Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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All You Need To Know About Unusual Trading
By Mercato Dream Industries and 1 collaborators
Like unusuals? Like trading? Clueless about unusuals, their ranks, their tiers, their wantedness, sellability and more? Got a great unbox and tried to venture on your own.. but ended up getting scammed, sharked, phished, hijacked or just plain shun to the side? Want to know every fundamental aspect of trading and unusuals before starting out/restarting in order to get your dream hat/hats/loadout? This is a guide written by and for successful unusual tier self-made/bought-in traders and trader wanna-be's, aimed at equipping one with the comprehensive guide to the basics of unusual trading and the various types of scam, shark, phishing, hijacking and evasive techniques people use to try and unfairly make gains...FROM YOU.[/u]
 
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What Are Unusuals?
Hats.

It's fascinating how these collections of pixels amaze and command attention, and you've probably come here because you want to know more about them. If you play Team Fortress 2 at least moderately, you will have seen at least a hat or 2, and if you're lucky even a few unusuals on your enemies/teammates heads.


But what are unusuals?

They are a number of things. They are, first and foremost, hats, and they have what Valve calls "Particle Effects" on them, meaning you see some weird cool stuff doing its thing on the head wearing it. That naturally makes it obvious, more so than any other items in game, - except the weapons and projectiles of course - you have probably wished you had one too.


Why can't I have one?

If you are Premium in Team Fortress 2, you'd have probably known that you get cool stuff F2P's don't. For one, you get free regular hat drops, stuff that F2P's would love to wear. But of course, Valve does not give everything so easily. Unusuals can only be uncrated, from ANY crate you have, even halloween or event-specific ones. You don't see the crate description saying "Unusual Hat" because that bright blue text screaming "An extremely rare item!" means an unusual hat.

How many crates must I use until I get one?

It is not known the exact probabilities of unusuals being uncrated from any crate, and many have pegged the estimate around 1%. However, recent statistics such as those from Tf2 Finance[tf2finance.com] show that it is actually even rarer than that. Yet, there are a few who have struck gold by uncrating an unusual within their first 10 keys, and those unlucky souls who spend 100s and turn up nothing.

That's why they are so expensive?

Yes, it is exactly why. Unusuals are currently the rarest item you can get regularly - meaning it is not event specific or has any set restricting requirement - and it is its rarity that gains its popularity.
Obtaining Unusuals
Uncrating

If you are feeling lucky, unboxing many crates - recommended above 10 - at a time can be rewarding or extremely painful. Since there is no set guarantee that you will get an unusual, you can never be sure of making those keys you spent so much money on back.

Purchasing it

There are many ways you can purchase unusuals. The Steam Community Market has many for sale, whether it be fair or unfair prices. TF2Outpost[www.tf2outpost.com] is the current biggest and most popular way of trading and buying unusuals, along with many other websites
such as TF2TP, Bazaar.tf and so on.




There are 2 main forms of items people accept when you purchase an unusual from them, if you have nothing in your backpack and want to start out afresh.

Money

Paypal, Webmoney, Western Union, Bitcoin... the list goes on. Many people accept different forms of currencies in exchange for their unusuals, and it often comes with fees due to transactions over the medium you are paying for. This is, however, the most risky way to pay if you are not buying it through the Steam Community Market. After all, there is no guarantee that guy will give you his/her unusual after you pay, and if you are the seller, you will not know if the buyer will keep his promise in his payment after the item has been traded. Fear not, for there are many ways to minimize your risk of being scammed, which will be listed later on in this guide.

Of course, if you are purchasing through the Steam Community Market, it is extremely safe. Steam is a giant company and has millions of transactions in its history, meaning you can trust it to deliver the goods you paid for.

Promos & Pure

Keys are the very base unit of currency for the unusual trader. They are known as "Pure" to us because it is like your dollars and cents in real life, things excheangable for anything and not limited to barter trades.

Promos are different. They are "Promotional Items", often given to the lucky few who did something Steam/Valve promoted, perhaps a game or a treasure hunt, that rewarded them with a rare non-droppable/buyable limited edition item. The most common and famous promo used in trading, and the secondary base unit of currency in unusual trades, is the Earbuds. There are many other forms of promotional items such as Bill's Hat, The Holiday Headcase, Max's Severed Head etc. These are all pegged in price relation to keys and are quoted in key prices when bought or sold.


