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Thread: eBay disappointment again, sigh

  1. #1
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Sorry for the length of this, but I need to hear some other opinions.

    I just received a Leica CL I bought on eBay. The auction description was short, to the point, and included the following text, along with good photos:

    "This legendary small camera is in fully functioning order and the meter still works-new battery included.

    Clean, bright rangefinder. Everything works smooth as it was brand new Leica camera."



    When I received the camera, I immediately snapped a lens onto it and discovered that the RF secondary image was almost invisible. Disappointed, I wrote the seller, and over the course of the day had the following exchange (excerpted):


    Me: "Unfortunately, while the rangefinder patch is bright, the
    rangefinder prism's silvering is apparently gone, thus focus cannot be achieved. I would not have bought the camera knowing this."

    He: (explaining that he himself had bought it on eBay) "Didn't see much of a problem with it (I even used the exact description of this camera given by its previous owner).
    I wasn't complaining to him, since for that money with this camera and its age it's hard to expect things to look perfect."

    Me: "Just for the record, I don't expect things to be perfect. For example, I didn't mind the slight paint
    problems, etc. as you mentioned in the ad. However, I do expect the camera to be *useable*, esp.
    when the description says 'Clean, bright rangefinder.'"

    He: "When I buy 40 years old camera (with no info that camera was manufacturer refurbished) I do not really buy it to use for taking pictures-maybe few times for fun and that's all that's probably why I wasn't bothered that much with rangefinder prism silvering (since this is very common thing for this model and that age of a camera)
    Pefectly working Leicas CL are only the ones which underwent professional cleaning and adjustment (and in that case they do cost way more on eBay and seller states it)"

    Me: "Well, as sometimes happens I guess we both feel we are right in our positions. I do regularly shoot with my 50+
    year-old M2. It was the *specific mention* of the "bright rangefinder" in your ad that gave me confidence to bid
    on the CL. Anyway, I guess we'll leave it as is and both declare victory :-)."



    Anyway, I've put the camera in the mail, and is returning my money upon receipt.

    Am I wrong in my logic here? I've had another weird exchange like this on eBay years ago (on hifi gear), and that time the guy basically berated me for daring to question his description of the item.

    Maybe my standards are too high. Need a reality-check. Opinions are welcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    eBay's slogan should be caveat emptor.

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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Camera not as described....seems simple to me

    ....I guess the lesson is even if it seems obvious from the ad, ask the "dealbreaker" questions. On the few things I've sold on ebay, I always get asked obvious questions. In the end I don't mind because others get to see my answers and it becomes clear that I do communicate with prospective buyers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I guess my problem is I expect others to behave as I do. If something doesn't work, I admit it right up front. I tell buyers everything they need to know (unless I simply forget something). They usually get something better than what I claimed, and than they expected.

    Last thing I sold (here) was a ZM Planar with a bit of Zeiss wobble. I wrote about the wobble. I took video of the wobble, so that people could see and hear it. I dropped my price significantly to account for the wobble, even though there was no photographic ill effect from it. After all that, the eventual buyer was more concerned (and not very) about a tiny, tiny, nick in the barrel, than the wobble itself (wow, that guy got a deal).

    All that being said, I'd much rather buy here or at RFF.com than on eBay. I think there's more of a true "community" here, especially since you can see how, or whether, sellers have taken part in the forums. My most recent transaction here was a little disappointing, but that's what I get for rolling the dice and buying from a "New Member".

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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    I had a similar experience except the roles were reversed.

    I sold a guy a great old Linhof Technika on Ebay. I get an angry email from the guy saying how my description was fraud... the camera doesn't work ect. How he was going to file a complaint yadayada. I have a 100% feedback rating that i have had since 1999. I said look no problem. Send the camera back and I will refund you.

    So refund the guy and the camera arrives days later.
    1. He has broken the latch that holds the camera closed. Not just the little metal piece that the latch clicks into (which is also broken) he has broken the cast metal hook of the latch mechanism.
    2. There is leather missing from the camera body... that he fails to send with the rest of the camera.
    3. The copal shutter is broken.. you can't even look through the groundglass anymore.

    So here I have $1000 Linhof camera that is now in need of major repairs. And I am out the money that I refunded the guy ... plus all the shipping and paypal fees ect.

    What can I do? Nothing ... because Ebay will always take the side of the buyer.

    Seller beware too.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    True enough. I should say that we have left it on good terms. I'm out a total of about $17 in shipping, though .

  7. #7
    Super Duper
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    Am I wrong in my logic here?
    Not at all. I've had some almost identical exchanges...I wonder if it was the same seller.

  8. #8
    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    I think you were absolutely right. The camera was not described accurately. eBay is "caveat" for sellers and buyers. Luckily I've not been burned buying any photo gear but I sold a Contax TVS some years ago, described as "excellent", which it was (not "mint") and had the seller return it because of faint and perfectly normal tiny scratches on the baseplate. I think buy/sell here is far more reliable, and at least on one camera bought here, I think I paid somewhat more than I would have on ebay because I had a higher level of trust in the seller (call it a form of "insurance").
    Alan

    Selection of work: http://weinschela.zenfolio.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. For the record, the seller did refund my purchase price plus the amount of overage he charged on shipping, which was nice of him. I didn't leave him eBay feedback (and he didn't ask). I didn't feel I could leave a positive since I think he misrepresented his item. On the other hand, he did the right thing by refunding my money. A neutral is often perceived (by sellers) as a negative, so I didn't want to do that, either.

