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View Full Version : Returned goods for the For Sale section, some guidelines?



Ginette
25-May-2014, 19:09
My interpretation of a fair transaction is that if an item is not as described even if the seller and buyer disagree on the condition, buyer pays return shipping and the seller issue a full refund.
Unless the seller specified clearly in the ads (or before the item was paid!) the original shipping cost should not be deducted from the refund.

The For Sale section is at our own risk but is it possible that some basic rules be established in the way everyone agree on the same accepted practices.

Dan Fromm
26-May-2014, 08:35
Ginette, I've had two buyers scream "misrepresentation!" at me. I offered both full refunds including shipping to them and return shipping. One refused my generous offer, said he'd been angling for a discount. The other apologized for yelling at me about a lens he'd bought from someone else.

I think that the best policy is to refund the full amount paid and to pay for return shipping if the buyer claims the goods are not as represented. Not that I would ever publish such as policy, since I don't want to encourage people to make frivolous claims.

goamules
26-May-2014, 14:01
I don't agree that the seller should pay shipping. For thousands of years....oh, ok, for a hundred or so, if you bought something used, then didn't want it, it was the onus of the buyer to return for a full refund. Even today, if I buy from most companies, from an antique shop, over the internet, the sales usually say "return in the same condition you got it in for a full refund."

The "Try before you buy" technique is getting ridiculous with antique cameras and lenses. It's become a "free inspection" period for picky, hard to please buyers. It's only happened to me once or twice in hundreds of sales, but I'm very careful to explain to buyers any flaws. But I've bought a lot of over optimistically described things, and usually keep them, and don't make a fuss.

The biggest mistake you can do is say "like new" or "shutter works fine" because when it doesn't (these are 50-150 year old items) the buyer will instantly want a full refund, with you paying for "their trouble" over a little dust or a slightly slow 2 second speed on a Volute shutter. Buyers have responsibilities too - of being realistic.

Dan Fromm
26-May-2014, 15:33
Garrett, there's a large difference between screams about misrepresentation and a request to return because the item didn't please.

I'm not at all in favor of "buy and try." When I buy something I want it, otherwise I wouldn't be willing to pay for it.

I've been burned by a few eBay sellers who flatly lied about what they were selling, then balked about refunds. All this before eBay became more buyer friendly.

goamules
27-May-2014, 07:06
You're right, it's not cut and dry like I sometimes pretend. Every sale is different.

sanking
27-May-2014, 08:47
You're right, it's not cut and dry like I sometimes pretend. Every sale is different.

Yes, every transaction is different. However, in my opinion the standard policy should be that the buyer pays shipping, and if he/she chooses to return the item, the buyer will also pay return shipping. The seller should only pay return shipping if the item were not in the condition advertised. I usually document the appearance of high price items in advance by making 8-10 digital snaps.

Every major supplier I deal with (KEH, Adorama, B&H) has the same policy. Buyer pays shipment in advance, and if the item is returned a full refund if given, but buyer also pays return shipping. That assumes the merchandise is not in some way defective.

Sandy

Oren Grad
27-May-2014, 10:45
The For Sale section is at our own risk but is it possible that some basic rules be established in the way everyone agree on the same accepted practices.

Setting out rules beyond "Use of this area is strictly at your own risk" opens a can of worms for the moderators. Any specific concerns that a buyer has can be negotiated in advance with a seller. If you can't reach mutually agreeable terms, then you don't proceed with the transaction.

Ginette
27-May-2014, 19:24
Every major supplier I deal with (KEH, Adorama, B&H) has the same policy. Buyer pays shipment in advance, and if the item is returned a full refund if given, but buyer also pays return shipping. That assumes the merchandise is not in some way defective.
Sandy
Their full refund include the original shipping paid?


Setting out rules beyond "Use of this area is strictly at your own risk" opens a can of worms for the moderators. Any specific concerns that a buyer has can be negotiated in advance with a seller. If you can't reach mutually agreeable terms, then you don't proceed with the transaction.
Not asking the moderators interventions as it is clearly against the forum guidelines.
Mostly a sensibilisation for the sellers to specify in their post if they accept returns and fully refund or retain the original shipping paid.
Because we have some sort of trusting members on this forum that we don't have with *bay transactions. Example: When a member post a very desirable lens and described it as "clean glass" you don't think about returning it... you want it! So you don't ask the seller if he will refund the lens ... you pay by Paypal gift, etc.

Some kind of selling model like this one, as a reminder:
Item for sale :
Description :
Pictures : attachment, external links, ask for if you want pictures
Price :
Shipped to : restrictions
Shipping price: included; exact cost to your location,
Payment methods :
Return policy : Ex: Full refund, buyer paid the shipping back ; Return allowed but buyer paid both shipping ; No return

rdenney
27-May-2014, 19:29
Setting out rules beyond "Use of this area is strictly at your own risk" opens a can of worms for the moderators. Any specific concerns that a buyer has can be negotiated in advance with a seller. If you can't reach mutually agreeable terms, then you don't proceed with the transaction.

Correct. If a buyer is concerned about the policy, clarify it (privately) before making the buy. Otherwise, realize that all life is a gamble, and buying used stuff moreso than most. Risk mitigation always costs, and some of that cost is missing out on the potential reward.

Putting the mods in the middle of sour transactions is a non-starter.

Rick "who has never needed public help to sort out a problem" Denney

Sal Santamaura
27-May-2014, 20:56
...*bay transactions...eBay eBay eBay eBay eBay. There are no "seven dirty words" on this forum. And, if there are and I just haven't noticed, eBay isn't one of them. :D


...you pay by Paypal gift...No, I don't. Defrauding PayPal of its fees, whether I like them or not, isn't something a person of integrity does.

sanking
28-May-2014, 08:18
[QUOTE=Ginette;1141410]Their full refund include the original shipping paid?

[QUOTE]

The full refund does not include the original shipping cost paid by the buyer. Some store do charge a re-stocking fee.

Sandy

BrianShaw
28-May-2014, 09:43
... or retain the original shipping paid.


