I feel like an idiot

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by rick_collins|2, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Ok, I admit, I'm naive.
    I was looking for a Graflex 4x5 Super D camera + lens.
    I have been using a friend's Crown Graphic and enjoying it so I thought I would sell some other film gear and get my own 4x5 set up.
    I couldn't find anything on the ebay so I dug a little deeper and found a shop near Cleveland, Ohio claiming to specialize in large format gear. They sold me what they said would be a "good, clean, working condition" SD with an Ektar 190mm 5.6 lens. I paid a little more than the going price on ebay, but I figured these guys are techs and it would be worth it. Especially because they said they warranty all their work and products.
    When it arrived I discovered that the lens was an Optar, not an Ektar. And the lens was sticky in operation and making a noise on firing.
    The handle on the top of the camera came off. It was dry and needs replacing. And there is a small break in the bellows in a hard to see spot underneath. On it goes.
    I tried to make contact and when they did not return emails I made a claim on paypal. Then the owner of the shop finally got back to me, furious that I would make a paypal claim. He said he would solve any problems I had if I would remove the claim.
    Unfortunately I trusted him and removed the claim. Once removed paypal does not allow you to make another claim.
    As soon as I did this the owner of the shop has not responded to phone calls or emails.
    I am awaiting a paypal rep to get back to me. I filed a Better Business claim.
    The reason I am writing here is to simply warn others to be wary and make sure you are protected.
    I am a trusting person and I got burnt. Take steps to protect yourself when buying equipment online.
  2. I would have told the shop owner I will remove the Paypal claim once the issues are resolved.

    The handle failure is common. The retaining straps dry out and break from lack of attention. Sometimes the handle itself breaks.
    I drill out the rivets from the bottom side of the view hood, save the flat washers, make new straps from leather scraps I get at my local Tandy Leather, then attach them with #2 brass screws 3/4 inch long and brass nuts with the original washers then trim the screws flush with the nuts once installed.

    The camera serial number is stamped in/on the inside of the view hood door behind the view hood. Post the serial number for proper identification and approximate date of manufacture.

    Graflex - Google Drive for operating instructions and repair information for Graflex SLR's.
    Find me at Graflex.org helpboard as 45pss.

    Get some Golden Heavy Body Artist Paint #1040 Carbon Black and an economy fine bristle brush. Dilute the paint 25% to 50% with water and paint over the pin holes and weak spots in 2 to 3 layers to make the bellows light tight.
    Paint the bellows on the inside.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  3. Is naming and shaming prohibited here? I ask because it might be.

    If it isn't, OP, you should name names.
  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Though you can't reinstate your claim, you can advise PayPal that he promised a fix if you would withdraw your claim, which you did, and he then reneged. Can't imagine that would do him any good. You can also post your experience, factually with specifics on the net as feedback on his business. I might contact him by Email once more first to give him a last chance to do the right thing before you act.

    Dan has a good point, you could post the same on several photography sites.
    rick_collins|2 likes this.
  5. Sandy is right. You definitely want to contact PayPal with those details. Even though PayPal's policy prohibits reinstating the claim, given the circumstances, they may make an exception, or come up with another solution. After all, their reputation is at risk if they're forced to deal with scam operators, which is what this looks like.

    I also agree with posting this info on other photo sites. Just be careful to stick with solid, verifiable facts, and no personal attacks, as much as you might like to roast him over the coals...
    rick_collins|2 likes this.
  6. Hey, thanks so much everyone.
    I feel better with that advice and support.
    It's just such a bummer that we have to live such suspicious lives.
    Part of my being a photographer is my belief and love for people. It has defined me as a person my whole life.
    I am especially disheartened as I live here in Victoria, BC Canada and Henry's shop is in Solon, Ohio and I chatted with him on the phone prior to making the purchase. He seemed like a gentle soul and said all the right things backing up what is on his website at globalmatters. And I have always loved that we are all so connected despite being thousand of miles and a country away.
    Like it is around the photo.net community, I just assumed we are all in this same bubble, like-minded people simply wanting to aquire good equipment to make good pictures. Too bad.
    And yes, of course I should have said no to withdrawing the paypal claim, but again I only saw good and I thought I was showing good faith so he would follow through.
    I still believe because he is not just a guy in a basement who did this to me on his computer and instead he actually has a business listed with the BBB etc advertising large format camera equipment and repairs that he will come to his senses and do right by this.
    It's such a simple formula: good money in exchange for good honest equipment that is what you say it is. Isn't that the backbone of our economy?
    In the meantime I will use the great advice I get here and elsewhere to get my kit together and begin making pictures I've had in my head for some months now but have been unable to make. I knew I would have to repair the leather strap - the camera is from 1947 - as well as other various parts.
    Also, I am keen to find a good, usable Dallmeyer 2.9 lens or similar to round it all out.
    I will keep you posted here on how this goes forward.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Hang in there, you've got the right attitude. I've bought dozens of things on line and from members. All have been excellent. You just got a bad one. Always use PayPal, contact seller first with issue, then PayPal with claim. Never withdraw a claim till satisfied. It may turn out better than you expect. Best of Luck!
    rick_collins|2 likes this.
  8. Well, so much for paypal helping...
    Here's their response:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. I am happy to assist you further.

    We understand that you wish to reopen a claim that was previously closed. Unfortunately, once a claim is closed it cannot be reopened.

    For future reference, we would urge you to make sure that you are completely satisfied with the outcome of a claim or dispute before cancelling it.

    We encourage you to continue to work with the seller for a resolution. We value your business and regret that you have had this experience.
    Please let me know if you need further assistance.
  9. Hmm. If you paid Paypal by credit card refusing the charge is still possible. That's why I always pay Paypal with a CC.
  10. Thanks Dan. I will look into that tmrw.
  11. At least making a few complaints to the seller, the auction, PayPal, and on forums, is good. Perhaps he has or will have other complaints, and that is likely to begin attracting unwanted attention concerning his attitude.
    rick_collins|2 likes this.
  12. Rick, I'm really sorry to hear that this happened to you. As others have said, you don't seem like someone who would deserve such treatment.

    All I can offer after 35 years running customer service for a very large company with a huge presence in NA, is that you seem to be getting the "automatic" treatment. It seems no one has listened long enough to understand you aren't trying to screw anyone - only trying to get fair treatment.

    I would write a letter to the CEO of PayPal and plead your case in as succinct a manner as you can. He/she probably won't get to read it but they have executive level assistants for just this kind of issue. They don't want unhappy customers and I am sure they will do the right thing. (stopping your CC payment is also a great suggestion).
    rick_collins|2 likes this.
  13. call paypal on the phone, you won't get a "canned response"

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