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Thread: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

  1. #1

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    Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    As I mentioned in a previous post, I built one of those electronic shutter speed testers that essentially consist of a photo electric diode attached to a computer sound card.

    I used it to test a a 300mm Schneider previously bought on Ebay but not yet used, and lo! it turns out to be damaged. The fast speeds were way off. Took it to repair shop and found out that the governor was malfunctioning and there was some other damage. The cost of fixing that was only $40 on top of the usual cost of a good CLA but still, goes to show you can't really judge a lens bought off of ebay just by sound and looks. I think it is too late to raise a stink with the seller, especially since I already gave him a positive feedback. I suppose he wrote "mint, not tested but speeds sound right" on his auction, and I suppose I can't judge badly him for failing to tell the difference of 1/250th and 1/100ht shutter speed by ear alone. but still, who should be responsible for hidden damage in that sort of circumstance? The seller or buyer? Ethically, it should be the seller, IMHo.

    ANyway, seems to me that there are a lot of LF gear transactions on Ebay. Perhaps it would be a good idea for the collective LF-gear purchasing community on Ebay to sort of join up together and develop a list of voluntary "ethical guidelines" and ask sellers to to abide by them, backed by the force of our economic purchashing power. Sellers should then be encouraged to state clearly in their ebay auctions whether they (voluntarily) abide by these guidelines or not.

    Whether the seller agrees to abide by the guidelines, declines to do so, or simply refuses to acknowledge them, the sellers will have an additional bit of info that they can take into consideration when making a bid- and that will result in strong encouragement for sellers to adopt the guidelines eventually.

    So, as an Ebay buyer what rules or "ethical guidlines" would you like to See adopted by sellers?

    1- If you're selling something on ebay, make sure you show clear photos of all sides, or at least of the side where the item is damaged (instead of trying to hide it!)

    2- If you're selling it "as is" then at least descibe how it "is" clearly. If you fail to disclose a defect that is apparent, then you have to take it back even if you sold the item on an "as is" basis.

    3- If there's hidden damage, the seller will accept returns even if he had no way to know about it, for a reasonable period of time.

    4-...?

  2. #2

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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Here are my suggestions about buying on e-bay.

    1) Read the auction ad carefully. If the terms don't satisfy you then don't bid on an item.

    Don Bryant

  3. #3
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    3- If there's hidden damage, the seller will accept returns even if he had no way to know about it, for a reasonable period of time.

    sorry - but really, it's buyer beware if you are buying a used item from a private seller as opposed to a store. If the item is clearly and honestly described and described "as is", that's all that can be done. If the item is described as "recently CLA'd or "checked by my repair technician" that's different.

    If you want the equivalent of the 28 day or 3 month "used" guarantee that stores tend to offer (usually for a somewhat higher price for the same item), then you would have to include say a $45.00 "repair insurance" on the mechanical aspects of the item.

    If you want something that's mechanically guaranteed, imo you need to be prepared to pay a higher price....

    And on point 2.:
    2- If you're selling it "as is" then at least descibe how it "is" clearly. If you fail to disclose a defect that is apparent, then you have to take it back even if you sold the item on an "as is" basis.

    if it's obvious in the photos, but not described, tough (I've heard this complaint on lists before). Some buyers are just too stupid or blind to notice then start crying foul

    Some of this is common sense, but on the whole, I don't see it as a very workable idea
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  4. #4
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by D. Bryant View Post
    Here are my suggestions about buying on e-bay.

    1) Read the auction ad carefully. If the terms don't satisfy you then don't bid on an item.

    Don Bryant
    that would be buyer ethical guidlines, but pretty much sums it up i think
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

  5. #5

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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Unless an Ebay item is signifigantly below the price at a reputable used equipment dealer that permits returns, such as KEH, I don't bother.

    Before bidding I ask lots of questions.

  6. #6
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Ron has the only approach that makes sense. BTW as a result a watch a lot of stuff on eBay and buy very very very little.

    As a seller I agree with Tim. I go to great lengths to describe everything I sell accurately down to the last little ding or scratch or blemish. Having done that I am not about to take something back unless it was agreed to in advance and factored in to the selling price. By and large if I had to go through that one very sale I would rathe rjsut trade my stuff to Jim at Midwest where I get tradein value that is often close to what I can sell it for on eBay anyway.

  7. #7
    tim atherton's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    Ron has the only approach that makes sense. BTW as a result a watch a lot of stuff on eBay and buy very very very little.

    As a seller I agree with Tim. I go to great lengths to describe everything I sell accurately down to the last little ding or scratch or blemish. Having done that I am not about to take something back unless it was agreed to in advance and factored in to the selling price. By and large if I had to go through that one very sale I would rathe rjsut trade my stuff to Jim at Midwest where I get tradein value that is often close to what I can sell it for on eBay anyway.
    I should add I don't think I've ever had anyone want to return an item I've sold on ebay. But I know I've bought stuff where I realise I didn't read to description or look at the photos properly and kicked myself after I got the item... I've know of a few buyers in similar situations who've then gone into a "I've been cheated and want my money back frenzy". I've tended to either suck it up or re-sold the item accurately and clearly described - generally at a slight loss, a couple of times at a profit.

    And what about the items we get that turn out to be far better than we expected or were described? Shouldn't we have ethical guidelines whereby in those circumstances the buyer has to cough up a bit more for the seller...
    You'd be amazed how small the demand is for pictures of trees... - Fred Astaire to Audrey Hepburn

    www.photo-muse.blogspot.com blog

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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    This problem is inherent in selling and buying unseen. Often, I think, the seller really doesn't know very much about what he is selling. This can work for or against the buyer. In addition to asking questions, to which I may or may not get a meaningful answer, I have a green eyeshade and purple sleeve garters for wear while deciding whether or not to bid and how much.

    I think I have come out ahead on the whole, but I would certainly do all my buying from one of our good dealers if I weren't willing to take some risk.

  9. #9

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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Marshall View Post
    Unless an Ebay item is signifigantly below the price at a reputable used equipment dealer that permits returns, such as KEH, I don't bother.

    Before bidding I ask lots of questions.
    ditto. In fact, of late, I'm getting better deals from MPX and KEH than EBay offers. In fact, I was watching a Mamiya 7 outfit identical to one I got from MPX a couple of weeks ago for $800.00. On Ebay, that one (based on the description, not in as good a shape as the one I got) sold for $1,025.00.

    I kept trying to get a 10" lens for my 8x10. After watching several old style lenses bring 6-800 on Ebay, I bought a 10.75" Apo Artar in an Ilex #3 from KEH for $345.00.

    Still, once in a while, something comes along that's worth taking a shot at.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  10. #10
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Drafting a set of Ebay seller ethics guidelines

    As a seller, I figure the burden is on me to describe the item as best I can and respond to queries in advance, and as long as I've described everything accurately, I don't have to take it back. If the buyer decides that they just don't like something, then there was always a bidder just below them, and they can throw it back into the lake, and someone else will buy it.

    As a buyer, I figure the burden is on me to calculate the risk and know the value of the item and the possible repair costs and factor them into my bid. As long as the seller has described the item accurately, I won't ask to return it, and if I don't like it, I can throw it back into the lake, usually with a better description and better pictures than when I bought it, and by virtue of the additional labor I am willing to put into the item description, I can usually turn a modest profit, occasionally suffering a modest loss, once or twice realizing a very significant profit, but never yet a significant loss.

    It works for me.

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