Everything you need to know about Group Auctions!
Please read all of these group auctions guidelines if you plan to participate in or run one! If you still have a question, or want math help, moderator contact info is at the top of this post!

Group Auction Calculator! By Ritzyfoxx!
All prices in USD
Auction Total: $
Amount Raised: $
Person's Bid: $
Total (w/ discount if applicable): $0
Amount owed with PayPal's fee: $0
Amount owed with PayPal's fee (Non-US): $0
Final amount including PayPal's is based on $0.30 transaction fee and 2.9% of the transaction. If the person is sending you money from another country, PayPal charges $0.30 transaction fee and 3.9% of the transaction to convert the forgein currency into USD.

A group auction is what occurs when there are a bunch of items for sale, usually for a high starting price or with a fierce bidwar expected to insue, and someone organizes a post for members to pitch in for the items as a group. The point of a group auction is for folks to work together to get items for good prices.

GROUP AUCTIONS ARE NOT DESIGNED FOR THE ONE WHO ORGANIZES IT TO MAKE A PROFIT, for if more money is raised than the auction is purchased for, then all buyers should receive a discount- the calculator at the top of this page exists for this purpose. The organizers' prize is not having to bidwar for their wanted items.

Claim style GA (popularly called Group Buy): All items are given a set price. The first member to comment in regards to an item, claims the item. Especially useful for "Buy-it-now" lots where only a certain amount needs to be raised in order to win.

Auction style GA: Items are given separate threads in which members bid against each other in order to raise money for the group auction. Best used for expensive auctions.

You may NOT Group Auction/Buy anything for sale by a member on the community itself (IE; stuff members wish to dispose of in one lot). This is non-negotiable. If you wish to sell a box of stuff, it can not be GAed by the community unless it is for sale on a third-party auction site such as Ebay (putting it on your own LJ is not an applicable loophole as it is not an AUCTION site). The practice of GAing member's lots caused over half a year of endless confusion and trouble for PKMNcollectors mods and members, resulting in this ban of the practice. Our apologies.

Please note: If you put a lot on Ebay to be GAed by the community, and you add a reserve price to try to force them to bid and shell out the maximum amount they raised, or get a friend to shill bid to the same effect, this is exploitation of the members and the GA system and will result in an instant ban. We're on to you. Don't even bother.

These are the rules you must follow when running a group auction/group buy (be clear in your post which kind yours is!).

1. A user may NOT run more than 2 group auctions/group buys at one time. Your part in a GA is considered complete once you are no longer participating in running it whatsoever, meaning items have been shipped to winners if you were the shipper, or all payments have been gathered if you were responsible for that, etc.
2. No more than two runners are necessary, and at least one runner must have prior GA expierience.
3. Keep all posts "members only" to prevent outside competition.
4. State which items you plan to claim, and the price you are claiming them for. It is also USUALLY unreasonable to claim more than 2 items per runner (case-by-case basis). See "Claims" info below for how to determine if your claim price and amount is fair or not.
5. Two group auctions for the same lot cannot be run at the same time, though it is not forbidden for members to bid against the group auction if nothing else can be worked out.
6. Keep the url to the auction private. If a participant would like to see the url, it should be shared in private at the discretion of the runners.
7. At the end of the auction post a screenshot of the invoice and the link to the finished auction.
8. In the event that items are left unclaimed or unpaid for, there are various options. Please look under "GA Issues" for more details.
9. Members who are new, or seem unsure of how to run a group auction will be asked to take down their auction. Members who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy may be banned from hosting group auctions.
10. Use a countdown timer to avoid confusion about the end time of your GA. Here is one that has been used often.

In group auctions the users who run it (AKA: the people who do all of the hard work!) are able to claim the items they want before everyone else begins bidding/claiming. If you are running or participating in the running of a group auction, claiming the items you want without having to bidwar is your reward. Just keep in mind that claiming the most sought-after item and not contributing its realistic worth will make it more difficult to reach your goal.

What is "realistic worth"? If it is a rather rare or sought after item, check/ask the community or ebay/Y!J to see what sorts of prices the item has recently sold for. Usually, something around that area or somewhat lower will be just fine. For example: if you see it last sold for 100$, you may claim it for 75-80$. It isn't low enough to cause an issue, and it is high enough to claim this is its "realistic worth". DO NOT BEGIN ARGUMENTS IF YOU THINK A GA RUNNER'S CLAIM IS TOO LOW. DO NOT HARASS OR BADGER THEM. Simply contact a moderator to discuss it with the runner. That means you are no longer allowed to be confront GA runners for their claim prices, especially if their claim is only 5-10$ under what it last sold for. Claims do NOT NEED TO BE the EXACT price the item last sold for. NO ITEM that is not currently on shelves has an exact price or worth!

