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Garth E.

Purchasing on E-Bay. Just an opinion.

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7 hours ago, Violinjon said:

It does take a lot of patience and scrolling through nonsense, but occasionally there are decent things to be found, if you know what to look for.

It seems that my eBay days are behind me, however. I changed flats recently and a few days after I moved in, I received an email from eBay informing me that my account had been associated by them with another restricted account (whose ID they provided and which I did not recognize at all). After messaging them, explaining I was innocent (I had never heard of the associated account in question) and asking them to explain further I received a message telling me that I was banned for life and that they wouldn't give me any more information. 

What a way to treat a customer of 15+ years. I guess I'll have to find a new hobby.

The only explanation I can think of is that a previous tenant in my apartment building did something bad and got the building's IP address banned.

This sounds super fishy to me... my husband is a fraud investigator for Amazon and they would never give another customer's account ID via email.  It kind of sounds like they got your account ID and email, and may have been trying to get your password?  If you have 15 years of good history with ebay I have my doubts about being "banned for life".  It sounds like a textbook phishing attempt "urgent request via email to scam you out of personal information".  I would go to the legit ebay help desk about this.  And if it IS for real, then I suggest plastering ebay's twitter page with this story; then they will definitely do something about it.  

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38 minutes ago, reepicheep said:

This sounds super fishy to me... my husband is a fraud investigator for Amazon and they would never give another customer's account ID via email.  It kind of sounds like they got your account ID and email, and may have been trying to get your password?  If you have 15 years of good history with ebay I have my doubts about being "banned for life".  It sounds like a textbook phishing attempt "urgent request via email to scam you out of personal information".  I would go to the legit ebay help desk about this.  And if it IS for real, then I suggest plastering ebay's twitter page with this story; then they will definitely do something about it.  

The message came through eBay's own messaging system (it looks like an automated message) and after using the eBay website's chat function to ask for help I got a follow up eBay message from a human (which sounded like a form letter) "explaining" I was banned for life without providing any more details.

The form of the original message was the following.

"It looks like your account xxxxxx is associated with another account, yyyyyy, which is currently restricted on eBay. As a result, we've restricted the xxxxxx account until you can resolve our concerns."

After I contacted them they asked me nothing and told me nothing other than I'm banned and can't appeal.

It really is Kafkaesque. You can Google "is associated with another account" to see others that have had the same issue. Apparently the only useful tip is to find an ever changing eBay phone number and keep calling until somebody is sympathetic.

I've been avoiding twitter for the longest time. To be honest, I have my pride. If using eBay again means I need to sign up for Twitter and beg I think I'd rather take my business elsewhere. 

I did write a complaint on their Facebook page, just to vent. I expect to never get a response.

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We may need a twelve step program for the bottom feeders, I'm just as guilty. All the broken down Mitty and Markie worthless boxes I have. And then I'm always searching for Baroque cellos, but generally all I find is Ba-roke! And my customers,... I do a responsible job of walking them through all the needed repairs and explaining that Aunt Martha's fiddle is worth zero and should be a wall hanger, but people are attached to stuff. I've done two restorations like that recently. In both cases people wanted the instrument restored and playable to hand down in their families.

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3 hours ago, reepicheep said:

This sounds super fishy to me... my husband is a fraud investigator for Amazon and they would never give another customer's account ID via email.  It kind of sounds like they got your account ID and email, and may have been trying to get your password?  If you have 15 years of good history with ebay I have my doubts about being "banned for life".  It sounds like a textbook phishing attempt "urgent request via email to scam you out of personal information".  I would go to the legit ebay help desk about this.  And if it IS for real, then I suggest plastering ebay's twitter page with this story; then they will definitely do something about it.  

I did finally get a response on eBay's Facebook, asking to move into private messaging - only to receive an almost completely identical response, insinuating that telling me anything would enable me to circumvent their account security and create new accounts, being the hardened criminal that I am. I don't expect anything different on their Twitter.

For what it's worth, I don't use eBay to sell, only to buy a few things a year, mainly interesting old German bows for my own satisfaction. I'm not one of those scammers popping up like weeds that sell fake stamped Chinese bows. I've never had the need or desire to create an alternate account - until now, ironically! I won't bother, though.

