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A Heads Up On Fleabay's Policies
Old 03-18-2011   #1
Steve M.
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A Heads Up On Fleabay's Policies

I just had a nightmare experience w/ fleabay and thought I'd post this. It's really interesting.

In brief: I sold an item that the buyer said they never received. It was shipped by USPS Priority Mail w/ delivery confirmation and insurance. USPS website said it was delivered on time. I called USPS and they said I could still file an insurance claim. Cool. So I email the buyer and tell them I'll refund their full amount within a few days and wait on the ck from USPS, which usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. Should take care of things, right?

Nope. The buyer then files a claim w/ ebay stating they didn't trust me and they wanted an immediate refund. Woa. Crazy buyer here. OK, after several very frustrating calls to ebay I say to heck w/ it and give them a full refund. Afterwards the buyer leaves negative feedback! Another call to ebay results in their rep telling me that at ebay "we have rules, and we won't remove feedback that is untruthful of unjust". Hmmmm. That's a peculiar policy for feedback. My wife said "yeah, they have rules that make them money", a spot on statement.

I tell 'em, OK, if that's how you are, I'll close my account. Got enough trouble in my life w/o dealing w/ people like this. Get up this morning, end my auctions, pay off my ebay fees, and go to close my account. Can't do it. System tells me that because I just made a payment to them, I have to wait 30 days to close the account. Jeez, they won't even let me close my account now?

I've seen enough of their dog and pony show to last a lifetime. Good place to buy and sell stuff, but if you ever have a problem you can forget about any rational or ethical anything from these guys. I was really mad, but now I think it's hilarious. What ever made me think they would do the right thing? I must be nuts. Ha!
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Old 03-18-2011   #2
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Old 03-18-2011   #3
Steve M.
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Oh, I forgot the kicker. If you disagree w/ the feedback and ebay won't remove it, you can go to some outfit called Square Trade, which I'll bet that ebay owns either outright or secretly, and pay them $20. They will assign a "mediator" to petition the buyer to revise their feedback. No guarantees though.

So after losing my item, paying the Paypal fees on the sale (what sale? where's my money?), gifting the buyer their $113.50, and spending a lot of time on the phone w/ very shifty people, they now have a scheme to extort another 20 bucks from me. I've worked in US politics and know first hand about slippery, sneaky people, but the folks at ebay are the REAL pros.
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Old 03-18-2011   #4
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Sorry to hear it, Steve.

I don't sell on eBay, but I have had similar problems with PayPal (big surprise!) with sales on boards such as this, when the buyer claimed that the parcel never arrived.

Basically, Delivery Confirmation buys you (the seller) nothing: It's just a way for the buyer to track the shipment as it occurs. (As one local postmaster told me, "delivery confirmed" just means that the parcel was handed to the carrier who was supposed to make the delivery. If it falls out of his/her bag en route, well, ... .)

As seller, you need to be able to force a signature from the buyer at delivery. With USPS, the best way to force a signature is to insure the parcel for any amount greater than $200: That gets you insurance plus signature.

I'm guessing that you insured for less than $200?
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Old 03-18-2011   #5
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I'm done selling on ebay for reasons like this. It's not worth it. As a seller you have NO recourse for action if a buyer is dishonest.
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Old 03-18-2011   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray View Post
I'm done selling on ebay for reasons like this. It's not worth it. As a seller you have NO recourse for action if a buyer is dishonest.
Same here. Besides, the cost of selling is too much. Rather sell here or fredmiranda, or getdpi.
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Old 03-18-2011   #7
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Although I feel bad for your situation, ebay policies have been pretty consistent for quite some time. The key is to obtain signature confirmation. If the buyer signs, he has no claim against you for non-delivery. If the package was actually lost, then you should be able to collect on your insurance claim. The protection is there, you just need to understand the rules and follow them exactly. If you deviate from the rules, you will lose.

If you issue a refund for the money through paypal, you will get back the paypal fees. If you and the buyer then agree to "cancel" the sale, you will get back all of your ebay fees except for the listing fee.
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Old 03-18-2011   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG View Post
As seller, you need to be able to force a signature from the buyer at delivery. With USPS, the best way to force a signature is to insure the parcel for any amount greater than $200: That gets you insurance plus signature.
This is somewhat dangerous advice.
That insurance signature means absolutely nothing to the folks at paypal.

