Friday, June 26, 2015

Proxy Bidding With JAUCE

A couple of months back I got a recommendation from reader Ryan Laughton to on another Yahoo! Japan Auctions proxy bidding outfit called JAUCE (Japan AUction CEnter).  I was browsing the auctions a few weeks back and decided to give them a shot.

JAUCE charges 800 yen + 8% for an auction win which at first looks like a better deal than kuboTEN's 1000 yen + 10%, especially when you take into account that the 8% is only taken from the winning auction price rather than the 10% from the winning auction price plus domestic shipping.  However, JAUCE charges an additional 300 yen "banking fee" when you pay the seller which kind of wipes out any savings over kuboTEN.

One significant way JAUCE can be cheaper than kuboTEN is multiple auctions.  Once you've won an auction, any auction you win in the next 24 hours is only 400 yen plus 8%, regardless of whether or not it's the same seller.  And you can keep extending this "discount period" as long as you keep winning auctions within 24 hours of the previous one.

One additional expense with JAUCE is the deposit fee - it's a flat rate of 40 yen + 4.15% of the deposit amount (JAUCE's website says 3.9% but the numbers I paid imply 4.15%).  kuboTEN's fee is simply 3.9%.

I had identified two auctions from the same seller that I wanted to buy (the 2015 BBM Eagles set and "uniforms" subset from the 2015 Eagles team issued set) and figured I'd try out JAUCE on them.  Registering for the site was relatively simple but I was a bit put off by the fact that I couldn't just enter the URL of the auction that I had already found anywhere - I actually had to use their search feature to re-find the auctions so that I could bid on them.  The bidding itself, however, was one of the best things about JAUCE - JAUCE does live bidding.  When you tell JAUCE to bid on something, you're not making a bid request that they'll get around to soon - you're actually putting a bid in on the auction right then and there.  Or if it's a "buy-it-now", you're buying it now.

Anyway, enough with the set up!  Here's what I ended up paying for everything.  The two auctions I won the two auctions were from the same seller and ended about a minute apart.  I won one for 800 yen and the other for 700 yen.  My fees for the first auction were 864 yen (800 yen plus 8% of 800 yen) and the fees for the second auction were  456 yen (400 yen plus 8% of 700 yen).  The domestic shipping for the two items was 300 yen total.  Since both items were from the same seller, I only had to pay the 300 yen "banking fee" once.  I had made an initial deposit of 2000 yen - the fees on that ran me another 123 yen on top of that (40 + 4.15% of 2000).

International shipping was 1200 yen.  I had to pay another deposit fee when I paid the balance of what I owed (everything above the initial 2000 yen) so that was another 148 yen.

So here's the summary of the charges (including the deposit fees):

Expense Amount
Deposit Fee on 2000 yen 123
First Auction 800
Fees on First Auction 864
Second Auction 700
Fees on Second Auction 456
Domestic Shipping 300
Banking Fee 300
International Shipping 1200
Deposit fee on 2620 yen 148
Total 4891

I did not do anywhere near as detailed a comparison as I did last summer comparing kuboTEN and Shopping Mall Japan.  All I doing this time is comparing the fees I paid with JAUCE to what I would have paid with kuboTEN (making the assumption that the EMS shipping fee would be the same):

Expense Amount
Deposit Fee on 2000 yen 78
First Auction 800
Second Auction 700
Domestic shipping 300
Fees 1280
International Shipping 1200
Deposit fee on 2280 yen 89
Total 4447

So obviously in this particular case, JAUCE was a little more expensive than kuboTEN was.  But what would have happened if the two items were from different sellers?  Here's a table with the comparison:

Deposit Fee 123 78
First Auction 800 800
Second Auction 700 700
First Auction Fee 864 1110
Second Auction Fee 456 1100
Domestic Shipping 600 600
Bank Fees 600
EMS Shipping 1200 1200
Fee on 3220 173 Fee on 3510 137
Total 5516 5725

So in this case, JAUCE would be the better deal.

There's a price point for determining which proxy company has lesser fees for a single item.  Unfortunately it's a bit difficult to determine because there are actually two variables - price of the item and price of domestic shipping.  If domestic shipping were free, any item that costs more than 5000 yen generates less fees through JAUCE than kuboTEN.  The more domestic shipping costs, the lower that price point gets - for 300 yen in domestic shipping, the point is 3500 yen where it become a better deal through JAUCE than kuboTEN.  At 500 yen for domestic shipping, the price point is 1800 yen.  Once domestic shipping reaches 1000 yen, JAUCE is always cheaper than kuboTEN.  (Just to show my work, if x is the item price and y is the domestic shipping, you need to solve the equation 1000 + y + 0.1*(x + y) > 1100 + y + 0.08*x.)

I want to add a couple comments about JAUCE's service - I was mostly happy with them but I felt that they were a little slow.  It took about 10 days from when I won the auctions before they told me that they had received the items and a couple days after that before they told me what shipping to the US would be.  Granted some of that delay could have been due to the seller, but I wonder if some of it is due to JAUCE's location - they are in Sakaiminato city in Tottori prefecture which is on the Sea of Japan on the north coast of Japan - kinda-sorta between Hiroshima and Osaka.  It seems a bit out of the way to me although I will admit to being somewhat ignorant of Japanese geography.  The 1200 yen EMS fee was pretty amazingly low but they did a minimum amount of repackaging for international shipping - the two items had been only wrapped in paper and placed in a cardboard envelope - no bubble wrap or plastic cases.  In JAUCE's defense they warn that they will do this - I believe their repackaging charge is around 1200 yen.  For the comparisons I did above, I assumed that kuboTEN would charge the same amount for international shipping - in practice I think kuboTEN will generally be a little more than that due to the repackaging that they do.

So to wrap up (and I apologize if this post has been a bit "stream of consciousness"), I believe JAUCE is a worthy competitor to kuboTEN - you can save some money on auction fees if you select your proxy appropriately.


kndynt2099 said...

Thanks for pointing me out to JAUCE. I have strictly used KuboTEN since you told me about it and the customer service has been great as well. I tend to order once every few weeks (as I also have to pay for my monthly Japanese baseball magazine hobby as But it's good to see another alternative.

Btw, I finally tried Amazon Japan as you mentioned on the Reddit NPB site and definitely save much more than CDJapan and surprised of how quickly things are delivered! Too bad we can't order BBM boxsets internationally via Amazon Japan.

Thanks again!

NPB Card Guy said...

Yeah, I think I will mostly keep using kuboTEN but it's nice to have an alternative. And the live bidding feature aleviates the worry that I waited too long to get a bid in on an auction.

I'm glad to hear Amazon is working for you. I've been pretty happy with them in the 15 months or so I've been ordering from them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing the comparison. I've only used JAUCE the past 6 years or so and have had great service with only a few issues. I do like the live bidding the most and consider that a must have feature. They are a little slow on getting the items, but I'm generally not in any hurry so no problem there. I'm glad to hear success with both companies. Is KuboTEN Japanese owned and operated? Ryan L.

NPB Card Guy said...

Pretty much all I know about kuboTEN is that they are owned by a guy named Craig who I assume from his name is not Japanese. Shopping Mall Japan is definitely an American outfit.

Anonymous said...

I've never used the search feature on JAUCE. I've always copied and pasted the auction link on the bidding page.

NPB Card Guy said...

I'll have to take another look at it - I couldn't find a way to do that.

Anonymous said...

If you have Yahoo Japan Auction ID, you can open it by jauce interface using the search box.