Obtaining them can be used through the same methods described above, through Steam Community Market (Only keys) or major trading sites where traders ply their trades. Always take precautionary steps - read down for more - when purchasing them.

Pricing Unusuals (Basics)
Basic Knowledge

If you are completely new to unusuals and have no clue how to price them - I have an unusual, you do too, why not we just swap? They are equally rare... right? - then this is where you need to know it.

Is every unusual equal?

No. Unusuals may be rare, but as a whole sum they are not equal in rarity. A very rough guide and explanation can be found at http://backpack.tf/unusuals where a mildly accurate count of unusuals existing shows that there are vast differences in rarity.

1. Rarity

In general, the rarer a hat is, the more likely it is to be expensive. There are the extremities of rarity that can cost ridiculous amounts of money, and the best example right now is the Mask of The Shaman. It is expensive because it has been unboxable almost since unusuals were available, but extremely few of it exist, making it more wanted than others, such as A Rather Festive Tree, which is much, much more common.

2. Appearance

This applies to both hats and effects, but effects will be covered first.
There are many, many effects that exist (40+ in fact) as of this guide's making, and each has its own specific and unique style.

The image above shows an effect named "Nuts n' Bolts" in TF2. Compare it with something like this:
It is easy to guess which effect is the most obvious when you are playing on the server in-game. In fact, Nuts n' Bolts is rated the worst classic effect by the community most commonly, and Burning Flames (2nd Pic) is rated the best classic effect by the community. As a very rough guide, prices on unusuals are dependent on the effect they carry, the more obvious/full-bodied it is in-game, the better chance of its price.

The hat itself also carries significant pricing changes. While hats are harder to agree upon than effects (one hat may look nice to you but literal **** to another), it is often easy to use common sense when you see a hat to give it a price range. A hat such as


Should definitely look much better than a hat like


These basic ideas, combined with the effect appearance form a very basic guide on how to price unusuals against each other.

For an extremely rough guide on effect and hat tiers, TF2PC's

Effect Guide[www.tf2pricecheck.net]

And

Hat Guide[www.tf2pricecheck.net]

Will help a new trader learn the outlines of tiers in unusuals.
Pricing Unusuals (Intermediate)
Alright, so you know the very basics of unusual pricings in TF2. You know that some hats and effects are more than others, and you know rarity counts. But what else?

Pricing Guides

There are 2 main websites (increasingly only 1 now) that provide unusual pricings on TF2. You must remember, however, that unlike other gaming economies, TF2's economy is very, very fluid - meaning it changes constantly, all the time and every time. These websites are great for historical snapshots of the pricings and sells they have been made for (Even if they show as current prices) as they are based of previous sells and not current offers and pricings one can find on the market.

TF2 Price Check[www.tf2pricecheck.net] used to be the main method of pricing unusuals, but since ~2012 it has become increasingly less popular and outdated, due to many reasons such as a failing system crushed due to excessive trust in users and manipulative posters/bots that spoilt the prices.

http://backpack.tf/ is the most popular - infamous too - website to date that the majority of traders across TF2 currently use. It is, of course, never accurate - it only refers a snapshot of pricings and sells in the past that are as recent, but not current, as possible - many, many traders have used it as the bible of TF2 - it is a false messiah. Yes, there are other claims such as corruption and admin abuse which have not been proved or disproved, but the main thing that has to be understood is that it is never wise to follow it to the tee.

Here's why.

Backpack.tf bases its modifications or setting of prices on previous supposed sells with proof given. These sells are usually within 2 weeks but in rarer cases can extend back months, and often times within a few days prices and sells on Outpost and other major sites change, leaving the price changes unreliable. The desirability and sellability of a hat also is never reflected on prices on backpack.tf, and this will later be covered.

Ok, So How DO You Get an Exact Price?

That's the thing. You never will. If everyone knew the exact price of their hat no one would make or lose money. It is an imperfect market - no one knows everything -, but the main things you must take into account are the Current Offers if any on those you can see for sale, the Buyouts (Optimal prices) available, and if any, your past experiences with the unusuals as well as your friends' past experiences. Factor in, of course, the tiers of each hat and effect to achieve a better guide, but remember. Nothing is perfect.
Pricing Unusuals (Advanced)
Fluid Prices?

