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With two violinists in our family both in need of instrument upgrades, our family bought an ebay violin that needs to be returned by Friday. How should we document our dissatisfaction with this instrument in case the seller doesn't follow through with refund? In rush to get off on week-long trip with five children, trusting seller’s 14-day return policy, we bid on what we thought might stand chance of having nice voice since seller’s only other current merchandise was a “quality” old bow, leading us to suppose that instrument had once been used by a sincere musician. We've politely communicated to seller that we wish to return.  Seller so far has been courteous and asked no questions.  

 

Issues: poor sound, painted purfling, no corner blocks, etc. We live hours from any luthier who might certify any of these observations. Of course, we realize that a potential problem in the return is that the vendor might argue that he did not misadvertise these.  However, this seller appears to us to have a veritable history of similar intent to deceive.  In addition to being mislabeled, the violin has been convincing branded on the button. A day too late we discovered ways to check past offerings by this seller who we are now convinced is an expert in branding,  We also believe we’ve found at least one other name he uses on ebay to perpetrate the same “fraud.”  Our seller purports to ship from Canada and has shipped in past from Hong Kong, but we have street-viewed the suburban house (IN) which matches his current return address.  By the way, the seller used only his last initial in the return address.  As a stretched family, we can’t take this much further but feel some responsibility to prevent others from being similarly misled by this individual. If we pursue a refund, how can we prevent him from rebaiting the trap?  (Being recently out of town leaves us in a tight time crunch, but the car trip was opportunity for much Googling.  Learned a lot about violins!  Appreciated reading related posts on this site.  Also happened upon another pretty odd though perhaps purely coincidental point of overlap between our seller and one that was “unplugged” a whiile back ..not sure whether it's appropriate to mention the particulars) 

 

Still amazed that we fell for this!  We repeatedly turned down a relative’s offers earlier this year to help us move our youngest into a full-size cello via ebay (we said we wouldn't even consider buying without firsthand checking the workmanship, tone, playability!  After months of searching, we finally found decent student cello.  On a trip to NO have its open seams repaired, we killed time by stopping in a junky guitar shop and perusing their recently acquired consignment collection of old violins (items that had been sitting for years in violin shop that just closed in another part of LA). After trying out evidently old instruments, two with grafted scrolls, we didn't find superior tone,but did find too much encouragement to look around! 

 

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Hey there.

 

Care to post a pic of what you bought ? I believe that I am aware of the vendor(s) you describe and their wares are extremely suspect. Lots of bows with "convincing" brands. Violins with falsely leading information and suggestions. I have seen the "goods" and it makes me shake my head in the knowledge that someone will fall for it.

 

Also, it is never a good idea to play the Ebay game if you expect to win the lottery. Ebay can work on some levels but if you are looking for a nice playable instrument for a member of the family, go to a reputable dealer. They will generally give you good service and good advice.

 

Sorry you got taken. You can try to return but if it is who I think it is then you will be paying a couple of hefty shipping costs which means you will be out close to $200 with nothing to show for it.

 

Best.

 

r.

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You do not have too much time, so: immediately open the "Not as described" case on eBay, regardless on what the seller says. Without it, you do not have any protection. Could you post the link to the auction?

 

Definitely do this. If eBay agrees that it's not as described you should get a full refund (price + shipping). You will most likely have to pay return shipping though. You're not allowed to threaten negative feedback towards the seller but you can indirecty hold this threat over his head when asking for him to pay the return shipping (say "My experience has this far been negative, but it will be posative if you agree to pay the return shipping" or something suggestive along those lines. You can't make him pay the shipping though, so your primary recourse is paying return shipping and leaving damaging feedback.

 

The seller will probably offer you a partial refund because he will save money that way. If the violin is crap, offer pennies on the dollar or demand the full refund. I had to do this once and the seller kept blowing me off and trying to work out a deal with me at such a slow and unresponsive pace that the dispute resolution deadline was going to end, so be firm, and keep escalating the matter through eBay regardless of the seller's tactics.

