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disturbman

How to bid in Japanese auctions for dummies.

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chadbag

So I just tried my first ZenMarket.  2 different items form the same guy.  2 sniper bids.  We'll see how it works out.   Not using my SIL for this one.

 

 

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JR 500系
6 hours ago, chadbag said:

So I just tried my first ZenMarket.  2 different items form the same guy.  2 sniper bids.  We'll see how it works out.   Not using my SIL for this one.

 

 

 

Zen Market's great! Their fees are reasonable, and their packing is professional! Do note that the downside is that your wallet will be feeling the strain....  

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chadbag
Just now, JR 500系 said:

 

Zen Market's great! Their fees are reasonable, and their packing is professional! Do note that the downside is that your wallet will be feeling the strain....  

 

I've spent the afternoon scanning everything they have on Yahoo Auctions under "N gauge"...   Some interesting finds.  Lots of junk.   Some outrageous prices.  And  few good deals.

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cteno4

Those really are nice! Almost tempting!

 

jeff

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JR 500系

It would be interesting to see how much it ends up, but at the current 25k for a 2 car set I will have to turn away... 

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disturbman

🤤

 

They look amazing!...

Current prices are 41k and 30k...

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JR 500系

It's amazing how much these beautifully done custom models go for... 41.1k for the dragon and 30k for the Fish... Really well done, but way too costly for poor me... 

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gavino200

Anyone know if these are custom paint jobs? Or are they decals that can be separately purchased somewhere? 

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Gryphr

Does anyone know of a way to get a printable bill/invoice for parcels from ZenMarket that shows all the contents+prices (including shipping and so on)? My last parcel from them went straight through to me, but if the package gets "kidnapped" by customs you would need a bill/invoice/proof of payment to be able to pay import tax and retrieve the parcel.

They have a "Parcel Content" field, but it doesnt show the exact contents (only categories) and is missing the international shipping. The "Payments" tab shows all in- and outgoing monetary transactions of your ZM account and no product titles descriptions either so in doubt it would probably not be clear/readable enough for the customs officer.

 

While they have good service and prices I'm a bit hesitant to use them again for more expensive stuff as I don't want to risk having the package denied entry or the contents destroyed for lack of documentation...

Edited by Gryphr

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Namba5

As for JAC, does anyone know if the sniper bid service they have automatically place the exact amount of your bid if the current bid is below your sniper amount? For example, if there's one other guy who bids ¥10000 and your sniper is ¥20000. Will the sniper bid just outbid it incrementally or automatically bid the max amount? Thanks!

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Kiha66

Techmoan (a vintage technology youtuber in the UK) did a good short video showing his experiences with buying from Japan.  A good watch for someone who hasn't tried buying from Japanese auction sites before.  His point about size is important, cost seems to increase exceptionally with larger items.

 

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Cat

I've been using both Buyee and ZenMarket the last several months for bidding on Yahoo Auction Japan, and recently did some relatively comparable purchases on each of them so I would have a better basis to compare the total costs between them.  They have such different fee structures, that it would have been a difficult and time-consuming project to try to puzzle out purely theoretically.

 

At base starting level, Buyee's fees are higher with a 200¥ fee for any purchase made through them, plus an additional 300¥ fee for each successful auction bid.  They charge a flat 1,000¥ to consolidate 3 or more packages before international shipping (or 500¥ for two, but who buys just two items???); this involves just taking all the parcels as they received them and just putting them as-is into a big box.  For another 1,500¥ they will add 'protective packaging' and break down the individual packages for re-packing.

 

So far, I have not tried the 'protective packaging' option.  It is unclear how much the space-saving might save on international shipping costs.  For our purchases, there wouldn't be a lot of weight saving from tossing out envelopes and small boxes in exchange for more bubble wrap.  The small parcels as they were received are pretty well protected individually, and then all help buffer each other in the big box, so safety was not a concern for us.

 

On the plus side, you do not have to transfer any money into an account with them, they will simply bill PayPal or your credit card after each successful purchase.

