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3 eBay lessons learned in 1 transaction

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by malthumb, Feb 17, 2005.

  1. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I learned 3 eBay lessons this week. Actually, two of 'em I already knew better, the other was a real learning.

    LESSON 1: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
    A Crown Xs500 for $315 is a steal. Unfortunately, if you're not paying attention, the only thing that gets stolen is the buyer's money.

    LESSON 2: Stay away from sellers with single digit and/or negative feedback
    The reason the price on the Crown was so low was possibly because the seller had single digit feedback, including 1 negative. Alarms shoulda been going off.

    LESSON 3: If you pay by money order or cashiers check, spend the extra few bucks to send Certified Mail; Signature Required
    Because I chose to do so, I was able to contact both the sending and receiving post offices with the registered number and prevent my money order from being delivered, let alone cashed.

    The way I found out the "sale" was bogus was a couple hours after I had mailed the Money Order and emailed the seller that I had done so (4th learning, maybe?) I went into My eBay to check the status on a couple auctions I was tracking. I would normally expect to still see the listing for "Items You Have Won" but there was nothing there. I did a search on the auction number and it had been removed. I immediately contacted both post offices and explained the situation. Later that evening I received an email from the "seller" explaining that he had had an electrical fire in his basement where the amp was being kept and chose to cancel the auction rather than ship defective product. :rolleyes: He said he would simply mail my payment back to me. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Glad I was able to yank that one back.


  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Paging Dr Lindfield, Dr Lindfield, you are required in theater 1, stat.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Wow.....what a freakin' moron...the seller that is.

    I follow those guidelines also. Good for you to mention them for those who do not.

  4. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Well, I'm personally a low activity person on eBay (Slimeswapper), will this affect me when I try to sell my Technics dual cassette deck?

    I mean, I only have like a 2 feedback so does this mean I'm going to be blackballed when I try to sell some stuff online? The wife's been bugging me to sell the ole dual cassette deck and the ole Sony 8mm camcorder we bought in '98, but if no one's going to bid then what's the point?

    Any help from you eBay guru types?
  5. Every has to start somewhere... I currently have single digit feedback, but only because I'm not a high volume seller. Having said that I have started by selling some CD's that I no longer wanted. That way the buyer is getting something at a really low cost (I don't set a reserve) so their risk is relatively low. If I show that I can handle simple, cheap and quick deals well where it's easy to package and handle the goods then I hope I get good feedback which will stand me in good stead when/if I ever wanted to sell something bigger.

    Caveat emptor though... Sorry you've had a bad experience.
  6. lownotes02


    Jan 19, 2005
    Melbourne, Fl
    If they accept paypal and you have a credit card, arent you pretty much bulletproof between the two?
  7. darkspec


    Jan 2, 2003
    Cleveland Ohio
    The best way to get around having single digit feedback and selling is just by being a good seller. Leave a msg in the auction stating that you know people are weary of single digit feedback and invite them to e-mail you about any questions they have or anything. I've bought off alot of single digit feedback people, I ussally contact them and get more information like a phone number and stuff before I send the money or anything.

    Even had one guy that was so nice he sent me like 5 XboX games before I sent him the cash.

    And dont forget, its a 2 way street also, if people with 0 zero feedback are bidding on your stuff, check them out also.
  8. Ooh... And Paypal is also a dead good way to guard against people not sending money. I always wait until I get notification that the buyer has paid me before shipping.

    I thought Ebay had payment protection for buyers and sellers now? They certainly seem to have made life tougher for bad sellers.
  9. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    But as a buyer, is Paypal any type of additional security against deadbeat sellers? If you make a payment, and the seller doesn't send the item, is there anything you can do?
  10. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    MKS pretty much hit it on the head. The biggest risk is buying a big ticket item from someone with little feedback or some negative feedback. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a $10 CD from someone with only a little feedback. I should've known better than to buy a $300 amp from someone with little feedback.

    Probably the best way to gain positive feedback is to make little purchases here and there.

    Paypal is probably the best way to manage any significant purchase.


  11. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    LESSON 2: Stay away from sellers with single digit and/or negative feedback

    I can definately understand staying away from a seller with negative feedback. I'd do the same.

    You saying to stay away from a seller with single digit feedback like they're all bad is wrong. I'm slightly offended by that comment.

    I'm a new seller on ebay and my feedback is only in the single digits. Just because someone has single digits doesnt mean they're going to rip you or anyone else off.

    I tell the buyer that I accept paypal, money orders, and personal checks and that if they send a money order or personal check to send it via certified mail. This should help to ease any worries they may have.

