of the interested parties. Use 
   your weekly posting to inform readers (who may have missed your previous 
   announcements) about your auction. 

   If possible, record current bidders and bids on a web page and direct
   readers to the URL.

3.5) Shipping

3.5a) Shipping parts

   It is important to mention that unless requested by the buyer, method
   of shipment is usually left to the seller.

   There has been frequent debate on rgva.collecting over the relative
   merits (and demerits) of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and
   United Parcel Service (UPS), but people continue to advocate one or
   the other.
   
   The main differences are:
        - cost: USPS is cheaper for small packages, but for larger packages,
        (above $6) UPS starts to become progressively cheaper.

        - security: UPS packages can be tracked (including the time of 
        delivery and name of person receiving the item) and are automatically 
        insured for $100. USPS insurance for loss and damage is an additional 
        cost.
	      
        - convenience: USPS drop off is more convenient, though most 
        commercial companies are set up for UPS.

        - delivery: USPS will leave a package on your doorstep (whether this 
        is an advantage or a disadvantage depends on who you ask) and the 
        packages that do require a signature, will be held at the local
        post office. UPS usually requires a signature and it can be a long 
        drive to the UPS depot if UPS cannot deliver.

        - international: UPS and other courier services charges increase 
        dramatically for international service (even from the US to Canada). 
        USPS Air is a inexpensive alternative for small items. For larger 
        items, USPS ground service is very competitive, although delivery time 
        can be as high as 2 months.

        Packages sent by UPS and other couriers are subject to customs
        charges which often include tax on the shipping costs in addition to 
        the declared value of the item. Also, a fixed administrative charge 
        will often be levied. The total charges can be significant.	     

        Experience indicates that packages sent via USPS may not be subject
        to the same level of customs inspection, often resulting in no duty
        being assessed. However, it is not possible to say definitively and
        you should assume that any item shipped will have the same duty
        levied regardless of whether it is sent USPS or UPS/DHL/etc.

3.5b) Shipping complete games

   It is possible to ship a complete game across the United States at 
   relatively low cost. International shipment is expensive. Shipment 
   outside the United States is not covered by this FAQ.

   There are many freight companies that will ship a game for you, 
   see "Trucking-Motor Freight" in the Yellow Pages. Most require the game 
   to be crated (usually cardboard will sufice). Even if the shipper does 
   not require crating, the buyer may wish to have the seller crate the 
   game since the shipping company may not consider cosmetic damage
   significant during any subsequent insurance claim.

   Some shipping companies also require the game to be strapped to a wooden 
   pallet. In addition, standard charges are based upon the seller delivering 
   to the shipping companies closest warehouse. Conforming to these shipping 
   company requirements will likely cost the seller money, to say nothing of 
   their time. It is therefore not uncommon for sellers to either be unwilling 
   to ship games or to charge extra (over the price listed in their posting) 
   to comply.
   
   It may initially seem attractive to declare a low value for the game in 
   order to reduce shipping costs. While damage is unlikely, freight damage 
   can be significant since a heavy item falling during storage/shipment can 
   totally destroy the game, regardless of how well it was crated.

   Most companies offer COD on the freight charges. Other also offer COD
   on the cost of the item. However, it is usual for the seller to request
   pre-payment for the cost of the item. The buyer normally collects the game
   from the shipping company's nearest warehouse, although home delivery is
   sometimes available at additional cost.

   As of this time (late 1997), Forward Air (800) 726-6654 seems to be the 
   preferred carrier charging a rate of $25 per 100 pounds (most full uprights 
   weight approx 300 pounds). Unfortunately, they do not have a presence in 
   all parts of the US.
   
   There are also private individuals who (as crazy as it might sound) make 
   their livelihood moving games around the country. The most notable is
   Denis Dodal (314) 849-2322. Denis charges $125 per game and there are
   no special crating requirements (he just moves videos and pinballs and 
   is experienced in taking good care of them). The downside is that it can
   take several months for delivery and since he is on the road, getting in
   contact can be problematic. The readers of rec.games.pinball post his
   current whereabouts on a fairly frequent basis.
   
3.6) Additional Buyers responsibilities

   If you are purchasing sight unseen, it is your responsibility to ask
   enough detailed questions about the items you will be purchasing.

   For parts, it may be sufficient to know if they are working, 
   complete/untested (as-is), complete/dead or incomplete (missing parts).
   For complete games, you will likely want to assess the cosmetic condition 
   of the game in addition to the mechanics. People have different standards, 
   so it is important to try to develop a common reference point to help you 
   asses what you will be buying.

   Many sellers will guarantee the items (if they are non-working on arrival -
   damage in shipping should be taken up with the shipping company). It
   is the buyer's responsibility to test the received items in a prompt manner;
   the seller can not be expected to offer an exchange or refund after several 
   months have passed (see Section 3.7 for more details).

   Some sellers may own a digital camera or have other ways of obtaining 
   computer readable images (JPEG etc) of the item. Occasionally, if you can
   convince the seller that you are serious about purchasing, you may be
   able to convince them to mail you polaroids of the item in question.

   In a nutshell, try to take care of possible problems ahead of time by 
   making your requirements clear. As mentioned previously in Section 3.1,
   it is often wise to keep a record of any relevant e-mail in case problems
   occur.

   Finally, it is worth mentioning that many sellers have tired of people
   asking frequent questions and then never purchasing. Please do your fellow 
   collectors a favor and be reasonable in any requests.
   
3.7) Finally, remember that games and game parts don't last forever.

   A typical arcade game recoups its cost over a relatively short period of 
   time (a few years). In light of this, games were often not designed with 
   decades of longevity in mind.

   Rick Schieve (schieve@lucent.com) in a posting to rgva.collecting offered
   some excellent advice to prospective buyers and sellers of old Atari XY 
   boards (as a result of a disagreement that boiled over into the newsgroup)
   but as with most good advice it can also be applied more generally!

   Purchasing Tempest and Star Wars Board Sets [by Rick Schieve, edited for 
   clarity and space by Tony Jones]:

      "Both of these board sets can often be unstable and intermittent.

      One thing I learned is that you cannot call a Tempest or SW set
      good unless you let it run for a while (say overnight). I had more 
      complaints of problems with these sets than all the others put 
      together.  And, not all the complaints were justified. I'd say about 
      half of these sets worked fine when returned to me.

      [Summary of specific problems mentioned: marginal edge connectors
      lose or bad solder joints on the interboard connectors, insufficient 
      5v supply from the regulator and failing op amps/DtoA converters in 
      the vector generation circuitry]

      What I have found is that once you get a stable combination of
      components together the machines usually behave.  It's just painful 
      to get to that point at times.

      Whenever I sold Tempest or SW sets I usually held back a few extra 
      working sets anticipating problems.  I'd then simply swap for
      another set if people did have problems. The only times there may
      have been bad feelings is when people wouldn't try the boards they
      received for some time.  I'd get a complaint 6 months later and had
      used up the spares I had at the time.

      When servicing games in general I often ask people if they would
      even consider putting $$$ into something like a 15 year old TV set?
      The average game has probably seen more hours of use.  Also,
      relatively few games were made and they were really only designed
      to last a few years. Frustration often comes with the territory
      when collecting classic videos"

 


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