What is a reasonable amount of claims? Up to 2 items per runner is a typical amount claimed by runners. In most cases, any more than 2 claimed items is unreasonable, as it is too big a percentage of the items. If the lot is exceptionally small (10 or less items) the combined claims of the two runners cannot exceed 1/3rd of the total items in the lot. If you want to claim the majority of items in a lot, it is better to simply buy it yourself -- GAs are not designed for runners to get member help in buying armfuls of plush just for themselves. However, sometimes lots include hundreds of little items -- in cases like this, you may claim more than 2 of the items, as it barely begins to scratch the surface of the majority. Just ask if you are unsure.

If you believe you found the auction first, unfortunately this is not reason to give you a claim on an item. The claims belong ONLY to the two people who will be running the auction.

These are standard for all group auctions. If you disagree with these methods, then do not participate in group auctions.

All deputy service fees/other applicable fees will be totaled and divided by the number of group auction participants. That will then be added to each participant's total cost. Fair, and easy!

There are usually three total kinds of shipping involved in a GA:
-Internal shipping (Original seller ships items to deputy service's warehouse in Japan)
-International shipping (Deputy service ships package to group auction runners. Will obviously not apply if the auction and runners are in the same country!)
-Final shipping (Group auction runners ship to participants)

Internal shipping in Japan is usually fairly cheap, and because of Japan's internal shipping methods, often not determined by weight, but by size of the package. Thus internal shipping can be divided equally between all participants no matter the amount of items they ordered. In cases of participants winning numerous or particularly heavy items, their percentage of international shipping, which is weight-based, should be calculated proportionately. This is a case by case basis, and you should increase their shipping cost by a reasonable percentage garnered from the amount and/or weight of their items.

Remember, only international shipping (and final shipping, of course) may be divided up in this way. Fees and internal shipping are always divided equally by the number of participants. GA Runners in the USA can use this USPS calculator to figure out shipping costs! Also, if your auction was really large, save money for everyone and buy packing materials in bulk! Of course all packing material costs are included in S/H fees charged to the buyers, so it helps everyone out.

CALCULATING THE COSTS! USE CALCULATOR, or the below formula if you do not trust robots.
The formula to figure out what everyone owes is simple: (person's bid) x (total cost / total raised)

EXAMPLE: If your group auction raised a total of $40...
Your cost of auction is $50 (including fees).
Your shipping cost is $10.
Now it's time to figure out what your bidders owe.
Bidder1 has a bid of $10.00... ( $10.00 ) X ( $50/$40 ) = $12.50 (MATH RULE DO STUFF INSIDE PARENTHESIS FIRST!)

RAISING (a lot) MORE THAN THE TOTAL COST  (NOTE: Our CALCULATOR will calculate discounts automatically!)
This sometimes happens, where not an extra 10-20$ is raised, but an extra 50$-500$ is raised (yes, we've had cases with a 500$ surplus). In this case, those lucky enough to have won their item will get a discount if applicable. This discount will be determined by taking the same PERCENTAGE off everyone's total. NO OTHER METHOD WILL BE ACCEPTED. Not everyone's discount will be the same because not everyone contributed the same to winning the auction. Remember that the runner of an auction may keep some extra for materials cost and their own labor cost if the auction was especially large or stressful. Here is the formula for calculating your group auction's totals (hint... it's the same as the regular one!): (person's bid) x (total cost / total raised)

EXAMPLE: If your group auction raised a total of $80 BUT...
Your cost of auction is only $50 (including fees).
Your shipping cost is $10. OH NO! Too much monies!?
Now it's time to figure out what your bidders owe.
Bidder1 has a bid of $10.00... ( $10.00 ) X ( $60/$80 ) = $7.50 (MATH RULE DO STUFF INSIDE PARENTHESIS FIRST!)

IF YOU THINK IT'S UNFAIR TO THE PEOPLE WHO LOST IF THE WINNER GETS A DISCOUNT.... No, it's not. If people bidded an item up to say, 80$, that means whoever won it is willing to contribute that much to the group auction. If too much is raised and the winner's total gets halved, that is their lucky day. THE WINNER IS THE WINNER. You may not bid more than what you can afford hoping for the GA to raise too much and get discounted. The winner wins because they could pay the most for the item. IF YOU BID MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY, YOU WILL BE CAUGHT. NOT PAYING FOR A GA BID CAN RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC BAN FROM OUR COMMUNITY. Ask yourself if it's worth it.

This does sometimes happen. What you should NOT do is PM/message the runner threatening them or trying to "scare" them off (if this ever happens, runners must contact a mod immediately to report the threat). Instead, you should first see if the item you wanted from the auction was claimed by the runners. If not, it's best to just bid on it as part of the GA. If the item you wanted was claimed by the runners, or you wanted the entire auction for your own personal reasons, you will have to bid against the GA participants. Likewise, if you wanted to GA it yourself, but they posted first, unfortunately it is first-come-first-served. If you feel uncomfortable or feel that the participants will antagonize you for bidding against them, you can contact a moderator about the situation. If your GA is outbid by a member or the auction you wanted was made into a GA - it happens, and it is a bad feeling, but try not to take it personally. There will be another chance!

