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Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a Florida Link up for auction in the UK and have had only 1 bid. It's from someone with 1 feedback and 3 week ebay membership. I am very suspicious and nervous of being scammed. Do any of you worldly wise sax players have any advice/pointers? It may be legit of course.
 

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I would also be suspicious. I've been burned too many times by buyers with low or no feedback. The worst one tried to do a credit card dispute 2 months after the sale claiming item was never received. Luckily I had a good paper trail and proof of delivery, so ultimately won. But it was very time consuming to straighten out and kept a lot of my money in limbo for quite a while.

And way, way back, an auction of mine was won but never paid. In that case, turned out the buyer was a 12 year old kid with no money. I never shipped and ultimately cancelled the sale. But that one was also time consuming and involved a nasty exchange with the kid's mother about harassing her son, with me having no idea at the time that I'd been dealing with a child up to that point. Of course, children aren't allowed to buy and sell on ebay.

Needless to say, I've learned my lesson after 20 years on ebay.
 

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https://www.google.com/search?q=eBa...eller&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab

Personally I've never sold anything on eBay, in part out of just your concern!

Almost too much information to go through on that search, however from what I read there is risk with any sale on eBay. Waiting until payment is cleared would seem like a reasonable strategy; I believe that PayPal has guarantees of some sort and would expect other similar third party payers would have some as well. If I were selling something of value, I would use a prepaid label, and video sealing the item in the package with the label with closeups to serial #s or identifying marks on the item. I'd finalize sealing it at the post office or ship location showing me handing it over the counter, with the tracking # evident. Proof of delivery and proper insurance through the shipper are additional safeguards.
While these may seem like extreme actions, digital video is cheap and easy, and evidence would certainly help in disputes and obtaining protection from eBay or PayPal. Even with that, I would guess that there are scams that strategy wouldn't cover.
 

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What I would do (and have done in similar situations):

1) Initiate an innocuous conversation with the bidder -- you can tell a lot from the way they communicate. I would typically start a conversation by thanking them for bidding, saying something like "this mouthpiece play so well with my horn" then asking them what kind of horn they play. Everyone had to start with being a new member with zero feedback. Ideally, they would have built up a history first by buying lower value items, but then a scammer could also do the same thing.

2) If you don't want to do the above and/or they actually end up the winning bidder and you decide to actually ship to them, document/capture everything on video/photo. What I personally do (and some may think this overkill) is to take a video of me holding the item close to the camera (from each angle), wrapping it in bubblewrap/packing paper, placing it in the package, taping up the package and affixing the shipping label. Then I hold the box with the label close to the camera so that the shipping address is clearly captured.

3) If the item I'm selling is a microphone, preamp, interface, or other electronic item, I also take videos of me testing the equipment and showing that it works without any issues. This is useful not only for potential claims by the buyer that the item does not work, but also for claims I may need to make with the shipper if the item gets damaged while in transit to the buyer.

4) I never ship to an address other than the address on file with eBay. If they want me to ship to another address, I make them change their eBay shipping address first. Above $100, I require signature upon delivery. By the way, I always print the label straight off of eBay. This way, I am sure that the address on the label is exactly the same as what is on the buyer's account on eBay and that eBay has a direct record of the shipping label I created and the tracking information is automatically updated in eBay's system.

5) Finally, I take a video of the label being dropped into the postage bin at the post office or being handed to the shipping agent.


Depending on how valuable the item is and/or how susceptible it is to being the subject of a scam, I will take more or less precautions. For sub-$100 items I usually just take photos of the item and package instead of taping the entire process. For certain items, I make sure there's some mark on the tape on the package showing that the package dropped off at the post office is the same one that I packed, and that it was never opened while in transit to the post office.

