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My Experiences With Wata And VGA Simultaneously


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People seemed to enjoy my first topic about my Wata experience so I thought I'd create another one about my second submission. This time I submitted games to both Wata and VGA at the same time so I'll document here my experiences with both and compare.

Online ordering was far easier with Wata, I simply selected which game I wanted graded from their website, compiled a list and was even able to remove some games to save for future submissions. With VGA I actually had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out because it was so confusing. I needed to reference a grading code based on their timing tiers, then a code for which type of game it is and another code to specify which type of case and applicable charge for that type of game. Then I had to manually add up all the pricing at the end and enter that amount for how much I needed to pay and fill in my Paypal address so they can send me an invoice once they receive the box. With Wata everything was paid before the box was packed but with VGA they won't send me an invoice until later. VGA has mentioned they are redoing their submission service so this will change but for now it's incredibly confusing.

Why did I submit to both? I did both because I have some DS and 3DS games I wanted graded and Wata doesn't yet offer these grading services. They did briefly offer DS as a trial run but no longer offer this. I also wanted an Atari 2600 game graded that's in an odd sized box and VGA will do this because they make their own acrylic boxes, Wata has to order theirs.

So I submitted 20 total sealed games to Wata and 7 total sealed games to VGA. Wata promises 45 business days, though we all know that's a lie and I think I saw 2 weeks as the time on VGA's form, I'm not sure how likely that is. I'll keep a record here of all of the communication I get from each, I made sure I mailed both sets of games at the same time so they start from the same base line date.

TIMELINE

  • November 13: mailed both packages to Wata and VGA
  • November 19: games arrived at Wata
  • November 22: games arrived at VGA
  • November 30: Wata games are scanned
  • December 2: Email received from Wata with invoice for Deep Badge upgrades (1 full order graded)
  • December 6: Second order entered grading with Wata
  • December 6: Email received from VGA that they are 8 weeks behind on billing and will invoice me at that time
  • December 8: Email received from Wata that one of my games appears to be resealed
  • December 9: Email received from Wata with invoice for Deep Badge upgrades for the second box
  • December 13: Received an email with tracking number from Wata, the resealed game is being returned
  • December 17: Online grades have been reinstated so mine were posted today
  • December 19: I received my resealed game back from Wata today, free of shipping charge
  • February 16: VGA finally sent me an invoice
  • March 18: Wata sent me a shipping notice for 11 of my 19 games
  • March 23: Wata sent me a shipping notice for the remaining 8 games (separate order)
  • March 23: First Wata order received back.
  • March 29: Second Wata order received back.
  • April 28: VGA sent me a shipping invoice
  • April 29: VGA shipping notice
  • May 5: VGA games arrived!

 

This ordeal is now finally complete, I'll give my final thoughts in a separate post.

Edited by Code Monkey
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The VGA submission process is tedious and I do wonder how often people miscalculate, apply the wrong codes, etc and how much time VGA spends correcting those issues through customer service. The process puts a lot of burden on the customer when it's almost the year 2022 and all of that could be simplified with a couple hundred bucks to a semi-phenomenal web designer.

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3 hours ago, epiczail said:

Haven't they said they're redoing their site & ordering process?

 

On 11/14/2021 at 4:03 PM, Code Monkey said:

VGA has mentioned they are redoing their submission service so this will change but for now it's incredibly confusing.

 

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On 11/14/2021 at 7:59 PM, Gulag Joe said:

The VGA submission process is tedious and I do wonder how often people miscalculate, apply the wrong codes, etc and how much time VGA spends correcting those issues through customer service. The process puts a lot of burden on the customer when it's almost the year 2022 and all of that could be simplified with a couple hundred bucks to a semi-phenomenal web designer.

It’s funny I just looked at both today and VGA was super confusing but WATA also didn’t have the sealed game I was looking for in their search results. Sealed Golden Nugget/Poker 2 in 1 for GBA. Was gonna to send to one just to see the process but it’s gotten really expensive. 

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On 11/14/2021 at 6:59 PM, Gulag Joe said:

The VGA submission process is tedious and I do wonder how often people miscalculate, apply the wrong codes, etc and how much time VGA spends correcting those issues through customer service. The process puts a lot of burden on the customer when it's almost the year 2022 and all of that could be simplified with a couple hundred bucks to a semi-phenomenal web designer.

I've thought about this a lot too, and I can only come to one conclusion:  up until now, there's been enough submissions to VGA to meet their grading capacity.  And if their "queue" is basically full, they haven't felt the need to upgrade the user submission experience.......ever! 