Shipping costs are not retained by a seller in any situation except when the shipping service was never procured. The shipping costs are paid by the seller to a shipping agent as part of the transaction initiated by the buyer.

As a frequent mail-order buyer I consider shipping costs to be a cost of convenience that I, ultimately, need to absorb if I want to do business via mail-order. I'm always happy when a seller will eat that cost in oether the original purchase or a return/refund but expecting that in ever transaction will only lead to disappointment.

Ginette
30-May-2014, 13:28
I talk about returned goods when the items were not in the condition advertised (not because you changed your mind about a lens or test it and doesn't like!)

In Ebay and Paypal buyer protection Policy the full purchase price is covered : "100% of your original purchase price and shipping fees. Does not include return shipping."
Is it what we wish as standard Policy when nothing was specified in the ads?

Yes this is a real case that happend to me. I received 2 lenses, don't even test theirs shutters. Based on the glass condition that was not, in my interpretation, as described, i carefully pack the lenses and sent back as asked by ExpressPost fully insured, I paid the shipping back. As the seller think that "my expectations of perfection is too high" he refund partially the original transaction, removing original shipping value from the refund.

I don't ask moderators intervention, I just ask what members think and wish to have as Standard Policy for the For Sale section.


Correct. If a buyer is concerned about the policy, clarify it (privately) before making the buy. Otherwise, realize that all life is a gamble, and buying used stuff moreso than most. Risk mitigation always costs, and some of that cost is missing out on the potential reward.

Putting the mods in the middle of sour transactions is a non-starter.

Rick "who has never needed public help to sort out a problem" Denney

In my case, I paid by Paypal gift (no protection). With high currency conversion in both ways, it cost me 192$ for 2 returned lenses. Pretty expensive learning process *


Rick "who has never needed public help to sort out a problem" Denney
In your case Rick, I think that no sellers here will never say you that "your expectation of perfection is too high"

General principle in life: Do the same way for others that what you wish that others do for you.

* Learning process ... If I'm interested to buy something from a member, I read all old posts and check the comments in Buyer-Seller Advisories forum.

Kirk Gittings
30-May-2014, 13:49
I don't ask moderators intervention, I just ask what members think and wish to have as Standard Policy for the For Sale section.

"Standard policy" for any section is ultimately determined by the moderators. This is a privately owned site. You are asking the moderators to intervene in all sales by establishing a policy that pokes its nose into a private transaction between two people.

rdenney
30-May-2014, 20:42
I just ask what members think and wish to have as Standard Policy for the For Sale section.

The only Standard Policy is that for-sale posts follow the guidelines. To wit:


Classifieds (for sale or wanted ads) should only be posted in the "For Sale/Wanted" sub-forum, which is open only to those who have been members for 30 days or more. Classified ads are limited to the personal photographic equipment, photography books, and prints of registered users. Posts by dealers are not allowed. The sales price must be clearly stated in the original post. Auctions are not permitted, nor are announcements, pointers or links to items for sale at other web sites or points of sale. They are prohibited and will be deleted without notice. Please prefix all post titles to indicate intent: "WTB", "FS" , "FT" (for trade), etc. Use of the "For Sale/Wanted" section is completely at your own risk. Readers of "For Sale" posts should refrain from intruding on the thread by making negative comments about the item or the price being requested. Doing so is rude, and thus in violation of general forum guidelines.

So...personal equipment, no dealers, price clearly stated, and FS or whatever in thread title. Those are the Standard Policies.

Everything else is negotiated between buyer and seller, in private and not on the forum.

Rick "making something a rule implies it will be enforced" Denney

rdenney
30-May-2014, 20:45
By the way, I moved this to the Feedback forum, where issues with how the forum is managed should be posted.

Rick "thank you" Denney

ViewCameraNut
31-May-2014, 09:46
You couldn't have said it any better!
I don't agree that the seller should pay shipping. For thousands of years....oh, ok, for a hundred or so, if you bought something used, then didn't want it, it was the onus of the buyer to return for a full refund. Even today, if I buy from most companies, from an antique shop, over the internet, the sales usually say "return in the same condition you got it in for a full refund."

The "Try before you buy" technique is getting ridiculous with antique cameras and lenses. It's become a "free inspection" period for picky, hard to please buyers. It's only happened to me once or twice in hundreds of sales, but I'm very careful to explain to buyers any flaws. But I've bought a lot of over optimistically described things, and usually keep them, and don't make a fuss.

The biggest mistake you can do is say "like new" or "shutter works fine" because when it doesn't (these are 50-150 year old items) the buyer will instantly want a full refund, with you paying for "their trouble" over a little dust or a slightly slow 2 second speed on a Volute shutter. Buyers have responsibilities too - of being realistic.

IanG
31-May-2014, 12:13
eBay eBay eBay eBay eBay. There are no "seven dirty words" on this forum. And, if there are and I just haven't noticed, eBay isn't one of them. :D

No, I don't. Defrauding PayPal of its fees, whether I like them or not, isn't something a person of integrity does.

Paypal gets it's cut either way, if you pay as a Gift you are paying the charges, there's no defrauding Paypal. You are however giving up any rights to involve Paypal if an item has issues or doesn't arrive.

Ian

IanG
31-May-2014, 12:33
One off situations have to be sorted out by the individuals involved.

However a few years ago a few of us on this Forum & APUG had issues with a seller. It wasn't fraudulent, rather just ineptitude items just not posted, in the end Moderators here and APUG put pressure on the seller and we were all refunded. Ironically Moderators had paid the postage for free items which hadn't arrived. The offender agrreed not to sell on either forum again.

Perhaps it's important to tell Moderators about unresolved issues with the Sales/Wanted section, I'm not suggesting they necessarily get involved in individual transactions rather that they should be aware of individuals who have been reported a few times.

Ian

Vaughn
31-May-2014, 14:34
I sold a 65mm lens, WA bag bellows and a recessed lensboard to a fellow here. He took the lens apart and found some mold that was not visible thru the lens. I immediately offered a full refund, including return shipping for all the items...payable when I received the items (and based on their condition being the same as when I sent them).

