View Full Version : e.bay fears realized ?

14-Jan-2004, 16:22
welllll... i jusy received my e.bay purchased lens & - SURPRISE ! it comes w/ the bonus 1/4 INCH LONG SCRATCH on the rear element. unmissable & unmistakable. the seller advertised it as "very clean", which it is, SCRATCH & ALL, but failed to mention the scratch itself. it is near the border of the lens, ~ 1/4 inch out & mostly paralleling the circumference. that is to say, it does not strike towards the center of the lens, but lays like the rings of a tree near the outside. SO. i am loathe to accept the lens @ all, even if it is unaffected by the marr. w/out being able to see the schneider symmar-s 210/5.6, copal 1 from the 70's, what are the opinions of you more experienced folks as to the usability of the lens ? it was a decent bargain, but not if some f's will be unusable. even if image quality is wholly unaffected by it, it galls me let such deception stand.

your opinions/advice would be MUCH appreciated.

14-Jan-2004, 16:47
The lens is likely usable, but resale value is pretty much toast. I'd get a refund including shipping, if seller will accept that. O/wise, neg feedback is called for. If seller will take lens back for full refund, neutral feedback is appropriate. If you get stuck with the lens, fill in the scratch with black ink--waterproof India ink--and it will be OK. especially at f22--f-32.

Ernest Purdum
14-Jan-2004, 16:55
I agree that the first thing to do is to talk to the seller. It is true, though, that filled scratch causes no optical problem, only a totally inconsequential light loss. On the other hand, I've never tried to fill a scratch and wonder about my ability to do it neatly.

John Kasaian
14-Jan-2004, 16:58

Is the scratch on the front or rear element? Can you feel it with your finger nail? How much do you have invested in this lens? Has the seller already posted feedback?

If it is a polishing "whisp," I'd use it as is at least to see if it has any effect---usually they don't, but its worth checking out. FWIW, I've come to accept these as part and parcel of classic glass though, sort of like scars acquired by a life well lived. Somebody once said:" scars are like tattoos, only they come with better stories"

If the seller misrepresented the lens, by all means refuse it. Especially if it on the rear element. On the front element, a little black paint or india ink to fill the scratch usually works wonders should you decide to keep it.

14-Jan-2004, 17:05

I concur with kallitype in his suggestion. I'd be returning it to the seller asap and insist on a full refund. Chances are, though, that they won't reimburse the shipping costs. So, if he refunds the selling price + shipping... neutral feedback is the way to go. If he doesn't refund the shipping...I'd be leaving negative feedback AFTER I received the refund AND he's left feedback.

As a purchaser I always insist that the seller leave feedback FIRST... then I leave feedback for them. This is the way it should be! But, there are a lot of scoundrels out there who "know" they've bilked you and will only leave feedback after you've left yours. Their thought is that if you leave negative feedback for them...they'll leave some chumped up negative feedback for you. This is suppose to deter you from leaving negative feedback for them!

I ALWAYS make it a point to read a seller's feedback to see if there's a pattern for them. There usually is! This is indicative of how they'll treat you after the sale.

Lastly, although it may not help on this purchase, I always look for sellers who have a great track record and who are frequent sellers on the site...like the Dagmeister! (Dagor77).

Good luck on resolving your situation.

Jonathan Brewer
14-Jan-2004, 17:55
Another seller who's 'dancing between raindrops', this has happened to me before, the attitude of this seller is TO ME I condider it 'very clean', of course the condition of the piece was not 'very clean' to you.

You have to ask specific questions, 'are there marks, scratches, scuffs of any kind?', ............................................and so forth, this seller can argue that is very clean, because his attitude is that he isn't going to go into anything you don't ask about in detail.

14-Jan-2004, 18:04
Jason, I would contact the seller right away and let them know you are unhappy with the lens and ask for a refund including shipping since the item was not as described. If they balk or don't want to you should file a complaint with ebay before leaving negative feedback. This usually gets their attention. Also, hopefully you paid with Paypal which allows you to file a complaint with them as well and request a refund. Be sure to mention fraud in your descriptions as this gets ebay's and Paypal's attention. I would ship it back immediately with delivery comfirmation and then follow up on the complaints.

