FAQ

General DCA Questions

  1. How do I get in contact with DCA?
  2. What are DCA's office hours?
  3. Can I visit DCA's facilities?
  4. Does DCA attend toy conventions?
  5. Does DCA have a newsletter that I can sign up for?
  6. Why are the packages delivered to a holding facility and not the DCA facilities?
  7. If I will be in Georgia, can I arrange to have someone pick up my submission from me?

General Grading Questions

  1. What is over-grading?
  2. What are the benefits of buying a graded item?
  3. What are the benefits of selling a graded item?
  4. How do I figure out my grading cost?
  5. How do I figure out which tier my custom item goes under?

What We Grade Questions

  1. Do you grade items that are not on your list?
  2. Do you grade other toys?
  3. Do you grade loose vehicles?
  4. Do you grade packaged toys that are not sealed?

DCA Case Questions

  1. Is the DCA Case UV-Resistant?
  2. Why is the DCA case sealed everywhere except the back?

Grading Scale Questions

  1. How does an autograph affect the grade?
  2. How do the subgrades effect an item's overall grade?
  3. Do price stickers lower the grade of an item?
  4. What percentage of items receive each grade?

Grading Cost and Submission Questions

  1. What does it cost to get my items graded?
  2. How do I safely ship my items?
  3. Can I drop items off directly at DCA’s facilities?
  4. What guarantees and rights do I have as an DCA customer?
  5. What If I need it back fast?
  6. Do you offer volume discounts?
  7. Can I use one invoice to submit items in different service tiers?
  8. Can DCA determine the value of my items?
  9. What methods of payments are accepted?
  10. If I purchase and item on eBay, may I have the item sent directly to your facilities?

Current Submissions Questions

  1. Will DCA send me an email when you receive my submission?
  2. What if my items gets damaged on its way to DCA?
  3. How fast will I get my graded items back?
  4. How will I know when my graded items have shipped back to me?
  5. When does my turnaround time start?
  6. What happens to packages held by Customs Officials and Brokerage Companies?
  7. How do I know that my package is being held by Customs?
  8. How long will it take for Customs to release my package(s)?

Using the Online Submission Form Questions

  1. Do I need to print out the Online Submission packet?
  2. Can I use my Submission number to check the status of my items?
  3. What if the options I select on the submission form change while I am updating my information?
  4. What if I select the wrong tier?

Third Party Reference for eBay and PayPal Disputes

  1. Can I use DCA as a Third Party Reference in an eBay or PayPal dispute to verify the condition of an item that was purchased?
  2. What are the steps in the condition verification process?
  3. How long does this process take?
  4. How much does this service cost?
  5. Do I need to fill out a submission packet for this service?



Answers to General DCA Questions

How do I get in contact with DCA?
Visit our contact page. You will be able to send us an email, call us, or write to us.

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What are DCA's office hours?
DCA's hours are Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm eastern standard time.

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Can I visit DCA's facilities?
No, for security purposes DCA's location is kept secret and no customers may visit the facility.

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Does DCA attend toy conventions?
Yes, DCA attends many conventions each year and often offers convention specials or on-site grading. Visit our events page frequently for updates or sign up for our newsletter.

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Does DCA have a newsletter that I can sign up for?
Yes, DCA does have a free email newsletter. Your information is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. When you sign up you also receive an account for the DCA site that will allow you to have access to the graded records. Click here to register.

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Why are the packages delivered to a holding facility and not the DCA facilities?
Because our facilities are not always open and our location is secret, we have all of the items sent a location that has extended hours. We pick up the shipments daily from this location. The holding facility is very safe and packages are only delivered when they are open.

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If I will be in Georgia, can I arrange to have someone pick up my submission from me?
Depending on the availability of our staff, we may be able to arrange to have someone meet with you. There will be an additional charge for this service. Things of this nature are handled on a case by case basis, so please contact us directly regarding your specific needs.

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Answers to General Grading Questions

What is over-grading?
When an item is given a higher grade than it deserves. Either purposely or accidentally, overlooking certain flaws in an item to misrepresent its true condition. E.g. a seller assigns a mint grade to an item when in actuality it is in excellent condition. Over-grading occurs because:
  • sellers are uneducated to grade definitions.
  • flaws are missed or purposely overlooked.
  • to take advantage of the unsuspecting collector
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What are the benefits of buying a graded item?
You gain the confidence that what you are buying has been properly graded by a professional.  You can have the peace of mind that a graded item is tamper free and know what you are getting.  With DCA there are no surprises!

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What are the benefits of selling a graded item?
Graded items will normally sell for much higher prices than un-graded item.  You will be able to sell graded items faster and easier through the mail and internet.