All I got back were nasty emails demanding that I send him the refund first, saying that I was trying to scam him, that I must be going to bars bragging how I suckered him, etc. etc. Very unpleasant. I ended up sending him a check to cover the cost of the lens just to be done with him...and told him never to contact me again.

I was selling the equipment for a friend whose photographer husband had just died of brain cancer...so I just ate the loss (I had already giver her the money from the sale.)

Perhaps just some suggested guidelines could be worked up for the For Sale section, but they should not be expected to be enforced in any way by the forum owner or moderators. For example, I think it is quite reasonable for the seller to wait until the returned items are received before paying the refund.

Kirk Gittings
31-May-2014, 14:55
What good are unenforceable guidelines? IMHO either it is at your own risk or not. If in any shape or form the mods have to get involved then it is not "at your own risk". If you post guidelines then people are going to think that if the guidelines are not followed then they have some recourse from the moderators. One of the reasons I grew sour on moderating was because I had received a couple of calls at my home in the evening from disgruntled buyers or sellers who simply did not get that it was at their risk and that I was not a recourse.

IMHO this is a very problematic direction to go in. The reason I participate in the FS section is to be able to deal with people I know on some level. I have never had to return anything and have had only one thing ever returned to me that was damaged in shipping. Do your homework on sellers and expect them to do the same on you. But don't participate unless you are prepared to take a loss. Otherwise go pay the fees at the Bay.

Vaughn
31-May-2014, 15:13
In my case it would have been nice to point to the guidelines and say, "Yes, it is customary for the seller to wait until receiving the return before sending the refund. But it might have not made a difference since the buyer went out of his way to be nasty.

Lachlan 717
31-May-2014, 15:54
Isn't this whole thread based on trying to manage the exception, rather than the rule?

If there was a systemic issue with how the For Sale section works, wouldn't there be hundreds of posts supporting the notion of changes to the rules?

Seems to me that the near silence on this alleged issue is deafening...

BrianShaw
31-May-2014, 16:33
I heard that!

HMG
31-May-2014, 17:22
Paypal gets it's cut either way, if you pay as a Gift you are paying the charges, there's no defrauding Paypal. You are however giving up any rights to involve Paypal if an item has issues or doesn't arrive.

Ian

Not correct. If you pay as a "gift" from a paypal balance or from a linked bank account, neither you nor recipient pay fees if both parties within US. However, if you pay via credit card or cross border, there is a fee. I don't know if there are fees within a non-US country.

As to the broader question of who should pay return shipping on a item sold, in my opinion much depends on whether the discrepancy is clear cut or a matter of opinion. For example, was a shutter not working (and not disclosed) or simply a bit slow. Is there a bit more dust than you expect or is there fungus.

I assume if I do enough buying, sooner or later I'll have to pay for return shipping on an item that I think was "optimistically" described. It's the price we pay for having an international marketplace. In the case of liars, or even honest negligence or ineptitude on the part of a seller, its a different story.

Jody_S
31-May-2014, 22:14
I would like to see the end of the 'Paypal - Gift' practice here. Yes, it's an attempt to defraud Paypal from their legitimate (and reasonable) fees. I personally will not buy from anyone who insists on having a payment sent as a gift, because I'm afraid of precisely what happened to Ginette. The fact that she got dinged for 2x currency exchange when dealing with a fellow Canadian member is a little galling also, and I'm wondering if it was a strategy to discourage her from returning a known-to-be-defective item, as the cost would end up being prohibitive. The seller also insisted she use a premium, express postal option for the return, which more than doubled the cost of return postage, which again makes me wonder what the motives were. There was no advantage re. insurance or traceability.

I say this as a longtime eBay seller (~1997-8). If someone finds a fault with an item that I did not document & disclose, I pay for their return shipping as well as refunding their original purchase + shipping. Not everyone takes me up on it, but it's made me a lot more aggressive with documenting faults with my items. Does this cost me sales? I don't know. I get a lot of comments that my items are better than described, but this doesn't translate into return buyers.

A lot of people use the classifieds here because they like dealing with fellow photographers who should know when a lens has scratched or when a shutter is buggered. I understand there is more of a risk buying off eBay when you're dealing with pickers and wholesalers who won't take 5 minutes to test an item, or even figure out what it's supposed to look like. I wouldn't like to see the worst practices of eBay sellers migrate into the Classifieds section here. No one here can plead ignorance about what a lens is supposed to look like.

Wayne
31-May-2014, 22:27
I dont see PP gift payment as an attempt to defraud Paypal of their reasonable fees. I see it as an attempt by cheapskate sellers to trick the unwary buyer who doesn't realize they lose their right to have PP go after the seller if they buy junk and pay by "gift". Of course it is both things, but the one time I had someone ask me to "gift" the money I refused, and when the product arrived it was junk. Nice try on his part. (not on this forum by the way, it was a guitar)

Lachlan 717
31-May-2014, 23:37
Interesting (well, not really, but run with it) that there is much more discussion on PayPal than on new guidelines...

Dan Fromm
1-Jun-2014, 06:13
Interesting (well, not really, but run with it) that there is much more discussion on PayPal than on new guidelines...

Interesting point, Lachlan. But then, there are no new guidelines and there probably won't be.

There's been no discussion of the, um, elephant in the room. Ginette bought a lens, believes she was had, and badly. Not good, not good at all. But unless I've missed something she hasn't named the seller or commented on its bad behavior in the Buyer-Seller Advisories.

Ginette, you really should name names so the rest of us will know who to avoid.

Wayne
1-Jun-2014, 06:19
Interesting (well, not really, but run with it) that there is much more discussion on PayPal than on new guidelines...

Its important because if you are dealing with a seller who wants you to gift them their payment you know right away you are dealing with a cheapskate who also doesn't want you to have Paypal's purchase protections.

IanG
1-Jun-2014, 09:28
Its important because if you are dealing with a seller who wants you to gift them their payment you know right away you are dealing with a cheapskate who also doesn't want you to have Paypal's purchase protections.

