Learned an important eBay lesson...

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Post by Dr. Radio on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:03 pm

Just a heads-up for those who might not know...

So there was this particular radio on eBay that had a ridiculously high (for what it was) "buy it now" price. I've been watching it for some time, as I needed some parts from it to eventually finish another project. It had been relisted several times (duh, obviously due to the high buy-it-now so no takers) but for some reason I checked on it again as it pops up when I do one of my typical searches. I found not only did it have the "buy it now button" (remember there was no bid options, just a buy it now), but now it also had the "make an offer" button.

Now this is only the second time I've submitted an offer--the first one the guy was a jerk and didn't accept my offer (never heard back) even though his radio was relisted over and over for better part of a year with no takers).

So I click submit after entering about 1/2 of the asking price, I figure "no way". Well, later I had some regrets about even going that much...well, I figured it was just an offer, and nothing binding. WRONG.

So I check "my eBay" the next day and what do I find,? It is in the "won" section with "unpaid' status. So basically I had no recourse, I had to buy it.

I know, I know, it was my own fault, but even though it was a buy it now type auction, I don't feel "an offer" is a binding transaction "in real life". For example, if a neighbor has a car for sale and I take a look at it, and say, "Gee, that is nice, I tell ya what, how's $2000 for it?" and the neighbor says, "We'll let me think about it".

Let's say a few days go by...


Wouldn't the neighbor then say, "hey if you want it, you can have it for the $2000". I SHOULD be able to say, "sorry I've changed my mine" and NOT be obligated to buy it because it was an OFFER.

Just a heads-up for you 'bay'ers out there.
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Post by Steve Johnson on Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:27 am

Nope. You make an offer and they accept it you bought it. No going back on it. As soon as they accept your offer ebay marks it as sold and the item is closed.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:29 am

And, that's the way it always has been. If I make an offer, and, they accept, It's sold to me.
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Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:44 am

I agree. You made an offer on an auction item. You WERE on ebay, were you not? Ebay is an auction site. The seller accepted an offer YOU made on an auction. You need to complete the deal by paying what you owe. Then don't make a deal that you do not intend to go thru with.

Regards

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Post by DancingBear on Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:39 pm

My son-in-law had too many beers one night and bid on a $42,000 motor home just messing around, or so he thought. He bought it. I thought he could get out of it but he couldn't (or wouldn't due to pride). I'm not sure of all the details (sore subject between daughter and he) but he is now banned from ebay due to some hassles after-the-fact. Ebay is pretty serious about offers and I agree. We have all kinds of paperwork to cover things but the basic premise comes down to an offer and an acceptance. That qualifies as the proverbial "handshake". Once that hands extends don't retract it.
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Post by Dr. Radio on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:22 pm

Whoa, settle down guys.... I'm not trying to get out of anything. The seller was PROMPTLY paid. Unlike a lot of eBayers out there, I take responsibility for my actions.

I just thought it was interesting that eBay considers "an offer" a binding action just like a bid or a direct "buy it now".

I'm "out" $30.00 (including shipping), not $30,000...

And I'm not really "out" of anything as I need the parts, next time I'll just really low-ball the offer as I know now an offer is buying it.

Just thought I'd share if others weren't familiar with the offer rules...

Geeze... :p
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Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:40 pm

Doc, I, for one, was not trying to beat on you. "An offer" is usually not taken as an idle statement. Making an offer is giving your word. Most people do not respect a person who hesitates or fails to make their word good. We all learn eventually. Sometimes it is the hard way. Been there, done that. You are not the first and will not be the last.

Regards

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Post by terrydec on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:32 pm

Okay, I'm a little confused. Did you get the item for the original 'Buy it Now' price or for your offer? If you won the item that means that the seller did accept your offer, making it the new 'Buy it now price'.
I'd say you were lucky. Anytime I've made a lower offer I usually got a snotty reply.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:11 pm

In my case, it's usually no replay, or, a nasty one.
I got yelled at by Croaking Frog, and, I hadn't delat with him in two years. Then, he made a snappy comment, so, I just dropped my idea.
Oh, well.
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Post by DancingBear on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:53 pm

I apologize for anything resembling criticism. It's pretty obvious my comments should have been directed at my son-in-law. Your note stirred up a few things...I bailed his ass out and then he filed Ch 11. Wound up living in the RV. Family gatherings are real fun.

