What drives you round the twist?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by stuart_pratt, May 26, 2018.

  1. I began selling on eBay twelve years ago as a way to quickly dispose of my buying mistakes or to sell off perfectly good systems I no longer used (photo gear and vintage stereo hifi components). So I've been on both sides of a transaction many times over, mostly good experiences but a few bad as well. The advice on how to shop carefully is sound practice I'd recommend to anyone, but no amount of screening can eliminate the risk caused by outright lying or incompetence or an honest mistake. For certain items you may have no choice but to roll the dice with unknown or questionable sellers because availability is limited (lately it seems the Japanese dealer network has swept up every single intact vintage camera and desirable lens in North America, leaving just the dregs behind, and the individual USA sellers who occasionally still have good examples tend to be problematic in one way or another). Every potential buyer must know their own tolerance for inconvenience and possible financial loss, of course, but one sometimes needs to expand that range beyond their comfort zone to lay hands on something they want.

    My remarks about the stranglehold eBay now maintains on sellers should be interpreted in that context. There is always some buyer risk, but as long as you limit your shopping to sellers with a fairly constant, current selling history that risk is reduced considerably by eBay's ever-more- Draconian (against sellers) return policy. They've just changed the rules for the third time in as many years, tilting the field further in favor of unscrupulous or inconsiderate buyers. Of course this means far more typical honest buyers are covered as well, so have no fear: eBay will literally rip your money back out of the seller's pants pocket to refund you, including your return shipping costs. Sellers are aware of this, so even the ones who try to play dumb and obfuscate will usually offer a courteous refund the minute you ask for a return. If not, they risk pretty severe reprisal from eBay. Careful screening of listings per Vincent Peri's advice should vastly reduce the odds you'll need to return anything, but if it happens, it happens.

    Unfortunately theres no real rhyme or reason to eBay listings from random individuals who sell one item per year. The "better the listing, the better the item" rule usually applies, unless it doesn't. I've picked up great deals on great bodies/lenses from ridiculously awful listings: one or two blurry iPhone pics and one-sentence descriptions. I've also been disappointed buying from very professional listings full of clear pics and detailed descriptions: even the most well-intentioned seller can overlook or miss a hidden defect. I'm more adventurous than most, and have been lucky in finding intelligent buyers who offered me decent prices on some rather big mistakes I made. Overall, I broke even, but if you don't have the patience for such prospecting and don't relish the idea of selling off or returning mistakes, stick to established vintage camera dealers like KEH.

    To davecaz: amen, brother! A disturbing percentage of buyers could use a dose of the integrity they demand from sellers. I've NEVER returned anything unless it was grossly defective but priced at (and described as) perfect. If the item just doesn't suit me, or has a minor defect that a seller could credibly not pre-screen, I chalk it up to experience and have it repaired (or just resell it myself).
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
    chulkim, davecaz and John Seaman like this.
  2. I've done a lot of camera equipment purchasing and selling on ebay (and a lot more non-camera-related purchasing) but after I got scammed once about a decade ago when ebay was deeply in the "buyer beware" era and offered ZERO help in resolving the issue I've by now almost completely abandoned ebay (last major purchase or sale about 4 years ago). Nowadays, as "seller beware" dominates, I am not going to list anything for sale anymore even though I always described items I offered for sale as good as I could and have a flawless feedback record on ebay. I need to avoid the scenario where someone uses the camera I am selling for his vacation trip and then returns it to me under that ridiculous "no questions asked" 6-month return period (or, as already mentioned, returns a different item altogether). I also don't want to have to wait 6 months before I know I actually sold something. I rather trade-in at my local store even though I imagine I could make some more money selling on ebay (but it only takes one bad incident to turn that into a negative balance); not even sure I have lost as much on all my trade-ins as I lost on that one time I paid good money on ebay to receive nothing in return.

    Add not accepting paypal as payment to that list - definitely a red flag for me as I will never again use anything but.
  3. I could be wrong, but I don't think that's even possible, these days. I'm pretty sure sellers MUST accept PayPal, now. After all, that's another revenue stream for eBay, since they own PayPal.