    I wont give them my phone number, because frankly they dont need to know it. I also request that they notify me once they mail the money order/check. Once I recieve it, I'll ship it and email them who and where it was shipped to, how it was shipped, expected arival date, and the tracking number.
  12. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City

    See my post immediately before yours. I would (and have) buy small items from someone with very little feedback. I will sell small items to someone with very little feedback. I will not (again) buy or sell anything of significant value in a transaction with a low feedback eBayer. I might consider it with Paypal. If the seller has a significant internet presence somewhere else, I'd consider it. Since I "know" you from TB, I wouldn't have a problem dealing with you. If I didn't know you from TB and you were auctioning a CD or a book, I'd take the chance. If I didn't know you from TB and you were auctioning a bass or an amp, I wouldn't take the chance. That's just the way it is.


  13. Kelly Lee

    Kelly Lee Yeah, I'm a guy! Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Marana, AZ, USA
    I guess for the most part I (kellythebassman) must be a trusting soul. I bought a $250 item off Ebay from a guy with zero feedback. I guess I'm also a lucky guy. I have yet to have a bad transaction through Ebay.

    Definately check out the seller and talk with them. You can get a feel for someone pretty quick most of the time. Remember, if it doesn't feel "right" wait for the next one. There is always another one!

    As for Paypal, they updated their Buyer Protection:

    Currency of Original PayPal Payment
    Maximum Coverage Amount

    U.S. Dollars $1,000.00 USD
    Canadian Dollars $1,250.00 CAD
    Euros €400.00 EUR
    Pounds Sterling £500.00 GBP
    Australian Dollar $1,500.00 AUD
  14. Another EBay tip:

    Before purchasing an expensive item, question the seller about how it will be packaged and shipped. The shipping insurance is worthless if it was not packaged properly. A previously used box invalidates the insurance. The box must be rated for the weight of the item. "Shipped in the original box" is not good enough because it is not necessarily appropriate for shipping. The internal packing must be appropriate.

    In short, the packaging of the item must be nearly perfect for the insurance to be valid. When you receive an expensive item, take pictures before opening, immediately after opening (before removing any contents) and as you are remove the contents. This way, you'll have all the evidence necessary to make an irrefutable claim.

    When questioning the seller, if they aren't willing to package it in all new boxes, consider walking away from it or offer to pay for the additional cost.

    One other thing, if there is damage during shipping and the claim is successful, the money usually goes to the shipper, not the recipient. You have to get the money from them.

    kinda makes you not want to buy anything expensive.
  15. If you bought something from the local newspaper then you might be able to go around and have a look first / arrange a mutually agreeable place to meet and exchange goods / money. With ebay you might be dealing with someone completely the other end of the country so you're relying on them being able to ship big things in a safe way. Personally if it can't fit in a jiffy bag or arrange for the buyer to collect then I'm not selling it on ebay. It's just too much of a worry for the buyer and the seller. I mean, you package it as best you can, give it to Big Bob's EZ Shipping to throw in the back of their van and slop it round until they reach Nowheresville and then trust that the buyer is present to receive the goods and they aren't just left on the front porch. Then you get surprised 'cos the buyer is all bent out of shape... Maybe I've just got too many scruples to conduct an important sale... ;)

    I once made a huge booboo and sent the wrong item to an ebay buyer, but a quick, preemptive email explaining what went wrong, a refund of all their post and packing coupled with not charging for sending the correct item solved the issue. I got good feedback on the back of that transaction because I had communicated the problem and solved it in a way that left the buyer happy. And I got the item back without any problem. (OK, so it was just a CD, but it was pretty embarassing!)

    There will always be some folks out there who wind up being communication black holes - just uncontactable - and for whatever reason they may not fulfill their end of the transaction. (We've seen it happen here a couple of times with the Wishbass projects in Basses Forum). It does seem though that ebay and Paypal are making it harder for these guys to do that though, by providing some course of action should things go wrong.
  16. I don't know... sometimes, I just get a "funny feeling" about an auction.

    A few weeks ago, I saw a Novation BassStation on auction. Wow. Looked great in the photo. Buyer had 0 feedback. But, I really wanted it, ya know?? ;) Okay, so I look at the guy's account. He's been an active ebay member for less than a month -- well, that would explain the 0 feedback so far, right? I look at the seller's other auctions, and lo and behold, he's selling another BassStation!! That auction ends five days after the first, 0 bids so far, and a starting price that's $200 more than the starting price on the first auction. Okay, this is seeming pretty fishy -- he even used the same exact pictures in both auctions.

    So, anyway, near the end of the auction (auction #1), I get in on the last minute bidding. I end up winning the auction for $330.00. Rather than click the [Pay Now] button to be whisked over to PayPal, I decide to wait... keeping in the back of my mind that the seller's other auction, due to finish in five days, has a -starting- price of $399...