As a buyer and seller on ebay I have a policy of not leaving feedback on buyers until they leave it for me to protect myself from unscrupulous people who try to blackmail me into refunds or discounts after they have received the product.

I also agree that you should try and buy from sellers like dagor77 who have a proven track record of customer satisfaction. That and I don't buy from anyone who doesn't take Paypal. It is the best protection I have found. I once bought a $2,000 digital camera only to find out the guy was taking the money and no camera. I was 7th on the list. But, via paypal I got my money back before he could withdraw it.....yea..

Good luck and hope your next purchase is a better experience.

Greg Prior
14-Jan-2004, 18:07
The usual statement is something like 'no effect at f/11 or smaller'. Actually, if you do a ray trace, the f/stop has little effect. The biggest effect is the actual image. That is, if you don't have the lens shifted so that that corner of the lens is used at the corner of your film, it doesn't have any rays that pass thru the scratch. You can guarantee that you won't see the effects by rotating the lens so the scratch is on the long side of the film, out of harms way.


Frank Petronio
14-Jan-2004, 19:22
If the seller values his feedback, you can usually get then to agree to a 50% partial refund, making it a good user lens (as your resale value is greatly diminished). Offer them the choice of a full refund or keep the lens and get half back. More often than not they rather give you some cash than all of it.

Ed Eubanks
14-Jan-2004, 19:48
Bummer situation. I've been there, just as so many of us have. I've sold over 200 items on eBay, and bought at least 75, starting back when they first began (remember the "garage sale" radio ads?!?); except for the very early days when almost everyone seemed to be true individuals cleaning out closets, and everyone was pretty honorable, I have remained fearful of the situation you described with almost every auction I participate in. The advice you've gotten so far is good. Here are a few more points:
EBay is quite concerned with the quality of the sales that go on through their auctions, and will likely be willing to intervene at some level if the seller is uncooperative. It will take some searching around (because eBay's site has more thousands of links that you would ever want to count, and most of them are embedded four pages deep), but you should be able to find something that takes you to more specialized help.
If you have used a credit card to purchase (through Paypal or otherwise), your credit card company can be very helpful. I'm sure they haven't dealt with this before-- after all, so VERY few people get stuck with lousy auction purchases, I'm certain-- but they'll know what to do.
If the seller was a merchant of some sort-- meaning they do this as an official business-- they very likely have some sort of return policy based on satisfaction guarantee. Even if they don't, an agency like the Better Business Bureau can be helpful and pursuasive. It may take awhile, but patience will pay off in the long run through such avenues. If it really gets nasty (and the quality of the glass is worth the trouble to you), the business licensing agencies for the state where the merchant is can be a last resort.
Finally, quite often reason works the best. Through eBay, you can get the seller's phone number, and a voice-to-voice conversation may clear it all up. BE POLITE-- you're already accusing him of being a liar, so do it nicely if you hope to get anywhere. No one is eager to work with the guy with the chip on his shoulder.

14-Jan-2004, 20:47
I personally do not see any deception on the part of the seller. If the item is indeed very clean in every other respect, a 1/4" scratch on the outside of the back of the lens is not sufficient to indicate mis-representation on the part of the seller, IMHO. And you should have resolved any questions about the condition of the lens before bidding.

What happens now, however, depends on both your attitude and the attitude of the seller.

Were I the seller and you wanted a refund for the lens, I would give you the refund because you might very well otherwise give me negative feedback. But the downside of that is that I would likely return the favor by giving you negative feedback in return. And of course that would hurt both of us, and is really not worth the hassle, especially if you want to continue buying and selling on ebay.

As others have suggested, the best course of action is to attempt to resolve the issue with the seller before taking any action that will damage your reputation as well as that of the seller. The issue most likley boils down to a simple difference of opinion as to the meaning of "very clean."

