Is Discogs Legit or Scam? What 10,000+ Consumers Wished They Knew Before Using Discogs

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  • Post published:February 10, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Discogs is an online marketplace where you can buy and sell physical music recordings like vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes. The site also contains a crowdsourced database with detailed information on over 6 million releases.

With millions of users worldwide, Discogs has become a go-to platform for record collectors, music lovers, and independent record stores. But is Discogs legit and trustworthy site for buying and selling music?

This in-depth blog review examines Discogs’ history, business model, seller vetting process, buyer protection, and reviews to help you decide.

Let’s dive in.

A Brief History of Discogs

Discogs was founded in 2000 by Kevin Lewandowski as primarily a crowdsourced database for electronic music. The goal was to create a definitive resource where people could catalog releases, track down obscure records, and connect with other music fans.

In 2005, Discogs added a marketplace feature that allowed users to buy and sell music directly on the platform. This marketplace tapped into the vast database to make buying and selling music easier.

Over the years, Discogs has grown exponentially. Some key milestones:

  • 2006: 100,000 releases documented in the Discogs Database
  • 2008: 500,000 releases documented
  • 2011: 1 million releases documented
  • 2014: 10 million releases documented
  • 2017: Discogs surpasses eBay as the largest music marketplace online
  • 2022: Database contains over 6 million releases

Today, Discogs has over 9 million registered users. In addition to individuals buying and selling their collections, there are over 10,000 record stores and small labels that use Discogs as their ecommerce platform.

How Discogs Works

Discogs operates both as a crowdsourced database and a marketplace for physical music releases.

The Discogs Database

The Discogs Database contains detailed information on over 6 million official releases. All of this information is user-generated; anyone can contribute data like:

  • Release details (title, label, format, country, release date, etc.)
  • Tracklistings
  • Cover art and images
  • Catalog and matrix numbers
  • Credits and musician lineups
  • User reviews and ratings

Having this comprehensive database of music releases powers the Discogs Marketplace by making it easier to list and find specific pressings.

The Discogs Marketplace

The Discogs Marketplace connects buyers and sellers around the world. As of 2022, there are:

  • Over 10 million items for sale
  • Prices range from $1 to over $50,000
  • Over 10,000 record stores and labels selling
  • Inventory spans over 30 formats including vinyl, CDs, cassettes, VHS, and Blu-ray

Anyone can sign up as a seller, create a seller profile, and list their music for sale. Buyers can search or browse the marketplace and purchase items using PayPal or credit card.

Discogs charges an 8% fee to sellers on the total transaction (item price + shipping). Buyers pay no commission fees.

Is Discogs Legit for Buyers? Understanding Buyer Protection

When buying from an online marketplace like Discogs, the main concerns buyers have are:

  1. Receiving the item as described
  2. Getting scammed by dishonest sellers
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While Discogs facilitates the transactions, they do not get directly involved in resolving issues between individual buyers and sellers.

So how can you shop safely as a buyer on Discogs? Here are the key protections in place:

Seller Ratings and Reviews

Discogs has a seller rating system where buyers can leave feedback ratings and reviews after a transaction. This creates a public record of sellers’ track records.

Before buying, thoroughly check the seller’s profile, ratings, and feedback history. Only buy from sellers with lots of recent positive ratings.

PayPal Buyer Protection

Discogs requires all transactions to go through PayPal or credit cards. This gives buyers coverage through PayPal Buyer Protection which provides refunds in cases of:

  • Item not received
  • Significantly not as described
  • Unauthorized transactions

PayPal Protection gives buyers 180 days to dispute issues for items not received and 60 days for most other issues.

Credit Card Chargebacks

Even if PayPal protections fall through, buyers still have the option do a credit card chargeback to get their money back for issues like:

  • Merchandise not received
  • Merchandise defective or not as described

Discogs Buyer Guarantee

Discogs recently launched a “Buyer Guarantee” that provides extra coverage in some cases where PayPal refuses a refund.

This guarantee covers situations when:

  • Items are broken or damaged
  • Items are substantially not as described
  • Unauthorized transactions

The Discogs guarantee has more limitations than PayPal protection and caps out at $1,000 per claim, but it does offer an additional layer of security.

So in summary – buyers should carefully vet sellers, use PayPal or credit cards, and take advantage of buyer protection services in case issues arise. While Discogs doesn’t get directly involved, you still have options to get refunded.

Is Discogs Legit for Sellers? Seller Requirements and Restrictions

Registering as a seller on Discogs is open to both private collectors and music businesses. However, Discogs does have some requirements and restrictions in place to protect buyers.

ID Verification

All sellers must provide valid identity documents like government IDs and business licenses that are manually reviewed by Discogs. This aims to prevent fraudsters from registering.

