Discogs ; my experience.

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Strat-Mangler, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Got back into vinyl in August and registered on Discogs in November. I've learned a ton during that timespan and wanted to ensure I knew what I was getting into. Here are my experiences.

    All new material was as described so for the purposes of this thread, all rated problematic purchases will be for used/open LPs. All shipping charges will be included in the purchase price which is in blue. All LPs described as NM.

    1. $19. Was borderline NM on side A and unusable on Side B. Got refunded $10. $9 loss.

    2. 60.55£. Out of 5 LPs, one had a recurring pop on one song making it irritating on an otherwise flawless LP. Got refunded 2£ for my trouble. 3£ loss.

    3. $15. Side A was seriously off-center. Had to describe to the seller what an off-center pressed LP is and how it sounds as he had no idea. Clearly did not play-tested it. Otherwise in great condition. Refunded $7.50. $7.50 loss.

    4. $10. Best Offer was accepted and the seller initially bumped his shipping price $1 to try to get more money out of me. Called him out on it and he put it back down to his regular $5. Record arrived in VG condition at best. Refunded $4. $6 loss.

    5. 37.19£. Was described as having "no audio or visible faults." In VG at best. Really mad at this one as I had communicated to the seller to ensure it was next to perfect. Sounded like Rice Krispies. Got back 6.25£. Close to a 31£ loss.

    6. 26.48£. 2 out of 3 LPs are far from NM. Returning them which will result in getting back about 8£ total as I'll need to ship them out. Loss of about close to 15£.

    7. 10.17£. Advertised as a 1st UK pressing. This was one made in Holland. I was pissed! At least got refunded the whole purchase price this time. No loss.

    So I lost about $85.50 (more than $12/purchase) because of the carelessness of Discogs sellers. It hasn't been a great experience for the most part as I can vouch that almost all sellers merely quickly glance at an LP. Next to none of them are play-graded. By far, the grading of NM is the most abused on the website. It's also not uncommon to have badly categorized LPs. I've pointed out that with the provided matrix info, the advertised LPs are in the wrong section and was ignored in all cases. People just don't care. If they can rip off somebody and get away with it, they will.

    The pattern I know have fallen into is verifying the info with the seller first and ensuring that they understand that I want a true NM LP. Most times, I do not get a reply and that tells me that they probably don't have the record I want anyway (wrong pressing) or it's not in the advertised condition. Hell, about 1/3 of the people who do reply don't even know what matrix info is!

    Definitely not the expert place it presents itself as being. Watch yourselves and your wallets, people.
  2. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Portland, OR
    just like ebay... i always ask specific questions prior to purchase. even then, there's a risk now that vinyl is so popular again.
    johnny q and Gramps Tom like this.
  3. Gramps Tom

    Gramps Tom Forum Resident

    As we all know, purchasing vinyl-used or new-involves somewhat more exposure to imperfections than cd's. Medium-larger vendors can't possibly play grade or thoroughly visually inspect every groove of every record, whether they are online or brick/mortar stores. The skyrocketing packaging/shipping costs (initial and return) can paralyze responsible vendors' ability to respond while driving the overall cost to we consumers lots higher.

    The character, and therefore, the confidence level due the seller is predicated on their responsiveness to issues with honest buyers.

    I feel your financial pain & frustration. I have not registered at Discogs nor routinely access their database, as I am not so particular with specific pressings as much as condition of the vinyl and cover. I will state that I have had overwhelmingly positive experiences trading here in the Hoffman Forums Classifieds. The single drawback is there is not the volume of assets for sale that other larger locations offer. I don't hesitate to purchase here if there's an item I want that's offered here.

    All the best,
  4. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Agreed on all counts. Basically, I enjoy the level of info on Discogs but I now need to educate every seller on what I expect, matrix info, etc. Just so we both don't waste our time and so I don't waste my money. I've been so incredibly frustrated at the lack of attention to detail by most sellers that I now will need to verify even the simplest things before making purchases.

    It's a shame it's come to that but specific pressings are extremely important to me to ensure the best available sound quality is obtained.

    I understand the more active sellers don't have the time to play grade LPs but 99% of sellers regardless of their business volume do not play grade. So that leaves me with needing to pay attention to shipping prices in case the visual grade does not coincide with how an LP plays.

    Moreover, the visual inspection is done with normal light which reveals next to no damage, complicating this problem. Using my cell phone's powerful white xenon light reveals all imperfections and I find it shocking this is not standard practice among sellers. This would prevent next to all instances of grading issues.
    iloveguitars and Gramps Tom like this.