14-Jan-2004, 22:02
thank you all for the advice.

i put the lens on my camera & stopped it down to f45, & as best as i could see on the ground glass in that dim image there was no trace of an effect from the scratch. but i did not manipulate the standards, so...

i e'd the seller again after hearing back from him (very polite & concerned he was) & asked to either return the lens for a full refund or keep it w/ a 50% refund to reflect its truer market value. i am sooooo glad i used a cc thru paypal ! originally he wanted only an international money order (in canada), but that would have taken me a week to do in our very rural neck of the woods. so he suggested paypal. whew...

Frank Filippone
14-Jan-2004, 23:25
The issue is not the scratch itself, but your reaction to the scratch. If it upsets you enough that you are not going to use the lens, at any price, get rid of it. Either return it to the seller, or sell it off, with an honest description.

David Vickery
14-Jan-2004, 23:58
Hello, Is the scratch in the glass itself or is it just in the coating? Either way the scratch itself is unlikely to ever have a noticable effect on the image, but what caused the defect is what I would be more interested in. If it is just a coating scratch then it is not a big deal, but if it is actual glass that has been abraded then was there enough force to cause an alignment problem?? The effect of an impact on a lens may just be a scatch or it could be the scratch plus an alignment problem. It depends on how bad the impact was. I once bought a lens that looked great but had a little damage to the rear barrel. It did not look like a big deal at all, but after putting my money down and not testing the lens right away, I found out that I got taken and was dumb for not testing the lens. That lens creates an image with a center spot that is soft and greater in density than the rest of the image. But it does make a nice looking paperweight.

Paul Schilliger
15-Jan-2004, 01:00
I jump in the train to ask my own question: What means of pressure does the Ebay administration offer when the seller is not responding to polite and kind pressures? I paid an excess due to the bank sending the wrong currency, but if the seller who owns a large shop on Ebay Germany agreed at first to reimburse me, he never acted and has been silent to my kind mails for the past 3 months and recent urgent mails. I am about to place a bad feedback before I can't do it any more, but this will certainly not help in getting my money back and he could place a bad feedback for me as a revenge as I have seen some do... Is there a moderator that one can contact from the Ebay administration?

neil poulsen
15-Jan-2004, 01:06
I rarely purchase from anyone with under 100 feedback, and then it all must be good. I purchased lens from someone that advertised as clean, with no marks, etc.

Guess what: ding on front filter ring!

I contacted the seller. It turns out he was selling it for a friend and didn't realize it had a ding. I got a good enough price on the lens to make it worthwhile to get it repaired at the seller's expense. Both of us were satisfied, so I left positive feedback.

15-Jan-2004, 05:28
Maybe it's because we're in the political spin season but sellers on Ebay just do not want to tell the negatives. I have returned many items for surprise problems even after questioning the seller. Most times they do refund shipping costs. Some people just don't take the time to really check over an item and figure that the buyer will do the work. When I sell I try and list all the bad things I can see and expect the same in return.

Ed Eubanks
15-Jan-2004, 16:26
Paul Schilliger said...
"Is there a moderator that one can contact from the Ebay administration?"
Paul (et al), on the U.S. eBay site you can visit "SERVICES" and very close to the top you'll find a section entitled "Dispute Resolution". This link (again in the U.S.) will take you to an area called SquareTrade, which is a very thorough service for resolution of disputes of sales or purchases. This may help you.
If you pay with Paypal, you can scroll down to "Buyer Protection" (also in SERVICES) and make a fraud claim through the proper channels. While it appears that there may be some help here for non-Paypal users, this obviously appears to be more useful for Paypal users.
You might also search the site map to see if there appear to be other links for help with troublesome transactions. For example, there is an eBay discussion forum that may have helpful information. There is also a "Soapbox" area, where at very least you could have an opportunity for loud complaint about this user.

Jonathan Brewer
15-Jan-2004, 16:42
'I am about to place a bad feedback before I can't do it any more, but this will certainly not help in getting my money back and he could place a bad feedback for me as a revenge as I have seen some do'............................Paul.................my advice don't do it, he'll deserve his negative feedback, but you won't deserve the one he gives you, the only way you can give him a negative feedback without getting one from him is to wait to the second when the time limit for feedbacks expire, I just won't invest the time in watching and waiting to do something like that.

