How to Trade Succesfully
Guide to the Trading Post
For a while now I have seen more and more people complain about their experiences with the trading post. I have quite often had dealings with people who don't really know how to use the TP. Those, to my horror, were not only new players, but also some well known and respected Neopians. This, I can tell you, is very, very annoying. So I decided to write a guide to help all those unfortunate Neopians for the good of Neopia and to reduce stress levels.
The concept of the trading post is quite simple. As you will probably know, Neopians can put their items in trades and others can offer NP and/or items on the trades. The person who made the trade should also add a wishlist, so the potential buyers know what the seller wants for the item in question. Only ten trades can be created at a time, and ten items can be placed in each trade. One can only offer a maximum of ten items or 800.000 neopoints on a trade. If you want to pay over 800.000 the seller can auction the item for you. Or you can offer the wanted price in items plus neopoints. What could go wrong in such an easy process, one might think? A lot! I have included a few things that go wrong quite often and people complain about most. But let's deal with a few terms you might encounter in wishlists, message boards or neomails first.
The dictionary says: To bargain, as over the price of something. The concept, once again, is very simple. The seller states a price but is willing to take less. How much less is for you to find out. Basically, you neomail a counter offer. If the price he wants is 700k, you could mail the seller that you want to offer 400k. A good seller will neomail you back saying either that he accepts the offer, or that he wants more. He will probably also include a higher counter offer to which you can respond again.
If the seller says that a price is firm in their wishlist, it means that they will take no lower and will not haggle. It's very straight forward and simple, not much to get confused about.
This is a word you will see a lot. Many players seem to think auto is the same as firm. There is a difference. When a wishlists says 700k = auto. It means that if you offer 700k you will get the item (unless more people offer that and the seller picks another). However, you don't have to offer the stated price. You can also offer lower, but the seller might have to check if it's a good price first or wait to see if someone will offer higher for a while. This means that you might have to wait a little longer before your offer is accepted.
A reseller is someone who buys up items really cheap, and sells them with a profit.
A lot of sellers will also include these abbreviations in their wishlist:
ETS = Easy To Sell
An easy to sell item is an item that a lot of people want and will be sold very quickly. A few examples of ETS items are codestones, high rarity stamps and weapons. For instance, a Sword of Skardsen, Pirate Captains Cutlass and Honey Potion.
HTS = Hard To Sell
A hard to sell item will very likely take a long time to sell, and often for a lower price than stated. A lot of sellers will only take HTS items, if the total of those items is worth more than the price the seller wants. They do this because you will often have to sell a HTS item for less than its worth. A few examples of HTS items are gourmet foods and books.
NTY = No Thank You
This is in itself a polite way to reject someone's offer, but I often find that it is followed by a snide or sarcastic remark.
When a price has the letter K behind it, like 700k, this does not mean the item is worth 700 neopoints. This means the item is worth 700.000 neopoints. Add 3 zeros where the K is.
A lot of things already seem to take a wrong turn while sellers create their wishlist. Some sellers seem to think that every Neopian knows the price of every item in Neopia. And they put in their wishlist: 'Neomail offers, don't ask for a price or get blocked!' This is not a very good way to sell your item, especially if there are only a few on the TP and none of them have a price in their wishlist. So what do you do when you encounter a message like this, but would really like to try anyway? You could make a topic on the message boards asking for a price check, and then neomail the recommended price to the potential seller. Or you could test your luck and neomail your own offer. However, I would suggest looking for another trade first, to find a seller who doesn't want to block you for politely asking a price.
You finally see a price in a wishlist that you think is reasonable, so you neomail the seller your offer and want to trade/auction. It can happen that the seller already had an offer and asks if you would like to raise yours. This is all very normal and nothing to be suspicious about. However, if the seller keeps asking you to beat another offer made by another buyer and therefore keeps upping the price, I would suggest looking for another seller. Otherwise you could end up paying a whole lot more than necessary, particularly if you are not sure if the other buyer really exists.
Another thing that really frustrates buyers, and something I have had to deal with quite often, is people that don't know how to haggle. If a seller has a price in their wishlist and is willing to haggle, don't neomail them asking for a price. It is already stated in their wishlist. Declaring that you are willing to haggle in your wishlist, and then refusing to haggle, will also certainly anger buyers. So always be careful about what you put in a wishlist; don't just randomly copy terms and abbreviations from other users if you don't know what they mean. When a seller gives you a price to haggle with, don't say: 'Somebody else wanted to sell me one for half of your price,' because you are basically forcing the seller to go lower than something that might be a reseller offer. That is not haggling, just rude and the seller will probably only neomail you a spiteful answer. When you are haggling with someone, do not keep mailing/posting new offers; enough is enough. The haggling process should not take more than a few neomails. If, for whatever reason, a buyer or seller will not take your final offer, don't post or send offensive messages. Just move on to the next and leave it at that.
A few other tips:
- If you think something is fishy about a trade, just look for another seller. Your instincts are probably right.
- Always read carefully what is written in a wishlist. Don't offer HTS when they specifically ask you not to; it will only irritate them.
- Be patient! There are players from all over the world who live in different time zones. A seller could be asleep while you just came home from school. This does not apply when you are on a Faerie Quest, and need to have the item within a certain amount of time.
That doesn't seem too hard now, does it? If you pay attention to all that is written in this guide, you will hardly ever end up blocked and get what you want more often than not. Here is a final list with definite don'ts. This consists of a few other things that other players have experienced and which scarred them for life:
- Leave out a wishlist
- Judge a buyer/seller on their account/popularity
- Never reply to a serious neomail
- Make fun of buyers/sellers on the message boards
- Keep raising the price of your lot
- Ask for items back after inflation occurred
- Offer silly things hoping the seller will accidentally accept
- Beg for an item in someone's trades
- Ask a seller for a discount
So, now you know some of the trading post etiquette. I hope this guide taught you some useful things. Good luck buying and selling. And remember, always stay polite.