It's a huge pain in the *****, but I'd much rather take the extra steps than be another victim of a scam. A significant portion of my iCloud storage is taken up by videos/photos related to my eBay sales. I only delete a video or photo once the buyer has left me positive feedback. If they never leave me positive feedback, I don't delete regardless of how long ago the sale occurred (there are many horror stories of buyers coming back after several months and winning their claims with eBay). Just note that in most cases (virtually every case), eBay/Paypal will side with the buyer in any given dispute unless the seller has really strong evidence. The burden of proof is always on the seller. There are 2 things the seller has to prove: 1) the sent to the buyer is the same item described in the listing; and 2) such item was actually delivered to and received at the buyer's shipping address on file with eBay.

If I could avoid eBay altogether, I would, but unfortunately it remains the best market for selling to date, if only due to the access to the huge global market that no other platform can offer as of now.
 

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Could be legit. I had a similar case, somebody with no feedback and a new account from Korea bought my mouthpiece. Glass smooth transaction. Seems like the person just registered to buy the mouthpiece.
 

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Yada, yada. Everybody has to start somewhere, and most people will start by buying a few things to build up a little feedback history before they try to sell. What are you afraid of, as a seller? Either he pays for it or he doesn't. If he pays, you send it. If he doesn't pay, you re-list after reporting it through channels. Either way you're free and clear.
 

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Yada, yada. Everybody has to start somewhere, and most people will start by buying a few things to build up a little feedback history before they try to sell. What are you afraid of, as a seller? Either he pays for it or he doesn't. If he pays, you send it. If he doesn't pay, you re-list after reporting it through channels. Either way you're free and clear.
He can pay for it, receive it, then claim he didn't receive it. Or claim it was a rock inside the box and not a mouthpiece. Or a host of different things.

Then you have to give him back his money but you never get your mouthpiece back (because you sent him a rock, remember?). Or you are forced to give him a significant discount because otherwise you have to eat the shipping costs both ways.

I mean, the buyer could very well be legit, but it’s not unreasonable to be wary either.
 

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I am not registering on eBay, all I am doing there is as a guest - simply because I don't want everybody snooping around in whatever I am doing. In one case I was put off by the seller's shipping method, the goods, that is, an almost mint condition B&S 2001 tenor shipped only in the original case with the label taped onto it was left out in the rain in front of my door and I could have probably claimed anything but there was no damage, so why bother..
 

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Depending on how valuable the item is and/or how susceptible it is to being the subject of a scam, I will take more or less precautions. For sub-$100 items I usually just take photos of the item and package instead of taping the entire process. For certain items, I make sure there's some mark on the tape on the package showing that the package dropped off at the post office is the same one that I packed, and that it was never opened while in transit to the post office.
I wonder if doing all those steps would make ebay more sympathetic to the seller in case a SNAD claim comes up, or whether they just lazily favor the buyer.

I think going through the trouble of the steps jman1977 could be worth it for a FL Link and a total unknown seller. I've had a buyer from hell with a 100% feedback rating too, so anything can happen. Love/hate relationship with ebay.
 

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I wonder if doing all those steps would make ebay more sympathetic to the seller in case a SNAD claim comes up, or whether they just lazily favor the buyer.

I think going through the trouble of the steps jman1977 could be worth it for a FL Link and a total unknown seller. I've had a buyer from hell with a 100% feedback rating too, so anything can happen. Love/hate relationship with ebay.
Item not as described claims are always tricky (and often losing) propositions for a seller. However, the more detailed the description and photos are, the less likely a seller is going to be targeted by scammers in the first place (I've never had an item not as described claim filed against me). And in the event the seller is targeted, it again boils down to whether the seller has really strong evidence to back up his case. The buyer needs little to no evidence -- the mere act of filing a claim tips the scale in favor of the buyer.

