Jump to content
Post-Update: Forum Issues Read more... ×
BPAL Madness!

Swapping 101

Over the course of the past few months, there has been a jump in swap-related rule violations. We thought it would be a good idea to post a quick primer on the dos and don'ts of swapping on bpal.org. This is not intended to replace the more extensive guidelines posted in the Swaps forum, but it can be a handy way to quickly remind yourself of what you should and shouldn't do!


~Swapping Outside Swaps~

First, there is to be NO swapping outside of the Swaps forums. Period. This covers offers to buy, sell, swap, and even gift BPAL or any other commodity. Examples are posts like, "I can send you an imp of that," or "That sounds like the best scent ever! Can anyone send me some?"

"No swapping outside swaps" also means that there can be no swap-related content on profiles or in blogs. Please post this content only in the For Sale, Swaps, and Wanted forums, or in the Wishlists topic. Additionally, you cannot direct others to your swap/sale/wanted topic by posting links or swap/sale info in any other forum areas. We have seen this a fair amount recently, especially in Introductions. You may want to help enable a new forumite, but they will find the Swaps forum on their own. If you truly want to help them, guide them to Recommendations-- they'll probably remember your kindness and seek out your page anyway! If you wish to give away scents, please check out the Random Acts of Kindness forum, located within the Swaps forum.

We also do not permit any linking to off-forum decant circles, group orders, sales/swap/wanted/wishlist pages, spreadsheets (such as Google docs), or databases (such as ScentBase). This includes, but is not limited to: posts on-forum, such as, "so-and-so is running a decant circle on LJ!"; links in signatures to off-forum decant circles/group orders, sales, swaps, wanted, and wishlist posts, databases, or spreadsheets; lists or links to any of the above in blogs and profiles; and off-forum links within swaps/sales/wanted topics, such as Google docs, spreadsheets, databases, LJ links, and so forth. Also, we do not allow specific swap-related content in signatures. That means no "I'm looking for Lughnasadh!" Or "Mme. Moriarty for sale!" You may post general links to your swaps topics in your signature, as long as those links direct to on-forum pages. Spreadsheets that are intended to keep track of released scents (i.e., ones that have no specific swapping info) are allowed, but they are not to be treated as a swap list.

Why are we so strict about this? We're not trying to make life difficult for everyone. Partially, the forum was not intended to support the secondary BPAL market. We permit swapping and selling, but feel that it is best kept to one section so that it does not overrun the entire forum. Also, there are some members who are on a swapping hiatus and cannot access the swaps forums. Posting swaps content outside the swaps forum can lead to someone exploiting a loophole, and may mean that you're entering into a transaction with someone who's supposed to be on a time-out for swaplifting or price cap violations.

In short, when you want to arrange a swap or sale, your best route is via PM. We discourage members taking transactions off-forum to private email, as that is how swaplifts have occurred in the past. We have the PM function for a reason! Please use that rather than arranging swaps in a non-swap thread, posting on someone's profile, etc.

~Swap Topics~

We have three main sub-forums within the swaps area: For Sale, Swaps, and Wanted. (Circular Swaps, Random Acts of Kindness, and Decant Circles/Group Orders are separate entities.) Every member is allowed one topic in each of those three sub-forums. As members can no longer close their own swap topics, we ask that members report their posts to be closed before starting a new topic. It is not sufficient to change the topic title to "closed" or "Done!"-- please use the report button. Members with multiple topics who do not report their previous topics to be closed will receive reminders, warnings, and may lose the ability to make new topics.

Also, please keep in mind that your topics in Swaps are to be bumped at MOST once every 24 hours. If you posted at 9 pm one night, you must wait until *after* 9 pm the next evening!

~Arranging Swaps/Panhandling~

While the Wishlists are a useful tool, most people keep them as a list of scents they mean to try, or what they will accept as swap fodder. Please do not contact someone based solely off their Wishlist with an offer to sell them a desired blend. Similarly, do not contact someone-- in-thread OR via PM-- based on a comment of theirs in a Review thread or elsewhere on the forum! Someone may have posted a positive review, but that is not an invitation to contact them offering to sell them more of that scent. The opposite holds true, too-- posting a negative review (or saying "I bought two bottles, when I really only need one!") is not an invitation to arrange swaps. If someone wishes to find a blend, they will post in Wanted. If someone wishes to divest themselves of extra bottles and imps, they will post in Swaps/Sales.