I appreciate the message and am very sorry for shooting the messenger. Sometimes we just have bad days...

Take care-
TonyM
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Post by Dr. Radio on Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:45 pm

No worries guys... Embarassed

I just didn't want anyone to assume I was trying to get out of the deal by not having to pay.

Terry--the seller accepted my offer (I was very surprised) so I ended up paying my "offer" amount which was half of what they were originally asking for the "buy it now" price.

This was only my second time to use the "offer" function. The first time I just got no reply. I'm really surprised he didn't send me a crappy message--as again I "low balled" my offer--but my low ball offers ARE REASONABLE for what the items are. Too many people think they have eBay gold I guess...I see a lot of plastic AA5 radios for "buy it now's" of $49.99, 59.99, even 89.99 or higher sometimes!.... But the guy was still a dufus, as he kept relisting the same radio in 29 day increments (or whatever it is for long-listing buy-it-now items) for what must have been close to a year. I don't think it ever sold. I bet that radio ended up in the garbage. Evil or Very Mad

Hopefully I can use my new "offer" radio to restore my other project radio Razz
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Post by Guest on Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:46 pm

An instructive post. I've bought a few items using the offer feature. The first one I got a reply saying they had accepted. All the ones thereafter had the "you won" notification. When the price is close to acceptable, I'll make an offer of a price without the stated shipping charge. That usually works. I try to trade as though I were also the seller and what would I expect.

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Post by terrydec on Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:33 am

This is kinda off the subject; but one of my pet peeves is seeing an object listed at a ridiculous price. One that I notice quite often is a $40 crystal microphone listed for $500 because it "looks like" an RCA 77.
I've actually seen a radio that is in the collector's guide for $700 in museum condition listed on eBay for $8,000-and NOT in excellent condition.
I've tried a couple of times to contact these sellers and suggest that they look at other similar listings. The replies were either indifferent or indignant.
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Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:48 am

I can go one worse. In the past several years I've seen several "rare antique edison phonograph's on ebay that were obviously home made, and, sold for rediculously high numbers on ebay. I tried warning ebay, but, they always ignore me.
One good example follows:
First, Edison NEVER sold an outside horn disc player to the gen. public. One creep had a real home made one. It was in a glass case, had four ball feet, painted top, and, bottom, a small single spring motor, plumbing tone arm that didn't reach the center spindle, and, a thin brass horn. It had a thirties reproducer with the word edison on it, but, it wasn't his signature. It had a coroded brass plaque that said the following, approx.
Edison phonograph made by the Edison phonograph companny at West Orange, New Jersey, the United States of America, USA.

It sold for well over four thousand dollars!
Boy, did someone lose their suit!

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Post by Guest on Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:08 am

Thanks so much Dr. Radio Very Happy

I have only used Ebay one time, so I'm greatful for any heads-up.

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Post by terrydec on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:21 pm

I make and sell mic cables on eBay. I sell them for less than anyone else and still make a decent profit.
That's how eBay SHOULD work.
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Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:26 pm

I stay off ebay.

Terry is right. Unfortunately, such is not the case anymore. Ebay is just not worth the hassle, and shipping costs more than the item.

Regards

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Post by terrydec on Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:35 pm

A lot of people have expressed this same sentiment, both here and on other forums.
Personally I don't know what I would do without eBay and PayPal. To me the advantages are more than worth the fees. I pay bills, order parts, transfer money and more with PayPal. Their fees only apply for an eBay purchase.
And just yesterday for $18 I bought the manual for a tape deck I've been struggling with.

There are some interesting quirks with eBay- NEVER try and sell in the summer. An item that wouldn't get a hit in July will sell in November.
Another thing is auction vs Buy it Now. I've listed stuff on But it Now and never got a single hit. I'd list it again on auction and get twice what I was asking. And putting a reserve price is weird. I've sold a bunch of items for exactly the reserve price. Apparently some people just HAVE to know the reserve. I love it. And I love that rush when you're bidding right down to the wire and win.
Two things I hate-and both of them are the Snipe program. Don't get me started.