Here's why: Paypal's fineprint says that the proof of delivery must be viewable online. And you cannot view USPS insurance signatures online. That's an internal system. The post office will be happy to give you a printout of the recipient's signature. But that does you no good in a Paypal dispute.

To protect yourself when sending an item worth more than $250, you must use the USPS signature confirmation form to have a signature that can be viewed online. If it is less than $250, you can get by with the delivery confirmation form.

I paid $300 to learn that lesson. I'm offering it here today, free of charge.
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Old 03-18-2011   #9
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Quote:
tbarker 13: To protect yourself when sending an item worth more than $250, you must use the USPS signature confirmation form to have a signature that can be viewed online.
Can a signature with USPS Signature Confirmation even be viewed online? From USPS' service description: A delivery record, including the recipient's signature, is maintained by the USPS and is available, via fax or mail, upon request.
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Old 03-18-2011   #10
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Sounds like the OP got taken by a chargeback scammer. That's been going on for years, but eBay (and Paypal) policies are designed to protect the buyer as much as possible (even the small percentage that are thieves), and leave the seller with all the risk.
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Old 03-18-2011   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
Can a signature with USPS Signature Confirmation even be viewed online? From USPS' service description: A delivery record, including the recipient's signature, is maintained by the USPS and is available, via fax or mail, upon request.
When you enter your tracking number with signature confirmation, you will be able to view the following online:
---------
Service: Signature Confirmation
Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 11:26 am on March 18, 2011 in SF, CA 11111. The item was signed for by Joe Shmoe.

Etc.
----------

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I'm not sure that the actual signature needs to be viewable, just confirmation that the signature was obtained, and documentation of the person who signed, all viewable online. This is what you get when you pay for signature confirmation.

However, if you were to obtain a copy of the signature, and then scan and upload it to your flickr account where it is now "viewable online," I wonder if this would fulfill the paypal requirements?
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Old 03-18-2011   #12
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Things have been like this on eBay for years, unfortunately. I had an item that took 6 weeks to get to a buyer in-country via USPS parcel post. The buyer left negative feedback very early on in the transaction, despite having a confirmation that it was shipped. Luckily after filing a claim with eBay about the negative (it being the only one) they eventually changed it.

The only recourse you really have is to request a change of feedback, or really plead with eBay, there are cases where they will change the feedback without the buyers input (especially if it's something that user does regularly).

Sorry about your "bad luck" it's really frustrating how some people act simply because they have a degree of anonymity or at least distance between them.

EDIT: I know you said you're done with eBay which is understandable. However, did you check the other feedback this person has left for people? If there is a pattern of them being irresponsible with negative feedback eBay will be more inclined to help. I coordinated with other sellers who had been affected by my buyer in order to rectify the situation. As irritating as it is, persistence combined with courtesy can actually get them to bend sometimes.
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Old 03-18-2011   #13
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I'm sad that others have had similar problems. I had 495 positive transactions before this rogue buyer came around. It was bound to happen, and it apparently reduced my feedback to 99.8% positive, but what good is any of that feedback if it can't be removed for being untrue or unjustified?

Paypal is a another big problem, but I've had bad results taking checks. They don't bounce, it's just that no one ever sends them. Most of this buying is impulse, and when someone gets a chance for the excitement to die off, changes occur.

I agree, ebay is all about protecting the buyer and to heck w/ the seller. I wish people here could have heard the phone conversations I had w/ ebay's reps last night. They were just parroting ebay's policies as if they had a script in front of them, and it was like talking to the cat. No thinking, no room for any other side but theirs, etc. I know everyone needs to make a living, but I swear I'd sleep in a homeless shelter before I'd do their job. At least I could live w/ myself afterwards. In 30 days, if ebay allows me!, I'll close my account w/ them and move on. As far as I'm concerned, $113.50 is cheap to find out what the people you're dealing with are really like. It was just a big unpleasant surprise.
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Old 03-18-2011   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I'm sad that others have had similar problems. I had 495 positive transactions before this rogue buyer came around. It was bound to happen, and it apparently reduced my feedback to 99.8% positive, but what good is any of that feedback if it can't be removed for being untrue or unjustified?

