The Ultimate Sportslots Review

October 31, 2021

There are many sports card marketplaces available. Sometimes, it isn’t easy to keep track. We all know that eBay is the collectors’ default. It would take an exceptional platform to lure us away. So, does Sportlots have what it takes? Read our ultimate Sportslots review to find out.

What Is Sportslots

The website describes the role of the platform in the following way:

“An online interactive trading card inventory system that allows collectors to search our inventory database by Set, Player name and Team and purchase these cards from Sellers at a fixed, predetermined price from one of many Sportlots registered Sellers.”

In other words, it is a buying and selling platform for cards, competing with COMC and eBay. So how does it compare to its rivals? Read on to find out. You can also check out our COMC review and our many articles about buying and selling cards on eBay.

Notes On The Technical Side Of Sportslots

One of the first things you will notice about Sportslots is, shall we say, the low-key graphic aesthetic. It looks like one of those old Geocities websites.

In addition, a lot of the links don’t work. For example, the help and user guide links did not lead anywhere. This is a bit disconcerting for a website in 2021. Come to think of it; I’m not sure I would have been impressed by this in 1997 either. I managed to get in by searching for the page on Google. But come on.

Sportslots won’t win any awards for graphics or design.

What Does Sportslots Specialize In Selling?

Sportslots have a great selection of vintage baseball, especially compared to other non-eBay competitors such as COMC and StarStock.

But the selection on the website is limited. For example, Sportslots have exactly zero soccer cards up for auction at the time of writing.

What did they have? Let’s take a look:

  • Baseball – 601
  • Hockey – 236
  • Football – 191
  • Basketball – 62
  • Other – 193

The Vintage Baseball Selection

Let’s take a look at the website where it is most potent. The earliest sets they have date back to 1911, so Sportslots has a pretty impressive reach.

I divided their catalog into decades to get a feel for the depth of their vintage offerings. Here are the number of sets from every decade:

  • The 1900s – 1
  • The 1910s – 6
  • The 1920s – 1
  • The 1930s – 5
  • The 1940s – 9
  • The 1950s – 30
  • The 1960s – 79
  • The 1970s – 294
  • The 1980s – 1,938
  • The 1990s – 4,895
  • The 2000s – 9,156
  • The 2010s – 10,787
The vintage baseball selection on Sportslots is strong.

The Ultimate Sportslots Review: Buying

After you execute a search, you will receive a textual list of cards. When you spot an exciting card, you can click on the details tab for more information. In most cases, you will find the necessary info, including a decent quality picture of the relevant card. However, in some cases, essential information (such as the picture!) is missing.

The website provides you with information on the seller as well. You will be told the following:

  • The name of the seller
  • Feedback: the sellers’ percentage of positive feedback over the last year.
  • Accuracy: the percentage of orders successfully fulfilled by the seller.
  • Speed: the number of days the sellers take to fulfill an order on average.
  • Total Cards: how many cards the seller has sold.
  • Total Orders: how many orders the seller has received.

If there is information missing from the listing, you can contact the seller to ask a question through the “Ask Seller A Question” button. You will receive a prompt to enter a message for the seller. However, make sure to enable pop-ups or whitelist the site. Your pop-up blocker will not like the format for asking questions.

The Ultimate Sportslots Review Of The Sportslots Grading System

The website has its own system for determining the condition of raw cards on the platform. The scale is designed to avoid disappointments for the buyer. Therefore, they do not rate cards above NM. However, that does not mean that there are no mint cards available on the platform.

Meanwhile, there are no grades beneath good. However, Sportslots does warn that “Sportlots does not grade cards below GOOD. Therefore, any cards purchased that are in GOOD condition should not have any expectations and should just be purchased as set fillers.”

Cards are sorted into the following groups:

·       Pic: Cards that come with a picture of the item in question. The website prioritizes listings with a photo over those without one.

·       Near Mint (NM): Centering of 65/35 or better on the front, 90/10 or better on the back. Minor wear on up to two corners. Minor problems with edges or surfaces allowed. Again, keep in mind that cards in this category may deserve higher grades.

·       Excellent/Near Mint (EX/NM): Centering 70/30 or better on the front, 95/5 or better on the back. It may have lightly frayed corners. However, these cards will have no dings. These cards may also have minor roughness around the edges and moderate surface flaws.

·       Very Good (VG): Centering 75/25 or better on the front, 95/5 or better on the back. Fuzzy corners and one minor ding are allowed. There may be some chipping on the edges as well. Minor surface flaws may occur.

·       Good: Centering of 85/15 or better on front. 100/0 or better on back. Rounded, notched, or moderately layered corners and edges are permitted and likely. Noticeable imperfections on the surface may appear as well.

The Ultimate Sportslots Review Of Auctions

Sportslots runs their auctions in a very different format from eBay. I will let their user guide explain:

“The end of the auction is not determined based on a pre-defined date, but instead based on the amount of time the auction goes without a bid. Unlike traditional auctions, Sportlots auctions are based on a 1, 2, 3, SOLD format. Basically, if an auction goes 3 days without being out bid, the auction is then sold. If there is a bid that causes an out bid of the original bidder, the status is reset to 1.”

However, the status of the bid does not change with the placement of a new offer. Instead, it is updated every morning.

The format was designed to prevent the classic “snipe” bidding, which dominates eBay auctions. The user guide explains that sniping: “while legal, this practice doesn’t give other bidders the chance to get their best bid in.

The auction format on Sportslots is slower and fairer.

