Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gee... I Didn't Realize How Many eBay Purchases Have Been Less Than Perfect

I got to thinking about the eBay buying disappointments the other day. And as I thought about it more and more, I realized how MANY I have had.

Case in point (above) item mailed in original vintage box.

Stool not as white as pictured.

Advertised as "Eames 1960 from sellers personal collection" turned out to be 2009 Pier One Import.

Thought this was red and black and white, and it turned out to be red and GREEN and white.

After closer inspection, a couple of the "hoops" on this atomic world clock had been broken. OK, NOW I can see it at the top in the photo. Seller did NOT disclose.

The stinky musty chair, still stinks. Will try bleach water today.

This advertised as pink lampshade........

Turned out to be purple. Purple! Who had purple lamps in the 50's?

The Fallout Shelter sign I almost had to destroy to get out of the package.

This was also mailed in the original box, tho paper was wrapped around it first. The box still got crushed within an inch of it's life.

This lamp worked... For the first two hours. Now it needs to be rewired.

I love this radio, I really do, but later I discovered the speaker inside floating around and comes in view of the screen unless you jiggle it to the left. Maybe if I open it up I can fix it. =(

This vintage magazine rack painted fresh black. OK, cool, but that paint scratches off with the least bit of rub.

How can I forget the crushed lampshade and the bitter seller experience?

Great lamp, but it arrived chipped around the sides of the base and plaster dust in the wrapping. I'll have to try to find a shallow gold dish to set it in to hide the chipping. Sigh.

Too many "handmade studio pottery" vases turned out to be manufactured or a high gloss when the photo showed a matt finish, which is what I was looking for.

Arrived broken, but at least the seller was nice and refunded.

The color of this turned out to be a very strange green. Thought it was white and the seller just took a bad photo.

Great deal, but one of the bolts was so rusted, I can't get it to tighten, so it's not quite put together. Home Depot trip in the future.

Looks black, pink and blue, but it's far more faded than the photos show. It's gray. I wanted black.

This lamp arrived with both light sockets hanging by their wires and almost no way to fix them because two screws were missing. Still are.

Worked for a week, needs rewiring.

It's enough to make me want to all but stop supporting eBay sellers! I'm not picky or uptight about things, really. I like honest wear and don't mind some scuffs and such. But all of these things are not related to that at all.

I know our dear Vintage Christine has had her share of issues too, so I'm not special this way lol. But I've pretty much bought all the things I need (except for a very few, such as curtains for two more rooms) but gee, after looking over all the things that didn't arrive as expected, it sure doesn't make me smile. =(

I bet many of you have had a lot of the same experiences, haven't you? And this isn't even every bad eBay experience I've had over the past 10+ years on eBay!

Ahh well, I'll be much more cautious in the future.

Happy Sunday!


  1. Wow - when you post them all together like that it's shocking.
    It's also frustrating because when I sell anything I'm accurate and give as much detail as possible. I sometimes worry that I'm making too big a deal about little marks but my mother-in-law who has far more experience with eBay said that way people will know exactly what they're getting and I'd be less likely to receive bad feedback and hassles returning stuff.
    I also pack very well so I am appalled that someone saw fit to slap a postage label on an original box!
    Apart from one little niggle with postage cost everything I've bought has arrived safe, well and as listed. Oh except one book that was packed well but not cared for by the royal mail - a corner of the package was tattered via transit which also affected the cover of my book :(
    Maybe you need to take a hiatus from eBay for a while.

  2. Gasp, MoonDoggie! A hiatus from eBay?! And let someone else get all the goodies? I was reading your post Miz 1950 and thinking, wow, I sure didn't have all those problems, but then I think about the chipped finial that wasn't mentioned, the amount of time it's taken for one simple freaking cake plate to get to me, the repro pottery represented as real-deal, the outrageous amounts of money charged for shipping and "handling" and yeah, it gets discouraging. I think because we're buying vintage and collectible we're probably more susceptible to scammers and/or idiots like the one who slapped the mailing label on the original box. I forced myself to start "watching" stuff over immediately placing a bid but every time my cellphone goes "ding" and I see that "Ending Soon" announcement and the item is going for sooooo cheap . . . I'm doomed. On the positive side, I think the sellers are taking more care in packing (well, most of them) since they're responsible for getting it to us in one piece. Good lord, I think I need to get a life or a hobby or something! And I will, just as soon as I check my cellphone that just went "ding" again. Honest.