    By the way, I should have mentioned that the buyer who tried to scam me into thinking there was something wrong with the very nice lens I sold him (for ~20% of its original selling price), almost got me. If I were just some yutz buying stuff at yard sales and posting it on eBay, with no interest in or knowledge of the gear I sell, he probably would have succeeded. But, I'd already tested out that lens and, while it wasn't better than what I already had, I knew it was a perfectly fine performer. With me, he didn't get away with it. I proved to eBay that he was scamming us, and managed to win that battle.
  4. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    According to eBay's Accepted Payments Policy: "In most categories, sellers have to accept PayPal, credit cards or debit card processed through the seller's internet merchant account, or both."

    eBay spun off PayPal as a separate company in 2015, though they have agreed to continue to accept PayPal payments until July, 2023.
  5. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    And a few more favorites:

    -Sellers who charge $15 shipping for an item that could be sent in a bubble envelope for $3. :mad:
    -"It used to work fine, but I have no way of knowing if it still works or not" o_O
    -Buyers who ask me if my item is compatible with their gear, AFTER they buy the item. Or who want me to cancel a sale without reason.
    -Sellers who "can't find" the item, then re-list it at a higher price. :mad: or who refund the purchase without explanation.
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  6. Bought a lot of my gear on eBay, and frankly never felt really cheated or treated unfair. Same for a local type of Craigs list.

    When buying 2nd hand gear, a healthy dose of common sense never hurts, no matter whether it's on eBay, the neighbour's lawn or an ad in a newspaper. If the price is too good to be true, it's probably to good to be true. If the description doesn't match the images, it's probably too good to be true. If the item has magical powers and never seen characteristics, it's probably too good to be real. If seller ratings are low, or the number of ratings low - in other words: if you don't trust it, stay away. I don't see this as "buyer beware", or "seller aware" (which is a more pleasant variation on the same theme), but simple common sense, and also not something that specifically applies to eBay.
  7. I've been buying and selling on eBay for 20 years. And yeah, lots of things have changed. The vast majority of my buying and selling experiences have been positive. As a seller, what really gets me good and wound up -- well it's only happened to me once, but once is enough. It's when a buyer decides he doesn't like something I'm selling as is with no returns -- but plenty of photos with complete descriptions as always -- and eBay, using its "buyer protection" scam, reaches into my bank account and steals $200. I say eBay stole the money because this "buyer" never returned the item. I've been in contact with eBay over this and they say there's nothing they can do other than send him a message that I want my item back. I still send the guy eBay messages every month or two -- just to annoy him I guess. But he's never responded. He just ignores me, and gets away with it. That's what really sticks in my craw about eBay. And yeah, since eBay won't make him return my item, as far as I'm concerned, they stole $200 from me.
  8. I agree
  9. 'Great bokeh'. Since when was the out of focus background of an image more important than the subject? I don't understand the ridiculous obsession with emphasising this as an adjunct to a lens' performance.
    robert_bowring and stuart_pratt like this.
  10. Does seem ironic that the process of throwing the background out of focus to emphasize the subject has made that background the subject.....
    robert_bowring and AJG like this.
  11. You need to separate the bokeh question of "subjective artistic validity" vs "vital eBay selling point". Like it or not, the major impetus behind a lot of vintage lens sales today is the bokeh fetish. Lenses you couldn't give away ten years ago now fetch much higher prices. If you're a seller who happens to have acquired them ten years ago and outgrown them, thats a good thing, if you're a buyer, not so much.

    All thru photographic history, lens mfrs have played whack-a-mole with lens aberrations vs rendering characteristics. Fix one problem, you wreck another factor. This is why certain lens brands or specific lenses had their own followings. In recent years, as new AF lenses are ever more optimized for digital, to look sharp as a tack with zero chromatic aberration when pixel peeping, they've had to compromise secondary characteristics like bokeh quality. That (rather perversely) drives many photographers to seek out older "flawed" glass to achieve the look they want for their work: they shop for bokeh first, sharpness second.

    The whole situation goes in contradictory circles. On one hand, you have photographers desperately chasing down vintage "flawed" manual-focus glass, willing to pay crazy-high prices for some of it. OTOH, if a mfr tries to meet demand for these characteristics by designing them into modern convenient AF lenses, the attempt fails spectacularly (witness the unending backlash Nikon still endures for their 58mm f/1.4 AFS misfire). You would think having both vintage manual focus and newer AF options would be welcomed, but apparently not (aside from the domestic Japanese market).
  12. To return to the original thread: Sellers dishonestly including names of sought after kit to attract searches. For example describing a 135mm Zeiss lens as a Flektogon.