Totally agree, I only use the Gift option with Paypal when I'm re-imbursing someone. Sometimes I have to ask friends in the US to buy goods for me (where the seller will only ship inside the US or their overseas postage is excessive) and Paypal have already had their cut, often I'll have already paid for the item.



There's been no discussion of the, um, elephant in the room. Ginette bought a lens, believes she was had, and badly. Not good, not good at all. But unless I've missed something she hasn't named the seller or commented on its bad behavior in the Buyer-Seller Advisories.

Ginette, you really should name names so the rest of us will know who to avoid.

I'm ambivalent about actually naming and shaming as there can be two sides to some these claims. (I'm not suggesting tha's the case with Ginette's problem). Perhaps saying one's had a problem with a Seller from a certain State, Region of a Country etc might prompt others who've had issues with potentially the same seller to get in touch.

There's definitely a need for moderators to take some action either behind the scenes or publicly where there's abuse of the Classifieds section. It really is a very tiny percentage of sales etc here where there are issues, like many others I'd rather buy from a forum like this one or APUG than Ebay.

The threat of being named publicly by Moderators would probably carry more weight than if done by an individual and might help resolve matters.

Ian

rdenney
1-Jun-2014, 13:42
Perhaps it's important to tell Moderators about unresolved issues with the Sales/Wanted section, I'm not suggesting they necessarily get involved in individual transactions rather that they should be aware of individuals who have been reported a few times.

That's what the buyer/seller advisories forum is for. Telling the mods when the mods will take no action wastes everyone's time.

Rick "who hasn't gotten an email trying to involve us in sour transactions since that forum was created" Denney

rdenney
1-Jun-2014, 13:53
There's definitely a need for moderators to take some action either behind the scenes or publicly where there's abuse of the Classifieds section.

No. The mods have no tools to arbitrate such matters, and no means of investigating the truth, even if they wanted to. The only abuse we enforce is violation of the existing guidelines.

If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether.

Rick "that has always been the alternative" Denney

Sal Santamaura
1-Jun-2014, 16:41
...If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether...Excerpting George Eastman's exit note, "why wait?" :D:D:D

Ginette
1-Jun-2014, 22:19
Like Ian, I'm ambivalent to naming someone, I prefer to give very good feedback that bad one.
95% of my transactions here were very rewarding, I found very nice hard to found equipment here, especially darkroom items. Most of the time, I don't post in the topic but PM the member asking if he wish to send the item to Canada and I think no American members refused even if it is more trouble to look at the shipping options, complete the customs forms, seldom made a special trip to Fedex office, etc. so we have a very good community here and very helpful. Globally most sellers described the items very carefully and in a very conservative manner to don't make a deception to the buyer.

I think I had only three problems in 6 years:
- A long time ago, a ZoneVI coldlight arrived broken and the seller never followup to do a reclamation to USPS.
- 2 months ago, a lens arrived with fungus and a problem with shifting focus even I ask the member to check carefully this fact (as mine do the same). I post about in the lens section to identify the fungus problem. In this case, it look like the seller know the lens problems. He refused to take the lens back so I go to Paypal (as I pay with regular Paypal) and I will get a full refund. But I had in the past a very good transaction with this seller, a nice Wista shutter in very good condition. So I don't know exactly why he refused to refund the lens, unless the fact that maybe he really need this money for an urgent personnal issue. So I hesitate to post a bad comment on this member.
- The last transaction, the seller agree to take back the lenses but refund partially. He said that he "accept no responsibility to eat the shipping cost. It is absolutely the accepted practice in all forms of commerce, that the buyer pays the shipping." So with the 2 shippings cost and the currency conversion, my bank account suffer a 192$ lost and me a real deception to not have the nice lens I was very happy to have found. I ask for a full refund when returning the lenses and PM the seller 2-3 times about the full refund but don't have any results.

So my suggestion was some guidelines, maybe most members don't like guidelines or the term "Policy" and I understand that moderators didn't wish to be the "Police" and received calls at home (like Kirk said)!
Let talk about "gentlemen agreement" about the items sold here.
Not only to protect the buyers when the items are not as described but also the sellers, it is normal to refund only when item is back (as a member said earlier) and also in its original condition.
Theses "rules" could be the usual way to buy and sell on this forum but not mandatory. if a seller wish to offer an item "as it" with no return or if he wish to accept return only if buyer paid both shipping, he simply have to stipulate theses specials conditions in the ads. The important thing is not the rules and the enforcement of rules but "the usual way to do" that will facilitate the problem resolution between members.

Jody_S
1-Jun-2014, 23:55
my bank account suffer a 192$ lost and me a real deception to not have the nice lens I was very happy to have found.

One of those situations where the same word exists in French and English, but with different meanings: deception = disappointment

IanG
2-Jun-2014, 01:42
That's what the buyer/seller advisories forum is for. Telling the mods when the mods will take no action wastes everyone's time.

Rick "who hasn't gotten an email trying to involve us in sour transactions since that forum was created" Denney



No. The mods have no tools to arbitrate such matters, and no means of investigating the truth, even if they wanted to. The only abuse we enforce is violation of the existing guidelines.

If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether.

Rick "that has always been the alternative" Denney


It's incumbent on the moderators to listen to complaints from members about posts in any of the sections of the Forum and that should include the Classifieds. I haven't suggested that moderators get involved in individual cases rather that they take note where there's more than one complaint. it's no different to abusive or political posts in that respect.

In the past Moderators here and on APUG have taken behind the scenes action where needed asking people not to post sales adverts. It's seems rather illogical that the Classifieds be left free of moderation when there's multiple complaints about particular individuals.

If there was wide spread abuse of the classified section your comment "If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether". might make sense, however a more common sense approach would be to warn individuals to either resolve their issues or stop posting in the Classifieds.

I can assure you that if I was having issues with a seller/buyer I wouldn't hesitate to contact one of the moderators if I felt it was necessary, however it would be a last resort after exhausting all other steps.