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How do I figure out my grading cost?
The cost of grading depends heavily on the items fair market value, the turnaround time selected, as well as the method of grading selected (loose, boxed, and carded). Please visit the Pricing Tiers page for information on determining what tier best fits your needs.

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How do I figure out which tier my custom item goes under?
Custom pieces should be submitted based on their size (length + width + height). After calculating the sum measurements for all three sides, the proper custom category should be selected (1-6). Your cost is then dependent upon the value of your piece (value thresholds are listed under the tier names on the pricing pages) and the turnaround time you desire (turnarounds also listed under the tier names).

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Answers to What We Grade Questions

Do you grade items that are not on your list?
We grade almost all die-cast items. Most standard-size items fall under our Modern and Vintage Categories depending on whether they were produced before or after 1990. Other non-standard-size items fall under our Custom Categories.

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Do you grade other toys?
Currently we grade virtually all packaged die-cast vehicles and related items. We also grade action figures under our division AFA and dolls under our division CDA.

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Do you grade loose vehicles?
Yes, we only grade loose Star Wars die-cast vehicles.

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Do you grade packaged toys that are not sealed?
DCA will grade certain items which never came factory sealed, provided the items are in new and unused condition. DCA can also grade boxed items that are no longer factory sealed (i.e. the tape has been broken or come loose) as long as the boxed item has an interior sealed bubble and all the contents (paperwork) are stilled sealed in their bags.  


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Answers to DCA Case Questions

Is the DCA Case UV-Resistant?
Standard DCA cases are slightly UV-resistant. They will also protect your items by sealing them in hard acrylic to keep them in the same condition as when they were graded. They will not be touched by human hands and the hard acrylic prevents it from sustaining any additional creases, bubble dings, or other damage.

In addition, 99% UV-Resistant acrylic cases are available for extra light protection. You can pay a fee to upgrade your case to the 99% UV Resistant acrylic or you can submit your items under the archival tier, which includes UV-resistant acrylic. For more information on UV-Resistant cases, click here.

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Why is the DCA case sealed everywhere except the back?
The acrylic case is sealed on all sides except for a slight opening at the back of the case at the bottom. We do not seal this edge to allow for air circulation inside the case. If we did not allow for this air circulation, the case would be subject to a "Terrarium" effect. In other words, depending on the temperature, the inside of the case could start to sweat.  The unsealed edge alleviates this possibility. The acrylic cases are still considered sealed and the contents cannot be tampered with without being broken open.

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Answers to Grading Scale Questions

How does an autograph affect the grade?
Regardless of authenticity, an autograph is considered a flaw and the grade will be limited to 70. For those who collect DCA items and feel that the grade of 70 will somehow devalue the collectible, we can case the item without including the grade; the same rates will apply. Case Only service is available for signed items only.

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How do the subgrades effect an item's overall grade?
The overall grade is not really an average of the subgrades.  In actuality, the subgrades point to where the greatest flaws are, i.e. what has gone into determining the overall grade.  Sub-grades are used to better illustrate the overall grade an item receives. They are not averaged to determine the main grade. They are meant to further inform the buyer about the weakest and strongest points of the overall grade. (For example, a DCA 80 item can have sub-grades of C80, B85, V85 showing the card as the weakest point which caused the overall grade to be an 80. A DCA 85 can have the exact same sub-grades, but in this particular case, the card flaws which justify the 80 card grade do not justify an overall grade of 80. They do however show a buyer that the card is lower than average for an 85 and is the weakest of the 3 aspects of the item.)

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Do price stickers lower the grade of an item?
Price stickers are generally not considered major flaws, but only become a factor if curling, tearing, staining, picking, etc. of the sticker has occurred.  The location of the sticker is also a factor, though most are placed in an area such as a corner that does not detract from the overall appearance of the card.  Basically, the condition of the sticker factors into the card subgrade, and from there into the overall grade of the piece.

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Answers to Grading Cost and Submission Questions

What does it cost to get my items graded?
That depends on the item(s) that you are having graded and how fast you need them to be returned to you. Please see our pricing tiers for all our services and prices.

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How do I safely ship my items?
Please refer to our packing and shipping instructions.

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Can I drop my submission off directly at DCA’s facilities?
No.  To insure security and confidentiality DCA's facilities are restricted. 

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What guarantees and rights do I have as an DCA customer?
Every customer is treated equally and courteously at all times regardless of the size of your business.  Your questions and comments are a priority with us.  For more detail contact us.

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What If I need it back fast?
Our Archival Tier has a turnaround time (received at DCA until shipped from DCA) of 1-3 business days. Our Premium Tier has a turnaround time of 3-4 business days.

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Do you offer volume discounts?
We do offer volume discounts if you submit 25 or more items and even a larger discount if you submit 50 or more. Check out our Pricing Tiers page for exact prices. Also, we offer dealer rates to dealers who will submit at least 100 items per month. If you are a dealer who can submit this many items consistently each month, contact us at info@diecastgrader.com.