 

ZenMarket charges a flat 300¥ fee for any purchase, with no extra auction cost.  They break down and consolidate all packages for no extra fee.  Extra protective packaging can be purchased; we didn't do that, and everything was quite securely rolled in bubble wrap.  At face value, that looks like a better deal, but the big unobtrusive fee is that they charge a 3.5% transfer fee for all money you transfer to your account; that includes all money used to pay for their fee, for all the domestic postage costs, and the final shipping cost. 

 

It's a bothersome process to have to keep an eye on available funds and transfer money in if needed before placing bids.  If a bid fails, the money is then available in your account for other use.

 

Our purchases have been mostly small items: N scale buildings, scenic items, and vehicles.

 

We only used Buyee when they had a promotion running that waived the 300¥ YAJ fee.  They ran that promotion for most of the month of January, and then again for most of the month of March.  I expect this will continue to recur from time to time.  And that will be when we use Buyee for YAJ.

 

With a Buyee fee of only 200¥ per purchase/auction, if you buy at least four items and pay 1,000¥ for consolidated shipping, that's already a better deal than Zenmarket 300¥ per item +3.5% to the cost of everything.

 

But there are other favourable fudge factors for ZenMarket.  If you make multiple YAJ purchases from the same seller with a 24 hour period of 5am to 5am, they will request consolidated domestic shipping.  That is a savings we were able to take advantage of with a number of purchases.  They also have a connected retailer through their ZenMarket Plus options, Hobby Island.  ZenMarket Plus markets have no purchase fee at all.  Some Hobby Island items also had free domestic shipping.  Hobby Island prices tend to be higher than opening bids on the same items on YAJ, but fee free and maybe shipping free need to be factored in.

 

It is not at all easy to try to search through Hobby Island, but when I've searched for specific items on YAJ, ZenMarket will suggest Hobby Island options, and that has been helpful.

 

RESULTS:

 

I went through our two comparable purchases from each site and tallied up all the costs for each one.  (Eek, that really explains last month's credit card bill....)  Then, I recalculated what each one would have cost had it been made through the other service.  This took a little guess work to estimate the ZenMarket savings we made for consolidated auction purchases and Hobby Island purchases and factored that into the new calculations.

 

For making a lot of small item purchases, Buyee during their promotional period was a slightly better deal than ZenMarket.  The ZenMarket bundle (25 items) would have cost about 1.63% less had we used Buyee.  The Buyee bundle (33 items) would have cost about 2.84% more had we used ZenMarket.

 

Outside of their promotional periods, Buyee would be a lot more expensive.

 

We'll keep using both services, preferring Buyee during YAJ promotions.

 

TACTICAL HINTS:

 

*  Searching YAJ through either portal works much better if you enter the search in Japanese.  To get the Japanese phrase, find the item on Hobby Search and remove '/eng' from the url to get the original listing.  Cut the part of the item title you need.  Check with Google Translate if you want to double check that you got the right part.  In either portal, navigate to their N Gauge Train section and paste in the search term.

 

*  Keep a weather eye on domestic shipping costs.  I try to avoid YAJ sellers that send small items by courier (Black Cat, etc.), this is much more expensive than Japan Post non-standard mail

 

However, items that are too large for non-standard mail wind may wind up going by courier, and I got ambushed by the surprise cost a few times (3.5% more hidden surprise on ZenMarket).  I've finally checked and made a note of the limits for non-standard mail packet: : within 34cm length, 25cm width, 3cm thickness, and within 1kg weight.  You can look up items at Hobby Search to check their size and weight.  Tomytec scenery items are likely to be OK, many buildings will not be.

 

* Amazon Japan and its Marketplace are good to add to ZenMarket purchases if they come with free domestic shipping; then it gets consolidated with your other purchases.  However, we won't do that (again) with Buyee when not paying for their break-down protective packaging option — otherwise they take the ridiculously over-sized Amazon packages and drop them as-is into a super over-sized carton with all the other purchases (whoops).

 

Whee,

Cat

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roadstar_na6

That‘s pretty much what I had expected from the comparison. Since I usually only buy locomotives and cars on YAJ I ship few items together to keep customs and taxes low or try to be below 25€ to avoid them completely. Since I‘m a frequent user of ZenMarket they give me ¥40.000 credit on my account which is due within 1.5 months and has to be paid before they will ship anything.