Shill bidding, in short, is when someone calculates how much a group auction has raised, and bids up the auction to force participants to pay the maximum amount, or more in order to win. This practice is extremely dishonest, and against the rules of the auction host site (such as ebay) but that has not prevented this from happening. Similarly, some former members began adding up totals raised by GAs and exploiting middleman "internal bidding" in order to win the auction without having to actually outbid what the GA raised. This is also exploiting the GA system and will not be tolerated, especially if it's discovered it has been done multiple times or for malicious reasons.

1. Keep the url to the auction private. If a participant would like to see the url, it should be shared in private at the discretion of the runners.
2. Group auction totals should NOT be calculated and shared with the community. If the runners want to keep a running total of the amount raised, this total needs to be kept PRIVATE.
3. Posts on the community concerning group auctions should be "members locked" (you can change the privacy of an entry at the bottom of a post).
4. Spreadsheets made using google documents should NOT be public. Public documents run the risk of being deleted by dishonest users both inside and outside of the community.
5. Do not hotlink images from the auction site- save them to your computer and upload them using Imgur, or any image hosting site. Hotlinking images allows users to find the url of the auction using the image. Sounds crazy, but the extra minute it takes to host your own photo might save participants hundreds.

PLEASE report ANY suspicions of shill bidding or dishonest exploitation of middleman internal bidding. Notice that if you are caught shill-bidding, you will be automatically banned for life from the community. If you think because you are using Ebay where usernames are "hidden" you will not be found out, you are sadly mistaken, as the multiple shill bidders we previously caught were also assuming they were safe due to this. You WILL be caught.

This has also happened now and again due to bad math or situations like LJ downtime, etc. What you must do in the event that you needed to extend GA bidding beyond the auction's end date, or the auction ended before the GA for whatever reason, is NOT ANNOUNCE TO THE COMMUNITY THAT THE ACTUAL AUCTION IS ENDED. This will result in people bidding beyond their actual capacity as they know they are assured of a discount, and can cause major problems for the entire Group Auction. Simply say nothing at all about the auction having ended, if any kind of announcement is at all necessary, which it may not be.

It sounds weird, but indeed some folks do pay only one or two payments, then don't pay the rest, meaning their item cannot be shipped to them. Some people simply never pay at all. Here is how to handle these two situations.

Only Partial Payment Received: If someone only paid one or two owed payments, but not all of them (IE; shipping to themselves or international shipping), and you cannot make contact them through comment, PM, email, etc., you must hold the item for ONE MONTH waiting for contact. If one month (30 days) passes and there is still no contact or payment, the item becomes "public domain" for you to do with as you wish, including selling for a profit. If you are able to sell the item, you must refund the missing member the amount they paid. You are not required to refund them if you cannot sell the item, as in a Group Auction the runners are not profiting and it would come out of your own pocket to do so.

No Payment Received: Auction payments are time-sensitive and the sellers and middlemen expect to be paid in a timely fashion. This makes it extremely troublesome if members do not make their payments on time, within a day or two. If 7 days (one week) pass with no contact (please attempt comment, PM and email if possible) or payment from a participant, the runners must offer it to the community at large for someone else to claim it for the same price it was originally won for.

Please report either situation to a moderator immediatly so action can be taken against the non-paying bidders.

Not allowed! The point of a group auction is so that everyone can get items cheap and fair by working together - not so that one person can outbid folks just to re-sell the items they won to the losers for triple the price they paid in the GA. Please do NOT bid on GA items that you just hope to re-sell, because that defeats the ENTIRE purpose of a GA. If you are caught doing this, you will be warned by a moderator or depending on the severity, banned from all future GA participation. Note that this only applies to items won in the GA -- not lots you won on your own for resale later. They are not related issues.

This happens! Leftovers that were CLEARLY VISIBLE but still got NO TAKERS, are released into the "public domain": the runner may sell or keep them.

-If there were UNIDENTIFIABLE ITEMS, you can offer a generic bid option for "random stuff" if there is a thing or pile of things in the photo you cannot see clearly -- circle it, and let people "take a chance" and bid for whatever it might be.
-Another option is to offer the items to the participants of the GA FIRST after they've arrived and you can see what they are. GA's are not designed for profit, so keep the items priced under 5$ if possible when offering to the community.
-If there are STILL no takers for previously unidentified items after all these options are exhausted, they go into the "public domain" for the runner/s to do what they wish with.

Contact one of the mods or the GA mod if this is the case. All GA runners should post the total invoice (copy and pasted or screenshot) and a link to the auction once it is over, so it should be tough to scam GA participants, but just let us know if something is making you feel uncomfortable about how a GA is being run.