This experience has really opened my eye to the dangers of negligent corporations that control our online lives. I live in a part of Asia with no antique musical instruments, no local options. eBay was my only real option at building my identification skills.

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1 hour ago, Violinjon said:

 eBay was my only real option at building my identification skills.

A blessing that you can't use it any more then

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31 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

A blessing that you can't use it any more then

Indeed! As 97% of violins on there are inaccurately described, I have no idea how one could use that as a basis for learning about identification.

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21 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Indeed! As 97% of violins on there are inaccurately described, I have no idea how one could use that as a basis for learning about identification.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying I learned from reading eBay listings. That's quite comical. During my time on eBay I stuck to a pretty narrow field - old German bows, which if you are patient and knowledgeable enough about you can still find underpriced. I learned about them outside eBay. The identification test came when I got them certified!

It's impossible to find these kind of bows in shops here. Those of you in the States or Europe have it lucky! 

I certainly wouldn't recommend it for the average enthusiast, though, and I know that's an important point to make.

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Very good point. The more knowledge you have about something you're interested in, that may be your advantage if you have to bid. German bows would be out of most peoples knowledge base.

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I've been buying on ebay for about 20 years, fiddles and antique jewelry and Native American silver.  It has gotten exponentially worse however every blue moon or so I manage to get something good.  I attribute this to sheer luck and probably being one of the first few to see it and make an offer.  This is not to say that I don't have upwards of 40 fiddles of ahem... varying quality... but sometimes a fiddle will come with a surprise: many years ago, a gold mounted Hill bow showed up with a fiddle I paid $375 for.  There was no photo of the bows so I had no clue.  The fiddle was nice, and sold for $2,500 eventually, and the Hill for $6,500.  So that is what keeps me looking, but these days I just patiently wait until something decent comes along, and hope I can BIN or make an offer.  I'm getting one on Thursday that I will try to get decent photos of and post.  If it's what it looks like my accepted offer was a good deal.  If anything slogging through ebay has continually been entertaining at least.. and helps reinforce what I have learned about identification.  

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Wow that's great to hear about those kind of deals. Again if you have the knowledge and your there first...it's probably going to be yours. I recently saw 2 W.E. Hill mahogany cases on e-bay. The sellers didn't know anything about them. They weren't in very good shape, but restorable. Sellers just called them wooden cases.

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19 hours ago, Violinjon said:

I did finally get a response on eBay's Facebook, asking to move into private messaging - only to receive an almost completely identical response, insinuating that telling me anything would enable me to circumvent their account security and create new accounts, being the hardened criminal that I am. I don't expect anything different on their Twitter.

For what it's worth, I don't use eBay to sell, only to buy a few things a year, mainly interesting old German bows for my own satisfaction. I'm not one of those scammers popping up like weeds that sell fake stamped Chinese bows. I've never had the need or desire to create an alternate account - until now, ironically! I won't bother, though.

This experience has really opened my eye to the dangers of negligent corporations that control our online lives. I live in a part of Asia with no antique musical instruments, no local options. eBay was my only real option at building my identification skills.

Ugh.  I'm sorry, that is really crappy of ebay :(  Maybe Tarisio and other auctions like Skinner or Bromptons or Amati are a better option for you.  Also for ID help I love browsing the Cozio archive on Tarisio.  It's my go-to for trying to identify things I find elsewhere, the photos are an excellent resource.  I have reference books too but for what I'm usually looking at Cozio is all I need.  

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1 hour ago, reepicheep said:

I've been buying on ebay for about 20 years, fiddles and antique jewelry and Native American silver.  It has gotten exponentially worse however every blue moon or so I manage to get something good.  I attribute this to sheer luck and probably being one of the first few to see it and make an offer.  This is not to say that I don't have upwards of 40 fiddles of ahem... varying quality... but sometimes a fiddle will come with a surprise: many years ago, a gold mounted Hill bow showed up with a fiddle I paid $375 for.  There was no photo of the bows so I had no clue.  The fiddle was nice, and sold for $2,500 eventually, and the Hill for $6,500.  So that is what keeps me looking, but these days I just patiently wait until something decent comes along, and hope I can BIN or make an offer.  I'm getting one on Thursday that I will try to get decent photos of and post.  If it's what it looks like my accepted offer was a good deal.  If anything slogging through ebay has continually been entertaining at least.. and helps reinforce what I have learned about identification.  