Also, some items are more prone to being targeted than others. For instance, horns are more prone to targeting compared to mouthpieces. Phones are some of the most targeted items. Brand new items are less targeted compared to new ones (the usual schemes targeting these items involves the buyer switching a used item for the new item shipped by the seller and then filing an item not as described claim -- seller is forced to refund and buyer sends back the used item and keeps the brand new item ... this is where videos of the item being packed, sealed and shipped will come in handy).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks so much for your input.. On reflection, I'm going to cancel my item and try what I should have tried in the first place. Use Saxontheweb. I have a lot of mouthpieces that need selling to pay for UNBELIEVABLY expensive dental work. I suppose it'll be harder to sell as I'm in the UK but I'll give it a shot :)
 

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Thanks so much for your input.. On reflection, I'm going to cancel my item and try what I should have tried in the first place. Use Saxontheweb. I have a lot of mouthpieces that need selling to pay for UNBELIEVABLY expensive dental work. I suppose it'll be harder to sell as I'm in the UK but I'll give it a shot :)
Just a couple of things to consider (unless you've already cancelled):

1) You will likely be assessed a final value fee by eBay if you cancel an auction listing that has a live bid. The final value fee will be based on the highest bid at the time of cancellation. Sometimes they don't assess it, usually they do. If you can get the bidder to retract their bid before you cancel the listing, that would be the best scenario for you.

2) It is relatively safer to sell here (apparently there are still instances of hanky-panky going on based on some members' posts) but be prepared to have to settle for less than what you would otherwise get on eBay. It's just a trade-off between your risk appetite vis-a-vis desire to maximize your cash inflow.
 

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I have had over 250 transactions on ebay, with only one issue - a bari sax I bought was not as advertised & needed a repad. The seller made it right by paying for most of the re-pad. Ebay is overall a safe place to transact business and I wouldn't be too concerned about the bidder's lack of feedback unless I were the buyer and he the seller. Even then the protections are good if you use Paypal. After the sale is done be sure to mail the item with tracking to prove that you sent it and that it was delivered.
 

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Finally - some common sense. Yes, you will run into tailholes if you're on there long enough but I can't even tell you the great horns and mouthpieces I have won on ebay, including the DG 'King Curtis' tenor piece that is my ultimate mouthpiece. I've also sold a lot of nice stuff without any attempts to get a refund. This is because I am dead honest in my descriptions and provide the best pictures I can get. Even so, I've only received feedback for about 60% of my transactions because many buyers and sellers apparently don't give feedback even though they go by my feedback to have a trust factor. Paradoxical but true.
 

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Yes, feedback is often hard to come by.

Hundreds of eBay transactions myself. Some great, great deals.
Some not so good. Overall well worth it.

One scammer that tried to get a bunch of cash by claiming the gorgeous tenor
I sent him was in rough shape. Took a couple of months, but I won the case.
Lots of fotos, and it had been over to See my tech. Just to let him play it! No
Work Needed. But he viuched for it.

Selling is expensive and risky there. I just won't do it anymore.

Just bought a Phil Barone tenor on eBay one month ago. Great deal, and a nice horn too. And a nice backpack last week. Picked it up on the way to a gig.
 

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I have had over 250 transactions on ebay, with only one issue - a bari sax I bought was not as advertised & needed a repad. The seller made it right by paying for most of the re-pad. Ebay is overall a safe place to transact business and I wouldn't be too concerned about the bidder's lack of feedback unless I were the buyer and he the seller. Even then the protections are good if you use Paypal. After the sale is done be sure to mail the item with tracking to prove that you sent it and that it was delivered.
I'm curious: what percentage of your transactions were as a seller? The bolded text is actually the opposite of how eBay/Paypal protection works. It is the buyer who has virtually 100% protection, so it doesn't matter if the counterpart seller has zero feedback, or negative feedback. If something goes wrong with the transaction, the buyer will get their money back virtually 10 times out of 10, if not from the seller, than from eBay itself. eBay is buyer nirvana because of the eBay money back guaranty. I would never hesitate to buy from a seller who has zero feedback and has been an eBay member for all of 1 day. If he turns out to be a scammer, I will get all my money back, 100% guaranteed by eBay.

On the other hand, protection for sellers is minimal, and it is up to the sellers to protect themselves by taking extra precaution. I've always vouched for eBay generally being a safe place to do business (especially for buyers), but there are scammers out there. Again, for a buyer, this is of zero concern because of eBay's guaranty. For sellers, it is a real concern. All it takes is one scammer to cause a seller hundreds and thousands of dollars.

