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View Full Version : A cautionary (ebay) tale



Ernie
07-23-2015, 10:37 AM
Unlike some, I quite like ebay, and have generally had pretty good experiences there.
I recently had a bad transaction, and since the item in question is up for auction again, I wanted to share my experience here.
On June 22, I bought a Kamaka Tiki Concert (the auction can be found under completed listings). I sent payment right away, as well as a "thanks for the auction" note to the seller, along with requests for careful packing of the ukulele. Several days later I had still not heard anything from the seller and wrote to them again, with the same message. Still no confirmation or any communication of any kind. Finally, I wrote to ask why the uke hadn't shipped, and I finally got a reply, simply stating that they shipped their items out once a week, and giving me the ship date (which happened to be after the estimated delivery date from ebay). When it did arrive, it was intact (which is a miracle, because the packing was woefully inadequate), but the condition was not as the seller described it: "Two Hairline Cracks Back in Back upper Left Side of Ukulele , also has some Fret wear from age". In fact the uke has 6 cracks, at least one of which could not be described as hairline. I wrote to the seller, and they said to send it back, which I did (in a bigger, better box, with much more packing material, and insurance). They never acknowledged receipt, and didn't reply to two requests for my refund (even after they had RE-LISTED the uke on ebay!). Eventually, I had to open a case, and let the wheels of ebay turn, while I waited. I just received my refund. Fortunately, I took pics of the cracks,and documented everything- shipped the uke back with insurance, and a tracking #... I lost out on the return shipping, which I don't think is right, considering the item was not as described. Even in the new listing, they've amended the description to THREE cracks, rather than six. They have a style 3K for sale now, too. It looks sweet, but just know who you're dealing with.

39ford
07-23-2015, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the fair warning. It helps us all when a good or bad experience is noted. The seller seems to have a knack for collecting negative feedback. It pays to ask a lot of questions in advance when the seller ratings are suspect as in the case of this seller.

sam13
07-23-2015, 11:08 AM
Personally I would want to have a higher satisfactory rating to buy from eBay.

Is there a way to flag sellers you would like to avoid on eBay within your own account?

Ernie
07-23-2015, 11:42 AM
Well, in my defense- their seller rating was a little higher before I left my feedback. 8^)
I wish you could flag questionable sellers, and even filter them from your search results! (Maybe you can, and I just don't know about it)

Booli
07-23-2015, 11:47 AM
I always message the seller before bidding. If they don’t reply within 48 hrs, I move on, and figure that they don’t care to do business in a timely manner. I see this neglect as a harbinger of doom for any transaction that will follow. "Run away, Will Robinson, RUN AWAY!"

A few times though, I've wanted something really badly, and bid anyway (actually a Buy-it-now sale), but only if the seller has 97% or higher feedback rating, and more than 1000 total feedback score, otherwise, for my money, the risk is too great.

In my early days of using eBay, I got burned too many times and learned my lesson well. Fortunately when I got burned it was not more than $100 at risk, and simply not worth my time to file the claims and chase eBay and Paypal to get my money back.

Sadly, some folks on eBay are crooks, blind, ignorant of how to compose a proper description that matches REALITY, and you need to be vigilant, unless you enjoy the risk factor (some eBay buyers find it exciting to 'roll the dice' and embrace the chaos). Not me. :)

Ernie
07-23-2015, 01:01 PM
Booli- I'm with you... life is infused with enough chaos already. I don't need to seek out more!

Mattyukaholic
07-23-2015, 01:11 PM
Thanks for letting us know Ernie. I had that one on my watch list!

Walker78
07-23-2015, 01:13 PM
Sounds like a common occurance on eBay, people who know nothing about musical instruments failing to describe the item properly. I've been lucky a couple of times and the uke has been better than described, but more often it's the same old story, luckily ebays buyer protection policy is there

Patrick Madsen
07-23-2015, 01:15 PM
Couldn't you post a question in the question box to the seller box stating this is the same uke you sent back and why they were posting three cracks when it actually has six?

k0k0peli
07-23-2015, 01:20 PM
I had a recent eBay transaction similar to the OP's (re: a 'painting') that fortunately was resolved with a full refund. But I wish I could leave feedback pinpointing the seller's dishonesty.


I always message the seller before bidding. If they donít reply within 48 hrs, I move on, and figure that they donít care to do business in a timely manner. I see this neglect as a harbinger of doom for any transaction that will follow. "Run away, Will Robinson, RUN AWAY!" Indeed. I always ask a question before bidding on auctions or plonking-down my effectivo (cash) on a buy-it-now, and I always answer all questions when selling. Establishing communications really does ease the process. And I've handled some returns and complaints such that the buyers returned for more business. Honesty *is* the best policy!


Sadly, some folks on eBay are crooks, blind, ignorant of how to compose a proper description that matches REALITY, and you need to be vigilant, unless you enjoy the risk factor (some eBay buyers find it exciting to 'roll the dice' and embrace the chaos). Not me. :) Some are crooks and some are just not knowledgeable. I hold eBay stores and dealers to a higher standard than 'civilians'. When I was dealing lenses I happily sought out listings by folks who didn't know what they had. Thus I got a Sears-branded M42 Tomioka-made 55/1.4 prime for US$2.25 and later sold it for US$225.00. That certainly compensates for some of the dogs I overpaid for. ;)

Doc_J
07-23-2015, 01:22 PM
Thanks for warning Ernie.

Overall I find eBay is pretty fair. I recently bought vintage 50s Martin tenor on eBay. Turns out it was from the 60s or later and the back had been refinished with thick glossy lacquer (not mentioned in the listing ). :( I was surprised because it was listed by a very reputable brick-and-mortar instrument store. But I clicked on the "not as described" button, sent pics, and asked to return it. Within hours the seller agreed to take it back and sent me a prepaid shipping label. That seems like a fair resolution. I think the seller was honest, but ill-informed. I wasn't permitted to give feedback on the transaction.

uuuuu
07-23-2015, 02:36 PM
mahalo for heads up, I have done wonderfully on ebay with ukes but it is buyer beware, measure twice, cut once country - the 3m in question by the same seller was on my watch list until despite their description of 'no cracks, i noticed what appeared to be small crack or separations in one photo

strawman_special
07-24-2015, 09:28 AM
It is worth bearing in mind that the seller might (a) know nothing about musical instruments or (b) know a little. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing! I always ask simple and straightforward questions and if the seller answers fully it tells me that they are happy to give you the knowledge to help you decide to bid for their item, and that they are probably a good person to deal with if they take the time to check out what you ask of them. I now have a rule where I have to see the uke pics taken from all angles else I will not bid. The taropatch with the badly repaired stab wound that I didn't see until I unwrapped it taught me that. Caveat emptor.

pahu
07-24-2015, 09:34 AM
If this is the Honolulu Seller, I have had communication issues before. They either ignore questions, or if it involves some effort, give a quasi-response.
That Tiki WAS on my watch list also-thanks for the heads-up. They occasionally auction some rare pieces(non-musical as well)

Jeffelele
07-24-2015, 12:42 PM
Nice thread title!

Jeff