Flexaret saved (or how not to believe Ebay sellers)

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by uncle goose, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. 2 weeks ago I bought a Flexaret IV on the Ebay, seller claimed it was working.
    Yeah, sure I thought. That shutter will be like in coma was my assuption. Well,
    it arrived yesterday and guess what, shutter was comatose and besides that
    various other problems were present.

    1. shutter was stuck but not dead
    2. The inside of the viewscreen looked like it was treated with oil, could
    hardly see trough it.
    3. The viewlens was loose!! I don't know what happend there because the retainer
    is on the inside and not easily reached.
    4. when focusing it felt like there was sand inside the focusing mechanism.

    Luckily the 2 most delicate and hard to repair parts were in working order
    (Mirror was clean and Countermechanism counted.

    So I took out the viewscreen, cleaned it nice, removed the entire lenshousing to
    tighten the viewlens retainer and cleaned the focusing mechanism a little to get
    rid of the dirt that accumulated. The shutter is still on the workbench but
    after a cleaning and a little lubing it's spinning nice again. Gonna let it rest
    a night and see if it's still works tomorrow before installing it again.

    This shows how misleading some sellers are. Flexaret camera's are nice machines
    but they must be bought after a CLA, just imagine that somebody would have
    bought it and didn't know to repair it, he would be disgusted by hearing the
    word Flexaret for the rest of his/her life.

    Luckily this nice Flexaret IV will have a better home and a more interesting
    life from now on.

    Still thinking what to do with the feedback, should I give him Negative feedback
    (and risking a retaliation ) or a neutral?? I couldn't give a positive for this
    since he claimed it worked when it didn't.
  2. "Gonna let it rest a night and see if it's still works tomorrow before installing it again."

    I'd rather wait one week without touching the shutter. Then set it to the fastest speed, cock it and release it. At 1/200 and faster speeds the movement of the blades should be hardly noticeable (when looking ON the blades - looking through the shutter you can notice much faster speeds). If there is the slightest reluctance when the blades move clean them again.
  3. Good tip, thanks
  4. That would be a negative. It they had a deceptive, you could check that.
  5. Above all, contact the seller and discuss the problems encountered. Take an official, expert advice tone in your email to him. Not; "You moron! If your going to sell cameras, learn to check them out properly!" Just keep every thing on a civil level, observation not accusation. You may find he is eager to resolve the matter, perhaps with a partial refund. His response would determine the final feedback.
  6. Why don't you try contacting the seller first and describing the problems you found with the camera. A lot of sellers, especially ones with a lot of feedback are estate dealers and the estate owner or relatives tell them something works " oh I'm sure it works just fine, he used to take pictures with it all the time 20 or 30 years ago..". I had this happen, and when I explained the damaged non working camera, the seller insisted on refunding my money, and did not want the camera back. These people get a lot of merchandise flowing through, and cannot always inspect everything carefully. I have gotten several deals that way. On the flip side, you do have some rather unscrupulous sellers out there that will offload defective merchandise as being in good condition. As always, "buyer beware" is key to sucessful buying on the "bay".
  7. Well, I'm not gonna send it back, the camera works again. It's hard to tell if this was sold like this on purpose, the seller got a lot of camera's for sale so I suspect he knows at least some basic things. I left Neutral feedback because the camera was fixable.
  8. I bought a Flexaret a couple of years ago from 'gold' over there on EBay. It arrived with a helical that wouldn't focus further than about 5ft--something in the mechanism prevented it. I contacted the seller and she (I think it was) credited my PayPal for it. No, it never did work but I was happy that I didn't have to fight over it. I would like to get another, but when I read the ads they say the photos aren't the camera you'll receive, but one like it. I don't like that.
  9. I think your neutral was generous. There is a difference between "I don't know anything about cameras but..." and "good working order".
    I have had about equal amounts of bad and good on ebay. The most disturbing part is trying to get ebay's attention and cooperation when you get the worst of it. They really need to get more involved in policing the bad guys.
  10. "I don't know anything about cameras" is eBayese for "This sucker is so fouled up you wouldn't believe it"
  11. I had one of those "I don't know anything about this camera." The camera is a Zeiss Ikonta from 1930. It turned out when I got it, the shutter didn't work at slow speed, and the self timer needed to be pushed to complete the cycle. I was lucky, it only took a naphtha flush. It's been working nicely ever since. The best part was the final price... $5.75 US. Life is good.
  12. My experience with ebay sellers of cameras is: Half the sellers really know nothing about older cameras (even to the point of opening it), half those left know enough to misrepresent a camera and have no qualms about doing it, half of those still left know enough about cameras to ascertain basic function but no more, and the rest are expert enough to give a good assessment. I've been very lucky, but I ask questions and bid according to the answers. What shocks me is people will pay collector's prices for a (not terribly rare) camera from a seller who doesn't know enough to tell if the shutter/meter/aperture/film transport actually work. I'll never bid high on a camera where the seller can't tell if the camera works ("It sounds like it works" is not an acceptable answer).
  13. Goose, your neutral feedback is correct. Meanwhile, Mark's words are true. Some of the seller really know nothing about old cameras or know very little about it. They may want to make money so they tried to make it work (repair it in a wrong way) before put it on ebay.
    I brought a Vitessa for my uncle last month, who want to try this camera. The seller is the one who is similar to Mark had posted, know nothing about this camera. The seller said 'the shutter works', but actually it is sticky in all the speeds. But I gave him a positive feedback due to the condition is like described and it came after a week.
  14. I've bought and sold many cameras on ebay.I usually check sellers other items for sale and find out if they are camera people like us or are they garage sale shoppers.Most are pretty honest and say they don't know much about the camera "sold as is".I did catch a few bargins from the ones who know little.I picked up a nice beautiful retina IIIc for 32.00 almost mint condition.
  15. JDM is quite correct about the Ebay jargon and I will add another..."haven't got a battery, so can't check the meter".... means, you guessed it, it's dead.