Many beginners fail to understand that TF2 items do not have fixed prices. They are not prices on the Mann. Co Store you find and will always reobtain, and this is especially so for unusuals.

Why?

Demand and Supply dictate everything in our lives, and in TF2 too. Nothing stays constant, and the greater the demand of an item or/and the lower the supply of an item, the higher the price is, and vice versa.



This applies to everything in TF2, but especially in Unusuals since they are rarer and much more tracked and wanted. Some unusuals, like the Respectless Rubber Glove


Are in low demand, simply because they do not look nice. Others, such as the Team Captain,


Are well loved and wanted very much because they are generally appreciated and look nice. This applies to the unusual effects too. This is all simple and easy to understand if there have always been fixed variations of effects and hats... but it isn't that way.

New Effects?

Every year Valve has released new unusual effects. These waves of effects - often at least 5 new ones appear - are known as generations to traders. There are roughly 7 Generations of Effects now, but the original releases - Burning, Scorching, Sunbeams, Circling Hearts, Purple & Green Confetti, Searing and Vivid Plasma, Circling TF Logo and Circling Peace Sign Effects - remain the most wanted to most traders.

Why So Much Love For 1st Gen?

This has again got to do with supply and demand. It is not so much the 1st generation effects' looks as with the addition and availability of effects. Every time a new batch of unusual effects are released, they are naturally highly priced. This is because the supply of them is extremely low, and they are novelties - something that will make you stand out, even from other unusual owners - that are attractive. However, the market slowly gets filled with these unusuals and interest in them wane. These 2 factors mean bad news for supply, as demand plummets, driving prices down crazily. This effect is noticed every time a new update is released, and novice traders often get stuck and hurt badly due to it. Older generation effects establish an old, larger group of lovers and also wider acceptance, meaning they will have a greater pool of demand and hence supply will want to tend towards there, leading to preferences in 1st Generation effects and hatred towards the newest of effects.

Robotic Hats... Hate/Love?

Robotic Hats are a novelty, in a sense that such an idea never appeared before. However they have come to be widely unwanted by the majority of older traders simply because they seem to be disgusting metallic versions of "nicer" hats that had already existed in their opinion, leaving towards severe unwantedness and hard-to-sell experiences with current owners of unusual robotic hats.

Concluding Pricing

If you read from beginner to advanced, it will be clearer to you how wantedness, availability, rarity, effect/hat appearance, price fluctuations and market behaviours affect pricings in TF2. Yet there is one more thing that can never be taught : Experience. The more you learn, the more you know and the lesser chance you have of mucking up your trades. Don't worry, these basics are enough to prevent you from making a large loss. But to make enough to get your dream, you have to work for it. Go forth and immerse yourself to learn the tricks of the trade!
Gifteds & Themes
Gifteds

Gifteds are exactly what they mean.. gifted by another person. This happens when an unusual is put inside a gift wrap by someone and then traded to another - often as a gift - and unwrapped. Gift wraps leave a mark, the gifter's name, on the text of the unusual description. It tells the person, date and time which it was wrapped.

All that's fine, so what if it's gifted? Values are not affected isn't it? Logically, it does not. Yet, there is a distinct reason why gifteds are very very well avoided in trading. This is because of the earlier dupes. One of the most prominent method to dupe an item involved gifting it - exploiting a flaw within the old item servers that were not integrated with Steam - and as a result, gifting items got pegged to duping items. There was a time where gifting and duping were in such common relation that Steaming Pyromancers, which so happened to be commonly duped, dropped in price from 1.5 Buds to 10 keys for those that were gifted - regardless of dupe or not - and this stigma, albeit less strong, continues to this day.

Others also avoid gifteds because it seems branded - a person gave this, and they do not like having another's name on it - and hence see it as a mark of devaluation. Yet again, it is up to you to decide whether you want gifteds or not and to see if values and offerings play out, but keep in mind of the stigma given to it - logical or not.

Themes

Unusual effects and hats sometimes seem to fit together - very well. When they are common sense that the effect and hat combination are very fitting and seem to compliment each other very well, they are known as "themed". One example is the Blizzardy Storm A Rather Festive Tree - Christmas Tree + Christmas Weather - amongst many, many others.