A buyer with an established history minimizes that concern, not just because you can see their rating as a buyer, but you can also see the ratings they have left for sellers. If I see a buyer who has left tons of negative feedback for sellers, that raises a red flag in my mind. Same goes with too many revised positive feedback left for sellers (tells me a negative feedback was changed to a positive feedback -- potentially because the seller was forced to concede something significant in exchange for the revised feedback). It's not that I won't deal with these buyers... I just know that I need to take extra precaution.

I've never been the victim of a scam on eBay, and for me, eBay has been the source of the best deals I've ever enjoyed, both as a seller and as a buyer. However, I've heard and read enough stories (some from members of this forum) to take the extra steps to protect myself in case I get targeted.
 

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I forgot to ask, but what was the 1 feedback from? If it's from a sax-related item I'd consider it legit. If it were some $0.99 item then I'd be concerned.

Feedback score and ebayer-from-hell aren't necessarily correlated, because you can't give negative feedback to a terrible buyer. If anything a seasoned buyer will know how to exploit the system with SNAD.
 

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I'm curious: what percentage of your transactions were as a seller? The bolded text is actually the opposite of how eBay/Paypal protection works. It is the buyer who has virtually 100% protection, so it doesn't matter if the counterpart seller has zero feedback, or negative feedback. If something goes wrong with the transaction, the buyer will get their money back virtually 10 times out of 10, if not from the seller, than from eBay itself. eBay is buyer nirvana because of the eBay money back guaranty. I would never hesitate to buy from a seller who has zero feedback and has been an eBay member for all of 1 day. If he turns out to be a scammer, I will get all my money back, 100% guaranteed by eBay.

On the other hand, protection for sellers is minimal, and it is up to the sellers to protect themselves by taking extra precaution. I've always vouched for eBay generally being a safe place to do business (especially for buyers), but there are scammers out there. Again, for a buyer, this is of zero concern because of eBay's guaranty. For sellers, it is a real concern. All it takes is one scammer to cause a seller hundreds and thousands of dollars.

A buyer with an established history minimizes that concern, not just because you can see their rating as a buyer, but you can also see the ratings they have left for sellers. If I see a buyer who has left tons of negative feedback for sellers, that raises a red flag in my mind. Same goes with too many revised positive feedback left for sellers (tells me a negative feedback was changed to a positive feedback -- potentially because the seller was forced to concede something significant in exchange for the revised feedback). It's not that I won't deal with these buyers... I just know that I need to take extra precaution.

I've never been the victim of a scam on eBay, and for me, eBay has been the source of the best deals I've ever enjoyed, both as a seller and as a buyer. However, I've heard and read enough stories (some from members of this forum) to take the extra steps to protect myself in case I get targeted.
Actually I've probably had closer to 400 transactions, the 250 number is my feedback score and many Ebay users do not leave feedback. About half of my transactions were as seller, half as buyer. I say I feel more confident as the seller because the seller is largely in control. As seller you get to withhold shipment until you are paid in full, you know the condition of the item and whether you have described it correctly and documented it with photos, and you get to arrange the tracking to confirm delivery of the item. As the buyer you are in a tougher position because you have to trust that the seller will ship the item you paid for, that the photos and description are legit and that the seller will make it right if there is a problem with the item. I have had zero problems as the seller and never any worries. As buyer I am at the mercy of the seller and have had one major problem and a few worries when shipment was delayed or communications ceased. Buyers do have good protection because they have the greater risk and the seller holds the power. I have zero qualms selling stuff on Ebay, but minor qualms when it comes to buying. Who wants to go through the hassle of filing a dispute and then worrying which way it will be decided? In short, I am just saying that buying is much riskier than selling on Ebay, but that is why there is greater protection afforded the buyers.

I agree that buyers with a lot of good history are best to deal with, no dispute there.
 
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