Paypal is a another big problem, but I've had bad results taking checks. They don't bounce, it's just that no one ever sends them. Most of this buying is impulse, and when someone gets a chance for the excitement to die off, changes occur.

I agree, ebay is all about protecting the buyer and to heck w/ the seller. I wish people here could have heard the phone conversations I had w/ ebay's reps last night. They were just parroting ebay's policies as if they had a script in front of them, and it was like talking to the cat. No thinking, no room for any other side but theirs, etc. I know everyone needs to make a living, but I swear I'd sleep in a homeless shelter before I'd do their job. At least I could live w/ myself afterwards. In 30 days, if ebay allows me!, I'll close my account w/ them and move on. As far as I'm concerned, $113.50 is cheap to find out what the people you're dealing with are really like. It was just a big unpleasant surprise.
Things have gotten worse and may continue to do so, now that they monopolize the payment services.
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Old 03-18-2011   #15
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Sorry to hear of the issues!

I had two canon cam corders I was gifted. I know crap about them so I took them to a local shop to be checked over, tested etc.... both came out perfect with paperwork to back that up. I had zero $$$ in them so I listed them BIN at the low end of average price. My first issue was that I did not require instant payment. Same guy bought both then took 5 weeks to pay. He drug me all around the e bay resolution center but did pay eventually.

I shipped both items insured. He got them then told me they were both defective and wanted his money back. I insisted they were not defective. E bay resolution yet again where i had to pay full refund for both items ( I list full refund if not happy in my auctions) but only after I got them back from him. I got them back; both were trashed. They looked like they were kicked or dropped then I come to find out they were both opened up and parts removed...just so happens these were good, expensive repair parts normally needed for those camcorders :0

Again with e bay resolution and they said too bad....pay him or we take your money from paypal/bank account.


Bottom line I had 2 working/tested cameras and the guy was a crook. I did everything right and still got hosed.

I see it as the price of doing business. I have had well over 500 transactions on e bay and maybe 3 have not gone well; the odds really are in my favor.

The flip side is about 80% of my camera stuff was bought either here or through contacts here with no issues at all
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Old 03-18-2011   #16
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Quote:
pphuang: Your item was delivered at 11:26 am on March 18, 2011 in SF, CA 11111. The item was signed for by Joe Shmoe.
But does Paypal actually honor this as "a signature that can be viewed online." Or would this be another link in a chain of unsatisfactory proof. I don't know, just trying to find out.
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Old 03-18-2011   #17
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I have not sold anything on Ebay for years, I would rather donate it to charity and take the tax-deduction instead.
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Old 03-18-2011   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pphuang View Post

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I'm not sure that the actual signature needs to be viewable, just confirmation that the signature was obtained, and documentation of the person who signed, all viewable online. This is what you get when you pay for signature confirmation.

However, if you were to obtain a copy of the signature, and then scan and upload it to your flickr account where it is now "viewable online," I wonder if this would fulfill the paypal requirements?
It doesn't need to be the physical signature. Just a way for them to get online verification that the thing was signed for by the recipient.
But no, you posting it online wouldn't count. In my case, I tried to send them a copy of the signed insurance form.
All they would do was point me to the fine print and say it didn't count.
I complained to enough people that they ended up splitting the loss with me (the original amount was $600).

Now, I send virtually everything with signature confirmation, just for my own peace of mind.
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Old 03-18-2011   #19
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Going back through Paypal's rules, they are fairly confusing, depending on whether the person claims they never received an item - or they claimed they never ordered the item in the first place.

I'm just going to cover the issue of the recipient denying they received item. In that case, you have to show proof of delivery:
I've taken these passages from Paypal's Seller Protection FAQ. The bolding was done by me:

What is proof of delivery?

"Proof of delivery indicates that the item was delivered to the recipient, and generally comes in the form of an online tracking number. It shows the city, state, and zip to which the package was shipped, the date the package was delivered, and its delivery status. For payments of $250 USD or more, a signature confirmation of receipt is also required. The proof of delivery doesn't need to show the full street address since some shipping companies don't include this information. The city and state or zip code (or equivalent) is normally acceptable."

