Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Buyers fraud, does it exist?


priya

Recommended Posts

Of course if people simply evaluated the violin, rather than all the garbage surrounding it, there wouldn't be a problem, would there? This holds true for all sorts of circumstances, not just auctions. A salesman friend of mine maintains that if you rely on the violin to sell itself you'll always fail, because players MUST have some sort of artificial drama going to make the leap. That's why you see all of the stories on Ebay. . . and why they work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 75
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Quote:

Of course if people simply evaluated the violin, rather than all the garbage surrounding it, there wouldn't be a problem, would there?


True enough, but the fact is that lots of people pay as much or more attention to the garbage as to the instrument. The problem I have with the practice has to do with the intent behind the stories, where experts who know that what they're selling is crap make it seem as if the violin is potentially a lot more valuable than it actually is. When you know what you're selling is no good I consider that kind of suggestion a kind of misrepresentation masquerading as ignorance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A salesman friend of mine maintains that if you rely on the violin to sell itself you'll always fail, because players MUST have some sort of artificial drama going to make the leap. That's why you see all of the stories on Ebay. . . and why they work".

The violins will always sell, but for less money.

A violin's future lies in it's past.

Regards,

Priya

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buyers fraud ends when people selling on ebay give an honest description of their items and show a decent ammount of clear close up pictures and as if thats going to happen! Nice dark blurry pictures with poor description seem to intice people greedy for a bargain - like me! But the people greedy for a bargain aren't all pro appraisers so they lose - as I have sometimes. The people who do list well on ebay make a lot more for their violins than sometimes the violins are worth but that is up to the bidders or buyers what they are prepared to pay for an item and up to them to reseach what they are buying.

Auction houses can be as bad as some of the more unscrupulous ebay sellers, because as was said before, they give scant descriptions, however, at least one can see the violin in person and if not knowledgeable themselves, they can take along someone who is. You can't do that on ebay - thats why it is a thieve's paradise - and they are thieves some of them. And they all rely on psychology and the impulsive bidder.

Anyone want to buy a violin btw? I can send you some pictures?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Buyers fraud ends when people selling on ebay give an honest description of their items and show a decent ammount of clear close up pictures and as if thats going to happen! Nice dark blurry pictures with poor description seem to intice people greedy for a bargain - like me! But the

++++++++++++++++++++

You meant "Seller's" fraud ends (not buyers').

I agree with you. "Buyer's fraud" is something else. /yuen/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I mean buyer's fraud I believe includes individuals buying off a rookie seller who puts up poor quality pictures/description and does not realise anywhere near the ammount that he should have for an instrument he knows little of - like the strad story. I see big dealers come swooping in at the last seconds. It seems a bit mean. But then it is the seller's fault for not having any knowledge of his goods. Its a free for all on ebay though where normal law and rules don't seem to apply.

Sellers fraud is when a seller sells something for profit above the going market price of that item by using false description/pictures to aid his deception. Like 'pro level violin'. They so annoy me those listings!

If you are selling quality goods then I see no reason not to 'plug' them with a description that shows their true worth and the work that has gone into creating them but I deplore people who say such things like 'a pro level violin' when clearly it is not - it is a factory made one. But there are some places that are good to buy on ebay and some sellers who are not out to rip people for as much as they can get. They are a rare bunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, now I know what you wanted to say there. But why?

I only see buyers' fraud is non-performance, namely not paying as promised. (at least in auction cases)

PS. If someone brought to me a Strad,(not knowing it) and asked $300 for it. It puts my honesty in a test. I don't call it buyer's fraud. Different levels of honesty.

(1) Report to police and collect award.

(2) Offer $5000 instead of $300

(3) Just $300

(4) Bargain it to $250 say something to do him a favor.

(5) suggest an appraisal to collect 5% of its true value

(6) Refuse to deal

PS. It is an entirely different situation. If I go door-to-door and ask the house hold if there is any old violin for sell. I found one (Strad) and offered $300.

