A guide by rainbowjam
I've noticed recently that I get quite a few questions from buyers asking if my new CDs are sealed or not and have also seen other people having feedback disputes with buyers over whether a CD, sold as new, which wasn't sealed should have been. So I just thought I'd add my take on this issue.
I've been selling music on all formats for nearly 30 years and always have hundreds of CDs listed in my eBay shop which are all 100% legitimate and accurately described and start at just £1.99 Buy-It-Now. So if you want a safe and easy purchase, visit my shop at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/rainbowjam. Well, that's the plug over; now back to the matter in hand.
When listing a CD or DVD for sale, you have the option to fill in any or all of the sections in the Item Specifics (some of them are now compulsory). One of these is Condition; for CDs and DVDs, the options are 'new', 'like new', 'very good', 'good' and 'acceptable'.
I generally write my own detailed descriptions but I always use the Item Specifics as well. I then give the buyer an extra note on whether it's sealed or not in my description as well (as ebay's Item Specifics blurb for a new CD states shrinkwrapped if applicable, I think clarification is essential). When I'm buying I always take the view that a CD won't be sealed unless the description specifically says so. Having said that, I wouldn't expect to receive a visibly used CD that's been passed off as new with the excuse that 'new CDs aren't always sealed'. If a CD is sold as new then it should be new and unplayed (and look like it) whether it's sealed or not.
I don't know about the rest of the world but, in the UK, brand new CDs bought from a record company / wholesaler / warehouse are very often not sealed, although many are; this can even vary between different batches of the same title for no apparent reason. The same is true for items sold by high street retailers, Amazon etc. - some shops have their own heavy duty stickers to 'seal' any items that they have bought in which aren't sealed in cellophane. Below is a photo taken in a branch of HMV. Virtually every CD in the picture is not sealed with shrinkwrapping or even a sticker. The cases can be freely opened as illustrated by the two in the centre of the picture. In the UK, this is the norm. So the advice I would give to buyers is to expect unsealed unless the description says otherwise and if you only want a sealed copy then check with the seller if you're unsure. If you don't get a reply to your question then proceed with caution!
Problems do sometimes occur with a seller trying to pass off second-hand goods as new so always check feedback for any negative comments. Also check the seller's Sales & Returns Policy as even honest sellers can sometimes make a mistake. If the seller has good feedback and a clear and reasonable Returns Policy then everything should be fine. If not then, once again, proceed with caution (or don't proceed at all!).
So, to sum up: expect unsealed unless the description says otherwise and looking at the item specifics won't give you any clues. eBay could really do with having condition specifics of 'new and sealed' and 'new not sealed' to clarify things for buyers. If the description is unclear then ask the seller.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read my guide - hope it's been of some interest; if so then please register a yes vote and take a look at my other guides. Don't forget to visit my eBay shop for hundreds of 100% official Buy-It-Now CDs from just £1.99. I offer speedy delivery and reasonable postage rates; check out my feedback before you buy.
All the best, rainbowjam
Guide created 2006, updated October 2014, and again in March 2016 to correct (as much as possible) all the formatting errors created by ebay's extremely broken editing software. Apologies if it still looks a mess; it displayed perfectly for many years until ebay decided to make "improvements" to their Guides editing software! All they achieved was drastically limiting its functionality.