General AFA Question

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First of all I apologize for sounding paranoid but I have never ever sent anything to AFA for grading so please bear with me.

I have no doubts regarding the efficiency and detail of their grading but in theory, are there any risks involved in sending a toy to them? I mean, I have some extremely rare figures both loose and carded and I can always send tracked/traced mail with signature but when it reaches them, is there any guarantee that they will send it back to you or you will receive what you had sent them and not a different figure? There has to be some secure mechanism involved. Can someone enlighten me?

mtfbwy
 
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Here is what I would consider legitimate concerns/risks:

1.) Packaged damaged, destroyed or lost during transit
2.) Figure bursting through the blister during transit, or blister coming loose
3.) Your item is returned ungradeable and you're out the grading fees

Take detailed pictures of all of your items, make copies of the forms, save your shipping information, and fully insure the package. What incentive would AFA have to be deceitful? That wouldn't be good for business... not to mention, you pay for the services up front - they have a fiduciary duty...
 
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As I said, I am inexperienced, but imagine I send them a MINT on MINT UNOPENED CARD UZAY figure which is easily above the $5K line. I pay them $65 for ther service. What would have happened if they returned me a graded Kenner figure and simply denied the fact that I sent them such a figure? I know it really sounds paranoid but I happen to have a few REALLY rare stuff.. I just cannot make sure if it is worth taking the risk and parting with them temporarily..

Here is what I would consider legitimate concerns/risks:

1.) Packaged damaged, destroyed or lost during transit
2.) Figure bursting through the blister during transit, or blister coming loose
3.) Your item is returned ungradeable and you're out the grading fees

Take detailed pictures of all of your items, make copies of the forms, save your shipping information, and fully insure the package. What incentive would AFA have to be deceitful? That wouldn't be good for business... not to mention, you pay for the services up front - they have a fiduciary duty...
 
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People send really rare items to AFA pretty regularly. Put yourself in the AFA shoes... would it make sense to ruin the reputation of your business and destroy your revenue center to rip someone off for $10,000...? Especially when you're probably turning profit hand over fist? My guess would be no. They have absolutely no incentive to rip you off...

Again - I shared with you what the most reasonable risks are concerning the process. Your chances of having your UZAY figure burst through the bubble in transit is much more realistic than the scenario you shared. If you had any reason for concern, damage during transit should be it.

I have to ask... given the AFA fraud paranoia... do you have a separate insurance policy on your collection in case of theft or a natural disaster? I would argue that your collection has a better chance of being destroyed in a house fire rather AFA sending you a POTF2 R2 D2 in return.

All the best with your decision.
 
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As I said, I am inexperienced, but imagine I send them a MINT on MINT UNOPENED CARD UZAY figure which is easily above the $5K line. I pay them $65 for ther service. What would have happened if they returned me a graded Kenner figure and simply denied the fact that I sent them such a figure? I know it really sounds paranoid but I happen to have a few REALLY rare stuff.. I just cannot make sure if it is worth taking the risk and parting with them temporarily..

I've never heard of this happening, nor has it happened to myself. In fact, for higher valued items, such as in your example, they require you to submit it under a higher tier (in this case archival), which has the fastest turn around time. There was a similar question in this forum earlier, and simply put, AFA does not want to hold onto the larger valued items for any longer than they have to, and as a result these items will have a much faster turn around time (weeks versus months).
 
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As I said, I am inexperienced, but imagine I send them a MINT on MINT UNOPENED CARD UZAY figure which is easily above the $5K line. I pay them $65 for ther service. What would have happened if they returned me a graded Kenner figure and simply denied the fact that I sent them such a figure? I know it really sounds paranoid but I happen to have a few REALLY rare stuff.. I just cannot make sure if it is worth taking the risk and parting with them temporarily..

I can certainly appreciate and sympathize with your concerns. As has been mentioned tho, many rare items have been sent to AFA before, and not just star wars vintage toys, so they have shown themselves capable of being careful and expeditious in turning around your items and sending back what is sent into them. AFA is not perfect but in regards to taking care of items in their care and turning them around and getting them back, they do what they say.