Ian

Ralph Barker
2-Jun-2014, 05:39
It's incumbent on the moderators to listen to complaints from members about posts in any of the sections of the Forum and that should include the Classifieds. I haven't suggested that moderators get involved in individual cases rather that they take note where there's more than one complaint. it's no different to abusive or political posts in that respect.

In the past Moderators here and on APUG have taken behind the scenes action where needed asking people not to post sales adverts. It's seems rather illogical that the Classifieds be left free of moderation when there's multiple complaints about particular individuals.

If there was wide spread abuse of the classified section your comment "If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether". might make sense, however a more common sense approach would be to warn individuals to either resolve their issues or stop posting in the Classifieds.

I can assure you that if I was having issues with a seller/buyer I wouldn't hesitate to contact one of the moderators if I felt it was necessary, however it would be a last resort after exhausting all other steps.

Ian

As I recall, there was one instance in which a former member was banned for a combination of situations - violating the guidelines and failing to deliver sold items. I cannot, however, confirm or deny that any e-mails were sent "behind the scenes" from here or from Sean at APUG.

While LFPF members are free to complain to the moderators (within reason) about sales gone bad, there should be no expectation that we will attempt to intervene on their behalf. The FS/WTB sub-forum must remain an "at your own risk" proposition, as we have no means of investigation or enforcement. The Buyer/Seller Advisories section was established as a place for members to post the factual details of unsatisfactory sales for possible resolution between the parties and for the possible benefit of other members. If there is a consistent pattern of abuse brought to our attention, we might ban someone, but we won't intervene. Since this is a free service operated by volunteers, we simply cannot place ourselves in a position of liability to anyone.

Buyers and sellers must communicate offline to establish terms that are mutually acceptable, paying attention to whether there are legal remedies available based on their respective locations, either through the payment mechanism being used, or through the courts.

The moderators have discussed the issues at length on several occasions. While we all think the FS/WTB section is a benefit to members, it will be closed if people assert that we have any liability or responsibility in connection with the private transactions enabled by the feature.

goamules
2-Jun-2014, 06:06
No. The mods have no tools to arbitrate such matters, and no means of investigating the truth, even if they wanted to. The only abuse we enforce is violation of the existing guidelines.

If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether.

Rick "that has always been the alternative" Denney

Harsh threat, "shut up or we'll take your for sale section away."

There have been cases where egregious sellers appeared on the board, the one a few years ago who scammed a member out of over a thousand dollars, offering a Cooke Achromat portrait, then disappearing after getting the buyers money for one example. Are you saying if he came back on, offering to sell another, you'd not ban him? I remember another "camera builder" that ripped a few people off, never delivering a camera and was then banned.

I'd hate to see this forum to be like some others, where there is no support or investigation problems like that. That's how one site I go to is, and scammers have invaded it. Many people are getting ripped off weekly there, but the moderators sit in their firewalled rooms, ignoring it all. Granted, I know a moderator doesn't want to intervene that often. The for sale section isn't the prime purpose, but it is an important function of this site. If people couldn't buy LF items here, discussing them with the community forum, using them and reporting their success, then perhaps reselling it here 4 years later, we'd be at a loss.

Other "rules" of the FS section are broken quite a bit, especially the Dealers one. I'm sorry, but if you are selling dozens and dozens of similar items every month, and never posting anywhere else in the forum, you are a dealer. That problem is ignored too.

I moderate several forums and websites. I manage personnel bickering with my jobs. It's not that hard to be decisive, that's what leaders do. Being a moderator assumes you have some decision making ability. Saying "not my job" or "you two work it out..." only works occasionally. Sometimes you have to intervene.

BrianShaw
2-Jun-2014, 06:36
One of those situations where the same word exists in French and English, but with different meanings: deception = disappointment

Thanks for that clarification. I was wondering. This is perhaps one of the most interesting posts in this thread!

IanG
2-Jun-2014, 08:04
Buyers and sellers must communicate offline to establish terms that are mutually acceptable, paying attention to whether there are legal remedies available based on their respective locations, either through the payment mechanism being used, or through the courts.

The moderators have discussed the issues at length on several occasions. While we all think the FS/WTB section is a benefit to members, it will be closed if people assert that we have any liability or responsibility in connection with the private transactions enabled by the feature.

I'm not sure that anyone is asking Moderators to put themselves in a position of liability, actually quite the opposite. If there's a rogue seller or buyer reported on a number of occasions either in threads or direct to moderators and the moderators do nothing they could be perceived to have let members of the forum down by inaction.

Of course as individuals we should be using whatever means we can to ensure we get some protection, that could be as simple as using Paypal. ensuring items are sent tracked, be careful who we buy off.

I've bought quite a few items via this Forum and had no issues, everything has been as described or better, but things can go wrong and it's those very rare occasions we are talking about. I think Garrett makes a good point - Saying "not my job" or "you two work it out..." only works occasionally. Sometimes you have to intervene.

Ian

Sal Santamaura
2-Jun-2014, 08:36
Harsh threat, "shut up or we'll take your for sale section away."...That does not accurately characterize what Rick wrote. His post said:


"If the adults in this forum are not able to work it out themselves and it becomes necessary for such babysitting, the mods will shut down the for-sale forum altogether."

In no version of English that I'm familiar with does "work it out for yourselves" mean the same thing as "shut up." It seems there's a huge sense of entitlement among the membership here and no gratitude for a completely free service. If I were moderator, the diplomacy exhibited by Rick and his fellow volunteers would disappear. My response would be "Shut up and get thee to eBay!" :mad:

BrianShaw
2-Jun-2014, 08:48
I'm greatful. The ForSale section has been good to me the few times I've used it... as have the members of this forum almost all of the time.

... and my response would be similar, "Shut thine pie-hole and get thee to eBay!" :D

neil poulsen
2-Jun-2014, 08:51
eBay eBay eBay eBay eBay. There are no "seven dirty words" on this forum. And, if there are and I just haven't noticed, eBay isn't one of them. :D

There was a time when the word "digital" was NOT welcome on this forum. :) Of course, not the case any more.


No, I don't. Defrauding PayPal of its fees, whether I like them or not, isn't something a person of integrity does.