In the For Sale sub-forum, there is a topic for eBay auctions. Please post there rather than starting a separate For Sale topic. At this time, we do not permit on-forum auctions or links to other auction sites, either for BPAL or to benefit groups or individuals. Please contact an administrator if you have a question about a specific auction.

~Random Acts of Kindness~

It bears repeating-- RAOK is a place for "I'll give," not "I want," or "I'll swap!" This is not the place to note your wishlist, to mention what you're looking for--whether it has or has not been explicitly offered-- or to link to your swap/sales page, etc. If you're offering items from your sales/swaps, please repost rather than linking. And also, since it's not entirely clear: on principle, we're opposed to charging people shipping for PIF/RAOK packages.

~Decant Circles/Group Orders~

In decant circles and group orders, please post in the "new circle" thread and report your post for approval. Once your circle or order is complete, please report it to be closed. If your old circles are not closed, you will not be able to start a new circle. Decant circles and group orders are to be posted in the appropriate forum ONLY, not in blogs, and must have moderator approval. We do not allow group orders to be posted for special events because there is no guarantee of stock availability.

Please see the Decant Circle Guidelines for more information.


One of the reasons we do not permit links to off-forum sales is that those pages usually contain costs over our price caps. If you do not wish to sell on-forum, that's fine-- but you cannot plug your off-forum sales. If you choose to sell on-forum, you must abide by the caps as reported in our database. If you are copying a sales post that you originally made on another site, please check your prices against our Universal Price Cap post.

Abiding by the price caps includes posting specific prices (no "make me an offer!") and indicating if a blend is for sale or swap-only. If you note that you are willing to sell a scent on your swaps page, you must post a price within our caps. The price caps hold for responding to ISO posts, too-- you cannot offer someone a scent off of their Wanted post at a price that is above our maximum for that blend. We do not feel that going around the guidelines by only responding to wanted posts rather than posting the items you have available in Sales is acting in the spirit of fairness and friendship we try to encourage here. If someone proposes a swap that violates the price caps, please notify one of the swap moderators (Maewitch or Silvertree) or one of the board administrators (Morrig or ivyandpeony). If you see a post in the swaps area that exceeds the caps or says something along the lines of "make me an offer/contact me for prices," please report the topic.

For blends you only wish to swap, we advocate a 1:1 ratio. You cannot offer to swap heavily in someone's favor, or very generously, or offer two or more of your bottles for one blend. If someone asks for an uneven swap or quotes your a price outside of our caps, either offer a polite correction (it's likely an honest mistake) or, if the price is heavily inflated, you can report the conversation to a mod.

Our prices refer only to the cost of bottle/imp itself. Shipping fees are to be posted separately, not included in the price.

Regarding PayPal fees-- they are not to be passed on to the buyer.

On the topic of PayPal, it is very important to note that within the "send money" feature, you should select "I'm paying for goods or services." Do not send funds as "I'm sending money to family or friends." This second option is considered a personal/gift payment. Any time funds change hands (or PayPal accounts,) payment should be sent as the "goods and services" option. This applies to sales, fairy pick-ups, decant circles, group orders, and anything else you can think of. If you choose a family and friends/gift payment, in the event that the transaction goes awry, you will have no recourse for getting your money back.

The above holds for event exclusive pickups and Will Call fairies, both from the attendee and the purchaser. You cannot offer to pay your fairy for doing a pickup beyond the price of your items + shipping. And we absolutely will not tolerate surcharges-- you cannot require a pickup fee from anyone purchasing items through you.

~Feedback and Swaplifting~

If a transaction goes awry, please use the feedback and unresolved swap topics! File a claim with PayPal, and/or your credit card company if you paid with a card. (Keep in mind that your transaction must be outstanding for at least one month to be considered a swaplift.) We can't send a SWAT team to retrieve your money or perfume, but we can stop a swaplifter from taking advantage of more people. You can indicate if the transaction took place here or elsewhere. Also, please PM the Swaps Mods (currently Maewitch and Silvertree), as we do not get automatic notifications if negative feedback or an unresolved swap report is filed.


If you've read this announcement and still have questions, or have swapping questions at any time, please contact a mod! Currently the swaps mods are Silvertree and Maewitch.