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Can I use one invoice to submit items in different service tiers?
Yes. You just need to divide your items into groups by turnaround time and list them on the Submission List pages of the Submission Form. You can make additional copies of these pages if you have many different groups to submit. Please be aware that you will have to pay shipping costs for each shipment that is returned to you. Click here to download the submission form.

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Can DCA determine the value of my items?
No.  We are only issuing an opinion on the condition of your items.  The actual market will determine the value of your item. We recommend visiting eBay to research the market values.

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What methods of payments are accepted?
We accept payments in the form of Credit Card (American Express, Discover, Visa, and Master Card), Personal Check, Money Order and Cashier’s Check. (International customers may only pay via Credit Card.)

***If payment is made by check and it is found that your account has insufficient funds, a fee of $25 will be added to your overall total and you will be required to pay the remaining amount via Credit Card, Money Order or Cashier’s Check only.

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If I purchase and item on eBay, may I have the item sent directly to your facilities?
We only extend this offer to our International customers to assist in lowering shipping cost.

In order to have this done, you must first contact us letting us know that the item(s) are being directly sent to us in your name. The package(s) being sent must have a note stating that it is for you and you must send the submission packet in its entirety to us via fax before the item is set to arrive.

If continuous problems arise and our guidelines are not followed specifically, we will have to discontinue the service being extended.

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Answers to Current Submissions Questions

>Will DCA send me an email when you receive my submission?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation email when you submission is processed.

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What if my items get damaged on their way to DCA?
You will only be contacted if the box that you send your items in appears damaged upon its arrival at DCA. If it is determined that an item was damaged during its shipping to DCA, you will be notified via email to discuss what your options are regarding the possibly damaged item.

Items rarely get damaged on their way to DCA, especially if you package your submission with caution using correct materials. For more information on our suggested packaging techniques, click here.

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How fast will I get my graded items back?
The turnaround time depends on what type of item you submitted and what tier you chose. For turnaround times visit our Pricing Tiers page. Please keep in mind that turnaround times are estimated and the grading period does not begin until your payment is processed.

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How will I know when my graded items have shipped back to me?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation email when your graded items are shipped back to you. Please be aware that the email may come from the FedEx software, not from info@diecastgrader.com.

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When does my turnaround time start?
Turnaround times start once your submission is processed for payment. Submissions are received at an off-site location that is staffed 7 days a week.  They arrive at our grading facility within 3 business days.   They are put into our receiving department where they are inspected.  Finally, your submission is processed in our front office and your invoice is created and a notification email sent to you.  We try to process all submissions within 5 business days of their arrival at our facility. 

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What happens to packages held by Customs Officials and Brokerage Companies?
In order to have any packages that are being retained by Customs/Brokerage Companies released, our company must agree to pay a fee that is specified by the company that is withholding the package(s). This fee will be passed on to you, our customers in addition to a $35 fee from DCA. This fee will be charged in full once your submission is received in our offices.

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How do I know that my package is being held by Customs?
Using the tracking or customs number that is assigned to your package, you may check to see if the package(s) have cleared US Customs.

DCA has no affiliation with the US Customs department and cannot control when package(s) are released.

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How long will it take for Customs to release my package(s)?
Though there is no specified length of time that items must stay within the Customs facilities, we have found that it may take up to 14 business days for the items to arrive once they are released.

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Using the Online Submission Form Questions



Do I need to print out the Online Submission packet?
Yes, as the data is not electronically submitted to our facilities.

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Can I use my Submission number to check the status of my items?
No. You may only check the status of your submission by using the DCA invoice number and/or your First and Last name.

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What if the options I select on the submission form change while I am updating my information?
Once you make a change, be sure to select Save Changes before moving on.

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What if I select the wrong tier?
Someone will contact you regarding the necessary changes only if you have under charged yourself more than $20. If you have overcharged yourself, then you will only be charged the correct amount.

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Third Party Reference for eBay and PayPal Disputes

Can I use DCA as a Third Party Reference in an eBay or PayPal dispute to verify the condition of an item that was purchased?
Yes, DCA offers condition verification as a third party source to assist buyers in eBay and Paypal disputes.

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What are the steps in the condition verification process?
The item will be reviewed by the Graders with all flaws and/or reasons for refusals noted. This information will be provided on DCA letter head and signed by the proper authorities. Once this is complete, the letter and item will then be shipped back to you.

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How long does this process take?
Because we understand that you will need this information back within a timely fashion, the process will only take 1-2 business days.

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How much does this service cost?
The price for all items submitted under this service is $25.00 plus return shipping and insurance.

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Do I need to fill out a submission packet for this service?
Yes, as we keep track of all items submitted by our customers.

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