Themes often raise the hat price with that effect above other effects that would usually cost more, and this is to be expected. However, there are established, common-sense themes and there are overstretched themes. Some traders might try to find everything to fit into a "theme" when there is clearly none, and overprice their hat. You must always use your common sense before falling for such an argument as this is just ludicrous overpricing on their part and unfair towards other traders.

There are, of course, borderline themed unusual combos that would be known as "fitiing" effects and hats - not enough to be a theme, but good enough to raise prices slightly- that is a grey area that is left to the buyer and seller to negotiate.
Vintages & Dupes
Vintages

You might be offered certain vintages for your unusuals in your trading experiences, and you may wonder why such vintages are so expensive. Yes, there are many vintages in TF2, most commonly weapons and hats. This is because those weapons and hats were owned before the Mannconomy Update, where trading and microtransactions were introduced. As a reward to those who crafted weapons and hats before the update - amongst other rewards - the weapons and hats they had became vintage. Yet, there remain rare exceptions where these vintages defy the rules.

Vintage Bills, Vintage Buds, Vintage Community Sparkle Lugermorphs, Vintage Big Kills, Vintage Gibuses, Vintage Maxes, Vintage Shortstop, Vintage Refined/Reclaimed/Scrap and Vintage Tokens are the more common ones that have extraordinary values to them. Most of their origins were actually from earlier Steam-restoring causes. Their owners used to have unique, normal versions of them, but found out that if they deleted their backpacks (by accident/purpose) and reported it to Steam, it would restore their backpack and some of their items would become Vintages. This was not well-known, and for that the vintages of items that were never supposed to be vintages (Things released after the Über Update) turned into highly valued items.

NOTE: Steam never does this now, so do not try to delete your backpack and cry to Steam. It will not do anything for you.

Dupes

Dupes are a touchy thing. Some people care about duped unusuals and items but some people do not. But what are dupes? Unusuals are usually obtained through uncrating them, and there is no other legitimate way - except for restoration of backpacks when a scam/shark/hijack has been proven to Steam - to obtain it.

However, a while back, there were bugs and exploits that enabled less-than-honest people to "duplicate" their hats or whatever items they wanted so as to double the number of items they had. This resulted in 2 unusuals forming from just 1, 1 a copy of the original. This has been fixed for a while by Steam, but in the older times such dupes were common enough that many wanted to bring down the prices of unusuals that had been duped simply because 2 came from 1.

The most striking and relatively recent examples include : Secret Team Captain, Secret Executioner, Secret Brown Bomber and most of the rare vintages mentioned above. This did result in a massive devaluation of every hat that was duped majorly (more than 3 times usually), in some cases making the value drop by 2/3rd's or 1/2, costing traders much pain and agony.

Dupes still are considered bad and unwanted, but not by everyone. Some do not care as it is still an unusual, nothing different from others when worn in-game, but others stay away from it as they find it "dirty". It is up to you whether or not you choose to deal in dupes, but normally duped hats that aren't infamous and massively duped will not pose a huge trouble to one in trading.
Retired Hats & Effects
Retired Hats

There are a few known hats that are essentially "retired", meaning that they are no longer unboxable as unusuals or dropped as normal hats. This includes the first generation of hats introduced to TF2 - viewable here[wiki.teamfortress.com] - and a number of other hats, such as the Coffin Kit, Noh Mercy and possibly (suspected) Villains Veil amongst rare others.

As they are no longer unboxable, they are essentially viewed to be worth more in the community, although their total worth's boost varies from hat to hat due to looks, demand, current stock amongst other variables.

Retired Effects

Some people may claim that certain effects - especially Halloween ones - are "Retired" and no longer unboxable. This is a big lie. Every effect, from 1st to 7th Generation effects, are not retired as of this guide's creation. They are unboxable still, but some have restrictions.

Halloween effects are not unboxable during non-Halloween periods, but ALL Halloween effects, including previous years' ones, are unboxable everytime a Halloween event occurs in TF2. This has been proven with multiple hats - such as Ye Oiled Baker boy and the Black Watch - being released years after the previous Halloween effects were released but being unboxed with them.

Every other effect besides Halloween effects are unboxable all-year round, albeit with some restrictions - like the Robotic Effects only being unboxed from Robocrates - but with no time restrictions.
Scams
What Are Scams?

Scams, in the real world, is when someone takes something from you without paying for it, not through stealing, but through luring and deceiving.

