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Some suspicious seller behavior


Terry Maurice

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I recently bid on a violin being offered by a German seller called, the_order. I was outbid by a zero feedback bidder and was suspicious at the time that this was a shill bid, attempting to run the price up. The auction ended on Oct 10.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISA...STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

Today, I received a second chance offer, through eBay's Second Chance Offer, becase the winning bidder failed to pay. Suprise, surprise. The eBay Second Chance offer was for my bid of $793.93, plus $70 shipping. I then contacted the seller to get some further information and I received an e-mail back him telling me that he does not want to sell the violin for $793.93 but is now asking $900 plus $70 shipping. He will only accept a wire transfer as well, which I am nervous about.

What are your thoughts on the violin and price and this behavior? The seller has positive feedback and I e-mailed another eBayer who bought a violin from this seller. Is the sellers actions contrary to eBay policy? Is he obligated to send me the violin at the Second Chance Offer or does this look like a scam to you?

Terry

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Regarding the auction:

(1) It is difficult to tell whether there's a shilling going on in your case, but it is SUSPICIOUS though.

(2) If you went ahead to accpet the 2nd offer (i.e. agreed to buy the violin from him), then the seller definitely violated eBay policy. If not, I don't think there's any obligation on your part to pay nor his part to sell. That is, you can walk away and he doens't need to sell. That's that.

(3) In addition to emailing the seller, you may want to contact the highest bidder and see whether he would give you any "acceptable" reason for backing out.

IMHO, unless you REALLY, REALLY want that violin, I would not touch it. Reasons:

(1) The payment method doesn't protect you if things went bad as suspected.

(2) Even if you were protected, it would take months before you can get your money back if you can get your money back at all.

By the way, when you receive a 2nd chance offer, you also need to verify it. Once I got a 2nd offer for Jesse's auction. And of course, I knew who to ask the question. As suspected, Jesse told me that the winner of the auction I bid on was a repeated buyer and very unlikely he would back out. Heck, if Jessee didn't offer me a 2nd chance, who could sell me the very violin Jesse was offering? Scam!

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Just to clairify, the Second Chance Offer came through eBay channels, but the seller is now telling me that he wants more than the "official" eBay Second Chance price. So in effect, you are right, he is trying to sell it outside the eBay channel, by telling me not to bid on it, but to pay him directly. I don't know why he chose to make the offer, but then try to back out of it. I have e-mailed him back telling him that what is doing is contrary to eBay policy.

Terry

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Terry,

On the other hand it looks like a nice violin, if the top crack is properly repaired and if it's not a S/P crack or a bass bar crack.

The price does not seem unreasonable although the last minute price hike seems a bit manipulative.

It is improbable that a 'shill' would be established in Asia, although it is possible.

Also, it is not unreasonable to ask for a wire transfer on an international sale--I have done it on a $700 purchase from Australia . I admit to being a bit concerned at the time but all went well and I bought more from the very honest seller.

I think it is a judgement call on your trust of the seller and betting on the condition of the violin (which is impossible to really evaluate from a few photos and a brief eBay description.)

Consider too that sellers are becoming more and more cautious and suspicious about buyers which enters into the equation!

"No returns, no guarantee"

---How bad do you want it?

Flip a coin!

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I detest crooks even more than most people.

However, this seller may be an honest guy who genuinely feels it is worth more $$ and didn't realize his 2nd chance request might be considered unethical .

He may re-list it later with a reserve or a more acceptable "Buy It Now" price.

I don't have a dog in this fight! ---just being a devils advocate so all aspects are fairly considered.

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Just a possibility, but could it be the reason that the original winning bidder backed out was because the seller also tried to up the ante from the $800 winning bid to $900?

Personally, I'd email the seller with specific, detailed instructions on how to insert the violin where the sun infrequently shines.

Neil

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."..could it be the reason that the original winning bidder backed out was because the seller also tried to up the ante from the $800 winning bid to $900? Personally, I'd email the seller with specific, detailed instructions on how to insert the violin where the sun infrequently shines. "

Option 1

Neil,

If a buyer continues to have nagging suspicions or strong feelings about the character of a seller, then your "detailed instructions " might be entirely appropriate. It should certainly get the sellers attention after an accurate translation and he would probably not be as amused as I was when I read it!

I have personally had some exceptional purchases on eBay when I least expected it and in some unconventional situations. It's not always prudent to 'burn all your bridges'. ..I suggest that the buyer keep talking and emailing until it is certain the deal is destined to failure. That is, unless the buyer is not really that interested in the item, in which case, just forget it and move on!

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I am for telling him to insert violin where the sun doenst shine. I dont beleive in political correctness I think it is a crock. I dont know if I would feel commfortable with the ongoings of this violin. The are lots of violins to chose from it would be a shame if the guy stuck it to you. I dont think you have much recourse.

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I believe the violin is an early 20th century German commercial violin antiqued with a faux label and graft.

It has a nice label and that's it's charm. If it made the usual Amati label or Strad, it would lose some of it's appeal.

On ebay, this violin could go for $500 to $1200, but ebay is very seasonal. Those type of violins usually sound pretty good. It had to say if he had a shill bidding up the price. If that practice is illegal in Germany, who knows?

I think it's a good idea to only bid what you think it's worth and not worry too much about shills. Violin bidders and sellers are very cloak and dagger. The ebay violin waters are filled with snipers waiting to the absolute last moment to bid. If you look at bidding on other instruments, brass and woodwind for example, you will see a steady rise to the final hammer price. Not these sudden last second price doubling. But the nature of the violin bidder is not the same, they want to swoop down like a hawk and grab it. As exciting as it is, I believe that most ebay violin seller would prefer a more orderly bidding practice. Reserves are expensive and sellers avoid them like the plague. So as long as violin buyers continue to bid they way they do, you will see sellers trying to protect their investments with shill bidders. Snipping results in shilling.

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" So as long as violin buyers continue to bid they way they do, you will see sellers trying to protect their investments with shill bidders. Snipping results in shilling." priya

priya,

I agree with everthing you said except maybe the shill part. For a seller in Germany, this would be quite a well orchestrated group of worldwide shill snipers in that last minute of bidding!

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