(house hold is not a market place, by going door-to-door, buyer's fraud of making it a market place)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because I wanted to say that I think it is as unscrupulous for buyers to get hold of quality items (knowingly) for a pittance as it is for sellers to sell wrongly described goods to make more money. I don't like seeing it. Its unfair but then I am a utopist

Of course, there are stolen goods on ebay too aren't there

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find it amazing how much some of the really cheap violins sell for on Ebay. If you look at the Tarisio sale going on right now, there is a load of decent violins selling for a few hundred $. I suppose it is the thrill of finding a "steal" that fuels the high prices on ebay. In fact, the Ebay sellers who know something seem to hide their identity because that encourages the bidding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes , i agree,the difference with Tarisio is that if you think its German you generally say so, on ebay they very often omit that part and just state some like nice quality violin. This seems to fuel peoples imagination that it might be some modern Italian violin , so they take the chance- but on Tarisio if you say nice German violin , thats what it usually is and you know you`re not really going to get anything more than is described.

On a slightly different note ,I bought one at the last Tarisio auction which was described as ` a fine and interesting violin`, before bidding i asked Jason if he had any thoughts what it was ,he said he(you) didn`t have any idea apart from it was very well made and circa 1890-1900.What i`m getting at is do you generally not know what it is ,in those situations or you just don`t say? I`ve had a couple of suggestions as to what it is, but i`m just wondering why tarisio didn`t make a suggestion.

The violin plays really well by the way.

If you want to know the lot no. send me a private message.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:

Because I wanted to say that I think it is as unscrupulous for buyers to get hold of quality items (knowingly) for a pittance as it is for sellers to sell wrongly described goods to make more money.


I have heard people get indignant about someone who buys an instrument for $200 and ends up selling it for $2000. A ten-fold increase, seems unfair. But is it? Suppose that same instrument were put on consignment. It needs $800 worth of cleaning, repair, and setup. Then 25% goes as commission. So the original owner gets $500. Yes, there's a $300 difference here. But the dealer has laid out his capital and is assuming the risk that the instrument will not sell, or not at that price.

In this, it's similar to the used car market. People get upset when they see that a car they sold to the dealer for $1000 now has a $2500 price tag on it. But they ignore the price of fixing it up and the capital carrying cost, not to mention access to a wider market. (On the other hand, used car dealers don't have such sterling reputaions either!)

And how much is the dealer's years of expertise, his ability to know what he is seeing, worth? How much should he expect to realize on that investment? When you go to a doctor, you are paying for his training, his ability to recognize an ailment. Even if he gives no treatment, applying his expertise is worth something.

BUT I agreee, there is a matter of degree. If you bought that $300 instrument from a little old lady who was selling it to pay her heating bill, and it indeed turned out to be a Strad (after you spent many hours doing extensive research, consultation, and documentation; probably a few thousand dollars worth of effort), I would say some sort of additional payment was morally due to the little old lady. (Not legally due, or even ethically due). If the seller were Bill Gates, on the other hand (who is perfectly capable of buying an expert opinion as to what he was selling, but just couldn't be bothered) I would be considerably less inclined to feel morally bound to give him a portion of the final sales price.

My point is just, don't be too quick to say that a given purchase and subsequent sale represents an unfair profit.

Just an opinion.

Claire

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:

Buyers fraud ends when people selling on ebay give an honest description of their items and show a decent ammount of clear close up pictures and as if thats going to happen! Nice dark blurry pictures with poor description seem to intice people greedy for a bargain - like me! But the people greedy for a bargain aren't all pro appraisers so they lose - as I have sometimes.


There is no buyer's fraud in an auction setting. I believe the original thesis of buyer's fraud has to do with conflict of interest when an unknowledgeable seller takes a violin to a shop and asks "what's it worth?" Here the potential buyer is being asked to set a price for an item that he will ultimately purchase.