It is, unfortunately, a common enough occurence in TF2 Trading and one that affects new traders the most due to lack of experience.

Common Methods

One of the oldest scams in the book is the Paypal Chargeback Scam. Paypal's payments are by default transactions that can be retracted by the person who paid it, meaning if during a trade someone who wanted to buy something from you did go first in payment, and the trade was done smoothly with money transferred to your Paypal account, he can still charge it back, withdrawing his funds and leaving you with none.

If you are a person selling items for Paypal, the first rule of thumb is never to go first unless the other person has legitimate reputation. There are a few outlets to check for his reputation.

1. His status in Steam. People who buy items are usually serious about the game and log many hours on Steam. He should have at least 100-200 Hours on TF2, and sufficient other games or have many friends and groups to his account.

2. Check TF2Outpost by searching his name (Top right hand corner of browser), if he is not banned on it it is less risky to trade with him. However this IS NEVER FAILSAFE AND IS ONLY A PRIMARY STEP!

3. From TF2Outpost there is a link to his SteamRep. SteamRep[steamrep.com] is the oldest anti-scam/hack website run by reputable high tier traders that handles and registers previous and current offenders and is currently the most reliable website in terms of detection of scammers, and works in tandem with all major web-based trading sites and in-game based trade-server hosting organizations, such as Pink Taco, MCT, PPM etc.

4. Beware of this, greatly. There are many, many people who impersonate very reputable constant buyers through Paypal that will fool you through all these steps. There is, however one way to find out whether they are fake or real. All steam accounts have ID's at their back, like mine, which is '/unusualsareepic'. Find the actual legitimate vendor on Outpost by searching their name. Their outpost profile should be very active, with lots of trades and posts posted and a long history of trades - Here's PyroProtectMe (PPM Owner)[www.tf2outpost.com] account - and then click on their steam community page - PyroProtectMe's Steam Page - see that extension '/fanaticgamer'? That's a trademark of PyroProtectMe that cannot be copied (Steam would not allow it). If someone named PyroProtectMe adds you and tries to pay you for something you have, first check their steam extension, if it does not add up he is a fake. Report him to Steam immediately and un-add him!

Of course, there are many other types of scams.

Swap Scam

Swap scams are usually easier to avoid if you pay close attention - which you should in every trade - that occurs during a trade on Steam itself. When you trade a person in a steam trade, the items loaded up for trade do not show their unusual effects. This means that a Nuts n' Bolts Merryweather and a Burning Merryweather will look the same - with a purple box around them - and if they are swapped out fast enough, you would not notice it.

Swap scammers usually first put a trade that is very beneficial to you - maybe 1-2 or even more buds profit - for swapping unusuals. They then ask you if you want to buy anything else in their backpack, and load many items (Often more than 10-20) into the trade. Naturally, you would pay attention to the new items instead, but this is only a ploy. Most probably you would not have any interest in the remaining items, and he will then remove them. What he will also do is remove the original unusual offered, and swap it out with a lower effect unusual but with the same hat. As this swap is made at the same time he removes other items, you may not notice it.

You should ALWAYS check the contents of each item in a trade before you make the trade. Scroll over each item on both sides of the trade and make sure everything is correct, or else it might cost you a mighty fine amount.

Steam Credit Scams

This happens when someone promises you a certain amount of credits on Steam in exchange for your item. There is only one thing you need to know. STEAM NEVER ALLOWS TRANSFERS OF FUNDS BETWEEN PLAYERS. No matter what he does to convince you, using fancy text or assuming Valve Adminship, this will never happen. Just outright reject him.

There are many other types of scams that occur in TF2 trading, but these are the most common ones found that plague players in TF2. Avoid them at all costs, and it'll save you a hefty sum.
Hijacks & Phishers
HIjacking works mostly in tandem with Phishing. Unlike Scams, Hijacks are usually involuntary and snatch-style - you do not have control once you pass a certain point - and they often cost whole backpacks.

Phishing is common in the real world and unfortunately more prevalent in TF2. It is the use of falsified mock (Fake) websites to fool the victim into clicking it, thinking it's the original website and accidentally giving his/her information to the fake website, which is run by the hacker and who will utilize it to overtake the account of the victim through the information provided.

