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EBay slippery selling

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FatmanG

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Top of the morning to you or bon soir if your too far away to hear my wife's snoring :D I wanted to mention how slippery how some ebay sellers are. I'm looking out specifically for a hand router plane no.71 or like so I'm trawling though listing after listing day after day. The amount of sellers who are now hiding behind take a look at the photos as it forms the description. In other words the depth stop is missing or that welding seam hidden by the sunlight means that you have no chance of returning this plane or getting a refund even though its not fit for scrap. I only went back to ebay after 15years or so to try and find tools the sad thing is ebay hasn't changed one bit. In fact its worse than ever now there's protection for dodgyness with you have to wait 7 days to leave negative feedback! Staggering. Dick Turpin set up ebay I reckon or one from his bloodline :(
 

Sideways

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Ask the seller a direct question. Any damage and any parts missing? If they don't answer don't buy.
I find ebay favours the buyer. Most of their sales are now businesses to consumer and their priority is to instill confidence in the buyer and keep you coming back.
I totally understand where you're coming from - some people offer things up as MINT that look like they're done 10 rounds in the ring - but it's far more stressful selling on ebay than buying IMO.
 

Chris152

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Sideways":lnvz1hj4 said:
Ask the seller a direct question. Any damage and any parts missing? If they don't answer don't buy.
Agree completely - I'm trying to buy a used car at the moment which'll probably involve travelling significant distances to view before buying, if I buy via ebay. Can't believe the gibberish some people come up with in their efforts to avoid accurately describing condition. Needless to say, I give up asking and don't bother going to view.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Router planes are a bit of an oddity among tools because Paul Sellers sung their praises. Since then, prices have been high for good examples, and even less than perfect ones are priced by the sellers accordingly. The price of Stanley and Record bench planes also went up noticably after he recommended them as the most cost-effective way to obtain a decent plane. Sellers also mentioned a while ago that he regarded Groves saws as among the best he'd used; their prices shot up, too. (Groves saws are good, but they're not three times better than a whole raft of other Sheffield makers.)

I suspect that this reflects the nature of the vintage hand tool market; supply is finite, and demand has increased a bit since the advent of the internet hand-tool guru.

It's also an inevitability that vintage tools will, for the most part, have won a few battle scars over the decades - and that's not the seller's fault, they're just offering what there is, in an 'as is' condition. I found when going through a saw-buying phase a few years ago that about 50% were duds (blades not quite straight enough, usually), but I took the view that as I was only paying about £10 a pop including postage, assembling a set of working vintage saws for the equivalent of £20 each was still a lot more cost-effective than buying new ones. Had I been willing to pay more for each purchase, the dud rate would have dropped. Yer pays yer money ...

I think you have to approach Ebay with a slightly fatalistic attitude. Over the course of a couple of years, you'll snag a few absolute bargains, and you'll also be lumbered with a few pigs in pokes. Most acquisitions will require at least a clean and sharpen, and possibly a lot more tlc to give a good working tool. If you want something that needs minimal work then buying from a dealer who knows what they're selling, or looking for pristine examples and being prepared to pay the higher price, may be a better approach.

It's a disappointment to snag a dud. However, if the seller has provided a good set of photos, it's up to the buyer to look and decide whether the risk is worth it. Bear in mind that some sellers may not know a router from a rebate plane, just offer what they have in their hand in good faith. The risk can be cut by researching sellers and only buying from the ones who clearly know what they're selling and give honest and full descriptions - but you'll have to pay the premium.

Your choice. If you want risk-free buying, stick to new stuff from reputable retailers. Anything vintage is a bit of a gamble.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I'm not so sure about ebay being pro buyer. We got caught out twice, and got no help from either ebay or PayPal. We scrapped our PayPal account because of it.
 

Eric The Viking

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phil.p":21h3wfv5 said:
I'm not so sure about ebay being pro buyer. We got caught out twice, and got no help from either ebay or PayPal. We scrapped our PayPal account because of it.
Same here - about 10 years ago I got ripped off by a buyer in Eire. It turned out to be a known scam and PayPal wouldn't even reply. They did, however, ensure they lost nothing by refunding the buyer, and emptying my PP account in 'penalty charges'. Haven't used PP since (and won't).

Basically the buyer filed a non-receipt claim with PayPal, only about 24h after I'd told them I'd shipped - they didn't communicate with ebay itself. PP did no investigation whatsoever. I thought the problem was genuine initially and sent a replacement unit too, and then got hit with a refund (plus admin charges). The "buyer" got two units for less than nothing.

In eBay's case they once sent me a security camera, from a firm in Seattle, when I had actually bought trainers for my wife from Florida. I tracked down the original seller via the packaging labels and we communicated, but I couldn't find an economic way to get the thing back to them, and eBay weren't interested. My wife never got the trainers. This was eBay's international shipping service out of Minneapolis, IIRC. I still have the camera, hoping one day to have a use for it, but it's too specialist really... and NTSC analogue.

It's really sad, as in the past I have bought very expensive test gear, shipped from Alaska, and before ebay even existed, a specialist underwater flashgun from San Diego, paid for with travellers' cheques sent by post!

I am extremely cautious nowadays, and I'd mention you might even get a better price just by contacting the seller directly. If they are genuine they probably won't mind. If you can't find name+address, steer clear.
 

Irish Rover

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Absolute rubbish. What a load of grumpy old man generalisations. Good Sellers and bad Sellers.
Equally good buyers and bad buyers.