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IMHO the violin pictured could very likely be a German "factory" instrument.  Pursue this with eBay and Pay Pal, $1025.00 is a chunk of change.  And don't do this again  :)  You just gotta love the "I am not a violin expert" style disclaimers...... :ph34r:

Here's the original listing http://www.ebay.com/itm/Old-Violin-Italian-labeled-ALFREDO-CONTINO-Napolis-1936-/351141882732?nma=true&si=7pqQLTPNqJzv8M0YOlGDxPwHu6w%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

 

And here's a "Gaetano Gadda" he currently has for sale:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Old-Violin-Italian-labeled-GAETANO-GADDA-di-MANTOVA-1936/351154690429?_trksid=p2047675.c100012.m1985&_trkparms=aid%3D444000%26algo%3DSOI.DEFAULT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D24641%26meid%3Da4b45aad0d9b465fae0634e5e2a69ae1%26pid%3D100012%26prg%3D10413%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D351141882732

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Oh, after re-reading your post and seeing the eBay listing, frankly, I could not say that the OP violin is "not as described". Issues you mentioned - poor sound, painted purfling, no corner blocks, etc (if, under the etc, the violin has not some open seams or cracks or similar beauties), are not significant, because in the listing one cannot found anything about these details. Counterfeiting is the other thing and my advice would be that you contact the seller within mentioned 14 days, USING eBay MESSAGING SYSTEM (this is very important), and arrange the return (I do not know how that procedure looks like, but I am sure that someone here on the MN could know that). Once again: I am almost sure that you cannot win the "Not as described" case here, because the seller was very careful with the description, so the opening such  case could be counterproductive. Good luck, mate! And, tell us what is going on, please - your experience could save someone else.

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I'm a little confused. Is it the Contino vln that's at issue here? The purfling looks real to me and I also don't think 'not as described' will fly in this situation as the violin is pretty much what he says it is, an Italian 'labeled' violin, not an Italian violin. Also his feedback is not the best and shipping costs are high, which would raise flags with me.  An unfortunate situation but he should take it back.

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Oh, after re-reading your post and seeing the eBay listing, frankly, I could not say that the OP violin is "not as described". Issues you mentioned - poor sound, painted purfling, no corner blocks, etc (if, under the etc, the violin has not some open seams or cracks or similar beauties), are not significant, because in the listing one cannot found anything about these details. Counterfeiting is the other thing and my advice would be that you contact the seller within mentioned 14 days, USING eBay MESSAGING SYSTEM (this is very important), and arrange the return (I do not know how that procedure looks like, but I am sure that someone here on the MN could know that). Once again: I am almost sure that you cannot win the "Not as described" case here, because the seller was very careful with the description, so the opening such  case could be counterproductive. Good luck, mate! And, tell us what is going on, please - your experience could save someone else.

 

I'm a little confused. Is it the Contino vln that's at issue here? The purfling looks real to me and I also don't think 'not as described' will fly in this situation as the violin is pretty much what he says it is, an Italian 'labeled' violin, not an Italian violin. Also his feedback is not the best and shipping costs are high, which would raise flags with me.  An unfortunate situation but he should take it back.

To all the above, I'll add, "pursue" always begins with contacting the seller via the eBay messaging system.  If he ignores you or tells you to bugger off without an offer to resolve with a partial refund or something, then escalate.  Don't panic to begin with.

 

I certainly hope that you paid with Pay Pal.  I notice that this seller also accepts bank transfers, which sounds like going outside the eBay system to me [NEVER do this]. Any time that the seller suggests that you do business outside the eBay framework, go find another seller.  It's a violation of the rules and leaves you without buyer protection coverage.

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I've bought and sold quite a bit on Ebay (never violins, though!!). The listing has a 14 day return policy. If you've communicated with the seller through the Ebay messaging system, and gotten approval for a return, you should be fine. You can return it within 14 days for any reason, even buyer's remorse. Which seems a good thing as I don't see that you have a case for misrepresentation. The listing doesn't really "represent" anything except the label and a repaired crack. 

 

I agree that the seller's a crook, but good luck with trying to get Ebay to do anything about it. They seem to just disappear and come back with a new user id anyways.

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My advise would be if you see an "Italian" violin on ebay, you can be 100% sure it isn't. There are several, or should I say a lot of sellers that use the same misleading descriptions, some have several ID's, and it goes on and on, year after year. If you don't have the knowledge to determine what you are looking at, post a link here for others to give you an opinion. There are many of us who are qualified at certain levels, some a lot more than others.