How can I submit proof of delivery?

"If you are responding to a claim or a chargeback for an item-not-received, we accept online tracking information as proof of delivery in the Resolution Center."


You just have to protect yourself. I bought a lens the other day from an e-bay seller. He shipped the thing uninsured and without signature confirmation. Fortunately for him, I'm honest. I could have denied the thing ever arrived and gotten my money back. And there would have been nothing he could do about it.
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Old 03-18-2011   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Sweeney View Post
I have not sold anything on Ebay for years, I would rather donate it to charity and take the tax-deduction instead.
Same here.
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Old 03-18-2011   #21
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EBay has become like most towns in Pennsylvania. That is, they take a small piece of you on every turn.

They've become too big for their own good. They can't police themselves, and there are too many people willing to cheat you.

I rarely sell anything expensive on eBay, and I hate it when a newcomer buys something from me, because they're expecting a "like new" camera when in fact it's 15, 20, 30 years old -- sometimes even older.

I still buy, but try to avoid selling. This is a better board.
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Old 03-18-2011   #22
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Its not fleabay that lacks ethics, its many of the buyers and sellers. Been down that alley. What did you sell and where?
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Old 03-18-2011   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Sweeney View Post
I have not sold anything on Ebay for years, I would rather donate it to charity and take the tax-deduction instead.
Well Brian you have just confirmed my thoughts about selling stuff on 'bay.

I have quite a little pile of film stuff I no longer use much but looks like I get to keep it for my heirs to put in the dumpster!. I sold all my gear in the late sixties to rear my family etc (full leica + leica darkroom mf & lf stuff) got back into the game late 90's then digital got me in a weak moment.
Lotsa OM stuff Mamiya MF old collectables inc Bertram + enlargers and darkroom, not to mention the bloody FSU stuff inc Kiev no thanks to Ruben BTW where the hell is he ?.
Ok got that off my chest, feel better. Maybe send the OM stuff to Keith to photograph his burka ladies.

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Old 03-18-2011   #24
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eBay is great for selling, I have sold thousands of dollars worth of kit on there. You did the right thing in refunding the buyer (can't blame them getting jittery) and a little bit of negative feedback is no biggie - especially if you politely explain in your response to their feedback. These things happen.

My partner successfully overturned some negative feedback that a clothing item "smelled funny" - turned out the buyer was complaining about the detergent in which it had been freshly washed.
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Old 03-19-2011   #25
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The arguments in favor of selling here on RFF as opposed to eBay are good. After all, we are a more tightly knit, and smaller community than eBay. We are more likely to know each other than are eBay members. There is a counter-argument, though.

The smaller membership in RFF works not only for us, but also against us. Auctions on the big site simply have a larger audience, and therefore a better chance of selling; as well as bringing in a higher price. Also (and this is big for me) the RFF thumbnails only stay on the front page for a matter of hours. After that, one mouse-click will bring all recent items back into visibility for several days. Following that, one can browse or search through older listings for a while--longer than typical eBay auctions, actually. Still, I seldom poke through the listings once they are more than a few days old. I don't know why. I'm more likely to do an eBay search if I want something. Habit, maybe? Wider selection?

I wonder if anyone else has this mind-set? Maybe I should make it a point to offer my next item or two here.
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Old 03-19-2011   #26
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Years ago when I did sell tons of high-end wristwatches on eBay, I did have a couple of good experiences with Square Trade removing unwarranted negative feedbacks. Nevertheless, I am glad that I am not in that business any longer.

I was only ripped off once where I wasn't made whole by PayPal and, at $5,100, it hurt enough that I stopped selling on eBay and closed my business. The US Attorney, after convicting the thief, was kind enough to extract a portion of the restitution from him over a period of about two years (I think they sent me three checks totally maybe $1800 or $2000). About a two years ago they sent me a letter announcing that the thief had been released from prison and was in a halfway house. Then, about six months after that, the US Atty sent another letter warning that the culprit had escaped the halfway house. Given that this guy had ripped off at least 60-70 people I was able to identify, I'm not overly concerned as I guess he has plenty of others to seek revenge on for putting him where he belongs. The means of his fraud was home-made bank treasurer's checks that were so good, that they fooled my bank for more than a month.