No Bootlegs or Counterfeits

Discogs prohibits the sale of unauthorized bootleg or counterfeit releases. All items sold must match an official release documented in the Database. If not, Discogs can remove the listing and suspend the seller’s account.

Sales Limits for New Sellers

For the first 90 days, new sellers are limited to only listing 5 items at a time. Restrictions are slowly lifted as the seller racks up positive feedback. This helps limit losses in case a new seller ends up being untrustworthy.

Discogs Seller Standards

Discogs provides detailed seller standards that prohibit practices like:

  • Misrepresenting release conditions
  • Failing to ship orders
  • Poor packing and shipping
  • Shill bidding to artificially inflate prices
  • Circumventing Discogs fees
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If sellers violate these terms, Discogs will remove listings and suspend accounts as needed to protect buyers.

So in summary, Discogs does have protections in place to prevent bad actors from selling while still allowing individuals and businesses to use their platform. Responsible sellers who follow the rules, communicate with buyers, ship quickly, and pack items well should have no issues.

Discogs Reviews: What Do Users Say?

Discogs is generally a polarizing platform – people either love it or hate it. Overall, here’s an overview of the most common pros and cons mentioned across various review platforms:

Positive Discogs Reviews & User Feedback

  • Huge selection with rare, obscure releases difficult to find elsewhere
  • Active user community of fellow passionate music lovers
  • Ability to track your personal collection and want list
  • Resources like release data, user images, and equipment guides
  • Some sellers go above and beyond with packaging and service

Negative Discogs Reviews & User Complaints

  • No oversight or mediation for issues between buyers and sellers
  • Scam sellers listing bootlegs or not delivering orders
  • Sellers misgrading condition of vinyl and covers
  • Delayed shipping or lack of communication from sellers
  • Clunky and dated user interface design
  • Removal of critical reviews of sellers

While some complaints about Discogs are valid, the same critiques can be levied against sites like eBay too. Reviews are mixed because shopping on Discogs can be an inconsistent experience—a lot comes down to the individual seller.

Does Discogs Have a Trustworthy Reputation?

Given Discogs’ long history and popularity among record collectors, they have a reasonably positive reputation overall built on trust. However, the platform does still have its share of controversy and criticism.

Signs Discogs Is Trustworthy

  • 20+ years in business and tens of millions in sales
  • Major record stores rely on Discogs for sales
  • Collectors trust Discogs to document their high-value collections
  • No wide-scale news exposés on fraud have tarnished their reputation

Causes for Concern Around Discogs’ Reputation

  • Lack of oversight and intervention in buyer/seller disputes
  • Allegations of removing or censoring negative seller reviews
  • Lower level of seller screening compared to eBay
  • Forgeries and bootlegs still occasionally get through

While Discogs as a company seems legitimate, users need to be more cautious buying there compared to fully moderated sites like Amazon. Serious collectors tend to trust Discogs, while more casual users or first-time buyers are more likely to have bad experiences.

Is It Safe to Buy and Sell on Discogs?

Discogs occupies a gray area between fully open peer-to-peer platforms like Craigslist and heavily moderated sites like eBay. Overall buying and selling can be safe if you take the right precautions.

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For buyers, stick to reputable top-rated sellers, use buyer protections if issues arise, and thoroughly vet expensive purchases. Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.

Sellers should follow site policies, communicate frequently, ship quickly, grade conservatively, and provide top-notch packaging. This will minimize the chance of disputes arising.

In other words, Discogs works fine for most transactions but is riskier than mainstream ecommerce sites. Buyers and sellers share responsibility for successful transactions.

The Bottom Line: Can You Trust Discogs?

In the end, whether you deem Discogs trustworthy or not comes down to managing expectations.

Discogs does not provide the same level of protections, guarantees, or oversight as sites like eBay and Amazon. Issues between buyers and sellers can fall into gray areas where Discogs won’t step in.

However, Discogs is still likely far safer than direct peer-to-peer platforms like Craigslist or Reddit exchanges where there are zero protections. Discogs’ seller rating system at least provides some transparency.

So is Discogs legit and scam-free? No. Is it still legit for most transactions when you take the right precautions? Yes.

Millions of successful transactions take place on Discogs between satisfied buyers and sellers every year. Discogs fills an important niche connecting music fans that mainstream sites cannot always cater to.

Just use common sense precautions, thoroughly vet sellers, leverage buyer protections, and you can likely buy and sell safely on Discogs. Treat Discogs as a direct peer-to-peer platform instead of an Amazon or eBay, and your expectations will be properly calibrated.

In summary, Discogs offers a useful platform for finding rare records and unloading your own collections if you understand the risks and take steps to protect yourself on both ends. While Discogs may not be perfect, it has absolutely revolutionized the way we discover, collect, and connect over music.

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