    After two days, I get an email from this guy... turns out that he had bought the item at auction, and it worked fine when he first got it, but just as he was about to package it up, he tried plugging it in again, and it wouldn't work! He asked if I was still interested in it, non-functioning, for $330.00.

    I went back online and looked up the auction he won this item in -- turns out he paid $415.00 for it, including shipping... and, even funnier... looks like he used the other guy's pictures in (both) of his auction(s)!! Okay, so I email the guy back and say, "No.. I'm not interested in paying $330.00 for something that doesn't work." ...giving him the option to just keep the item, or offer to sell me the (now apparently broken) item for some price less than that.

    I don't hear from him again. I did keep watching the other auction, though. He got no bids until he removed the reserve ($399.00). That auction ended with the item being won, for $312 ($18 less than I had "won" it for), to another user with 0 feedback, who (are ya with me here?) lives in the same little town as the seller!! Imagine that!

    Anyway... so that's the closest I've come to a bad experience on eBay.. and, again, something just didn't seem right to me about that auction from the start.
  17. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I am a new ebay seller and a wary buyer as well. My first ebay sell was a bass I sold for like 150. The buyer contacted me after his first bid and let me know that he was concerned that I had no feedback. He wanted to know my real name so I told him, and we discussed shipping and what not. After that he was fine with it.

    I generally go by that rule as well. I like to exchange at least one e-mail with the seller before I bid on any auction where the seller has below 10 feedbacks, or below 99% feedback. If i get a prompt reply with all of my questions answered, I will generally consider the auciton to be reasonably safe. I have also avoided several bad auctions this way. I asked a few questions about a bass once and got no reply, so i didn't bid on that. I also sent an e-mail to a guy selling some truck parts with three very specific questions. The guy only answered one of the questions in his reply, and just sort of skirted around the other, so I didn't bid on that one either.

    I also was very careful with my first transaction on talkbass. I bought a jazz bass from Maurilio, but I made him call me before I sent any money. For some reason it justs makes me feel better to talk to a human.

    I also make all online transactions with my visa check card, which has some great fraud protection policies.
  18. gilbert46


    Sep 21, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Nope, this is why I dont do business with paypal anymore, its a false sense of security. Twice now ive payed and not recieved. Paypal doesnt do anything. For that matter, i qualified for the paypal class action suit, and was supposed to get part of the settlement. Where is it? good question

    paypal and ebay didnt do anything either time i got ripped off. I filled complaints, fraud and what not both times as instructed.

    My lesson with ebay - dont use is unless u have to.
    If i want something i check local listings, i go, check it out, and pay cash. If i get ripped off its my fault.

    Like ive listed one time here before, if you think ebay cares, find a phone listing. IT doesnt exist. Im sure there is a number, but its not on thier website. Basically if u get screwed, your screwed and ebay and paypal wont do anything.

    my new shopping website.


    just bought a new j-bass with barts, j-retro and a badass II new extra strings, new strap and new gigbag for $500

    too good to be true, yes, but its in my living room right now. I woulda never bought something like that on ebay without inspecting it first, because it is too good to be true.
  19. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Just an update.....

    Today I finally received the returned Certified Mail, including my original Money Order. It took a while, but either the Post Office was able to retrieve it based on my being able to provide them the tracking numbers, OR the fact that it was sent "Certified Mail; Signature Required" made the "seller" reluctant to sign for it. No real way of knowing either way, but the length of time it took to return the Certified Letter to me makes me believe the latter.

    I called in a police report to the North Decatur, Georgia, Police Department. When I told the officer the name and address in question, she said..."Let me guess. You bought music equipment over eBay. I thought we had shut this guy down." She also pointed out that the address was a third party mailbox rental center where the box owner comes to pick up mail without having to sign in or show ID. She thought it was 50/50 as to whether or not the Post Office would leave Certified Mail that was not signed for, given they really did not have a way of securing a signature. She thought that under best circumstances, the Post Office would leave a card indicating that they could come to the post office, provide ID, and sign for the letter. This would, of course, present the "seller" with a risk of being identified and arrested.

    FWIW - If you have the opportunity to deal with....
    Toris Cunigan​
    2107 N. Decatur Rd. #155​
    Decatur, GA. 30033​



  20. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    That sucks, but at least you got your money back.

    With me, I have a few little rules:

    1. If you have any questions, be very specific. Walk away if they tiptoe around them.
    2. If the price is too good to be true, ask for a picture of a very specific part of the item... i.e. the end of the fretboard "to check for wear" to see if he actually has the item in his hands.
    3. Always get a phone number.
    4. Cross yer fingers. Feedback means nothing. A lot of barely satisfied, or even neutral customers leave positive feedback in fear of retalitory feedback.