  3. I'm shocked too, Moondoggie. And I search and buy very carefully, except maybe the one footstool that was more green than white. I should have asked.

    But the rest were out of my hands.

    When I sold, I made SURE color was correct in photos, listed the colors, noted and showed flaws, etc etc. Only had a couple psycho buyers, the rest were fantastic.

    Like I said, I've bought most of what I am going to buy. Never planned on continuing to buy until my house was stuffed. Didn't want that.

    But yeah, a break from ebay or be very VERY picky about what I buy (and I am picky already).

  4. Christine, that's another thing. S/H on small items is up to an average of $10 which is insane because a lot of the small items I get are only about $10. So it doubles the price. Sucks.

  5. Hey Old Friend! Sounds like we need some e-bay police to get out there and straighten out these scammers! Even though some of your goodies have damage, you still have a fabulous collection of Mid Century goodies!

  6. Wow.

    Have you ever rewired a lamp? Easy peasy. They sell kits at Home Depot.

    As for the broken socket, I'm assuming you mean the plug. If so, they sell those too, with screws. Just cut it off, splay the wires and expose them, screw in, finished!

    I noted that you had a lot of wrong color issues - key to this is ask a lot of questions before you bid.

    I've weeded out bad sellers by asking a question and getting no reply.

    As for all the breakage - that's a poor seller. No excuse at all for sending it in it's original box.

    ASK ASK ASK. It will save you some disappointment in the future.

  7. I've never bought anything on ebay, and I'm a little scared to start!

  8. Hiya Barbara, yes, the one footstool that turned out to be greenish? My fault. I have a state of the art LCD monitor, so colors are true. BUT, you are right, sellers take crappy photos.

    Trouble is, a lot of sellers state they don't check their email often or you have to ask 24 hours in advance, so you never get a reply. I have passed on buying from sellers who do not reply to questions. Every seller who didn't reply didn't get a bid from me.

    Will make sure to ask more in the future, but times the photos just look like they are a good representation, so I didn't think to ask.

    Or something was advertised with a color and they were wrong.

    Khala, don't be worried, just be very cautious. =)

  9. I have often found that if I had REALLY looked at the picture, I would have spotted some flaws that the description did not mention. And when it comes to colors, it is hard to get them right, and even if they appear correct on MY monitor, they may not on someone else's. AND when it comes to vintage lamps, rewiring (which is so easy that even an idiot such as myself can do it) is always a good idea....even if 60 year old wiring is working, do you REALLY want it to? :-) Now there is no excuse for lying in a description or lousy packing, but some mistakes have been my own fault...

  10. I came to this same conclusion after a year of steady buying after a remodel several years ago. I rarely even look anymore.

  11. I only buy from eBay on a seldom basis these days. I love to look, but I don't buy. (Well, I did buy a piece of Pyrex today for $1). I find that by the time that I factor in shipping costs, I don't think the item is worth the final combined purchase and shipping price. I finally decided that I'd rather spend $15 locally on an item that I could get for $10 on eBay because it is still cheaper than paying shipping for the darned thing. I was disappointed to see that the Pyrex casserole that I bought yesterday was going for similar prices on eBay, but then I checked shipping, and whoa, did I feel like I got a bargain!

    The one thing that I do buy on eBay is a book from a certain series that started being printed in the US, but only the first two books in the series. I have to get on eBay and import all of the other books from the UK when they come out. Darn, they're a little higher getting them that way, but at least I can get them!