I think the main difference is that, sending as a gift doesn't receive PayPal's buyer protection. There's no charge for sending as a gift, if it's from a PayPal balance.

But Buyers sending money for goods as a gift doesn't assure sellers that the funds can't be rescinded, unless the funds come from a PayPal balance. If the funds originate from a credit card (how can the seller know?), the buyer can request that the credit card company reverse the transaction, and there's not much PayPal can do about it, except to comply. PayPal needs some ammo (see below), if they're going to successfully fight a credit card reversal.

When I accept PayPal money for goods, I make sure that I send the goods to the PayPal address, and that I have insured tracking with signature returned. (Signature returned is necessary for transactions over $200, if PayPal's going to ever back up the seller in a dispute.) I accurately and meticulously describe the goods being sold. And, I photograph the packing process with my phone.

I think that it's best all the way 'round (for buyer, seller, and PayPal) not to send PayPal money for goods as a gift. It protects the buyer, and it motivates PayPal to fight an unjustified credit card reversal.

rdenney
2-Jun-2014, 09:56
I'm not sure that anyone is asking Moderators to put themselves in a position of liability, actually quite the opposite. If there's a rogue seller or buyer reported on a number of occasions either in threads or direct to moderators and the moderators do nothing they could be perceived to have let members of the forum down by inaction.

Of course as individuals we should be using whatever means we can to ensure we get some protection, that could be as simple as using Paypal. ensuring items are sent tracked, be careful who we buy off.

I've bought quite a few items via this Forum and had no issues, everything has been as described or better, but things can go wrong and it's those very rare occasions we are talking about. I think Garrett makes a good point - Saying "not my job" or "you two work it out..." only works occasionally. Sometimes you have to intervene.

Ian

As Ralph said, if we got enough complaints, we might ban the user. But your second sentence was Ralph's point. We have no tools for investigating or arbitrating transactions, other than what the parties say about themselves. With that evidence, decisions are usually based on who lies most plausibly--people always tell the story from their own perspective, but some tell it better and more plausibly than others. That would not lead to fair outcomes, and it would put non-English speakers at a significant disadvantage, but it's the best we'd ever be able to do with the tools at hand. Beyond that, we have only the weight of repeated complaints, but honestly nobody has ever attracted that many complaints except for perhaps the person Ralph mentioned (and that happened long before I was a moderator). Thus, we make it available only if its users can manage such disputes on their own, and we disclaim any role in dealing with disputes. If that disclaimer proves insufficient to protect the liability of the forum owner or the moderators, we will be forced to close down the for-sale forum immediately. It's really that simple. It's not a threat, just the reality we face. As a free, non-commercial forum run by volunteers, we just cannot accept any such liability.

The payment and shipping services do have means to investigate--they actually touch the goods or money and they can know where it went. But there will always be complaints about the quality of a used item not being what the seller described, or about things taking too long. I've had my own issues in that regard (a Sinar Vario-Zoom that was described as a Zoom 2, for example). But it wasn't that hard for me to work it out with the seller direcltly. Very rarely, resolution can't be found and legal options have to be considered if the amount at stake makes it worth it. Buyers and sellers have consider that a risk and try to protect themselves as they see fit (or not). The buyer/seller advisory forum is a risk-management tool, but one that is entirely at the initiative of the members. Again, there is no moderator liability other than to enforce the guidelines.

APUG is a commercial forum where the owner receives revenue from the members. There is a completely different set of expectations related to that customer relationship, and a different set of potential liabilities he can accept.

Rick "now moving on to Garrett's post" Denney

Ginette
2-Jun-2014, 10:19
One of those situations where the same word exists in French and English, but with different meanings: deception = disappointment

Thanks for that clarification. I was wondering. This is perhaps one of the most interesting posts in this thread!

Sorry for the bad choice of words, "déception" in French means disappointment. Deception in English is not the same meaning at all. I use this word 2 times in my post.
So most sellers here describes items so carefully to not cause disappointment to buyers, even described the number of dusts trapped into the lens!
And my own disappointment to not received the lens I'm waiting for. The $$ issue is a learning process ;)

rdenney
2-Jun-2014, 10:35
I moderate several forums and websites. I manage personnel bickering with my jobs. It's not that hard to be decisive, that's what leaders do. Being a moderator assumes you have some decision making ability. Saying "not my job" or "you two work it out..." only works occasionally. Sometimes you have to intervene.

Garrett, such disputes only become visible occasionally. But in my forum experience, the resulting decision was arbitrary at best, and in situations where I knew the facts (outside the forum), those arbitrations did not achieve the fair outcome. It's not for lack of good intent on the part of the moderators--they have no tools for fact-finding other than what the combatants say. Frankly, I think the very occasional issue that goes unresolved or requires legal recourse is a better outcome than if the moderators intervened.

That "leadership" could be interpreted as a willingness to make arbitrary decisions based on who told their story most plausibly. I do not think that improves the situation, and it could very well cause more unfair outcomes than our current approach. I do not equate being decisive with being arbitrary, and I think people will work things out amongst themselves better without our "help".

Intervening even occasionally also suggests that the moderator's job is to arbitrate such disputes, undermines our disclaimer. That opens the door to the claim that we do accept liability when it suits us. We just can't accept that liability for this kind of forum. This disclaimer of liability is the same as would be demanded by any newspaper classifieds section. They will specifically disclaim any liability for the truth of ads or any role in arbitration, and they charge for the service of listing the ad. Our role is limited to enforcing the way in which the ad is presented, not in the truth of what is presented, the same as with any newspaper.

If we received the sorts of repeated scams you describe as occurring in other forums, we would be forced to determine that our disclaimer is inadequate to protect the forum owner and moderators, and that the members are subjected to more risk than useful service, and we'd close down the for-sale forum. I can't prevent you from perceiving that as a threat, but when you consider things carefully, it is really our only alternative to a full and respected disclaimer of any role in resolving disputes. Fortunately, we have no evidence of scamming beyond the very infrequent, and most members express confidence in using the for-sale forum. Frankly, I'm surprised anyone buys or sells anything where scams are common as you describe on other forums, unless they are general-interest forums of high turnover. In short, there is no evidence that this forum is becoming like those others, or even moving in that direction.