I find that good stuff on eBay nowadays goes in waves driven by various uncontrollable events such as economic conniptions.  When a wave occurs in something one finds interesting, such as when there's an epidemic of durable luxury goods being graymarketed (authentic merchandise being dumped at cost to keep the assembly lines running, or empty a warehouse, etc.), one has to be able to both verify the authenticity of the goods, and be financially positioned to invest in them early.  Similar situations occur when a source of foreign collectibles opens up.  These opportunities occur as suddenly as a thunderstorm, and disappear as quickly.  In between such events, one waits for estate liqudators to have an attack of cluelessness or desperation in some niche commodity you want.  :)  :lol:

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24 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

I find that good stuff on eBay nowadays goes in waves driven by various uncontrollable events such as economic conniptions.  When a wave occurs in something one finds interesting, such as when there's an epidemic of durable luxury goods being graymarketed (authentic merchandise being dumped at cost to keep the assembly lines running, or empty a warehouse, etc.), one has to be able to both verify the authenticity of the goods, and be financially positioned to invest in them early.  Similar situations occur when a source of foreign collectibles opens up.  These opportunities occur as suddenly as a thunderstorm, and disappear as quickly.  In between such events, one waits for estate liqudators to have an attack of cluelessness or desperation in some niche commodity you want.  :)  :lol:

Yep! :)

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4 hours ago, Violadamore said:

one waits for estate liqudators to have an attack of cluelessness or desperation in some niche commodity you want.  :)  :lol:

I cannot help but conclude that the "niche commodity" that is never in short supply on Ebay, is a legion of clueless morons who pay money for sh.. that I wouldn’t want, even for free. Their next step is often to go and pester the local violin maker to enhance the gargoyle to a hygienic functional condition and be dismayed that this would cost more than the object is conceivably worth. This can involve delicate situations, particularly when uncles, aunts grandparents etc. have come along for the ride.

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58 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I cannot help but conclude that the "niche commodity" that is never in short supply on Ebay, is a legion of clueless morons who pay money for sh.. that I wouldn’t want, even for free. Their next step is often to go and pester the local violin maker to enhance the gargoyle to a hygienic functional condition and be dismayed that this would cost more than the object is conceivably worth. This can involve delicate situations, particularly when uncles, aunts grandparents etc. have come along for the ride.

No doubt, dear Jacob, and certainly something guaranteed to drive you batty if the little entourage comes to your shop with an attic Strad, but........not my problem!!!!   :P:lol:

My traditional niche commodities are historic and ethnographic cutlery, antique/vintage tools, and vintage jewelry, all of which I've gotten excellent bargains on both at local sales, and via eBay.  :P

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5 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I pity your heirs already

Your concern is appreciated.  I'll be sure to amend my will to include instructions to contact you for valuations of the violins, bows, and cases.  ;)  :lol:  :)

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On 6/29/2020 at 4:28 PM, GeorgeH said:

I always photograph the package as I received it and as I open it. I also photograph each step of the packaging for anything I send. This has been sufficient evidence for eBay to find in my favor in situations that I have been in as both a buyer and a seller.

It would also help in any insurance claim with a carrier.

if it would help you to prove the truth, it would also help a scammer to prove his "truth" just as well if it was worth the trouble.   

i have my own strategies that involve evaluating the seller to start with and also making sure there's something you can hold over him.  trustworthy people are pretty trustworthy, especially if you're holding a big stick.    in the late '90s ebay showed how honest ppl are which was kind of a refreshing revelation.  it was working right, with no safeguards initially.  of course the maxim then as now is don't spend more than you can afford to lose

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Lot's of positive feedback and decent comments are pretty much all we have to evaluate a seller. I haven't had a problem in 20 years.

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17 years ago I bought on eBay an early 18th century French violin with certificate based solely on the picture of the cert, as there were no accompanying pictures of the instrument! It turned out to be entirely legitimate and a very positive experience.

I wouldn't be doing that on eBay today for sure. Good luck to those who try, as it can be an endless source of amusement. Please continue to share your stories, as they are a welcome diversion in this Covid time.