 Hobby Island however is something I‘ll probably try to avoid in the future. I was looking at just getting a pack of couplers with a shipment sent since I forgot to order them when I got my stuff from Hobby Search and saw that they were on ZenPlus without the ¥300 fee so I just ordered them. After they didn’t arrive even a week after ordering I checked the listing again and saw that it might take a month to ship the article. It‘s been 1.5 months now and it still hasn’t arrived and I asked the ZenMarket team to ask about when it’ll arrive but they haven’t gotten any answer for two weeks now. Also what I also overlooked is that Hobby Island apparently will charge ¥700 for domestic shipping - for a ¥450 pack of Kato couplers... wtf 😄

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Cat

Yeah, Hobby Island isn't always the best choice, but we did get a few good things from them when they also included free shipping.

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bill937ca

Cat said:

Thanks for posting that pic, it's good to know what their reinforced packaging is like.  That photo should go into the Proxy Service thread too for future reference.

 

A Zen Market reinforced parcel has extra cardboard at the edges and corners and lots and lots of tape.

IMG_8235 1920 x 1070.jpg

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Cat

At long last, we have a massive package getting shipped out from ZenMarket.  With the 120 day free storage during covid, the first item in the mountain arrived 138 days ago — but fortunately this has all worked out well without extra costs!

Times from winning auctions to items arrived and then processed as arrived at the warehouse have been running slow for many items, some taking two weeks or more.  With this in mind, I stopped bidding about 4 weeks before the 120 day clock ran out.  Even with that one item was running super slow.  Emailed ZM about it.  Communications are a bit slow, their staff is rather overwhelmed these days, but everything sorts out fine eventually.

The wayward item was from a seller whose other items had all been in the over 2 weeks to arrive.  It turns out they had shipped the wrong item for this purchase, then there would be time lags of ZM getting back to them to correct it and then more long delays getting it shipped.  Auction ended on 10 July, the actual item finally arrived at the warehouse on 16 September and processed as arrived on 18 September.

In the meanwhile, I had been messaging with ZM about shipping my grand parcel and the 120 clock.  They told me I could request everything on hand to be packed, and include a note with the parcel request to wait for the wayward item to arrive and be packed with it.  The 120 day clock stopped when I put in the parcel request, so I didn't have to pay any extra storage fees.

The wayward item (a 1/144 tank for Girls und Panzer, plus the bonus wrong tank that the seller said I could keep) is now in the box and the total (gack!) shipping bill has been paid.  With over 3 months of bidding on many small items, there will be a mighty unboxing in the near future.

ZM's warehouse being overwhelmed, they have had to stop the extended 120 day free storage and dropped back to their old 45 day free storage limit now.  Glad I got the auction binge in while the storage time was so good!

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disturbman

Did anybody else noticed an increased in auction prices recently or I'm just imagining it?

I have the impression that the number of items available have dwindled in the past few months and that items that used to be quite common are now proposed at ridiculous prices.

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railsquid

Seems fairly constant to me, at least for the kind of things I look out for. I had the feeling things were a lot slower back in March/April; if anything the big auction houses I follow seem to have an uptick in collections coming onto the market.

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disturbman

Maybe. The auction houses and the shops are functioning as normal as far as I can see. But I do feel that some items have went from a a 12000-15000 JPY price point to about 20000JPY.  Obviously, it's a very subjective perception and it's very possible I am completely missing out on the realistically priced items and only see the ones nobody want to pay for.

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railsquid

I guess it depends what subset of the market you're looking at. I can't claim to have made an exhaustive study of all items over time, but my subjective impression is that certain items will suddenly become more sought-after for whatever reason and jump up in price.

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Welshbloke

There does seem to be a lot of self-described "junk" finding its way to ebay UK at frankly insane prices (£90+ for a single Kato KuHa for example). Wondering if they've got the decimal point wrong or are just trying to fleece people who can't simply go for a trawl of Akiba.

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katoftw

Same reason you see 200 pound sets from Sussex when the same set can be purchased from Japan for 75 pounds.

Edited by katoftw

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Kiha66

Does buyee charge your card/paypal immediately upon winning an auction, or do they send you an invoice?  Its been a while since I've bought anything from there and I don't entirely remember.

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