PayPal's sellers' protection program did reimburse me in another instance of fraud for about $1800 once.

The stress of dealing with individual items that expensive finally drove me over the edge (I had numerous five-figure eBay transactions over the years).

Now, I'm happy to be an occasional buyer and rarely a seller. I only try to sell things on eBay that I could afford to suffer a total loss on without tears. And, it's only for personal use. No more business transactions there for me.

I've bought many things on eBay with only a few minor disappointments.

I once sold a 31-foot sailboat on eBay. A long story to be shared another. I'll just say that it was an adventure I wouldn't ever want to repeat.
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Old 03-19-2011   #27
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Quote:
I once sold a 31-foot sailboat on eBay. A long story to be shared another. I'll just say that it was an adventure I wouldn't ever want to repeat.
Sheesh, what was the postage like on that? Thanks for your experiences.
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Old 03-19-2011   #28
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I too have heard crazy stuff happening, one of my friends (not allowed to leave negative feedback) left positive feedback that spelled out the situation.

Another friend had a camera returned with no insurance, or registration,-- was lost and he could not refund the money as there was no way to trace anything-- buyer/ sender was understanding (something like $600 of understanding).

Fast forward a few years, the post office finds the package-- a Leica body-- and returns it with a note, it had fallen behind something. Dealer then refunds the money.

Dealing with two honest guys--

OTOH, a buyer from a forum (not this one) told me there was something wrong with a $100 camera I sold him, I said I was sorry, I had had the camera serviced, should have been OK, but I refunded the money and told him to keep the camera in case he could get it serviced. (A type of camera I have since concluded is not reliable in general)

Guy flamed me for years, using my full name-- he got the camera and his money back?

I guess you recall the bad deals much more than the normal deals between honest folks.

--- Then there is that bad battery I bought----

Glad it was about a relatively low amount of money in this case.

I am like Brian, I give away more than I sell, or I sell to a dealer, but I have lots of stuff really needing a good sale, I am not sure I am up to all the efforts to sell anything. I have been holding an M6 for a friend for 3 years. ;-)


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Old 03-19-2011   #29
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In the intial post scenario, I would have waited for the USPS refund on insurance. Frankly, it sounds like a dishonest buyer.

I've never lost things as a seller, and only twice as a buyer, and this is shipping to 30-40 countries (including some with dodgy postal systems). I insure everything worth more than $50.

I've sold about 200 eBay items, bought about 500 over the years. Also done other business and no troubles to speak of.
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Old 03-19-2011   #30
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eBay has recently introduced anti-seller policies under the guise of price decreases. Of course they are actually price increases, although the mainstream media laps up their press releases often without any investigation. They continue to antagonize their sellers, except the very large ones that get special rates. Here's the real story:

http://www.fool.com/investing/value/...head-move.aspx

I only sell things there that I just need to get rid of, or that I have acquired at low or no cost for some reason, i.e. rarely. It's not worth it any more -- too bad since it was once a nice place to buy and sell.

By the way, there is an international boycott of eBay planned on April 1 (see the facebook page for this).
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Old 03-19-2011   #31
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I had a month where postal packages were stolen from my porch, for the first times in 33 years.

From the response of the Police and the Post Office, seems as if it is no big deal anymore, not deserved of much attention.

This magnifies the problems in buying through the mail.

I now have a $110 locking mailbox.


Regards, John
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Old 03-19-2011   #32
monochromejrnl
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Sorry to hear your ebay misery. Consider RFF or Craigslist.