In an auction setting, no one is asking the buyer for any advice, and buyers are actually competing with each other for an item. Therefore I don't see any buyer's fraud in an auction setting. I don't think bidders on an auction are obligated to e-mail the seller and tell him to set a higher reserve price. Instead, they bid what they think the object is worth, and let the market (other bidders) sort it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:

My point is just, don't be too quick to say that a given purchase and subsequent sale represents an unfair profit.


True. I wonder why no one complains about the profit margin on a box of cereal (highest of all food products), basically a cardboard box with 16 ounces of grain flakes, sugar and food coloring. And it is a mass market commodity item.

Violins are illiquid, have great variability, and have a small consumer base. In addition, the purchase of one by an end customer is highly idiosyncratic, requiring trials, approval periods, setup, and after sale support and customer care, not to mention inventory carrying cost of all the unsold instruments. Dealers and shops take the inventory risk as well as the aftersale care (30 day guarantee, or trade-in policy, etc.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:

I find it amazing how much some of the really cheap violins sell for on Ebay. If you look at the Tarisio sale going on right now, there is a load of decent violins selling for a few hundred $.


I have bought several violins from Tarisio-all for less than $1000. Every one has at least doubled when resold on eBay. There are two reasons. 1) When I list the violin, there is extensive description and lots of photos. 2) There is a money back guarantee. Most of the people who buy from me on eBay would not commit to buy something they have not had an opportunity to try out. Also at any one time, there are fewer choices from responsible dealers on eBay.

Jesse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Dealers and shops take the inventory risk as well as the aftersale care (30 day guarantee, or trade-in policy, etc.)'

I agree that shops are obliged to give after sale care but dealers on ebay aren't. I have experience of some who buy a cheap old violin with a little promise, set it up incorrectly - in fact in some cases so badly that it has been damaged and sell it off for a quick profit with no aftersales care whatsoever - and some don't even bother setting up at all.

I have just sold a violin to someone who is coming around to my house at the weekend to pick it up and if she is not happy with it, she can have her money back. Thats how it should work in real life (but then she lives not too far from me), but selling by pictures is a hit and miss affair as someone else here has said. Its hard to describe the sound of a violin in words. And it is purely speculative too. You can say, 'this is loud' but in what way loud? You can say 'this is soft' - but in what way soft? So basically, what I mean to say is - after whittering on - it is very difficult to sell violins on ebay sucessfully and ethically too and very easy to sell unethically. There should be more ebay sellers like Pahdah Hound who does take them back if people aren't happy.

I have not enough experience myself of setting up to a high enough standard but I am getting a lot better and when I do set up, I have a luthier friend who quality controls my work so I know its not going to be a disaster for the buyer. I can also play to a good enough standard and so that is a help too. There is difficulty in selling a product you can't even test out yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Quote:

I think it's easy to point a finger at a sellers misrepresentation and call it a fraud but what about buyers fraud, does it exist?

You're at an antique show and the vendor is selling a violin, not sure what to ask for the violin, the vendor asks 'what do you think it's worth?'

(lets say it's a nice 1920's Roth in good shape)

What is it worth?

If the vendor was hoping for $200 and got $300 from you,

was that a buyers fraud?

If a seller stumbles into your shop with a violin that was inherited and has no idea as to the value do you ask them "What are you looking for"? Without giving an inkling as to the true value. Is that a buyers fraud?

If the Roth vendor asks for $200 and you cut them down to to $140 by reciting vague condition problems...it's gonna need a complete set up, do you know what they charge for a new bridge nowadays? Is that a buyers fraud?

Are ethics only for sellers?

Is it only fraud when you think you paid more than it's worth?


I just got the book "Violin Fraud" by Harvey and Shapreau, and the answer is that there is fraud in the buyer's case.

The fraud here is for misdescription "pp 30-32" if he asked you what you think it is worth, and even more if you knocked it down. If he said, "I want $200" without asking, there is no fraud in England, but in America there still is for nondisclosure of facts (pp 120-123) if the defendant has exclusive knowledge of material facts not known or reasonably accessible to the plaintiff (person who inherited an instrument and knows nothing).

