Things to know before joining your first group buy

Before you hop into a group buy expecting it to be just like buying a random product from a webstore, read this to avoid disappointment.

1. How group buys work

A group buy works in that orders are collected first, then the product is produced.

This differs from a regular product purchase where the product is already produced and in-stock.


2. Things to know before joining one

Some basics of what to expect from a GB.

It'll be some time before it arrives

Group buys first collect orders, then produce the product depending on how many orders are placed.
This means that the time spent manufacturing will be a long waiting time.

ETAs are often wrong

Most group buys post an ETA (estimated time arrival) for when the product will ship.
Although this may be a nice rough estimate, it is not guaranteed.

The following could change when the product ships:

  • The product gets far more orders than expected, requiring more production
  • The factory messes up and needs to reproduce
  • The factory blows up and a new factory needs to be found

There's the chance of failure

There's always the chance that a group buy can fail post-payment.

  • Minimum order quantity (MOQ) is not met and the factory refuses to produce
  • The product ends up being wildly different from what was promised
  • The factory steals the money and ditches

Each vendor has their own policies regarding what happens when troubles occur.
Only join a group buy if you are willing to take the risk, and to bite the loss in case of failure.


3. Things you shouldn't do

To make sure you never get banned from future sales.


Flipping, or purchasing for the sole purpose of reselling afterwards for a higher price, is often looked down upon by vendors and community members. 
Make sure to read the guidelines of the GB and to ask the vendor beforehand if you plan to do so. Most vendors do not permit this, and you may end up blacklisted from all future purchases from that vendor if you are found doing so.


Forcing a refund or chargeback due to factors caused by the nature of GBs (often delayed, unpredictable delivery time) is often not allowed, since most GBs only allow purchases from those who agree to the conditions of the GB outlined beforehand.

Order edits post-purchase

Asking for a color or option change post-purchase is often a burden for vendors, for they must produce quantities relative to the number of ordered placed. 
It is usually impossible once production begins, since the orders have already been placed in quantities relative to what was ordered.