What About Ebay?

Please note – the following is a rather dark view and should be read as an opinion only.

EBay, for the most part, can be a great place to find those marvelous treasures of yesterday and today. Literally thousands of items are at your fingertips, just waiting to be ‘won’.

I have personally bought and received many items through this site and, except for a problem or two, have been relatively happy. This is true for a great many people out there and I can only hope that with a better understanding, this can be a fun way to sell, buy and even make a friend or two along the way. With sites spanning the globe, it’s easy to see why eBay is the largest ‘one stop shop’ on the planet.

But there is a down side to this too. Unfortunately, like every great idea, there a few that takes advantage of this system. Selling stolen goods is not uncommon, likewise stealing identities to make quick buck. There are more horror stories out there of people getting ripped off than you can imagine. We know, we have already been taken twice so far.

We use eBay as a direct result of supply and demand. When an item has been on our floor unsold for around 60 days, we need to move it out to make room for something else. As a customer, if I saw the same old stock for months on end I would not shop there anymore. We like to keep things fresh, moving, and always be able to offer more to our customers. We refer to eBay as the ‘chopping block’. Whatever it sells for is fine with us.

Now having said this, and since we deal primarily with vintage equipment, we try to make sure that everything, from the testing of the equipment, listing, re-testing and packing is first rate. Do we make mistakes? Yes. We are after all, only human. If something is missed and we feel our clients or customers have a legitimate claim, we will do everything we can to correct it. This may include a complete refund, repairs or exchange to get things right. We will not however, tolerate fraudulent claims of obvious missing parts, swapped parts (don’t laugh this has happened!), or simply outlandish tales of ‘smoke pouring out of the unit when I turned it on’.

I have to explain this last part because it may happen to others.

Last year we had eBay member Iripuoff123 (this is not their real name even though I would have loved to really put it here!) who bought one of our items. They paid on time for both the auction and the shipping. As usual we tested the item before packing, then packed the item and sent it on its way. About three weeks later we receive an email from eBay member Iripuoff123 that he had received the unit, but when he plugged it in, ‘smoke poured out nearly filling the room!’ So, what do you do? We write back with profuse apologies and offer 3 or 4 different options about how we can help and wait for a reply. Two days later we received an email from Iripuoff123 that he had taken the item to the local repair shop and was quoted $86.49 to
fix our receiver. He states that if we pay for the repair, he will leave us positive feedback and all will be right in the world.

Ok first, $86.49 to fix a problem that caused a receiver to fill a room with smoke? Sure. Yep, uh huh, you bet…

Second, no mention of what the problem was, what may have caused it, or information about this ‘repair shop’ that he had taken the receiver to?

We thought about this and although we had a feeling something didn’t jive did what they had suggested and paid the amount.

About a month later we received an email from another eBay member directing us to an auction by Iripuoff123 (A big THANK YOU! Alfsg, by the way!) Upon inspection I saw the exact same unit that we sold to him, with a glowing description of the item and many pictures showing how wonderful this unit was. In one picture it showed our untouched warranty sticker we place on all our units. It was clearly visible with our company name blazoned across it! Borrowing one of our employee’s eBay accounts, we asked the seller the question:

“Has this unit ever been recently serviced or had any problems?” His answer and I quote: “Absolutely not. This unit is perfect, even has the service warranty tag.”

Yep, all is certainly right in his world.

Ok, here is the really dark part:

I guess the biggest thing I want to say is that as great as eBay is, it is simply making people too greedy. There are those that prowl over garage and yard sales looking for anything that will get a big buck on eBay, and will think nothing of ripping off the owner in their quest. Even here in Vancouver, we have those that will find an unbelievable bargain at one of these types of sales, and still have the gall to haggle the owner down to pennies to get it.

Allow me to illustrate.

Every town has a ‘Bob’.

So how do we put this delicately…? Everyone, everywhere, has bumped into a ‘Bob’ at least once in his or her life. Once is normally enough even to drive the most dedicated nun into murderous rage but let’s see why.

‘Bob’ is known to frequent garage and yard sales and will go to great lengths to pull information out of the seller for stuff he is looking for even though it is not anywhere in the sale. ‘Bob’ will think nothing of asking if he can look inside the house to see if the owner is ‘possibly mistaken’ and maybe has not brought out what ‘Bob’ is looking for yet.

‘Bob ‘simply has no conscience to speak of. This will include repeatedly badgering the seller about stuff he is looking for and will even try to pry out information about the neighbors to see if they have what he wants.

He will scour every ad in the local papers and will call at anytime, night or day. ‘Bob’ has no real job to contend with, as this is simply “beneath him to actually work for a living”. In the audio world here he is known as a ‘Troll’. Mind you, he may go by many, many other names but let’s keep this civil.

If he happens to find an ad that attracts his attention, “Bob’ will call for hours and leave a thousand messages in the hopes of ‘blocking out other interested parties’. ‘Bob’ has been known to bully his way into peoples homes and will whine, beg and plead to the owners about how poor he is and can they please, please, PLEASE sell him their Tannoy Gold speakers that they had advertised for $200.00 (already an ungodly low price), for $50.00 – or less!

‘Bob’ can do this for hours. ‘Bob’ will wear these people down until they break. ‘Bob’ will have those Tannoy Gold’s on eBay before you can say parasite. ‘Bob’ will then gloat and brag about how little he paid because these people were ‘too stupid to know what they had’, and how much he raked in on eBay.

‘Bob’ will never bother about the working condition of an item he puts on eBay, and may for the sake of appearance wipe a cloth across the front to make it look good for the camera. When selling to others locally, he will always make reasons and excuses about something, anything as long as he can get your money.

‘Bob’ has literally zero experience with electronics but will happily get a soldering iron into an amp because in his mind, ‘Bob’ can do anything. If it does not work the way it should, ‘Bob’ will have literally thousands of excuses as to why not, but will never say it was his fault. ‘Bob’ will always lash out and condemn any person a liar and a cheat if they buy one of his beauties and claim there is something wrong.

‘Bob’ is indeed a parasite that is ruining hobbies everywhere and driving prices to stupid levels in his quest for greed. Yet the funny thing is, ‘Bob’ is always broke. He may never own a home, may not even own a car, and for the most part will always be alone. It’s funny to think that the only happiness people like ‘Bob’ have, is ripping others off both in the buying and selling of items.

I personally know of three or four ‘Bob’s’ here in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The wonderful thing is that he and others of his ilk are now starting to be well known to a great many others and they are also spreading the word.

During the last ten years or so, these pathetic losers have slimed their way into every thrift store, every repair shop, and flea market they can find. The word is out however, and storeowners are watching. People here are doing everything they can to inform the public about these guys, and I believe that we are slowly winning. One ‘Bob’ has already moved on. Only two or three to go.

Ok, the dark part is over…

So what makes us different?

Well, as stated before, we use EBay as an area where a good chunk of our products go after sitting for a couple of months. Sometimes this may be a month, sometimes three. We start with what we feel is a fair amount, and let the auction take its course. We have sold CD players for 99 cents that had a full thirty-day warranty! That’s what makes it fun! We’re happy, our clients are happy and we have some laughs on the way.

Isn’t that the way it should be?