Yes, we agree that it is an important service and most of us want it to continue. But that demonstrates that these problems are indeed exceedingly rare, or people would not have that confidence. In fact, the thread is about whether we should provide a set of conventional practices that we recommend members follow in using the for-sale forum. But every time I write stuff like that down, the chorus sings the tune of Rick being too verbose. I see it as a list of non-rules that would be a source of endless discussion--but not about large-format photography. I just don't think it would help, but it would lead people to think they don't need to be explicit about the terms of the transaction. Such non-rules would not be dependable and thus would not do any good in situations like this one. There is no consensus about who should pay shipping, even as expressed in this thread, and thus any convention wouldn't be a convention at all, but rather an arbitrary rule. I have no faith it would prevent such scenarios at all.

The impression that we ignore what goes on is not helpful, or true.

Yes, there are probably casual dealers using the for-sale forum. But we have no way of knowing, unless they also have a dealership presence somewhere else (such as a brick-and-mortar store or a commercial website). But moderator actions are largely initiated by complaints, and I can't recall ever seeing a complaint about any person who sells lots of things every month. I do hear many complaints from people who never want to see the for-sale forum at all.

Rick "let's move on" Denney

Kirk Gittings
2-Jun-2014, 10:38
Saying "not my job" or "you two work it out..." only works occasionally. Sometimes you have to intervene.

No they don't because they have been very clear ever since the beginning of the for sale forum that the moderators would not get involved-it was at your own risk. What is so hard to understand about this? Every part of a transaction is your personal responsibility. Because you fail to do your homework on the seller or on the product or fail to use security measures offered by companies like PayPal, why does that mean that your job then becomes the moderator's job?

Maybe its time to dump this service or charge fees like APUG?

BrianShaw
2-Jun-2014, 11:11
oy veh

Dan Fromm
2-Jun-2014, 11:56
oy veh

+1

goamules
2-Jun-2014, 12:04
no comment. But lots of thoughts.

Sal Santamaura
2-Jun-2014, 12:06
[B]Maybe its time to dump this service...


Excerpting George Eastman's exit note, "why wait?"...


[B][I]...or charge fees like APUG?No! Keeping this forum non-commercial is exactly why there should never have been a FS/Wanted category.

BrianShaw
2-Jun-2014, 14:00
Oy... oy vay... this is getting MESHUGGINA.

I know of one photo forum that charges a fee to post FS (there may be more than one but that is all I personally know)... but APUG is not one of htem. APUG offers subscriptions that inlcudes access to additional forums, one of which is a FS forum. That hardly makes APUG a commercial site. Having a FS forum here hardly makes this site commercial either.

IanG
2-Jun-2014, 14:00
Reading the "Sticky" New Guidelines written by Rick - rdenny indicates quite a different attitude to the one in this thread.

There is in fact this paragraph

1. Unsatisfactory transactions from threads in the the "For Sale/Wanted" sub-forum may be reported using ONE post that states the following: "Unresolved issue with _______ on this sale." It must be reported in, and only in, the specific thread in which the item was offered, and must not provide further details.

I'm not 100% sure that's the right approach as it's tantamount to "Naming & Shaming". In some cases it may well be the best approach but in others it's more about privately flagging up potentially dodgy sellers/buyers to moderators - not for immediate action - rather to make sure Moderators are aware in case there are subsequent issues with others dealing with the same person.

It's not about making more work for moderators or making them liable. It's just plain common sense to make sure that it doesn't happen to others.

Ian

Jody_S
2-Jun-2014, 14:17
I would hate to see the For Sale forum here go away. I have purchased a few items here and had excellent experiences all around, dealing with knowledgeable individuals and getting excellent value for my money. The forum is a valuable part of the community, and I for one am of the opinion that for the sake of harmony and congeniality in the community as a whole, the mods must take action against egregious abuses (preferably by banning the offenders, where there is evidence of abuse). Otherwise bad feelings from the For Sale forum will spill over into other areas of the community.

I understand if the mods don't want to take on this responsibility. I certainly wouldn't. But when the abuse is ongoing, I am certain they will step in where and when it's necessary.

Ken Lee
2-Jun-2014, 15:10
For what it's worth, in my purchases and sales here, I've stuck with people whose posts are courteous and reasonable - and who share photos that they made with their LF equipment.

That approach has succeeded in weeding out the dealers and... eccentrics.

rdenney
2-Jun-2014, 15:13
Reading the "Sticky" New Guidelines written by Rick - rdenny indicates quite a different attitude to the one in this thread.

There is in fact this paragraph

1. Unsatisfactory transactions from threads in the the "For Sale/Wanted" sub-forum may be reported using ONE post that states the following: "Unresolved issue with _______ on this sale." It must be reported in, and only in, the specific thread in which the item was offered, and must not provide further details.

I'm not 100% sure that's the right approach as it's tantamount to "Naming & Shaming". In some cases it may well be the best approach but in others it's more about privately flagging up potentially dodgy sellers/buyers to moderators - not for immediate action - rather to make sure Moderators are aware in case there are subsequent issues with others dealing with the same person.

It's not about making more work for moderators or making them liable. It's just plain common sense to make sure that it doesn't happen to others.

Ian

Ian, you're not getting that there is no middle ground. When you crack the curtain to moderator action to resolve disputes, you throw it open wide. You can't say no to some if you said yes to others. You'd be first in line to bitch about that.

We created the Buyer/Seller advisory forum to allow people to do their own reporting. Edit, now that I'm slowed down: We do agree that the advisory forum can lead to naming and shaming, and we are keeping an eye out for that. But we haven't seen it occur at all. In fact, the vast, vast majority of advisories have been positive. The instructions you posted are for a post in a for-sale thread that leads people to a thread in the buyer/seller advisory where people are instructed to write facts only (as they see them) about the transaction. And, of course, the other party may respond in that thread--every one of these situations has two sides. Again, we can only enforce the type, not the content, of ads and advisories. I will remove posts that make personal attacks or demand action, and I will remove posts that pile on from people who have never transacted anything with the parties in question. I don't need to have an opinion at all about the facts of the situation to know those posts by type. I will remove posts that don't list a price, or that appear to be posted by a dealer, in the for-sale section. I've done all of these things. But we have not intervened in dispute resolution and we have no way of knowing whether the content of an ad is true.