    MARTHY Forum Resident

    When buying from discogs I try to stick with new/sealed vinyl from sellers with 100% ratings. That's about the best one can do.
    -=Rudy=-, Frosst and LordThanos1969 like this.
  6. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    I bought a sealed pressing recently on discogs. The seller sent me the wrong pressing altogether. When I complained, he started getting defensive and then said he checked and was adamant that he had sent me the correct item. He was wrong. I even sent him the matrix details....completely clueless :(

    I have sent the record back with tracking entered on PayPal. My worry is he will start saying I sent him back a different pressing. This guy doesn't seem legit despite him having 100% feedback on around 50 items and I feel he is going to try and be awkward now. Another thing is this cost me £10.50 out of my money to send back to Germany . I hope I get my money back...
  7. RadioheadMario

    RadioheadMario Forum Resident

    After many years of having nothing but positive things to say about Discogs, I finally got into a bad experience. I bought a record for $18 from a relatively new seller who had 2 positive feedback. He had a lot of positive "buyer" feedback though so I figured he'd be reliable. After marking my record as "shipped", I asked him for a tracking number. He said he didn't have one but that the post office told him that the record would get to me in a couple of days. In all my years of buying at Discogs and in Ebay, I always got tracking numbers for my purchases. Anyway, it's been a month and I haven't received the record yet. I messaged the seller and he just said "I sent the record". What options do I have? The fact that he didn't give a tracking number should be favorable to me right? Should I open a paypal dispute? I know it's just $18 and the record is relatively easy to find (Prima Scream - More Light), but I wanna teach the seller a lesson. What do you guys think?
  8. richbdd01

    richbdd01 Forum Resident

    Only 2 transactions is extremely risky imo...
    Dave likes this.
  9. RadioheadMario

    RadioheadMario Forum Resident

    Yup, I know. In hindsight I should have just gone for the more reliable seller, even if the record was more expensive. Anyway, would I have a case for a Paypal dispute given the circumstances?
    richbdd01 likes this.
  10. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Portland, OR
    eddiel, richbdd01 and Dave like this.
  11. Deaf_in_ LA_1974

    Deaf_in_ LA_1974 Forum Resident

    This sounds very bizzare to me, I have been buying on all major sites for 15-20 years.

    This smells like OP buyer expectations may be really very unreasonable, or he is seeking out the worst of the worst.
    I do not mean to be insulting in any way, but the fact that you have tracked "losses" on music seems to be a big part of the issue.

    TBH- I and most longterm sellers "block" problem buyers and I have heard some even trade "block list" so buyers realize a few snarky gripes over a VG+ vs a VG++ may be costing you finding your holy grails if you approach it like that.
  12. skimminstones

    skimminstones Forum Resident

    Bexley, UK
    in my experience unless its new and sealed it is never going to be mint. Ive learnt to adjust my expectations and assume anything i buy will be probably 2 grades below what is advertised. Shouldnt be that way but it is.
  13. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    New York, NY, USA
    Never had a problem myself.
  14. amjean

    amjean New Member

    I've placed about a dozen orders on discogs in the last 3 months and only 2 of them went well (both from the same person). I've never experienced so much lying/fraud/dishonesty before from online sellers. Claiming the discs are mint and look perfect when it is maybe very good/good, saying it has no scratches when it is trashed, sending me the completely wrong version and then blaming it on me, sending me BMG club editions instead of the retail cd, etc. I've had a lot better experiences on amazon and even ebay.
    johnny q likes this.
  15. Deaf_in_ LA_1974

    Deaf_in_ LA_1974 Forum Resident

    dispute it in a civil way, remember this person has your address, you said something above about "teach him a lesson"
    BluesOvertookMe likes this.
  16. johnny q

    johnny q Forum Resident

    Bergen County, NJ
    I have settled on 4-5 vendors that I have had consistently good experiences with and I stick with them. Finding/vetting them was a maddening experience because I had similar experiences like the OP. Albums being described as NM and are VG at best, the release page link was incorrect etc. The worst is when you contact these guys and they are in denial or downright snarky and nasty. Makes you wish they slide down the banister of life and get splinters all the way.:realmad:

    However, others have suggested what is good advice - ask questions! Also, ascertain whether or not they visual grade or actually play grade - most are visually graded. With that said, you may get a visually NM LP that has lots of surface noise, is warped or off center pressed. There is no way by simply looking. And don't assume "still sealed" means a primo copy - many of these are warped or have other issues from the way they have been stored for the past few decades.

  17. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    With paypal you have up to 6 months to open a dispute so you have some leeway here in terms of time.