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THANKS FOR THE REPLIES!! The violin is on its way “home”! We want our money back, but certainly don't like putting an imposter violin back into the hands of a seller who doesn't describe it as a copy. We won't yet give up hope for a refund. Another seller--who just might be the same as ours, judging by goods, descriptions, photo lighting and background--gave a refund a while back to a similarly disgruntled buyer. Hate to pander to our seller via “Positive Feedback” since high ratings led us to make assumptions.  Looking through eBay feedback, found instances where some accusations of forgery/counterfeit/branding were categorized as “Neutral”!  Also, another surprising observation: many buyers who appear to have unwittingly purchased pricey “replicas” are happy enough with the violins and bows received!

 

 

 

TO VATHEK: Now we won't feel so badly about not recognizing the painted purfling from the pics!

TO RICK HYSLOP: We'd love to upgrade through a shop, but a few visits to our teachers' recommended dealer in (far-away) Atlanta left us convinced us that the gulf between trade-in and sound upgrade is beyond our means. Our current two violins came from a closet and a newspaper ad fortyplus years ago. Our son (conservatory) has a violin appraised as having some worth due, not to its sound, but to its being the supposed work of some maker in Prague. Our more pressing problem is a 75+yr old, German-made, San Francisco-sold, violin with some nice tonal properties but little projection. In the 70's Bearden's in St. Louis did repairs and removed two glued-in-penny-halves from inside; in the 90's, a relative “had the plates planed” before passing the soft-spoken instrument along to us. A WI dealer (at last year's all-state), insulted it by saying ”maybe some fiddler would want it.”

 

Finally, nearly a decade ago, our Czech violin was given the “gift” of a fresh setup while we were visiting relatives. How dismayed we were when the result was an instrument horribly “hoarse”! After carrying it to around to several area folks whose tinkering availed little, upon the advice of a faculty member in La, we mailed the violin to a shop in the very same Indiana town as our current ebay seller! (BTW, they fixed up the Czech violin!) Wonder if these luthiers, five miles from our seller, have any interest in hearing our concerns? (..assuming they're neither supplier nor bi-vocational!) Now that we are aware of how rampant this same problem is on eBay, is it really best to just let the matter rest?! Although we'd heard that labels could be suspect, we didn't know to be wary of branding. Don't some states have laws on the books to dissuade vendors from such misleading tampering?   

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And I would add that a look at that Ebay seller's completed listings illustrates the Ebay counterfeit bow scam: 1) Buy a junk bow for a few bucks. 2) Stamp it with the name of a famous French or German bow maker. 3) Sell it to a naive Ebayer who thinks he's getting a $3000 bow for $300 (when it's worth more like $3). And charge an outrageous amount for shipping, so that even if the crappy bow is returned, you can still make $50 profit on shipping. 

 

Nice work, if you have no morals.

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Positive feedback is no problem for me in these cases.  "Shipped me my fake violin quickly and expensively."  "When caught out, refunded most of my money without too much delay".  "Conscienceless tricksters of this seller's caliber help continue the sterling reputation of eBay".  "Amusingly disgusting to deal with.".   ;)

 

On more than one occasion, eBay has contacted me to ask what I really felt about a seller that I left "positive" feedback for.  Some few have disappeared from the venue rather suddenly.   :lol:  :lol:

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Just an aside re violins on ebay in general, there was a factory one that sold for about $100 recently that had somewhere north of 600 (!!!) page views.  This suggests (proves?) that there sure must be a whole bunch of "hunters" looking for those mis-identified ones.  I wonder if they whine when they snag one.

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Just an aside re violins on ebay in general, there was a factory one that sold for about $100 recently that had somewhere north of 600 (!!!) page views.  This suggests (proves?) that there sure must be a whole bunch of "hunters" looking for those mis-identified ones.  I wonder if they whine when they snag one.

No, IMHO there's a lot of people looking to see what they are, especially if they're on a zero-start auction or have a very low Buy It Now.  That you have that many hits and few or no bids should convey a message in itself.  :)   Truth is, I've not had a lot of bad experiences on eBay because I've become picky as hell.  Getting educated, however, was quite a character builder. 

