August 3, 2014

When children sell on ebay - Part 1

I have been buying and selling on ebay since December 1998.  Back then, ebay looked like this.  Ebay boasted having 1.8 million items for sale in 1,500+ categories.  My first ever purchase was an alabaster chess set I won for $40.  In 1999 I sold some 'Coke Shelves' I found out by the curb in my neighborhood on "Big Trash Day" and made $180.00.  I have also sold cars on ebay, always listing them for 1¢ with no reserve.  The vehicles I have sold on ebay always sold for much more than bluebook and, if you sell a car on ebay, I would highly recommend the 1¢/No Reserve method.

Ebay has been a terrific place to both pick up bargains and sell unwanted things.  My greatest conquest was purchasing a brand new $330.00 D-Link, 48-port Managed Network Switch for $30.  I have had extraordinarily good luck both buying and selling on the popular auction site — that is — until last month.  A seller who goes by 'contempraphones' based in Canada sold me a rare, 10-button Western Electric touchtone desk phone that I needed to shoot a 60-second commercial for a telephone company.

The package was delivered on a Friday and before I even opened it, I realized it was sorta sloshing around inside the package and, much like Ace Ventura's package in Pet Detective — it sounded 'broken'.  Upon opening the package it was clear that the weight of the receiver bouncing up and down on the base during transport caused the base of the phone to shatter.  No need to call in Law and Order to investigate.  It was obvious what happened as soon as I opened the box.

This pic was taken after opening the package and setting the receiver aside (which was resting on top of the base) revealing that the base was not wrapped at all.  It was sitting atop ONE rectangular piece of bubblewrap which was resting on a pile of shredded paper and peanuts.  I immediately 'reported a problem' on ebay and sent the following message to the seller.

"I was heartbroken when I opened your package today. The outside of the packaging is fine, however, the base clearly wasn't protected adequately from the weight of the handset and the fragile old phone arrived in pieces. I cannot attach photos to this message, but here are some dropbox links to the photos I just took. Hopefully you can open the links and see what I mean. The purpose for buying this phone was to use it as a prop in a TV commercial. We're going to be a little behind schedule now and we still need the prop. Is there any way you could replace this with a like item? Beige is the color of the other prop we're using that has all 12 buttons. Your phone was PERFECT because it could be 'morphed' into the 12 button phone (by video trickery) by photoshopping it with this phone. Do you have anything similar of like or greater value you can send us instead? Do you have another beige one?"

Initially, the seller was helpful and said that he was 'sorry it happened'.  He opened an insurance claim with Canada Post and told me that I would be contacted by them with instructions on what to do with the damaged merchandise

To be continued...


Calif.Bob said...

That's a real bummer of a story about shady people selling on eBay. I've had a similar experience as well.

California Bob said...

That's a total bummer! There are a lot of reputable eBayer's out there and only a few that ruin it for everyone else. I hope this gets resolved to everyones satisfaction.

About Me

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Oklahoma City, OK, United States
My name is Mark W. Mumma. I'm from Blackwell Oklahoma and I used to fight email spam. My fight is over and I have lost. I am making a movie about my misadventures. It should be out by 2015. I am an ISP, a telecom entrepreneur, a wedding DJ and a Data Recovery guru. Hey, its an Obummer economy and I am just trying to keep food on the table.