Steam Com'r'unitty

Phishers can be random Steam Adders, but most are on TF2 Outpost, and most right now are simply bots or previously hijacked accounts - they are programmed to mass propagate these links and nothing else - that place fake offers (I pay your BO/I will pay max price!/I agree to your prices) and then ask you to add them - linking VERY SIMILAR BUT FAKE WEBSITES - often to what appears to be Steam. They always have a minor error - (http://www.steamcormunity.com) notice the 'r' instead of 'm' in co-r-munity, (http://www.steamcommmunity.com) notice the extra 'm' - amongst many other possible modifications.

The legitamte Steam website - especially the login window page - will show up as a Secure Web Page on your browser, something like this below in Chrome browser:



No other fake website based off Steam will have the same secured key assurance from your browser- always check that before you allow yourself to login.

Others

Besides the common fake Steam link, there are more sinister and dangerous links that may be sent to you and you must avoid at all costs. Short-links (like adfly) can often hide the link they are linked to and mask the threat. Sometimes the links will link to a download link that instantly downloads (secretly) trojans, worms or other malicious viruses into the computer of the victim. This does not only lead to losses in the TF2 Economy, but data that is stored in the computer - work, credit cards, etc. - will also be lost. To make sure, NEVER EVER click on links you do not know, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Social Engineering

Social Engineering (Or Reverse of it) is very dangerous. Mattie!, once the richest person in TF2, was hijacked through Reverse Social Engineering - thankfully he got his account back - and the only way to avoid it is to never use the same password for everything, or use passwords easily related to your life that most people will know. A Reverse Social Engineer will guess the passwords and account names you use by studying your social circles, preferences and other personal showcases and can lead to easy guessing of your passes for important things, especially through the use of personal questions.
Sharking
Sharking is essentially the attaining of severe profit levels from one trader - who does not know that he is losing that amount - to another trader - who knows the worth of it and purposely withholds information that he is profiting greatly to the other trader - and is often despised by the trading community.

Quicksells - although hated - are common, and legal. However they usually border on the 50% off mark and each trader knows the worth and loss/profits they are embarking upon when closing the deal. Sharks, however, are hated because it essentially is massive profiteering off an unknowing and often unwilling victim - often >50% (>80% profit according to TF2 Outpost) and causing one trader to gain massively more value than the other. One example is paying only 1-2 Earbuds for a Burning Flames Killer's Exclusive - something sold for >100 buds in the past - and when the seller of the KE did not know of it's worth.

It is NOT sharking when the person who sold it for a massive lost KNEW what he was doing and was OK with it. That is just pure luck and profit for the other, and he has gotten lucky.

Previously, sharks - if proven - were reportable to SteamRep, and people who were found to have sharked were banned on Outpost, SteamRep and sometimes Valve even banned his ability to trade. Sadly, that ban on SteamRep has been lifted recently - perhaps because sharks are harder to prove and very arguable - although it is sometimes possible to get the person banned on Outpost and Valve with considerable and un-contestable proof.

When trading, know that if you trade any large-time scammer, sharker, hacker, phisher or illegitimate traders KNOWINGLY and in a MEDIUM-LARGE scale, you have a HIGH CHANCE of getting BANNED simply for aiding someone who the trading community does not want to support.
Reputation Building & Account/Item Recovery
Generally, if you stay within the guidelines listed above and refrain from doing illegitimate actions in TF2 Trading, your reputation should stay fine.

However, if you are the type to dabble in Paypal and cash in and out constantly, you would definitely need to create a Source-Op[forums.sourceop.com] thread - Source-OP is directly linked to SteamRep and is the go-to place to see if someone is reputable in real money dealings, having a longer thread with positive reputation helps to get easier, faster and even cheaper deals.

If you have been the victim of any form of illegitimate actions, always try to gather as much information as possible. Take screenshots of the trades if possible (Ctrl + Print Screen works fine), chat logs, inventory history, steam account of the offender, any place where proof of the transaction or verbal boasting/confirmation of the incident are visible and report them to SteamRep & Valve. With more information, Admins of both will be able to attain a better grasp of what happened - and move effectively.