    I totally agree with preferring to buy here or on some other forums. The majority of deals I've done have been perfect. But, even here, I've been (just slightly) burned recently. Matter of fact, I need to leave a feedback here on that deal. I've given the seller a lot of time to do the right thing, but now he won't even respond to my emails. This is one case where I broke my own rule, and bought from a "New Member". Live and learn.

    Thanks again for your thoughts...

  10. #10
    Super Duper
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Hi,

    I may be wrong in my assumptions but I have felt for some time that certain sellers on ebay sell an item knowing it has issues of some sort and rely on the fact that a large percentage don't want to or take the time to complain or just quickly back down and feel its not worth persuing. The seller relying on these pricincipals is able to sell many more items as opposed to if they initially wrote about the issues in their auction description, which would in most cases result in "no sale".

    These same sellers though will generally provide a refund if the person complains (or complains enough)..thereby keeping their decent feedback record and then continue to sell items in this manner without interuption. I've even seen them quickly relist the same item upon its return to them with the exact same decription (no mention of issues with the item)...and the process repeats itself until the item is sold to someone who doesn't complain.

    Yes, its an unfortunate and sad way to do business. I couldn't bring myself to do such a thing if I sold an item anywheres and neither could a great many honest individuals who also honestly represent an item for sale. This is all of course quite different from those rare times that a completely unexpected issue is found by a purchaser with an item being sold by an honest seller.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Hi Dave,

    I'm afraid your assumption is true. There are lots of shady dealers on evilpay using it as a safe haven for their scams.

    As someone mentioned above, caveat emptor is a good motto for any online transaction.

    - Leigh

  12. #12
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Dave, I too I think you're assumption is true. As a matter of fact, in an odd twist on the scenario you described, my seller told me that he had bought from another seller, and had actually copied his item description from that seller's description. By reselling the dog to someone else he's "sharing the love", I guess.

    I'm curious to see if he re-lists the camera. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on it, if only for curiosity's sake.

  13. #13
    Super Duper
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Hi Mike,

    I can't know for certain, but your seller may have fabricated the story about buying the camera that way, as a variation of playing dumb and claiming he had no idea that someone else would sell a defective item and then pawned it off on him.

    Leigh, the scam artists are fairly obvious, especially those with less than perfect feedbacks. It's the one's selling items that look good, but the seller knows underneath the exterior lurks issues and then hopes the buyer won't notice or at the very least put up too much fuss. If even 50% don't complain for a refund, these sellers are already ahead of the game. Truly unfortunate!

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    ...it's the one's selling items that look good but the seller knows underneath the exterior lurks issues and then hopes the buyer won't notice or at the very least put up too much fuss. If even 50% don't complain for a refund, these sellers are already ahead of the game. Truly unfortunate!
    Yep. Too easy for scam artists to hide behind computer screens.

    I've bought lots of stuff on evilpay and never been burned. Been lucky, I guess.

    I no longer use the site since they demand using paypill, which is one of the biggest scams in the world.

    - Leigh

  15. #15
    ollielott
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    with the linhof, have you checked it is the same serial number as he may have traded you one he previosuly owned??

  16. #16
    Adam Marelli
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Advice, Buy with American Express through Paypal. Amex will get your money back if you are not happy. Their customer service is worth paying the annual fee.

    I lost $650 (1/2 the price of an M6) I bought from a scammer. Chase was only mildly helpful.

    As a guide I never buy anything I care too much about on eBay. Dream cameras and lenses are worth buying from dealers. There are enough dealers using eBay that you can all them up and buy direct. eBay is good for browsing, but not for buying.

    Best-Adam

    http://www.adammarelliphoto.com

  17. #17
    paneraica
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    Re: eBay disappointment again, sigh

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolce Moda View Post
    I had a similar experience except the roles were reversed.

    I sold a guy a great old Linhof Technika on Ebay. I get an angry email from the guy saying how my description was fraud... the camera doesn't work ect. How he was going to file a complaint yadayada. I have a 100% feedback rating that i have had since 1999. I said look no problem. Send the camera back and I will refund you.

    So refund the guy and the camera arrives days later.
    1. He has broken the latch that holds the camera closed. Not just the little metal piece that the latch clicks into (which is also broken) he has broken the cast metal hook of the latch mechanism.
    2. There is leather missing from the camera body... that he fails to send with the rest of the camera.
    3. The copal shutter is broken.. you can't even look through the groundglass anymore.

    So here I have $1000 Linhof camera that is now in need of major repairs. And I am out the money that I refunded the guy ... plus all the shipping and paypal fees ect.

    What can I do? Nothing ... because Ebay will always take the side of the buyer.

    Seller beware too.
    Your error was refunding before the item arrived back and you leave yourself open this way.

    Ebay requires the buyer to return the item before any refund is given by the seller.

    Once you gave him back his money. You had no leverage to file a complaint yourself with Ebay/Paypal

    DON

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