If the person who walks into your store asks for advice concerning value, condition, age, anything, you've entered into a fiduciary relationship with them whether they paid you for the advice or not, since the conversation is about a possible transaction of a violin, in which case it is if you buy it from them. There are also laws about negligent misrepresentation or even an incorrect 'opinion' may expose one for a claim of misrepresentation. Shops that consistent disparage instruments not sold by them can also be subject to misrepresentation, as well as defamation if they disparage another shop, maker or dealer. Teachers need to read chapter 16.

Very interesting book. It also shows that the laws in Germany are very lenient to bona fide buyers of stolen goods, whereas in England and America, the laws rightly favor the victim, since a thief had no right to transfer title to something he didn't own, the bona fide buyer did not acquire the non-existent title and needs to return to the owner. Ebay buyers need to be aware of jurisdiction or where the fraud took place, and which court, whether Common Law (England, America, Wales, ...) or other laws (France, Germany, Italy, ...) will apply.

Discussion of the Gibson Strad as well as the Duke of Alcantara Strad is also included, as well as mention of Maestronet's Stolen Instrument section.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+++++++++++++++++

If he said, "I want $200" without asking, there is no fraud in England, but in America there still is for nondisclosure of facts (pp 120-123) if the defendant has exclusive knowledge of material facts not known or reasonably accessible to the plaintiff (person who inherited an instrument and knows nothing).

++++++++++++++++++++++

In short, the buyer has exclusive knowledge and use the knowledge to take advantage of the seller.(rare case)

/yuen/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote:

+++++++++++++++++

If he said, "I want $200" without asking, there is no fraud in England, but in America there still is for nondisclosure of facts (pp 120-123) if the defendant has exclusive knowledge of material facts not known or reasonably accessible to the plaintiff (person who inherited an instrument and knows nothing).

++++++++++++++++++++++

In short, the buyer has exclusive knowledge and use the knowledge to take advantage of the seller.(rare case)

/yuen/


All the previous discussions should relate to the "high end" market, and the fradulent acquistion practices by so called experts, NOT eBay. There are quite a few dealers of international reputation which have been able to get the inside track information on known, but privately held collections of rare and valuable instruments. The recent case in England comes to mind. Some wealthy eccentric purchased rare instruments and secreted them away in different locations around England. Upon his death, one particular dealer who had "sucked up" to this collector, gained first access to the instruments, appraised them at far below market value, then made a huge profit. Now, his "ass is in a sling". Excuse the expression, I don't mean a donkey.

The great majority of eBay sellers who own, or find old instruments in bad or good condition, rare and valuable, or cheap factory make, have not the slightest clue of which is which. Therefore, "buyers fraud" is a moot point, and not worth the trouble of continuing the discussion.

The pictures of the violin which were posted in this thread was purchased on eBay. The seller was a third party, who did not own the instrument. The owner knew full well ALL the circumstances regarding the violin, and fully disclosed that information to the seller. The seller contacted a MAJOR auction house in the northeast, but the circumstances of the sale, as well as the known past history of the violin was blown off as a joke, as well as most of the 370 people who viewed the auction, AND the person who posted the link in one of the past threads in the Auction Scroll forum. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!

The person who bought the violin looked at the auction, not believing his eyes, put in a bid thinking that for sure, someone would clearly recognize the extremely high quality of it, even with the poorly taken pictures.

To the surprise, and amazement of the high bidder, not one person since the auction link was posted in this forum looked at the auction from that time until AFTER the auction ended. The ANDALE counter was at 370 for three days before the auction ended, and was at 370 when the auction ended.

Even after the owner of the violin disclosed the pertinent information to the seller, and the seller contacted the auction house, he decided to list it on eBay, knowing full well ALL the circumstances. So then, buyers fraud, especially on eBay is essentially a moot point.

Pick on the fraudulent, greedy, conniving, lying thieves who operate in the shadowy world where, according to Fritz Rueter the "Violin Mafia" operates. There is where you will find the real "buyers fraud". Be sure to pack your UZI, OR TECH 9 though...... you may need it.