 

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I'm no expert violin wise.  I'm not even a "talented" amateur violin wise.  But I've been buying (and selling) on ebay since 1997.  Anyone who thinks there aren't treasures to be found at both fair and ludicrously cheap prices on ebay is a person who doesn't follow the venue regularly.  My best buy was a French bow for $60 that brought $8000 at auction (it sold to dealer).  I still have 6 or 8 silver mounted bows in excellent condition that cost a fraction of what any shop would charge.  But that's just my experience.  Ebay is the greatest thing since sliced bread, collecting wise. 

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On 7/1/2020 at 9:25 PM, Garth E. said:

Lot's of positive feedback and decent comments are pretty much all we have to evaluate a seller. I haven't had a problem in 20 years.

Not agree. Ebay is always on buyers side. There are many USA customers simply trying to blackmail seller after receiving instrument, asking for compensation instead of sending back violin for no serious reason(of course they do not want really to send it back , real reason is 20-30% money back). After receiving money they are selling violin for full price. They are always angry if you are not accepting that. :D Very  popular thing. So do not judge seller by feedback , it can be also wrong. 

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8 hours ago, mathieu valde said:

Not agree. Ebay is always on buyers side. There are many USA customers simply trying to blackmail seller after receiving instrument, asking for compensation instead of sending back violin for no serious reason(of course they do not want really to send it back , real reason is 20-30% money back). After receiving money they are selling violin for full price. They are always angry if you are not accepting that. :D Very  popular thing. So do not judge seller by feedback , it can be also wrong. 

While it may look that way to some sellers, it's  not as common as you might think, especially compared to dishonest or clueless sellers who photograph or describe merchandise in ways which lead to disputes after sale.  On violins, I've only had to use the resolution center once (out of 3 times total, the others being something sold as "used" that required internal repairs to function, and a faked antiquity, in all 3 cases the sellers refused to accept returns), and accepted a partial refund in place of what I'd asked for, which was to simply ban the seller for life without any refund.   I strongly believe in the sanctity of contracts.

Where financially successful established sellers are concerned, eBay is most certainly not always on the buyer's side.  I know of several cases where it at least appears that blatantly dishonest sellers have been tolerated for decades without eBay taking any substantive action against them at all.

The situation with feedback is complicated by the "be a good eBayer" ethic, which encourages giving the benefit of the doubt, refraining from quibbling over minor discrepancies in an order, and treating a refund and return (or refund and "just keep it, return too much hassle through our customs" :rolleyes:) situation as a positive completion.  It appears to me that many eBay sellers of the "contact us before leave negative feedback, we make good" variety (usually outside the USA, BTW) are taking advantage of this, knowingly selling discrepant goods, and writing off refunds as a cost of doing business.   I've had stuff that was not only "not as described", but the entirely wrong item shipped to me (it's always best to take and include photographs before contacting the seller in these cases, the little weasels will demand them anyway, in hopes you won't bother).  I also have had some items push the limit on shipping times (way beyond promised dates).  In one memorable case, an item shown as shipped by trackable e-Pack disappeared from the tracking databases for 3 months, then suddenly arrived covered in stamps proving that it had been forwarded by way of Kazakhstan....doubtless saving the perpetrator a few yuan somewhere.  :P  :lol:

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If you count all the time looking at ebay just to snatch up the very occasional bargain, I don't see how you can call it profitable, unless you just have a lot of time on your hands. And that is given the big assumption that you have sufficient expertise to recognize a bargain when you see one.

If you are buying multiple clunkers just to get one winner, it really seems like you might need a new hobby!!

Edited by Martin S

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On 7/7/2020 at 7:26 PM, Strad O Various Jr. said:

If you count all the time looking at ebay just to snatch up the very occasional bargain, I don't see how you can call it profitable, unless you just have a lot of time on your hands. And that is given the big assumption that you have sufficient expertise to recognize a bargain when you see one.

If you are buying multiple clunkers just to get one winner, it really seems like you might need a new hobby!!

Clunker avoidance is part of the fun!  You are right that there isn’t really any money to be made but that’s not the only reason to buy old violins. The history is important to me and getting a forgotten and broken instrument to work again is joyful.

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