My favorite eBay moment- I bought a box of old telegraph equipment and there was a old crusty motor included. I cleaned it up and listed it for $50. Nothing. I put it in auction and sold it for $325. I swear- true story.
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Post by terrydec on Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:03 pm

This is what I'm talking about-
Learned an important eBay lesson... $(KGrHqRHJEEFENiBKr(MBRGEcflJbg~~60_3

I sold one exactly like this. It is a crystal mic and sounds like it. I got $60 and considered it a good deal. There are two more just like it listed for $30. The buy it now price they have for this one is $395.
Don't these people ever look at other similar listings?
(It is a nice looking mic, just not worth four hundred dollars)
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Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:28 pm

I like the stye, but, not four hundred dollars worth of like.
Sheesh..........
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Post by terrydec on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:54 pm

One of my main goals in life is to someday have a 77DX. I really want it a lot. I came close when I traded an Atwater Kent 1400. I thought I was trading for one but wound up with a Western Electric 639 that needed almost everything- connector, yoke, chin and grill cloth. The top was cracked and one piece was missing. I couldn't fix that and finally sold it for $600, about what I had in it. It did pay for a week visiting my ex in Florida. Oh well, it was Key West and I spent time with my son, so I guess it was all worth it. (Except for the being with my ex part). Razz
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Post by DancingBear on Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:29 am

I am not familiar with ebay but have considered it recently. I make model cars from wood and some are pretty intricate. I do not know where to price them at. Someone suggested to me that I put one of them on ebay with an extremely high reserve, assuring it won't sell but allow me to find a price.

Is this what people are doing? I haven't bought into it yet but have no way to discover pricing. Galleries want a good percentage of the profit. Is there a way to accomplish this without duping folks?

TonyM
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Post by Guest on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:45 am

One good way to get a feel for what the market will bear is to actually do some searches for items similar to your works, and see some of the prices. Another way is to do a work up of what you have invested in time and materials and gauge it by the labor rates for such work. Those can help you reach an initial offering price. Bear in mind many are looking for a bargain and a low starting price that will recoup costs can attract the kind of competitive interest you want.

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Post by DancingBear on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:33 pm

So far I haven't seen anything similar. If I took an hour-to-hour cost, as I've done in the past, it would be far too high. I do one project at the beginning of each year to provide me with $$$ to operate for the rest of it. Usual projects have been desks, tables and libraries...formulas stuff. This one is different and I am totally lost. I've asked people and gotten answers that range from $500 up to $2500. At this point it could make it so I could buy that spendy new work-stool for my bench that would cradle my tuckus whilst soldiering on.

I feel the ebay action would be tacky. Wife says I should just put it on and see what it will bring, accepting the final price for what the market allows. i feel ebay wouldn't exactly reflect the market and the comments here lean that way.

My second choice is to give it to a friend with who shows his 36' Chevy PU at car shows and have him put it up for raffle at a larger show. I have two for sale and figured I might let the first go for whatever so I can kinda set the stage for the second, a better piece and worth more if only for the woods involved.

I'm glad this subject came up. Is ebay all there is? (not a theology question)

TonyM
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Post by terrydec on Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:06 pm

I'd list them in auction on eBay with a starting price of $9.99. When you start a listing they ask for you to write a description of your item. You might list under "collectible", or "hobby", etc. Then there is a drop down menu of items that might be applicable or similar. Choose one or two. Listing two gives you more exposure but there is a fee for a second listing.

I've learned that photos and copy are what sells. Try to get photos that are well lit and write copy that describes the item best. Include things like how they are handmade, time spent, etc. Once again try to be professional but I've found that a bit of humor also works.

Note: One thing that eBay insists on is accuracy. Don't say anything that can come back and bite you in the butt. Describe the item but don't embellish or the buyer can ask for a refund.

Include in the copy, and this is important-
"PayPal and shipping to contiguous USA only"
"Thanks for looking"
If you don't have a PayPal account set one up.

You might have to sacrifice one for a low price but at least you'll know the market value.
Yes, both eBay and PayPal take a nominal fee.
I hope this helps.
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