This has been discussed every few months since the for-sale forum was created. We are not conflicted on this point.

Ginette made a reasonable suggestion about a general guideline, and we have considered it. We don't think it will do any good, but it could do harm.

That is not what you are requesting at all, which has nothing to do with Ginette's case and in fact is not even something she has asked for.

Rick "who'll give you one last shot before closing this thread, which is feedback now fully considered" Denney

rdenney
2-Jun-2014, 15:25
I would hate to see the For Sale forum here go away. I have purchased a few items here and had excellent experiences all around, dealing with knowledgeable individuals and getting excellent value for my money. The forum is a valuable part of the community, and I for one am of the opinion that for the sake of harmony and congeniality in the community as a whole, the mods must take action against egregious abuses (preferably by banning the offenders, where there is evidence of abuse). Otherwise bad feelings from the For Sale forum will spill over into other areas of the community.

I understand if the mods don't want to take on this responsibility. I certainly wouldn't. But when the abuse is ongoing, I am certain they will step in where and when it's necessary.

I semi-misread your post--let me rephrase...

Yes. When you see such abuse, report it with your evidence using the report button, and we'll consider banning the user if we get enough such complaints. In particular, we are interested in scams such as selling equipment using a picture of stuff that belongs to someone else, where that evidence is external to the parties. (That has never happened here, by the way, that I know of. One guy I'd never met did try to sell one of my rarer tubas on Ebay once, but that's another story.)

Folks, this is theoretical. My observation of those few cases that have come before us (in which we delined to intervene) was that both sides believed they were in the right, and the conflict was caused by a simple misunderstanding that one party or the other (or both) wasn't able to let go. There have been exceedingly few cases of scamming, and in at least one it did support the case for banning the individual, as reported by Ralph above, just on the basis of repeated complaints. But even then, we did not intervene in the specific transactions that led up to the banning action.

Rick "slow down, Rick" Denney

hoffner
2-Jun-2014, 15:36
I understand if the mods don't want to take on this responsibility. I certainly wouldn't. But when the abuse is ongoing, I am certain they will step in where and when it's necessary.

I'm sure, you're not sure anymore.

Guys, the FS section is, by its own nature, a can of worms. Once you open that can, what's the meaning to complain, there are worms in it?

rdenney
2-Jun-2014, 15:37
Oy... oy vay... this is getting MESHUGGINA.

I know of one photo forum that charges a fee to post FS (there may be more than one but that is all I personally know)... but APUG is not one of htem. APUG offers subscriptions that inlcudes access to additional forums, one of which is a FS forum. That hardly makes APUG a commercial site. Having a FS forum here hardly makes this site commercial either.

I agree on the second statement, but not the first. The APUG owner earns revenue from opening access to forums like the for-sale forum on APUG. That makes it a commercial site by definition. And it changes the relationship between the owner and his customers to a point. But I still don't think he has a role in resolving disputes, any more than a newspaper does in resolving disputes arising from the classifieds. My point in bringing it up is that APUG is not the LFPF, and the owners and moderators of this forum don't think we need to become like APUG to provide a good service to the members of this forum. APUG does what it does with our blessings, but we don't need to model what we do solely on the basis of what they do.

Rick "agreeing that this is getting meshuggina" Denney

Kirk Gittings
2-Jun-2014, 17:22
Oy... oy vay... this is getting MESHUGGINA.

I know of one photo forum that charges a fee to post FS (there may be more than one but that is all I personally know)... but APUG is not one of htem. APUG offers subscriptions that inlcudes access to additional forums, one of which is a FS forum. That hardly makes APUG a commercial site. Having a FS forum here hardly makes this site commercial either.

How do you define a commercial site? Just curious. I'm not criticizing Shawn-nothing wrong with his model. Heck I have a commercial business myself. But he uses the site to generate income right? Sounds commercial to me.

ROL
2-Jun-2014, 18:00
How do you define a commercial site? Just curious. I'm not criticizing Shawn-nothing wrong with his model. Heck I have a commercial business myself. But he uses the site to generate income right? Sounds commercial to me.


... a can of worms.

sanking
3-Jun-2014, 16:54
.......

Ginette made a reasonable suggestion about a general guideline, and we have considered it. We don't think it will do any good, but it could do harm.

.......

Rick "who'll give you one last shot before closing this thread, which is feedback now fully considered" Denney

I agree with Kirk that this whole area is problematic for the forum, and with Rick in that general guidelines would not do any good, and might do harm. In fact, my personal opinion is that the Buyer Advisory section has done more harm than good because it appears to give a positive stamp to some sellers, when in fact the next transaction by any seller could result in discord with the buyer. It seems to be kind of a slippery slope that justifies more involvement in specific sales by the moderators.

In my personal opinion the forum should simply emphasize the fact that use of the For Sale area is strictly at your own risk, and avoid any more involvement. It is now stated in red, which seems to make this fact evident. Those who have trouble reaching satisfactory outcomes might be better off with ebay and paypal, or other forums like APUG that appear to have the moderation staff to handle the issue.

Sandy

Ari
4-Jun-2014, 16:10
In fact, my personal opinion is that the Buyer Advisory section has done more harm than good because it appears to give a positive stamp to some sellers, when in fact the next transaction by any seller could result in discord with the buyer.

100% ratings on eBay are no guarantee of what's to come, only of what has already happened, so ratings or endorsements are equally valid/unvalid.

That said, I'm happy to give a positive stamp to someone here because I've been shown so much kindness here since day 1.

Like Ken, I try to buy only from people I know have a good forum presence, post regularly, are generally kind or good-natured.

The rest is at my own risk, and I really don't expect the mods to intervene in any way.