    If it were me I'd give it another couple of weeks. If no LP arrives by then make a claim on Paypal. It'll be up to the seller to prove he sent it and if he didn't use tracking he's SOL.
  18. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Wrong versions happen often it seems. I always confirm the version I am looking for is indeed the one they have listed. I see comments like "mid 70's reissue" by sellers even though the copy they have is listed under the original version and there is a listing for the mid 70's reissue. Some sellers are just lazy, morons or both.
  19. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    I've purchased 51 CDs through discogs, and 49 of them have been exactly as described, in condition as good as, or better than, advertised. Of the other 2, one was in slightly worse condition than advertised, but still in very nice shape (I think it was advertised as NM but was more of a VG+). And the other one was the wrong pressing - but the two pressings were very hard to distinguish and the seller gave me a significant discount and I kept the disc.

    I have, however, held off from making maybe 6 or 7 purchases because I emailed the seller to confirm that the disc was in fact the correct pressing/version, providing the seller the tell-tale distinguishing detail(s) to look for. In some cases the seller never responded. In most cases, though, the seller has checked and said, "Whoops, sorry, wrong version." In every such case the seller has been polite and has thanked me for helping them realize their mistake.

    So I would say politely reaching out to sellers first is the key, at least for CDs. (For vinyl I think it's always going to be more of a crapshoot because condition is so much more important and variable - and because packing for shipment is more crucial and you can't just use a bubble mailer like with a CD.)

    I also would respectfully suggest that the #1 thing that gets buyers off on a bad foot with sellers on discogs is when buyers approach sellers with a traditional customer-service attitude. A lot of discogs sellers are small-time folks liquidating their own collections or selling to help fund their own collecting hobby. I've found that treating them like a fellow music collector instead of as a service provider goes a long way in making them go the extra mile to check details, be friendly, haggle on price and so on.
  20. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Toronto, Canada
    Excellent advice. I take this approach and it I find it's the best way to go about things when problems occur. I have had some incidents where the seller still went crazy on me (one suggested that I was lucky we didn't live near each other lol) but usually it results in an amicable resolution.

    I know we all complain a lot about bad sellers, but I appreciate what @Deaf_in_ LA_1974 is saying. Selling can be difficult and although I'm not a professional seller and only sell occasionally even I've come across some problems. When I sell I tend to be on tender hooks for 30 days until the ebay guarantee runs out, then for a further 5 months until the Paypal guarantee runs out! lol
    tmtomh likes this.
  21. dorium_tres

    dorium_tres Well-Known Member

    San Francisco
    One and done in this post. I've been buying through discogs for almost 8 years now. maybe one problem in that whole time and I received my money back through a paypal dispute with not much else to report on that end. Otherwise sellers have always been gracious, responded to my questions and requests for pictures and have generally been great to deal with. Maybe I've lucked out, but I've always kept my expectations in check as well.
    Dave, GentleSenator and tmtomh like this.
  22. rl1856

    rl1856 Forum Resident

    Their site is confusing to a collector, I can only imagine how confusing it is to someone trying to sell a few records the had laying around, or inherited. I have found the same record listed several different ways because of contradictory pressing information. In several cases I have listed records under several different detail descriptions so I am covered if a buyer looks at one or another listing based on (flawed or incomplete) discogs assigned identity. If have tried to contribute to the database where I feel appropriate, but even then I do not receive acknowledgement of what I submit. As for discogs management, I had one person send me profane and vile messages through their communication system. I reported the offender, including screen shots of the messages, but again, no response.

    I have noticed that a large portion of their sellers seem to be non US. Better for non US buyers, but communication can be difficult for US based buyers, along with shipping costs.

    I understand that Discogs wants to start a "Gearogs" site to facilitate the person to person sale of audio equipment. This could be very good if handled correctly, and would be a nice alternative to Ebay, Audiogon etc.
  23. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Portland, OR
    i'm not sure i understand what you mean by "i do not receive acknowledgement of what i submit"... the answer to your central problem is to submit/revise on discogs. it's user-driven. that's the whole point. if it ain't right; make it so.
    eddiel likes this.
  24. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Forum Resident

    Carbondale, IL USA
    I generally try to only buy from sellers that put a little detail into what they're selling or if their feedback is good. So far, I haven't had any issues except for the occasionally bad packaging. I haven't done too much buying off there but enough to feel my way around sellers. Even buying a used record at a record store is a gamble. I don't expect every seller to play grade everything they have just as I don't expect every White Castle worker to taste each burger. It truly is a gamble and the next day can be very rough.
    GentleSenator likes this.
  25. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Sapporo, Japan
    as a seller the grading gives me some gyp with no "EX" there so I just go with VG+ even though most of the japanese pressings I sell really are EX/NM but jeez no way I'm listing them as that and have some irate philatelist come back at me having a baby through his brain due to a microscopic flaw on a 40-year old record.

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