Caveat Emptor

Don't be lazy. Ask questions, the answers also form part of the sale.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Irish Rover":mspryc2h said:
Absolute rubbish. What a load of grumpy old man generalisations. Good Sellers and bad Sellers.
Equally good buyers and bad buyers.

Caveat Emptor

Don't be lazy. Ask questions, the answers also form part of the sale.
What you call "grumpy old man generalisations" I call "experience".

And a bit less of the "old", if you don't mind!
 

MikeJhn

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Never had a problem with e-bay or PayPal that was not resolved in accordance with their terms and conditions, it suggests to me that if you have/had a problem it's probably because you bought unwisely or did not act in accordance with either terms and conditions.

Saying that I have just ordered a tool from Poland, not holding my breath on that one. #-o
 
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Completely agree about asking questions, but some sellers can take days to respond (if at all) and you might lose it.
 

Irish Rover

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transatlantic":2jsozzka said:
Completely agree about asking questions, but some sellers can take days to respond (if at all) and you might lose it.
Then you haven’t lost anything, you’ve dodged a potential bullet.

If I don’t receive acceptable answers, or sometimes if I don’t like the sound of the answer, I move on.

Caveat Emptor
 
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Irish Rover":wcv37lrg said:
transatlantic":wcv37lrg said:
Completely agree about asking questions, but some sellers can take days to respond (if at all) and you might lose it.
Then you haven’t lost anything, you’ve dodged a potential bullet.

If I don’t receive acceptable answers, or sometimes if I don’t like the sound of the answer, I move on.

Caveat Emptor
Sure - but if it's something quite specific that doesn't come along very often you have to be quick.
 

julianf

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Years ago I used to buy the same bit of electronics for modification / restoration / resale again and again on eBay.

Because I knew what I was doing I didn't care too much what condition they turned up in, as they were to be stripped and rebuilt regardless.

We are talking £1k ish purchases.

I remember, just once, one turned up in the condition that it was described....
 

Irish Rover

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transatlantic":1uwemt0o said:
Sure - but if it's something quite specific that doesn't come along very often you have to be quick.
Agreed. But in that scenario you probably aren't too worried about condition?

In which case the original comment on this thread doesn't apply as much.

If you are worried about condition, then all the usual caveats apply. The onus is on the buyer to do due diligence.
 

ED65

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FatmanG, and anyone else of a similar opinion about eBay (which I largely share), I have three words for you: Gumtree, Gumtree and Gumtree.

I've been collecting a list of bargains on Gumtree for some years now, just to sort of get a feel for the market but also to help out occasionally here, and I couldn't tell you the number of absolutely stonking bargains I've seen. And that includes examples of things that have skyrocketed in price in recent years such as routers, shoulder planes and grooving planes.

While you can of course get the occasional bargain that slips through the cracks on eBay you never have the opportunity to have the thing in your hands before you fork over your hard-earned, which I happen to think is invaluable. As I and others have commented on previously: even large, clear, photos taken by sellers who have no intention to mislead can still make it impossible to spot certain condition issues. I've missed cracks in plane castings with the thing right in front of me, in daylight; imagine how easy it is to not spot them in photos.
 

whatknot

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As with most things in life, there are good and bad people

And with any selling platform there are good & bad sellers and buyers

The problem is the distance involved very often with ebay

And yes its heavily weighted in the buyers favour (very heavily)

As a buyer I have had no problems, or at least no problems that were not sorted out quickly and easily, more often when a fault is found, breakage or breakdown the seller credits without a qualm

But as a seller I have been ripped off a few times , in full knowledge I have done all I can to be honest in description and photos

As someone else said, Gumtree is an option, mostly local buyers and sellers, likewise Preloved and Shpock, facebook marketplace is another

I have also bought at a distance from Gumtree, Preloved & Shpock with no problems

But don't tar all sellers as bad or "slippery"

If you ask sufficient questions you should not have a problem, certainly not as a buyer
 

TFrench

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I sell a lot on eBay and it's a nightmare. All that rubbish about photos being the description is rubbish - it's distance selling so you're covered by that. I've been selling Mahr millimess comparator gauges for £30 including postage. Dread to think what they are new from Mahr. Had several people come up with made up "faults" and all you can do is either give them money off or pay for it to be returned to you. Just have to add them to your blocked buyer list and suck it up. Gumtree and Facebook are great, but they don't get the traffic of eBay and everyone thinks they can offer half price and get it.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

RogerS

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Eric The Viking":1gzkp08q said:
.....They did, however, ensure they lost nothing by refunding the buyer, and emptying my PP account in 'penalty charges'. .....
That is SO easy to prevent.

1) Do not put a credit card on your PayPal account
2) Open a new bank account and refuse the offer of any overdraft.
3) Link your PayPal account to it.
3) Keep £0.10 in it at all times.

If you sell something on eBay, as soon as the money is in your PayPal account, immediately move it into this bank account. Then immediately move that money from that bank account to A N Other. If PayPal want to raid your account then the max they will get is £0.10.
 

RogerS

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transatlantic":2f7q29jw said:
Irish Rover":2f7q29jw said:
transatlantic":2f7q29jw said:
Completely agree about asking questions, but some sellers can take days to respond (if at all) and you might lose it.
Then you haven’t lost anything, you’ve dodged a potential bullet.

If I don’t receive acceptable answers, or sometimes if I don’t like the sound of the answer, I move on.

Caveat Emptor
Sure - but if it's something quite specific that doesn't come along very often you have to be quick.
But it is still Caveat Emptor. Pause and think....if it is that rare then (a) does it really exist (b) is it kosher (c) decent quality. No answers - walk away. Or suck it up if it goes pear-shaped.
 
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