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Package forwarding program for BrickLink Designer Program sets

FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 66
edited March 26 in Buying & Selling Topics

The forthcoming BrickLink Designer Program (BLDP) will only ship sets to 30 countries.  Following the recent announcement post on Brickset, some commenters outside those countries were upset about this restriction.  Also, some commenters offered to buy sets and forward them to people.

Let's create a package forwarding program to match up recipients outside of the 30 countries who want sets with senders within those countries who will offer to purchase and ship them.

DO NOT POST REQUESTS YET because the BLDP is not finalized.  First, let's discuss how the program will work.

Recipients could post which sets they want, then senders could private message them to make financial and shipping arrangements.  Senders won't publicly post offers to send, preventing recipients from begging them to fulfill their request.

However, a pile of forum posts requesting sets could become unmanageable.  It may be cleaner for recipients to use an online form to make their request.  The form data could be public so senders could choose recipients and private message them.  When a request has been fulfilled, the recipient could remove their request from the form.  I've created a sample form here - https://forms.gle/i8UZL7LJdPBEBNVi6

It seems beneficial for the recipients to estimate the shipping cost to them from a BLDP eligible country.  This will make them aware of the shipping premium before any sender buys them sets.  Doing this work also shows that the recipient is committed, making their request more likely to be fulfilled by a sender.

Estimating shipping in advance adds complexity.  Recipients would need to know the countries of potential senders.  To keep the list of senders private (so recipients don't beg them), they could use a form to enter their country, then an admin could updated the Brickset forum post with the list of sending countries.

To help with estimating shipping, a sophisticated online recipient form could estimate size and weight of the requested sets.  Compare the set piece counts and to the size and weight of a typical Lego set with a similar amount of pieces.  This would take some coding and a capable form (I didn't immediately see this in Google Forms).

Lastly, I would encourage recipients to offer a premium to senders to cover their time and risk.  I recommend setting a percentage of the total of the sets purchased, maybe 3-5%.

What do you all think of these ideas?  Let's find a good way to get these BLDP sets to our fellow Brickset users who can't get them.

Comments

  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,821
    That looks like a worthwhile initiative, thank you.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,633
    Bear in mind there will probably be limits on how many of each one can be purchased by an individual. The FAQ currently says:

    How many sets can I pre-order?

    There is no restriction on the number of pre-orders unless products are sold out.

    but it wouldn't surprise me if there are actually limits per person. They often use poorly phrased, ambiguous statements and I imagine this line means that you can opt to pre-order one, five, 13 or all of them. If they don't limit, someone is going to step in and order 5000 of a popular one and control worldwide supply.

    I'd be careful comparing the weights to LEGO sets, as the BLDP ones will not have instructions.


    Senders (and receivers) may also want to really consider who they are dealing with. I have no issue trading with or buying from or selling to most long time brickset members, and regularly have done so. I would typically not expect to use PayPal - at least if I did, Friends and Family would be fine if I trusted the brickset member, so no fees and no risk for them that I could say they never sent something six months later. If a brickset member is taking a business paypal transaction from someone recently joined, I would seriously consider only using fully tracked and insured international postage to prove the item was delivered, and even then you are not fully protected. Similarly, if someone is buying from a recently joined brickset member, I would expect to have some sort of buyer protection. Scams have happened here in the past. These are going to be in demand sets and scams could well happen again. Knowing who you are trading with, or doing a favour for, is very important.

    Adding on a bit for risk on one-off sales doesn't really work. If the buyer scams, you lose. You even lose the 3-5% you added on for risk! Risk has to be averaged over lots of transactions.

    KungFuKennygmonkey76
  • KungFuKennyKungFuKenny Deep in the Heart of TexasMember Posts: 1,814
    I like the general idea, although I agree with @CCC about the trust issue.  I suspect that overseas members would be most comfortable working with someone who has a history of good feedback from selling on the forum.  Incorporating that element would be tough, and likely would mean lots of one on one deals in the Marketplace thread instead...
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 66
    This is great feedback.  I hoped that people could assess trust by checking the other party's number of posts and general community involvement.  So should we rely on the Marketplace to do the job instead of coordinating pre-orders?
    Unfortunately, both recipient and sender could conduct a scam.  A sender could take a recipient's money and never send the set.  A recipient could send payment and claim they never received the set, or use some trick to get their payment refunded.
    Securing payments is critical.  I would rely on PayPal as I have for over 20 years of selling on eBay (and shipping to some unfamiliar countries).  I know their seller protections falter sometimes.  Are they no longer trustworthy, or is there a better system?  I once used escrow.com to buy a domain name, but that seems like overkill here.
    @CCC , you make a good point about unspoken limits.  I think senders will be limited by how much money they want to risk in sets to forward.  Personally, I'd volunteer to send about $1200 (six $200 sets).  (and yet, who would trust me as a sender when I've only got 27 posts, though I've been reading the Brickset comments for so long that I could describe the personalities of specific individual commenters).
    Thanks for the reminder that BLDP won't have instructions.  I suspect their boxes will be smaller than Lego retail, like their first initiative.  Maybe I can work out a way to estimate shipping size and weight.
    @Huw , thanks, I was worried this might violate some terms of service.

  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 1,096
    For the limits, I believe that there was a limit of 3 on the first program.  Not guaranteed that they'll follow the same rules for this run, of course.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,633
    FireFox31 said:
    This is great feedback.  I hoped that people could assess trust by checking the other party's number of posts and general community involvement.  So should we rely on the Marketplace to do the job instead of coordinating pre-orders?

    Ultimately it has to be a person to person transaction, and both sides will need to be satisfied about the other party. So long as each person can pick and choose who they deal with, it's fine. It's if they get assigned and things later go wrong that blame may get pushed to others who did the assigning.

    Especially when there were regional exclusives,  quite a bit of product when back and forth across the Atlantic. 
    Fizyx
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,633
    CCC said:

    Bear in mind there will probably be limits on how many of each one can be purchased by an individual. The FAQ currently says:

    How many sets can I pre-order?

    There is no restriction on the number of pre-orders unless products are sold out.

    but it wouldn't surprise me if there are actually limits per person. They often use poorly phrased, ambiguous statements and I imagine this line means that you can opt to pre-order one, five, 13 or all of them. If they don't limit, someone is going to step in and order 5000 of a popular one and control worldwide supply.


    Just to update this, they have now set a limit per set and have changed the FAQ to explicitly state:

    How many sets can I pre-order?

    You can pre-order up to 5 sets per each project.




    Fizyx
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 66
    Good find.  Thanks.
    It seems most simple for recievers to post in the thread with the sets and quantities that they want.  Then senders can choose who to buy for and message them.  Once a receiver has a sender, they can post to the thread that their order is filled.  This is a little sloppy and may waste senders' time if they message a receiver who already had their order filled.
    Another question:  Which of the countries that BrickLink/Lego will not send to are actually reasonable for us to ship to?  Can anyone speak from experience?
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