To both new and old K-pop fans, the world of K-pop photocard and goods trading online can seem like a confusing mess of acronyms, statuses, and resale sites. Having the basics of trading, buying, and selling in K-pop fandoms down is important to avoid being scammed or upcharged as well. So with SnackFever Magazine to the rescue, here is your guide to trading, buying, and reselling in K-pop communities.
First of all, let's make sure we fully understand the meanings behind each term. Trading refers to each party sending out their respective item to the other person and there is no monetary transaction involved. For instance, a fan could post that they are WTT (willing to trade) their TWICE Mina photocard for a Momo photocard, and if you’re looking for that Mina photocard and you own the photocard they’re looking to trade for, you agree to send your card to them and you will get Mina’s photocard in return. It works the same way vice versa. The only time there should be a transaction with trading is if the two parties agree to pay each other’s shipping.
Reselling and buying however, does involve money and can take place on social media sites, such as a post on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook or on resell sites and apps such as Ebay, Depop, or Mercari. For selling/buying on social media, search for the keywords or hashtags WTS (willing to sell) and WTB (willing to buy) along with the group or group member’s name. Posts marked as NFS means the items are not for sale. The payment method for buying/selling on social media is usually PayPal or Venmo, but other methods may be worked out between the seller and the buyer themselves, as well as shipping costs. On resale websites or apps, you can find available items by searching keywords in the website’s search bar, and payment methods are usually made through the site or app itself. Always be cautious of sellers who ask you to pay them through methods outside of the site or app.
Now that we have the terms down, we can discuss what a legit listing looks like. Even the most experienced second-hand buyers and traders can fall victim to scammers and upchargers, so it’s important to look out for warning signs and do extensive research. For instance, if you see a photocard you want but it’s listed at a high price, ask around within your fandom or look at similar listings to see how much the photocard should be going for. Once you’ve collected your research, attempt to message the seller with the information to get them to bring the price down to a fair amount. If they refuse to budge, try your best not to cave and buy it at an up-charged price anyway, if the seller gets what they want one time then it will only encourage them to do it again to more fans. Ebay sellers in particular tend to be the most notorious when it comes to up-charging.
As for scammers, most commonly they will offer you an item that they don’t actually own and once you send them your money, they’ll block you on your account and never send the item. It’s a scary thought when going into buying, selling, or even trading. However, there are precautions we encourage you to take to avoid ending up in that situation. For instance, only buy from sellers who’s item picture includes their account name or handle written down on a piece of paper next to the item. This is your best way to ensure that the seller actually does own the product and if you’re still feeling unsure, ask the seller to take a video of the product with their face in the frame.
It also helps to always check the seller reviews, or if you’re buying through social media, check through their mentions from others who have bought from them and make sure they’ve received their items. Very trustworthy sellers will have this information pre-disclosed to you through their “proofs,” which is a hashtag, Instagram story, or likes you can look through. And of course, we encourage you to make good decisions yourself and to not scam other fans.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Korea during your favorite group’s comeback, be sure to go out and buy your album the day it releases from a HOTTRACKS, or if it’s an artist under SM Entertainment, SMTOWN Coex Atrium or the SUM Market. If you hang around the store after you buy it, you’ll surely encounter other fans in the area looking to trade for their bias. This kind of in-person trading is unique to Korea and of course, doesn’t include a shipping cost!
It’s difficult to cover all the intricacies of trading, buying and selling K-pop goods (group orders specifically is a whole different topic), but having the basics down should be enough to get yourself started if you’re looking to trade, buy, or sell for yourself. Be sure to always be cautious and don’t feel ashamed to ask questions within your fandom if some aspects of this is confusing. Believe us, for a while it will be, but the struggle in the beginning is completely worth it when it comes to growing and completing your K-pop collection.
Cover Image: Johnny of NCT (SM Entertainment)
Written by Justine Shaffer