How To Bid On A Sportslots Card

On eBay, there is only one way to bid. But with Sportslots, you have a choice (the following explanations are taken from the Sportslots guide):

  • A Quick Bid: From the auction summary screen, a “Quick bid” link is provided. To quickly place the minimum possible increase bid on an auction, click on this link, and the bid will be placed for the bidder. A warning message will always first appear to let the bidder know that a bid is about to be placed on their behalf. Sportlots recommends that the first time a bidder places a bid, that they don’t use this feature. Instead, click on the auction lot number to review the details about the auction. The quick bid feature is a good option when returning to the auction and quickly increasing the bid without having to go back into the auction details.
  • A Details Page Bid: From the auction summary screen, click on the auction lot number or the auction description. Detailed information about the auction, potentially a picture of the item, the seller’s postage costs along with other useful information can be viewed here. From this screen, the bidder can place a bid on the auction.

My Experience Buying A Card On Sportslots

As a long-suffering Mets fan, I always wanted to start a Tom Seaver collection. So I figured, why not create one now? So I got myself a 1969 Topps of Tom Terrific. I picked an NM specimen, which sadly did not have a pic.

I added the card to my cart. Technically, there are supposed to be other payment options. However, the only one I saw was through PayPal.

The card was $59.95. Postage was only $1.25 at premium shipping! I will update this review when I receive the card. However, that was one of the most effortless and reasonably priced transactions I have made in a while.

Shaiel got himself a Tom Seaver 1969 (look for Tom Seaver cards on eBay)

Ultimate Sportslots Review: Selling

The website encourages you to take pictures of the cards you are listing. However, they understand that if you are selling bulk, that may not be possible. As a seller, you can avoid time-consuming picture taking of every single card. However, potential customers may ask for pics of a particular card, so you know what to prioritize.

You have various ways of protecting yourself from buyers. Blocking of problematic buyers is available either manually or through automatic settings. In addition, like eBay, buyers have scores so that you may avoid problematic actors.

Seller-Buyer Disputes On Sportslots

Sportslots allows both buyers and sellers to file if they have “issues” with a sale. However, the website warns that “Issues will not stay active for a long period of time; Sportlots wants these issues to be resolved quickly so that buyers can receive any refunds quickly.”

Keep in mind that buyers have a few options if they are unhappy with a transaction:

  • Order Question Request: An informal inquiry about an order, with a chance to amicably raise problems. Sellers are not obligated to respond to these. However, Sportslots recommends “sellers are encouraged to swiftly respond to questions to try to prevent a formal issue from being filed.”
  • Order Not Received Complaint: A buyer can file a complaint if they have not received an item within 10 days (17 days in another country).
  • Order Not Received Complaint: Buyers may choose to file this complaint if the cards have been damaged, are not in the condition listed, or part of the order is missing.

Note that sellers must maintain high feedback levels to remain on the site. Sportslots does not tolerate problematic sellers. The website guide explains:

“Each month, Sportlots will notify sellers who have a positive feedback percentage below 95%. Sellers that receive this notice will be required to increase this rating over time. As long as progress continues toward this goal each month, the seller’s account will remain open. Otherwise, if the percentage drops from one month to another that seller’s account will be closed.

This is only in effect for sellers who have more than 20 feedbacks over the past 12 months. Neutral feedbacks will not be counted.”

Fees For Buyers and Payment Options

There are two main payment options on the website:

·       Paypal: If the seller selects this option, Sportlots will pay the seller via Paypal. Note that standard Paypal transaction fees may apply.

·       Credit: Credit: Selecting credit will place payment into the seller’s Sportlots credit area. There, the seller can keep all or a portion of the money in their Sportlots credit area for orders they place. They can also request payment for a part of the payment. Note that there will be a delay in getting payment when using this option and requesting payment from credit.

Are There Sales And Promotions?

The website has something called “Sportlots Loot Percentage.” When you buy from a seller, you receive a discount on further purchases from the same source. It is up to the seller to determine the percentage.

Shipping Info

Sportslot designed its platform to encourage multiple purchases from the same seller. Therefore, when you order more than one item, you will receive a better deal on postage. With these incentives in mind, it is worthwhile to check out the other cards up for sale from the same seller when you win a bid.

When purchasing cards on auction, sellers have two postage prices for any specific item:

  • Primary postage: the amount you will pay for winning an auction.
  • Multiple postages: the amount you will pay for the item if you have already won an auction from the same seller.

Does this mean you have to immediately buy another card from the same seller to enjoy the combined rate? Nope. You have 17 days to pay (21 if you are in Canada, you lucky people), and during that time, you may add more cards from the desired seller.

Shipping Options

  • Premium: For more expensive cards, buyers may wish to have extra protection. Cards sent premium are protected with individual top loaders, within a plastic case, or protected by cardboard. Some sellers will set a maximum amount, above which they only ship using this option.
  • Budget: Cards shipped in this method may not have any special protection.
  • PO Box Shipping: Using this option can save money when buying from multiple sellers.

If you have multiple items from the same seller by auction, the shipping cost is calculated in the following manner. First, the higher primary postage is used, then the other items are shipped for the lower multiple postage rates.

Sportslots offers you multiple shipping options.

Postage rates fall into three categories:

  • USA Rates: These are the seller postage charges for bidders from the US.
  • CAN Rates: These are the seller postage charges for bidders from CANADA.
  • BOX Rates: These are the seller postage charges if the buyer chooses to ship their auction to their Sportlots PO Box.

Bottomline Of The Ultimate Sportslots Review

Sportslots tries to be fair for both sellers and buyers. However, overall it sides more with the buyers.

I already mentioned the main problem with this platform. It is not very visually sophisticated, and there are dead links. It also has a limited selection outside the big sports. However, the advantages of Sportslots greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

The best thing about this site is its lack of exploitation or nickel and diming. There are no unexplained fees and tricks. Instead, they provide you with an excellent no-nonsense platform and are not interested in ripping you off as either a buyer or seller. I have a feeling that a lot of Sportslots cards will be clogging up my mailbox very soon.

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