    If people claim to know nothing or it was Uncle Fred's and used to work when he had it, you are certainly taking a risk, kind of like a lottery really.

    Mind you, I like a bit of gambling and have been caught plenty of times, but every now and then, get the jackpot. One such case was an Uncles camera, Nikkormat FT2, that not only had a working meter, but was in almost unused condition.

  16. I really agree with the above advice, to contact the seller first, and don't come out with both barrels blazing either.

    I think things have changed a bit in the last few years on the bay; many people have gotten into the act without any knowledge of what they're selling.

    I've had some amazingly good responses from just a good, patient email after stuff arrives not working -- especially old folding cameras. A couple of them look practically mint, but frozen lube in the helical. I'm sure the sellers had no way of knowing. I gave one of them advice on how to check the thing out and was thanked for it.

    Meanwhile, I fixed the problems, and have good cameras at pretty good prices.

    Your Flexaret sounds a little over the top -- how could anybody miss THAT?! -- but it's still conceivable that your seller either didn't know enough about cameras, or simply overlooked something in haste that a more knowledgeable person would have noticed at a glance.

    Anyway, my rule of thumb is always communicate first, post feedback (or not) later.

    The main thing: I'm glad you've managed to salvage a great camera! Have a great time with it.
  17. You have a typical problem. I'm happy for you that you have a good camera now. But claiming something in "working and in perfect optical condition" when the whole thing was so dirty you couldn't even see and after a dismantle I discovered a scratched lens and a broken diaphgram blade. The only thing buzzing was the compur... amazingly.
    I wasn't able to fix it, I threw the camera away, luckily I didn't spend much so I wasn't harsh with the feedback, but still sent a note. Also because if a seller specializes in camera he should slowly learn what he is selling. Look what the other guys sells: if it is unrelated stuff he might indeed not know anything about it, but some people have home-conducted shops!
  18. I'm convinced that a lot of people selling cameras on ebay really don't know a thing about cameras. If a knob turns, it "seems to be in working order".
    I bought a Yashica GSN off a guy who said it was fully functional, working, tested, blah blah blah. It was a sweet deal, as it came with the extra lenses as well. Well, it was dead as a doorknob. Battery contacts looked like they were made of opal. I cleaned them, but still no life. Opened the camera, and connected a power supply across the terminals...completely dead. Probably hadn't worked for years.
    The guy played hard to get, and I had to go through ebay to get my money back. As a footnote, the guy is gone now, but his last half dozen feedbacks all have the word "crook" in them.

    But honestly, how is one to know?
  19. Even if this guy usually deals in selling rocks out of the back of a truck, a camera in the condition you described is obviously not in "working condition". I would have had issues with that. An worthy description would have been something like "needs a litte TLC". If I sold you a bicycle with flat tires, a rusted chain, and bent rims as being in "working condition" you would probably be pretty ticked off.
  20. I'm sure Uncle Goose knows this, but The Man for Flexarets (or Eastern European cameras generally) is the Slovakian eBay seller "cupog" - lots of positive feedback, glowing reviews, etc. I believe he does his own CLAs, or at least has a hand in them.

    I've also had good success with the classifieds here on p.net (placing "wanted to buy" ads, mostly), and buying from specialty sites like certo6.com for folders, sovietcamera.com.ua for cameras/lenses from the FSU, and KEH.com for commonly available things.

    Yes, ebay has always been "caveat emptor", but those are the risks of having a worldwide market available to you.
  21. Odd old ebay world is it not? I snagged a Flexaret IV a few weeks ago for not much money at all. It had been advertised as "for spares or repair". The only thing wrong with it is missing leatherette. The ebay seller was 100% honest about that and seems to advertise many of his cameras as "for spares or repair" with realistic low starting prices. Quite restores one's faith in gold old human nature. I do think though that we should always be wary of the sales pitch that begins "..I know nothing about cameras..."
  22. Neutral feedback is pointless. You may get a negative in return. Don't give any feedback until the seller has given it first, NEVER.
  23. Glenn, I surely know "the Flexaret Man" Cupog. Great guy, even sold me stuff (Flexaret III neverready case and lenscap) outside ebay for a very reasonable price. He's a great guy to deal with.
  24. Be careful. I sent the Ebay seller CUPOG / Geyza Dunay a Praktisix IIa for repair in the beginning of August 2016 and then he stopped answering my emails. Its November now and there are still no answers and still no camera. Think twice before sending to him.

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