eBay debuted The Vault secure storage facility for trading cards in June and as I reported yesterday, has swiftly dropped the minimum price to qualify from $750 all the way down to $350.
The rapid rate of expansion for eligibility has caused some to question whether eBay is having a tough time getting users on board.
To be fair, eBay has said since launch that the goal was to eventually offer the service for cards $250+, so the lowering minimum is not unexpected and, at least according to eBay, is just part of the plan.
However, the only users I've seen publicly discussing their experiences with The Vault so far appear to be eBay affiliated collectors & influencers.
They may be loving the Vault, but obviously their experience may not be exactly typical nor are their opinions entirely unbiased.
So with the minimum price now down to $350, will we see more people trying out the Vault or is there more than just the minimum qualifying price holding users back?
My guess is one big obstacle to adoption may be the fact that eBay has decided not to be transparent about the total potential costs of using the vault service.
Leaning on "free til the end of the year" marketing does little to engender user trust when you don't disclose what the costs will be after that offer has expired.
For withdrawing cards, eBay says:
When an item is removed from the eBay vault by its current owner, we charge a withdrawal fee and an insured shipping fee.
To introduce the eBay vault, we’re waiving the insured shipping fee through fall of 2022.
The withdrawal fee is based on the last purchase price of the item. You can see the withdrawal fee breakdown in the table below.
Insured shipping costs are waived through a non-specific "Fall of 2022" but after that, there's apparently no way to know what those fees will be ahead of time - it depends on your shipping address.
When an item is withdrawn from the eBay vault, insured shipping costs are calculated based on the shipping address. Insured shipping costs for withdrawals are waived through fall of 2022.
There are no fees to store your items in the eBay vault in 2022.
The big issue, in my opinion, is there is absolutely no hint at what storage fees may be after 2022.
The smart bet would be to go ahead and make that decision now and market the hell out of it to entice users, but instead eBay has played it safe to allow themselves a possible "out" if they need it.
Unfortunately hedging their bets leaves potential users in limbo without a clear picture of the costs they could incur.
Why send a card to the Vault now when 4 months from now you may be faced with storage fees you wouldn't pay at a competitor, especially when it may cost you 5% of the card's value to withdraw it if you don't want to pay for storage?
ALT and PWCC both also appear to only charge 1% for withdrawal, making eBay's 5% well above industry standard.
I have to be honest, if I was a collector looking for this type of service, I'd need a lot more information and more competitive terms from eBay before I'd feel comfortable being an early adopter guinea pig.
Pro tip for CEO Jamie Iannone - if you want to entice collectors to the eBay Vault, stop worrying about the minimum price requirements and start offering transparent, easy to calculate and competitive pricing for the service that goes further out than just the next few months.
If you're a trading card collector, I'd love to hear your thoughts about why you would or would not use the eBay Vault. What's holding you back from trying it out? Let us know in the comments below!