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Sales, Swaps, Auction & Approvals/Approvals Disc. : Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

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stevendmo
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10 Sep 2016
10:05:02pm
Forgive me if these rather basic questions are addressed elsewhere, but I did not see this info in the "User's Guide" for approvals, and my confusion on these points has been preventing me from purchasing stamps from. SOR approval books -- even though I see great stamps I'd like to buy.

1. After I click the "purchase" button for multiple items, will an invoice automatically be generated, or do I need to request one (as I might in eBay)?

2. I see PayPal mentioned in the discussion boards. I'm good with using PayPal, but am I correct in assuming that's the default payment method for SOR approvals? If so, I assume the same is true for SOR auctions?

3. How do I know how much shipping I'll be charged when I buy, say, five or twenty or a hundred stamps? Is there an incremental scale based on number of stamps to be shipped? Or is there a fixed shipping charge for all stamps purchased at a single time (e.g., two dollar shipping charge)? I'd like to have some sense of this before I commit to buy stamps for the first time in this venue.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can offer. And, for the record, joining the SOR community a few months ago is one of the best decisions I've made since I restarted my collection last year. Great discussion boards, great sense of community, and lots of love for stamps!
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BenFranklin1902
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Tom in Exton, PA
10 Sep 2016
11:15:44pm
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

Congrats to getting back to stamp collecting! I had stopped back around 1980, although eBay got me back into a specialty area (the Franklin stamp in my avatar), but I only started sorting the ancient hoard about a year ago.

I've bought on the auctions but the same answers apply to the approvals as well. First I'd like to say the approval format here is brilliant. In this age of high postage costs, it's great to see books online rather than have them mailed to you, and having to mail them back! This is much more cost effective.

Your questions.
1. After I click the "purchase" button for multiple items, will an invoice automatically be generated, or do I need to request one (as I might in eBay)?
It's a bit more laid back here. Note that each book is owned by a single seller. So you deal with that seller on their books. If you purchase things from multiple books by different sellers, you deal with each of them. So say you find 20 stamps and buy them in one book. You then can message the seller and ask them to send you an invoice. Once you've bought from a seller, you can tell them to hold on, because you'd like to look through more of their books to combine it together. A seller may invoice you on their own too.


2. I see PayPal mentioned in the discussion boards. I'm good with using PayPal, but am I correct in assuming that's the default payment method for SOR approvals? If so, I assume the same is true for SOR auctions?
On each auction book or auction you will find the terms that each seller wishes. Some will accept Paypal, others want a check in the mail. Some will accept postage at face value too. I just paid a seller $2.70... I sent two dollar bills and 70 cents in mint 10 cent commemorative stamps.

3. How do I know how much shipping I'll be charged when I buy, say, five or twenty or a hundred stamps? Is there an incremental scale based on number of stamps to be shipped? Or is there a fixed shipping charge for all stamps purchased at a single time (e.g., two dollar shipping charge)? I'd like to have some sense of this before I commit to buy stamps for the first time in this venue.
Again, read the sellers terms. They will state exactly how much they charge for postage and handling. It varies, most are very reasonable.


The only flaw in the system is that you may see things you wish to buy, but you may not be able to buy enough from a single seller to make the transaction worthwhile. For instance I've gone through a sellers book and found only 50 cents worth of stamps I wanted, but not worth buying with $1 postage charge.

I hope I explained correctly!

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NoernbergStamps
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10 Sep 2016
11:16:01pm
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

First you must realize that the stamps in the approvals are sold by individual sellers on the site, and each have their own terms. To answer your questions specifically:

1) invoices are generated by the seller some time after your purchase. It's supposed to happen relatively quickly, and each seller may state how they prefer to do things, but if you are ready to "check out", there's no harm in sending the seller a message requesting an invoice. remember that if you buy from multiple approval books, they may be from different sellers, hence different invoices (and repeated S/H charges)

2) PayPal is not a default. Not all sellers use it, but it is an option to sellers to offer it, and most do. You need to look at the specific payment terms for each seller individually.

3) Again, the S/H charges vary by seller. It is very important that you read and understand each seller's terms before you commit to a purchase. Most here should be very reasonable, though.

I hope this helps. Remember that you can see the Seller's terms on the very first page when you go to enter an Approval Book (before you start looking at the stamps).

Great that you restarted your collection, and I'm glad you're enjoying the site! Welcome!

-Doug

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michael78651
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SOR Auctioneer
11 Sep 2016
12:43:08am
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

Steve, when in doubt about a seller's terms, contact the seller first before you make any purchase.

You may also want to make yourself acquainted with the Auction Rules, the Auction Tutorial, and the several other helpful pages that are available under the Rules link on the Auctions page before voyaging to that area. Some matters in the rules do apply to both auctions and approvals.

If you have questions that don't seem to get answered, you can always contact the Approvals Moderator (Theresa - user name "philatelica"), or the Auctioneer (that's me - user name "Michael78651").

Here's hoping you find many little pieces of paper to fill those holes on your paper album pages!

Michael

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Stevo45
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11 Sep 2016
05:55:45am
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

Hi Steve

Most sellers will appreciate a message when you are ready for an invoice. ( Finished shopping )

The first page of the approval book should show the terms like this:

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If in doubt send a message ............ Remember lots of sellers have extra material that is not yet listed..

Cheers

Steve.

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stevendmo
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11 Sep 2016
09:24:18am
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

Thanks, all, for your very clear and helpful explanations! I will definitely watch for and pay attention to the individual seller's terms and desired payment method. I'm looking forward to purchasing some great stamps here.

Also, as BenFranklin1902 mentioned, I'm happy to have access to online approval books. When I collected in the late 1970s and early '80s, as a teen, I did buy stamps on approval -- starting with books full of stamps priced at one and two cents, eventually moving up to five-centers (I think that was after I starting mowing lawns for cash). As much as I looked forward to seeing the approval books show up in our front porch mailbox, I do remember how expensive it was to mail the book back. Seems like SOR's approvals combine the financial efficiency of the Internet with that timeless sense of discovery -- I.e., finding either the stamp one has been seeking for a long time, or stumbling across a cool stamp one didn't know existed until just now. I find stamp collecting to be both very relaxing and exciting (an observation that causes my wife to laugh and roll her eyes) -- largely because of that sense of discovery.

Again -- thanks for helping me to enjoy this opportunity to shop for stamps at SOR. Much appreciated!

--Steve

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
11 Sep 2016
09:36:58am
re: Some basic questions about buying approval items at SOR

Thanks for all the excellent explanations folks!

Questions like these are greatly appreciated. I'll be working on the approval info pages in November and hearing what types of questions people have is very helpful.


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