I've gotten one negative feedback, for nothing, a bad, smelly, nasty, foul looking SX-70, which she had the nerve to say was 'pristine', she deserved her negative feedback from me, I didn't deserve the one she gave me, she's since been kicked out, so out of all the choices you have don't get yourself a negative feedback you don't deserve.

Andre Noble
15-Jan-2004, 19:31
What is the exact length of time before feedback expiration?

15-Jan-2004, 22:38
having talked w/ the seller a couple times now all is well it seems. he said he is totally unfamiliar w/ 4x5 & never took the lens off the camera he got w/ it @ a garage sale for $25, w/ the intent of reselling it for some profit. it is a very noticeable scratch though, but he is very polite & concerned, & i will run sheets thru it & if unaffected will keep the lens w/ 50% of the purchase price returned. if images are affected i will return it for full refund.

Frank Filippone
15-Jan-2004, 23:32
It is doubtful that you will be able to tell of any effect. Be cautious.... If you are concerned of the results, get rid of it. Your bias about the lens will affect you more than test results will.

Jonathan Brewer
16-Jan-2004, 00:18
I believe it's 90 days,

Paul Schilliger
16-Jan-2004, 01:05
The 90 days are just a minimum. It can be more. I carried out a little search and found the seller's business phone! He promised he would pay wihin the next 3 days, but the tone of his voice said I could count on it and go out pick daysies. I'm waiting a few days and will continue bothering him on the phone if he does not, or contact the Dispute Resolution services. Thanks for your advices!

David F. Stein
16-Jan-2004, 08:02
I admire the toughness of this crowd. I hope everyone is as tough on themselves when they are the seller. Buying long distance is an inexact science; even buying at a camera show is. When I have bought directly from dealers, I wasn't so sure that the same dynamic bemoaned here also didn't apply-equipment kind of is dispatched out to buyers-settling finally with the person satisifed with value for dollar; too fatigued to return it; whatever. Even brand new equipment isn't flawless; how can used stuff be???

Ed Eubanks
16-Jan-2004, 12:01
Mr. Stein makes some good points. My theory on how to view claims of condition is this: the rating of goods by the seller is, with limitations, inversely proportional to the rating of the same goods by the buyer. That is, the seller of an item, in the context of his actual awareness of its condition, will praise and "embellish" its condition as much as he thinks possible (sometimes resulting in outright lies); meanwhile, the buyer of that same item, again within the context of his actual awareness of its condition (which is, on eBay, often greater than the seller's), will scrutinize and "embellish" its condition as much as possible (sometimes resulting in simply being a jerk). Incidentally, it is my experience that this occurs with sales of used equipment of all types in any venue, not simply online auctions.
Occasionally I've found that the opposite is true; KEH deals with a great deal of used equipment, and they tend to be ultra-conservative in their rating system-- what others might (rightly) call EX+, KEH will call EX. This is frustrating as a seller-- they won't offer nearly as much for good gear-- but great as a buyer. I regularly buy gear from them listed in "Bargain" condition that I find to be very good user gear.
When I sell, I try to put as much information about condition as I can in my ads, and I'm sure to list it as "user grade"-- there is nothing that I own simply for the sake of collection, so I try to be upfront about that fact. I wish I could hope the same for other sellers. Perhaps the "Large Format Forum" could develop a "known sellers list" of folks who are willing to commit to a full-disclosure, non-embellishment attitude towards equipment sales. What a service that would be!

Ken Dangerfield
19-Jan-2004, 23:06
Don't by ANYTHING from anyone who says somewhere in their description "I don't know much about this stuff but....." no matter how many positive feedbacks they have. They are either garage resalers or dumpster divers and you are buying a pig in a poke. There are hundreds of sellers of camera equipment on ebay who are knowledgeable and honest. Like Midwest Photo Exchange.