    And the auction site changing things without notice. Before if you were watching the end of an auction, it stayed on the listing so you could see what the item sold for. Now it automatically redirects to another similar item it thinks you might be interested in.
    orsetto likes this.
  13. Oh, and it’s rare, rare, RARE. Did I mention that it was RARE?
    AJG likes this.
  14. SCL


    Wow - you folks covered my pet peeves in spades. Being a buyer & seller for over 18 years I've had 99% good buying experiences, probably because I'm ery wary of things I can't touch and inspect in person before I commit to buy, and as a seller I go out of my way to professionally present items to answer questions in advance potential buyers might ask. What really gripes me though, are the individuals who steal good sellers' identities and photos offering to sell items at a significant discount from market value...and often they post 20-50 different items at once, sometimes across various categories simultaneously, and the person whose identity has been stolen is clueless unless we report these scumbags to Ebay and they take down the listings. So each week I do scan certain categories for suspicious postings and report them to Ebay, but the eels are very slippery.
  15. I absolutely hate this latest pointless change: it defeats the whole purpose of monitoring an auction to see how it ends (whether you bid or just want info). When this started a couple weeks ago, it took me days to figure out WTH eBay was doing, and that clicking on the warning "this listing is no longer valid" text would take you to the actual ended listing. eBay seriously needs to pull its head out of its rear and stop trying to be the next Amazon. eBay management and all its doltish investors need to get it thru their thick skulls: there is no "next Amazon" and never will be. It was a one and done phenomenon (yeah, you have Alibaba, but thats China-run and a whole different ballgame).

    eBay has made one counterproductive change after another, year after year, chasing its demented Amazon fantasy. None enriched the experience for most users (most make things worse, without moving them closer to being Amazon one iota). Infuriating: if I'm monitoring a second hand vintage Nikkor macro lens listing, how is redirecting me to a brand new 18-55mm AF zoom useful? All that does is annoy me and make me swear a blood oath NEVER to purchase any brand new item from eBay that rewards this marketing idiocy. Sadly, another imminent change they announced is a wholesale revamp of the search engine. The default results will be displayed in their new "headline news" style, forcing you to dig around and use non-intuitive overrides before you can see a single traditional listing (assuming they even allow it anymore).

    While we're at it: eBay and PayPal need to cut the pandering to mobile devices at the expensive of the full PC/laptop experience. I'm not writing my listings on an iPhone with the tip of my nose, and when I need to look at my overview I want every detail thats supposed to be there, not a page thats 70% useless white space. PayPal has become utterly impossible to navigate: you can't get a live running total with balances at all. Why on earth not? Isn't your running balance a crucial piece of info? They could be robbing you blind and you wouldn't know from the new overview system. They actually force you to download a gigantic unwieldy spreedsheet PDF to get a "snapshot" of your running balances now. Ugh: how exactly does this help people, on phones OR computers?
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    m42dave likes this.
  16. I believe eBay has a drop down menu option for “desktop view” on mobile devices.
  17. Over inflated prices. Adaptall mount for anything other than Leica - £15. Leica mount £100!
  18. Yes, that does indeed come in handy to check important details they left out of the standard mobile interface.

    My complaint is eBay keeps eroding the desktop browser interface to make it look more like their simplified mobile interface (pointlessly removing significant info and replacing it with dead white space). If they're gonna merge the interfaces there won't be any good option for those who hate swiping and digging for info that should be immediately visible, at least on a PC screen. It isn't just eBay: other websites are dumping their full desktop interface option, replacing it with a mobile knockoff (ridiculously inefficient on a PC screen). I get that they don't want to pay coders to maintain both versions anymore in an era when 90% of their views are on mobile, but the shift to a simplified Fischer-Price web paradigm is frustrating.
  19. "Minty" - indicates either an idiot seller, who doesn't realize that the word is meaningless, or a wiseguy who hopes that buyers won't know that
  20. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    "Oh, and it’s rare, rare, RARE. Did I mention that it was RARE?"

    You mean it is no longer available at K-Mart?
    stuart_pratt and AJG like this.

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