Tim Getsch said he felt a sense of relief when a lawsuit brought by Beckett against his COMC.com company over pricing and checklist data was settled this week after being in court for nearly 20 months. In a video released on November 18, the founder and CEO said “we are free and clear to move forward.”
Beckett had alleged that COMC initially took its pricing information by “scraping” the checklists and pricing data from Beckett.com. The suit was filed in U.S. district court on March 28, 2014 and COMC filed its own counterclaim several days later.
But with the legal wrangling out of the way, COMC.com can turn its attention to one of its busiest times of the year. Shoppers already know how stressful those post-Thanksgiving Day sales can be. There’s nothing worse than standing in long lines and battling crowds to get an item that has been deeply discounted.
If you’re a card collector, COMC offers a reason to stay home. Once again, the company is having its Black Friday promotion, which has become one of the hobby’s most popular. The event his heavily promoted and sellers have been submitting thousands of cards, hoping to cash in on the extra traffic by offering discounts to buyers.
The Redmond, Washington-based online card consignment company will be offering discounts in three stages to coincide with Black Friday.
The first one — called the Preview Sale — began Thursday and will run through Thanksgiving Eve. Stage 2 — the Black Friday Weekend Sale — runs from 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on Thanksgiving Day and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 29. Cyber Monday is the final stage and will be held from midnight to 11:59 p.m. on November 30.
The concept behind COMC.com is simple. Collectors send cards to the company to be sold, and COMC scans both sides of the card and lists it on the site. The seller then sets prices for the cards. There is a processing fee of 25 cents per card. When a card sells, COMC will take a percentage if a collector wants to cash out. However, COMC does offer store credit and many collectors take advantage of that, using that credit to find cards for themselves or re-list at a higher price in hopes of turning a profit.
It’s like playing the stock market. A stock investor only shells out money when he sells the stock (incurring a capital gains tax). A COMC.com customer who buys a card can turn around and relist the item without suffering shipping costs (because the item is still at the COMC.com warehouse). He can take store credit for the sale or take cash; the latter move will trigger a fee from COMC.com.
While some prices on COMC may be higher than on online auction sites like eBay, collectors don’t seem to mind if they are using credit. After all, no money has been lost, so in effect, the collector is trading for coveted cards.
While he didn’t have specific numbers, COMC communications manager Nathan Richards said the company “is gearing up for 10,000 packages to ship” from the sales beginning on Thanksgiving Day. He did say that the volume of sales will be much higher than any other time of the year, noting that sales have spiked during the last few years. During the 2012 event, COMC.com set a company single day record by shipping 20,516 items.
Discounts up to 75 percent off original prices will be common during the Black Friday promotion. The website notes that there are over 11.8 million cards for sale, with nearly 3.8 million unique specimens. The inventory runs from 19th century cards through 2015 and the site is used by both collectors of both vintage and modern era cards.
As part of this year’s promotions, domestic shipping will be free for collectors buying 20 or more cards. Scratch-off cards will be included with every order, and collectors can win up to $100 in store credit.
“We’ll have lots of tools to help buyers and sellers,” Richards said.
COMC launched in 2007 as CheckOutMyCards.com. The company began to grow and cards up for consignment increased.