There's been at least one MAJOR customer to VGA for last decade, who probably by himself contributes a big part of their order queue.  And then add in other old timers who already know the quirky submission process... there's been plenty of business without having to sweat about improving the website.  

This may change soon though, as they state on their website that they

  • "...have made significant progress in the last month, processing approximately 20% of our remining backlog of Express and Economy tier submissions. Additionally, we anticipate that our current physical expansion will be completed by next week, nearly doubling our existing casing and grading areas to allow for higher volumes and more employees."

So this means that they now have the capacity to grade more games faster, and this possibly incentives them to upgrade the website and user submission experience.

We've been teased about this and population reports for years now.  Their latest blurb on the website reads,

  • "We are also nearing the final stages of designing and testing our new website to improve every facet of the customer experience. Initially our new site will offer more information, an improved on-line store, and population reports. Subsequent website additions will include an improved customer service interface and a streamlined submission process. "

We will see what happens. This all sounds great, but with all due respect to VGA, it's been over 10 years and they still haven't delivered upon ANY site improvements.  I know I recall hints of population reports and website improvements MANY YEARS ago, and they were not delivered.  So excuse me will I hold my breath 🙂  

That said, I'd be one of the first to celebrate a new website/user experience/pop reports if it ever happens.

 

 

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On 11/14/2021 at 6:03 PM, Code Monkey said:

With VGA I actually had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out because it was so confusing.

Agreed! Not only confusing but unappealing. The other grading company that I can think of has a similar acrylic slab design to VGA is P1. There website is easy to navigate like Wata. If people are new to the hobby or don't know all the many types of first or third party seams. There is a photo graph on the back that explains it. Its convenient. 

Examples:

F-zero SNES V seam

Duke Nukem N64 LRB seam

Pokémon Blue GB H seam

Conker's Bad Fur Day N64 V Overlap seam

Tales of Destiny 2 PS1 Y fold with Sony security label

Legend of Zelda NES LRTB seam

Edited by AnimalHouse
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I won't put this in the timeline because it's nothing to do with Wata nor VGA but it's sort of entertaining so I'll post it here.

I dropped off all of these expensive games at Fed-Ex and had a big, fat WATA label pasted to the front of these huge boxes. And this is in a Staples where employees are moving them around to get more printer paper and everyone walking through the store can see them.

I nervously check the tracking a few thousand times and the following day my entire shipment shows as Cancelled By Shipper. This guy stole my packages and cancelled the shipment, running to Mexico........or so I thought. I call Fed-Ex at midnight to ask them what happened and they assured me it was just a mistake by the employee and they will still be picked up the following day.

The following day I keep checking tracking and they have not been picked up.

8am

9am

10am

noon

2pm

3pm

4pm

Still nothing. Don't these packages get picked up......like during the day time? At 4:30 I decide to call again and after a few minutes I eventually make the call, the guy on the phone tells me they were picked up at 4:37. Da fack? So I check online again and sure enough, they appear to have been picked up and everything is fine. WHEW!

RELIEF! Right? A few hours later the status updated to Clearance Delay. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! They're stuck in Customs and Customs is going to open up every one of them looking for drugs and then set them on fire because they didn't find any drugs and my games are gone forever! They sat in that state for an entire day until lunch time today when I got a call from the brokerage asking me what's in the boxes. I told them it was games going for grading and they seemed fine with it, now they appear to be moving again with a 2 day delay in the initial delivery date.

I'm going to give you guys a tip. When you're dropping off valuable items with thousands of dollars worth of insurance on the packages, don't listen to the employee when he suggests you declare them with a $0 value on the Customs form. That's going to cause you some problems.

Did my games get opened? I have no idea, I'll have to wait until Wata gets them and sends me a WTF email asking me why I sent them shredded packaging to grade.

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20 hours ago, AnimalHouse said:

Agreed! Not only confusing but unappealing. The other grading company that I can think of has a similar acrylic slab design to VGA is P1. There website is easy to navigate like Wata. If people are new to the hobby or don't know all the many types of first or third party seams. There is a photo graph on the back that explains it. Its convenient. 

Examples:

F-zero SNES V seam

Duke Nukem N64 LRB seam

Pokémon Blue GB H seam

Conker's Bad Fur Day N64 V Overlap seam

Tales of Destiny 2 PS1 Y fold with Sony security label

Legend of Zelda NES LRTB seam

Oof i paid about 2.5x this price for my 9.8 A+ tales of destiny ii. it's in a helluva lot better condition than this one though.