Have a great day!!

BTW, the new owner of the violin, extends his warmest regards to all the members and participants in these forums, especially to those who kicked him out. You may think he is crazy, but he did, for a certainty, buy the finest violin that EVER HAS OR EVER WILL be offered on eBay. It is a Stradivari, bearing the makers original label, in place up against the lining, and dated 1719.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without venturing comment on the "finest violin that EVER HAS OR EVER WILL be offered on eBay" I do know that the Andale counters often seem to be sticky, in other words, thay don't necessarily change count as they should. I have found that I sometimes need to clear my cache of cookies and temporary files to get the counters to update. It is likely that the listing had many more than 370 page views, and if you were to check another computer, it might have a different count. That said, recently the counters seem to have been more accurate and change count as I would expect them to. Perhaps it is the settings on my computer that causes the sticky counters.

I don't think I could identify a real Strad if I held it in my hands, even though I have actually held a really real one, formerly owned by a famous deceased violinist, that was sold in a well publicized auction for well over a million dollars. I think I would be able to identify it as a very good violin though, and not be too shocked, if I was told it was real.

How did you find out all the history of this violin, and how are you sure it is what you believe it is?

Jesse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No need to comment. The violin speaks for itself. Sticky counters?? I've never heard of that before. Reasons and excuses can be manufactured by the millions. Didn't say I knew ALL the history of the violin, neither that I believed it was a Strad. It is.

There is no "buyers fraud" on eBay. The purpose of the "picture contribution", was to prove just that. It just took a little longer than expected.

regards....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know enough about fine violins to make an educated comment, but I have no reason to suspect anything from the idea that the page counter didn't change for 3 days or longer. I do know that on my own listings, the andale counter sometimes stagnated at the same number even when there were many fresh bids. The reason is that the counter doesn't refresh necessarily for display. I don't know why. I know for sure that it happens. This is not an excuse nor a reason but a fact. If you clear your cookies and your temp files, the counter will refresh and give you an updated number.

Why don't you post a link here for the benefit of all of us holding our collective breaths regarding your discovery, and we can all view the page and you will see if the counter changes or not on your computer.

It is important for me to know when my page hits occur, and I track the counters carefully. It is quite a problem when they don't automatically refresh, and I have found the problem lies with temporary internet files in my computer's cache. I have solved the problem for myself, and have merely suggested that you do the same. Don't read into a stagnating counter as an unexplained mystery or conspiracy.

Please let us know the history of this violin, if you know it, and there is one, so that your post can have a focus for those interested.

Jesse

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cannot explain the intricate functions or malfunctions of computers or electronic counters. I only know what I observed as far as the counter number is concerned, and what the auction winner has related. It really doesn't matter, just an observation.

The fact that the link to the eBay auction was posted on the Auction Scroll, evidently piqued little if any curosity. Look for the posted link, you can find it, unless it has been deleted by the one who posted. But that link did arouse some curoisity, at least for the high bidder.

There is at present limited knowledge of the past history due to the seller keeping the names of the past owners private. The name of the past owner is printed on the label. Photographs exist which document this. The past owner, now deceased, was a wealthy collector of bowed instruments, and well acquainted with many famous personalities, and performers. Enquiries which have been made are attempting to discover exactly how and when the violin came to the United States. It could be one which was stolen from a private collection or institution, in Poland, or Germany during or after WWII.

One 1719 Stradivari was taken from a museum in Poland by a SS officer. I cannot remember his name at present, but the violin was recovered by U.S. military personnel from his widow in 1945. The officer had "traded" a worthless instrument for it. Guess he didn't want folks thinking he would steal... Maybe someone can shed light on that incident..

Another 1719 Stradivari was used by a German violinist in Berlin. When he went to Russia, the fiddle did too. The subject of stolen instruments is all about intrigue and mystery!!! Wouldn't it be wonderful to find out where these treasures lie hidden?? Any detectives out there??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...