IF you lost items during these transactions, only Valve has the power to restore them - not anyone else - and if you are unlucky or cannot provide sufficient proof, you may never get those items back. SteamRep and Outpost amongst others can only ban them on each website and alert other users about them to prevent them from doing any bad deeds anymore. The main idea is precaution and safety over everything else, never ever fall for such traps easily.
Trading Courtesies
Trading is, after all, interacting with others. And if you interact badly, it's going to come round to you. Polite traders are often more successful in trading and they get better treatment in trades and from the community as a whole.

1. Always be polite - never rage for little or no reason - treat everyone like a human, and give them the benefit of the doubt. If they make mistakes or accidentally lowball, give them a chance to clarify before unleashing your torrent of anger on them. Naturally, if they persist and severely insult you or your items, you have the right to be angry - just do not take it too far.

2. Leave a + rep on the Steam Profile after a successful trade. +rep's are somewhat status symbols that approve of the person and it is just trade courtesy to award it to a deserving trader if both of you have come to an agreeable and successful trade.

3. READ NOTES. On Outpost as with other major trading sites, notes are given to state the prices, wants and preferences of the seller for their items. You have probably written your own if you have sold anything before, and you'd like if people followed it. Before you expect something, give it. Read others' notes and leave a reasonable offer, not lowballs, and if you respect them, they will respect you - unless they are indecent traders who will not get great buisness
nyhow.

4. Never retract after giving your word. This is not always avoidable, but keep it to <1% of the time. Offering and committing to a deal will always cause the other trader to reserve the item and alter his trading actions - retracting at the last minute causes potential losses and other resultant confusion with others the trader had to inform due to your committing. It is very, very enraging and hateful and often viewed as a sign of uncertainty and lack of experience or maturity. If you do have to retract, inform early. Else if it's too late, apologize and try to assist the other in solving the situation.

5. Never treat your opinion like the bible of TF2. You have the right to believe in what you want. But you DO NOT have the right to impose it on others. If you disagree on something, try working it out - logically. If it fails, part ways nicely and move on. Arguments are useless and unnecessary no matter how righteous you feel you are.

These 5 rules are not expansive but good enough to ensure decent trade relations with others - abide by them and yours and others' trading experiences would improve greatly.
Conclusion
If you have read through all the information given in this guide, chances are you have equipped yourself fully with the essentials needed to navigate this vast ocean of trading and unusuals.

It is not the guide to richness, but the guide to help you learn to navigate the community, prevent mishaps and misfortune and try to preserve or perhaps increase your wealth.

Luck, experience, skills, advertising abilities, judgement calls amongst others are required to make you successful, and you will build that as you work your way up the unusual ladder. It is not impossible to work your way to the top - many have done it before - but it is also not hard to lose it all. Take everything with a piece of salt, tread lightly and never bet the ranch. I wish you luck in your future endeavors and may you find happiness in your trades and real life ventures!

Credits to Casty for editing spelling and grammar errors pointed out in this guide, as well as creating the sfm images for the guide.
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190 Comments
Someguy14201 Dec 23, 2016 @ 10:44am 
I got hijacked, my unusual gone.
FRESH MEMES Nov 8, 2016 @ 2:29pm 
My friend got sharked
Psykotik Oct 12, 2016 @ 9:25am 
+rep I don't plan on trading away any unusuals I have and will have but this guide really helps. :)
ThePootisMann | new pc Sep 14, 2016 @ 1:11pm 
+rep nice guide i just got a new unusual i have been trading for a long time but have never had a 1 of 1 unusual before so i am looking around trying to get any offers on it so i can find out a general price range to put it in (its a Searing Plasma Pyro's Boron Beanie)
Herhitz Sep 3, 2016 @ 12:07pm 
+rep nice guide man :D
Sellout/Spirit.tf Jul 18, 2016 @ 11:54pm 
+rep
trump is love Jul 9, 2016 @ 11:29am 
+rep
Mercato Dream Industries  [author] Jun 9, 2016 @ 8:56am 
@All thank you for the continued +rep and support! Do note that some parts (such as the Hijacks and Phishers part) are not fully up-to-date but should cover the more classic and common issues around still
A potato playing on a toaster Jun 7, 2016 @ 5:58pm 
+rep thanks for taking the time and effort to create this and help out new traders like me :3. I've been scammed once before reading this so I know how it feels to be scammed and hopefully this would help out other new traders and prevent them from getting scammed too :D
A pair of Wrangler jeans May 26, 2016 @ 1:24pm 
+rep