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18 hours ago, Code Monkey said:

 

I'm going to give you guys a tip. When you're dropping off valuable items with thousands of dollars worth of insurance on the packages, don't listen to the employee when he suggests you declare them with a $0 value on the Customs form. That's going to cause you some problems.

 

You mean the Wata forms has thousands of dollars of insurance but custom form has $0 value ?  I believe people at customs don`t take the time to read the wata forms, they only limit to read customs forms but i never use $0 value i use $25 to $50 for game.

 

Edited by Mijael
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2 hours ago, Mijael said:

You mean the Wata forms has thousands of dollars of insurance but custom form has $0 value ?  I believe people at customs don`t take the time to read the wata forms, they only limit to read customs forms but i never use $0 value i use $25 to $50 for game.

 

The Fed-Ex form, I put insurance on the shipment but the employee suggested I enter $0 as the value declaration. There's no Wata form on the outside of the box.

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On 11/14/2021 at 4:59 PM, Gulag Joe said:

The VGA submission process is tedious and I do wonder how often people miscalculate, apply the wrong codes, etc and how much time VGA spends correcting those issues through customer service. The process puts a lot of burden on the customer when it's almost the year 2022 and all of that could be simplified with a couple hundred bucks to a semi-phenomenal web designer.

This is one of the main reasons why I am putting all AFA related submissions on hold. With CAS, it was just a case of seeing if another collector/seller submitted said collectible. If it was, just use their order form and go from there. Otherwise it is a submission request with any added details needing to be submitted once you are told the item has arrived.

But when it comes to CGA (AFA and VGA) it took a single removal of a very specific Adobe application to convince them that a new website is needed. Which I find to be both hilarious and sad at the same time. Then again, they are under new ownership so there is the hope that the issues you brought up will be a thing of the past.

Then again... I have no real faith in them upgrading the way they label the items they have graded. 😅

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1 hour ago, inasuma said:

i wonder how long before your games enter the queue proper after vga receives them. should be under 8 weeks but i know some folks said it could go as high as 12. 🤞

With VGA they send you an invoice before they grade and I haven't gotten an invoice yet so it doesn't appear as if they've opened the box yet. Same for Wata, they haven't scanned the QR code in the box yet, the games are still sitting in "awaiting" status.

I'm expecting them to change status or send an invoice after Christmas and I expect to get my games back in May.

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8 minutes ago, Code Monkey said:

With VGA they send you an invoice before they grade and I haven't gotten an invoice yet so it doesn't appear as if they've opened the box yet. Same for Wata, they haven't scanned the QR code in the box yet, the games are still sitting in "awaiting" status.

I'm expecting them to change status or send an invoice after Christmas and I expect to get my games back in May.

Yep I should have explained that better haha

Invoicing = entering queue, in my mind.

If I'm to believe other folks' experience with turnaround, if you're invoiced around christmas then you'll get your game back in Feb (few weeks plus a week or two of delay). I don't know if that will actually be the case though of course -- just going off of what I see elsewhere.

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11 hours ago, Code Monkey said:

With VGA they send you an invoice before they grade and I haven't gotten an invoice yet so it doesn't appear as if they've opened the box yet. Same for Wata, they haven't scanned the QR code in the box yet, the games are still sitting in "awaiting" status.

This morning I paid Wata and received my invoice with my order number and QR code.  I'm confused on what I do next. Do I send my game to the address on the invoice?

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7 hours ago, hololone said:

This morning I paid Wata and received my invoice with my order number and QR code.  I'm confused on what I do next. Do I send my game to the address on the invoice?

Yeah, send it to the address on the invoice. Make sure to include a copy of the invoice inside the package. I'm not sure what happens if you don't, but it can't be anything good.

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On 11/30/2021 at 10:56 AM, Code Monkey said:

Tuesday, November 30: Wata games are scanned.

Oh wow, didn't realize your package arrived on the same day as my last order. I was actually wondering if they were taking longer and it seems like this is definitely the case. They still haven't scanned mine in though 😞

They used to take like 2-3 days max to scan them in just a few months ago...

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Holy cow, in an unexpected turn of events, I received an email today with an invoice for Deep Badge upgrades. They completed grades on one complete order which is a box of 11 games and 9 of them are 9.0 or higher. So now the only reason to not send them back right away is if they're going to just sit on them for no reason. Or if they're out of DVD cases which they probably are.

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