Mike Z also pointed out what is the highest probable scenario that has happened before and even then, the packing is done well, so long as the carrier is careful and less time in transit, this less that will happen but I agree with Mike that you have a higher chance of a bubble getting broken in transit than AFA botching and keeping your item or sending back the wrong one.

IF you still feel uncomfortable you could do like coin shops do that send gold and silver all over the world, what they do is video tape as they pack things and send them out, with proof of where it is being sent, what was placed in the box and the box being sealed with the coin/coins. It may sound extreme but thats what they do, they video tape the entire shipment process so no one can say they were sent the wrong item or nothing at all.

The other thing too is if it makes you feel better, send them a something that you want to grade that isnt that rare, just so you get a feel for the process and get more comfortable.

hope that helps and hope you can grade your items.
 
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Thank you all for your invaluable comments.. I have to say I agree with all of them :) I take extra precautions at home for the rarity collection but you can never get ready for a disaster.. so you are right. I didn't know they had a special policy for rare items. all the better. I think I will pack my toys really really well and make sure nothing happens to them during transit. From what you have told me, I am sure AFA would take at least equal care to pack it before sending it to me :)

Thanks again for your patience with me!!!! Taking the time to answer such an odd question.. I really love this community..
mtfbwy
 
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Thank you all for your invaluable comments.. I have to say I agree with all of them :) I take extra precautions at home for the rarity collection but you can never get ready for a disaster.. so you are right. I didn't know they had a special policy for rare items. all the better. I think I will pack my toys really really well and make sure nothing happens to them during transit. From what you have told me, I am sure AFA would take at least equal care to pack it before sending it to me :)

Thanks again for your patience with me!!!! Taking the time to answer such an odd question.. I really love this community..
mtfbwy

You're welcome! Also it helps to use a star case with tissue or paper towels stuffed in there, (not too tight) in order to help minimize the chances of a bubble busting. Typically the yellower the bubble, the more brittle the plastic, factor this with the weight of the figure which is inside the bubble. However, if a bubble has an inner tray (i.e. gammorean guard), there is little to worry about in this case.
 
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Thank you all for your invaluable comments.. I have to say I agree with all of them :) I take extra precautions at home for the rarity collection but you can never get ready for a disaster.. so you are right. I didn't know they had a special policy for rare items. all the better. I think I will pack my toys really really well and make sure nothing happens to them during transit. From what you have told me, I am sure AFA would take at least equal care to pack it before sending it to me :)

Thanks again for your patience with me!!!! Taking the time to answer such an odd question.. I really love this community..
mtfbwy

Though I'm fairly new to forums I've been grading figures, comics and cards for years.

My advice is to pay for the fastest grading service and return shipping possible that way you aren't stressed for weeks or months just a few days! Especially when it comes to expensive rarities.
 
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You're welcome! Also it helps to use a star case with tissue or paper towels stuffed in there, (not too tight) in order to help minimize the chances of a bubble busting. Typically the yellower the bubble, the more brittle the plastic, factor this with the weight of the figure which is inside the bubble. However, if a bubble has an inner tray (i.e. gammorean guard), there is little to worry about in this case.


yes excellent suggestions.

Also, you can, say do a star case and put bubble wrap inside around the bubble gently, dont force anything but as a cushion and to keep things in place so they dont shift.

What I like to do is I get that either pink Dow 1 2/2 foam or their competitor that sells it in blue, its a foam board, not Styrofoam but foam, its rigid. what I do is I get the box i will be using first and then I line the box, all sides with it. This works because if the box is dropped on the way to them, the foam inside WILL take the impact and not allow things to bust through unless its really getting beat down, smashed, and I mean in an extreme manner. the I line the walls with paper, packing material etc. Then on the top I put one final piece for impact, I look at it as the most probable place for more pressure as people will stack on it, lay their elbows on it, god knows how or what happens when its not packed in the trailer lol

anyways, have fun and please sure with us your graded items when you are done!
 
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WOW.. a lot of extremely useful experience.. I can't go wrong with these.. Thanks so much!!!!! Will upload some photos once the grading is done by AFA :) :)
 
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Would your UZAY or other rare item normally get authenticated by CIB? you should contact AFA's customer service before you send anything if you haven't already. Don't want to send it off only for them to say, sorry, can't authenticate it till CIB is back and just send it back to you. All that risk in transit for nothing.
 
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