I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Selling on eBay: What do you think?

I do occasionally buy on eBay and I recently purchased this vintage bible, which I received yesterday.  It’s a little different being on “the other side” and this transaction has given me a new perspective.

Here’s what I bought:

Looks in pretty good shape. Here’s the description:
Here’s what I received:

There is a 3-inch tear on the cover, which does not show up on the picture and the seller failed to mention.

Worst of all, the entire book is separated from its cover!  Definitely not mentioned in the listing.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled this out of the box.  I know I sometimes overlook minor things on my items – an honest mistake – but, come on! These were very obvious flaws that should have been mentioned.  Oh, and the box?  It was completely fallen apart, in pieces!  Would I have bought the book anyway?  Certainly, I would have given it more thought, considering the price. 

So, I send that dreaded “item not as described” message.  Although the book was not as described, it was in relatively decent shape.  These bibles are about 60 years old and many of them are in worse shape.  In my message explaining my disappointment, I suggested a 20% discount rather than return the book.  I was very nice and the seller responded quickly. 

Now, here’s the part that annoys me.  The seller was very nice, but this is her response:
Ok 6 dollars is fair-- all I ask is that u do not give me any low 1 or 2 star Dsr ratings in item as described but all 5 stars in item as described and All the other categories-- 5 stars across the board-- how's that?

It annoys me because it gave the impression that she would agree to the discount only if I agreed to give her 5 stars.  Although the seller resolved this quickly to my satisfaction, I don’t think the resolution (discount) should be on the condition that I give her a 5-star rating.  I also didn’t think it was appropriate for her to tell me how to rate the transaction. 

I did end up giving her the 5-stars because she took care of it quickly … and life is just too short!   I know most of us want 5-star ratings, but I’m not sure this seller handled it appropriately.

So what do you think?  What if you received that message from a seller?  Would you send a similar message to your buyer?  Please leave a comment telling me what you think.


  1. My personal opinion..
    I would have stopped her when she began the "okay you'll get the discount and in return you will rate me with 5 stars"..
    to which I would have said, NO, you did not disclose the proper condition of this item,..
    a discount you agreed would be fair..
    this should be based on that fact alone..nothing else.
    I would demand my money back in full plus shipping..
    I would return the item pronto..
    would alert the powers that be of this fact.
    good luck..

  2. I understand your disappointment on this item and I don't think that she should have said anything about the rating, but I had an issue like this in the past with a leather book that left me in good condition and split on the side and seperated from the cover like this by the time it got to the buyer. I think it is a combination of not very good description and also learning to pack things correctly to avoid damage. Some simple bubble wrap taped around the book would have helped a lot.
    I think it was very nice of you to give her the benefit of the doubt and understand from a sellers perspective.

  3. I think that I would have just asked for my money back after I had sent the seller pics of the damage. 20% is not enough for an unusable item which the book appears to be. Since you both paid for shipping that should be a wash. Oh well, JMO since I am primarily a bookseller. To keep my ratings high, I consistently under grade so my buyers are always pleasantly surprised when the book they receive is better than they expect.
    And yes, you were very nice and life is more than money.

  4. I buy and sell a lot on E-Bay and I think most people forget the ratings are there for other buyers to decide whether she is honest in her descpritions,and allowing her to get her own way with five stars is doing a diservice to her next buyer

  5. When I click on the link to my blog on your sidebar it goes to the old url... I think I created a big headache by changing my name?! lol

  6. Deeda In SeattleJune 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Hmm...as an eBay reseller and a buyer too, I think you were incredibly nice!

    I don't know what you could say exactly, but I would have detached the refund from my ability to give star ratings...these are other sellers that give us legit & careful resellers a bad name. I wouldn't have dinged her very badly, but I would have probably given 4 stars on 'item as described', and softened it with Positive Feedback, like 'gave partial refund immediately'. I think very few buyers would have a bought a bible in that condition, unless they were aware that they could expect some repair work.

    I bid and purchased a small used plaid Coach purse for $11 +shipping. I had asked a few questions of the seller, like "Is it Authentic?" and was told it was before I bid. It came wrapped up loose in crumpled paper towels,and was obviously a fake, cheap zippers & quality--Seller insisted it was genuine, refused to refund as she 'didn't take returns'. When I opened up a case, she was incensed & nasty in messages. Finally, she said to tape it back up and write REFUSED, RETURN TO SENDER on the Priority Box, so she wouldn't have to pay return shipping. In the end, I was screwed because I sent it back (my first return) on my own funds that weren't returned even tho I was protected by eBay for my original cost. She even got some negative feedback at the same time from another Buyer who said their Brand name bag was another fake. So, I left negative feedback, and felt she deserved it!
    If she had been like, 'oh, sorry, I didn't know, I'll refund ASAP, then it would have been a totally different case, I think.

  7. Isn't that like reverse feedback extortion?

  8. I would never ask a buyer to still give me a good rating--I'd be afraid that would backfire;0!

    As a seller, I over describe flaws;) and I wouldn't ask them to protect my rating when I made a mistake.


  9. That seems like a case of seller rating extortion to me. Who is she to tell YOU how to rate her? True, the Bible could have been damaged in shipping, but from her response it seems like she knew it was damaged and did not disclose the damage. You were very nice to her...which I think she did not deserve, IMHO.

  10. Hi there :) I read your blog with great interest, but am rubbish at commenting!! As an ex-fulltime ebay seller who now has a retail store and now buys far more than she sells (most of it from the US) on ebay, I feel there is no excuse for missing flaws like this on a book. Clothing, yes, its much easier to miss things, but to me this books faults are glaringly obvious and I feel they have bullshitted you big time. I'd have taken the refund and then given the seller a low dsr rating as well, because they deserve it. As you know a seller can't tell who rates them low, jsut that the overall DSR has gone down.

  11. Hi. I think you were too nice. This ebay seller is dishonest and I fear that others may suffer similar problems and who knows... the next time the price may be higher. I would have told her that you would leave an honest feedback, that the item was not as described but seller resolved to your satisfaction quickly, and left in neutral. If she did not agree, I would have kept the item at price purchased, left feeback accordingly and disputed with Paypal. Dishonest people should be stopped. You were extremely nice!

  12. I can't say I would be too happy with the sellers attitude. Still if the Bible was worth it to you then keeping it at the reduced price was good but the 'trade' for a favorable feedback was just too much for me!

  13. Imagine the arrogance of someone lying about a BIBLE! Oh my! That pretty much guarantees they have no scruples whatsoever...jmo