  12. I am wondering if the musty chair problem might be helped with something I use for pet odors, called Urine off.It is safe for fabrics(we even use it on leather) and works by destroying the odor causing enzymes, not by covering them up.AND it works! If it makes curtains and couches not smell like cat spray, it might be worth a try.You can order it online or go to a local pet store, it's about $12 for a big bottle, so you can use it all over the chair.

  13. Thats why I all but stopped using Ebay, i'll look everynow and then, or if its something special that I know I cant get in this area. IM sorry for all your bad dealings! Maybe an Ebay break is in order?

  14. Thrifts around here suck, yard sales worse, antique malls are outrageous... So I rely on eBay. =/

    Yes, will be very careful and ask about colors from now on.

    A break, yeah, I've bought about all I want to buy anyways. =)

    Oh and thanks Anon, I will try that!!

  15. And I agree, the s/h makes good deals not so good sometimes! Yikes!

    But eBay has the best, widest selection around. NO where else has this variety.

    I have gotten A LOT of great deals, happy purchases... I didn't want to give the impression it's all bad.

    And I'm not so upset over these things, mostly minor issues, not major... But still... Seems like a lot!

  16. Not to mention, I am the very best kind of buyer...

    I ALWAYS pay for auctions within 1-2 minutes after they end, and I always remember to thank them in the "message to seller" spot. =)

  17. This is all very interesting. Ebay certainly has gone down-hill.

    People will sell anything!

    I don't buy much off it anymore ... I too have been disappointed on seeing items in the flesh.

    Possibly sellers really don't care, on the whole!?

  18. I got here from Cat's blog.
    I have pretty much given up on ebay, with shipping the way it is, it's not the bargain it used to be and a lot of the newer sellers simply don't know what they are selling. for example, I was interested in a ring, asked the seller what size or inside diameter the ring was. The answer was, I dunno. ????? Another time I bought 2 separate rings, both said to be size 7, well one was a 6 and one was a 5.5 - was offered my money back, but still all the time wasted and the postage... well, anyway, simply not worth the hassle. As a seller, I had people buy and then say stuff like I had said returnable and then I had to eat the ship and insurance so they could try it on. Nope, good for stuff I can't find around here, but done shopping........

  19. I watch items I'm interested in and use esnipe if I want to bid. I like that you can cancel any bid you place up to 5 minutes before the bidding closes, as it doesn't appear until the last minute or so (you set the time for the bid to occur). Its saved me a ton of buyers remorse and keeps me from those spontaneous have to have it bids where I then realized the item isn't what I had hoped. Biggest bummer using ebay lately - shipping of $6.00 for 2 pieces of ribbon. I mean really!!!

  20. As I'm pretty broke right now I don't spend much on ebay so rarely have any disappointment, how can you be disappointed when you've only spent £1! However I must admit you've had a LOT of bad luck lately, it's a shame really cos there are still so many good ebay sellers out there.

  21. Hello Miss A...

    I'm with Miss STM and when I can get on eBay, I only buy with one dealer, the same one over and over... I am so sorry about your travails. Some of the stuff that occurred as you describe them here in your blog are just sad. :( Really discouraging. Oh Miss A...

    Is Chris okay? :)

  22. I feel your pain - I bought a mint condition starburst clock that was meant to be in its original box in working order.... item arrives - not in the original box (or anything close to it) - sell had wrapped the clock very well in bubblewrap - but also managed to get the tape on the starbursts - lifting the 50 year old paint off - clock ticks but the arms don't move - i'm not a happy ebayer

  23. Hiya Sharon and welcome. =)
    Ooo never tried to buy jewelry on eBay, I imagine it might go something like your experiences. =(

    Hi Sue, I am a VERY careful shopper, I never make snap decisions on buying, so sniper programs wouldn't help, but thank you. =)

    Yeah STM, not very happy, and not all of these things were a "bust", but a lot of annoyances!

    Hey Darlene... I wish I could find and stay with only good sellers. I always look at their other auctions when I find a seller I like, but they don't sell much of what I want.

    Chris is getting better and better! Thank you for asking. =D

    Ohhh lipstickvixen, that REALLY sucks! I know because I am sure you paid a pretty penny for it. It's criminal!