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No, IMHO there's a lot of people looking to see what they are, especially if they're on a zero-start auction or have a very low Buy It Now.  That you have that many hits and few or no bids should convey a message in itself.  :)   Truth is, I've not had a lot of bad experiences on eBay because I've become picky as hell.  Getting educated, however, was quite a character builder. 

 

600 is still a lot of hits.  Yes, few or no bids is proof that it's a nothing instrument, but that many people are still looking for a reason other than wanting an instrument for their daughter.  They're looking for a "steal" (including me...nothing wrong with that).

 

Totally unrelated to the transaction being discussed here, I can say I've been buying on ebay since 1997 and selling almost as long.  I also follow many discussions among collectors regarding ebay and the bad actors there and all the shenanigans.  One thing I've almost never seen is a buyer saying that the reason that got a bad deal was because they were (1) stupid, (2) got caught up in the bidding frenzy, (3) assumed something they shouldn't have.  Ebay is a two way street.  Don't blame the seller for every bad transaction.  Sometimes it's your own d*mn fault.

 

BTW, I read Dilbert religiously.  It's where I get most of my knowledge of what goes on in a "real" workplace.

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TO RICK HYSLOP: We'd love to upgrade through a shop, but a few visits to our teachers' recommended dealer in (far-away) Atlanta left us convinced us that the gulf between trade-in and sound upgrade is beyond our means. Our current two violins came from a closet and a newspaper ad fortyplus years ago. Our son (conservatory) has a violin appraised as having some worth due, not to its sound, but to its being the supposed work of some maker in Prague. Our more pressing problem is a 75+yr old, German-made, San Francisco-sold, violin with some nice tonal properties but little projection. In the 70's Bearden's in St. Louis did repairs and removed two glued-in-penny-halves from inside; in the 90's, a relative “had the plates planed” before passing the soft-spoken instrument along to us. A WI dealer (at last year's all-state), insulted it by saying ”maybe some fiddler would want it.”

 

 

 

Hey there.

 

Well, I guess I would still have the same advice. How far is Atlanta ? If you are willing to spend $1000 for what is quite honestly a gamble, I would suggest saving and waiting for the right violin to show up in Atlanta or some other shop nearer to you. You could always contact the shop in Atlanta and see if they can reccomend something in your price range and see if they will ship you this violin to you on trial ? Or perhaps you can give a rough idea of where you are and ask here on MNet for more info on local luthiers. There are many more than you might imagine. You can usually get a fiddle on trial, take it to your son/daughters teacher and see what they make of it. If it doesn't pan out then you can bring it back. I think it is a better way to go because in most cases even after you have bought you can still later make a trade up with the same shop/luthier as your family grows out of the instrument. If the Prague instrument is worth money and you are unhappy with the sound you might want to sell it and use that money to finance another purchase but be careful to understand the true value of what you are selling. ( If I may ask, what is the maker of the Prague instrument ? )

 

All that being said, my main advice would be. Don't expect to find an obvious deal on eBay, deals may be there but they are rare and you really need to be prepared to part with your money in case you were wrong.

 

Cheers and best of luck.

 

r.

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...and here's a similar object that seems to be catching a lot of attention...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251626148034?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Belgrade.  Serbia.  No returns.  It's already gone over $1000, plus $59.99 shipping.  Seller states "Old Antique Italian Violin 1847 Cesare Torossi Full Size 4/4", with no wiggle room on the asserted provenance, but also says, "I am not an expert".  In one photo I can see rib corner edges flush with the plate corner edges.  Bass side scroll eye sheared and missing, but no sign of pegbox cracks or bushed pegs.  Pegbox interior left natural. One piece back, 2 piece lower rib with deeply inset saddle, maple figure appears real.  Emphatically needs work.  Bids have gone too high for me, by far, being driven almost entirely by bidders with either 1 or 4 previous sales.  Everybody else bailed out before $235..  ;)

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...and here's a similar object that seems to be catching a lot of attention...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251626148034?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

...and here's a similar object that seems to be catching a lot of attention...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251626148034?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I don't get the impression that this seller is a slick deceiver like some others. His feedback history has nothing violin related. He currently has two bows up for auction, which likely came out of this same case. He mostly sells PEZ boxes. I'd bet that he's completely ignorant about violins, and that right now he's as astonished with this price as we are. The responsibility here should fall on the buyers. I can't help feeling that they will deserve what they're getting.

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