For sales, I advertise on my local craigslist and transact in person for cash only... perfect track record
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Old 03-19-2011   #33
cwcunningham
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Well, there's lots of things not to like about ebay. As a seller, even if the transaction goes ok and the buyer is happy and you got paid, there's a charge for everything.
An ebay listing fee to list the item, an ebay final transaction fee when you sell the item, a paypal fee when you get paid (which of course goes to eBay), calculated shipping never seems to calculate enough to cover all the shipping fees. At least Amazon just takes one cut of the amount, even though it's a pretty big cut.
I've quit selling much on eBay, partly because of eBay and partly because of buyer skittishness. The thing is, I do understand buyer's being afraid of getting ripped off, since I've been ripped off by three sellers on eBay. In one case I finally got half of my money back (PayPal only covered $250 at the time, so I was out the other $250), but I got nothing in the other cases. In one of them I never received the camera (it was a Canonet), but the seller had the delivery confirmation, so they closed the claim, and of course PayPal wouldn't cover it, since there was delivery confirmation. Now, keep in mind, I still never received the camera, or any money. When I checked at the Post Office (since that was the only thing I could do) they had delivered it to some other address, so it was really their responsibility, but they wouldn't do anything to get the camera or replace it, and they wouldn't give me any money since it wasn't insured (it was around $50). I could have achieved the same result by just taking $50 and throwing it in the street.
So from a buyer's perspective and a seller's perspective (unless you're part of the eBay seller elite), it's really not worth dealing with eBay except for little cheap stuff. And yet I still find myself bidding on something I have trouble finding. Ah, well. I suppose it beats getting robbed or raped or killed by the other buyer or seller you meet on Craigslist.
Hey! There's something in favor of eBay, at least getting ripped off there doesn't occur at knife or gun point like on Craigslist! See you can find silver a lining if you look hard enough!

Last edited by cwcunningham : 03-20-2011 at 04:13.
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Old 03-22-2011   #34
anthony_semone
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You all know the ****e these guys pull and you know about it in advance. If you regard it as "just the cost of doing business," then don't bleat and moan about getting screwed. If it's a problem for you, why not just quit f***ing with eBay and PayPal? I have and I've still purchased and sold everything I've wanted. Pizzon'em. +2 to monochromejrnl

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Old 03-22-2011   #35
MC JC86
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Originally Posted by anthony_semone View Post
You all know the ****e these guys pull and you know about it in advance. If you regard it as "just the cost of doing business," then don't bleat and moan about getting screwed. If it's a problem for you, why not just quit f***ing with eBay and PayPal? I have and I've still purchased and sold everything I've wanted. Pizzon'em. +2 to monochromejrnl

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Old 03-22-2011   #36
uhoh7
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I'm sad that others have had similar problems. I had 495 positive transactions before this rogue buyer came around. It was bound to happen, and it apparently reduced my feedback to 99.8% positive, but what good is any of that feedback if it can't be removed for being untrue or unjustified?
495 positive transactions, and one bad one because you did not get a signature on delivery.

I'm not sure what there is to complain about. That is a pretty high success rate, and the problem was avoidable.

As others stated above, so he writes a negative--you write an answer. Above 98%, you are fine.

Ebay is a big giant company--I never heard of one that wasn't unreasonable in one respect or another.

Nobody's perfect.

I do find that RFF is more pleasant to buy at than EBAY, for sure. The most annoying thing to me is being outbid at the last second, hehe. You never count on winning anything. It's days before you know, once you've seen the lens.

I was shocked last night to come home and find nobody outbid me on a 50mm CV 1.1 at 100 below average. Now it has to get here--uhoh.
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Old 03-22-2011   #37
Brian Puccio
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Can I ask if eBay is so bad, what sorts of promises RFF makes me if I were to pay the fee to sell here?
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Old 03-22-2011   #38
MC JC86
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Can I ask if eBay is so bad, what sorts of promises RFF makes me if I were to pay the fee to sell here?

I'd imagine the answer is pretty much the lyrics from the Cheers theme song.
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ebay
Old 03-22-2011   #39
enasniearth
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ebay

for a long time they were the only game in town .
since puchaseing paypal and requireing you accept paypal , suprise another 3-4 % on top of the 9% ebay and listing fee . this is big bussiness .
they are a bussiness and will take any steps to maximize profit .

its sad , there are so many scams everywhere now .
in reality many of the ebay items never sell and very few are of any interest .
so they keep getting more agressive in their policys to protect the bottom line .

its kinda like a big online garage sale now .
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Old 03-22-2011   #40
MC JC86
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in reality many of the ebay items never sell and very few are of any interest .

While there are a lot of items people regularly list for a fixed price that is way too high, this statement just simply isn't true.
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