What to Beware as Buyer or Seller on Ebay Auction: For One, Check Feedback

I have been buying and selling on ebay since we bought my son a “Charizard” Pokemon card back in the year 2000. Each year since then I’ve gotten a little more experienced at navigating the auction site. At the beginning of the holiday season, I hit 25 positive feedback and now that it’s over, I have nearly 40.

Unfortunately, the past couple of months have taken their toll on my love for the site. While I was lucky enough to buy to hard to find items on my daughters list, and have them arrive in perfect condition in time for Christmas, several other experiences I had are making me leery of continuing my plans to sell every spare thing I own online.

The trouble began when I put a Playstation DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) Game up for $20.00. It was a classic, discontinued game and I expected it to go for at least that price if not higher. I was right. I had several bids immediately. It hung steady in the $30 to $40 range for several days and then at the end of the auction I had two bids over $60.00. Unfortunately, someone with zero feedback beat out someone with some very high positive feedback. She then took over a week to tell me that she couldn’t find a dance pad to use with the game and had changed her mind about buying it. Ugh! I ended up paying the fees on that auction because I couldn’t figure out how to get out of them.

The next experience I had was even more bizarre. A guy was offering a 60 gig iPod at a buy it now price of $300.00. He claimed that it belonged to his nephew who had been staying with him until he was shipped off to Iraq and was subsequently killed by the Faluja. My husband was dying for a 60 gig so I called him over to check it out. I didn’t want to buy it for him as a gift without him knowing the story behind it. He was fine with the history of the iPod and wanted it anyway. We bought it and it came in the mail several days later. The device turned out to be a 40 gig black and white iPod. We had assumed it was a color photo iPod because all 60 gigs are in color. Also, the back of the iPod was engraved with the first name of the seller “Sean” and his company. Why would the nephew have the iPod engraved in that wayâÂ?¦because there was no nephew (either here or in Iraq) ever, or because he sold that one to someone else locally and pawned his own old one off on us? I was afraid to return the iPod because I figured we’d never see our money again, so I asked him to refund $100.00. He did – immediately. The whole experience was very strange and soured me on eBay auctioneers in general. I thought people had to be upfront and honest because of the feedback ratings, but here I had two situations where I could offer bad feedback and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was also afraid that if I gave them bad feedback that they’d do the same to me. (It’s a nasty business, this auction game.) We’re keeping the iPod for now- it does work, but may put it back online in a couple of months.

My third and most annoying experience was ordering a poster for my son for Christmas, paying for it instantaneously with paypal, and then never receiving it. We wrote to the seller and he claims to have sent it. He had 99.1 positive feedback so I trusted him. I should have read the small amount of negative feedback he had. It was bad. Really bad. And again, the people that wrote in with the bad feedback were treated to a nasty rebuttal from the seller that probably ended up on their own feedback page as well. No thanks.

So, even though I have 20 Power Rangers, 30 Beast Wars toys, a bunch of tiny Star Wars Action figures, and numerous video games and playing systems collecting dust in my basement, attic, garage and kids closets, I’ll be taking a couple of months off from the great auction site, just to chill out and try to forget this holiday season. My advice to you is to email the seller and ask lots of questions before you buy about the product, their shipping policies, and anything else that’s important to you, and check their feedback very carefully. When selling, it’s really a gamble, will these people actually pay you or not? And if they don’t, will you have the nerve to report them as non-payers so you don’t have to pay the selling fees. I’m just not tough enough for that. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a power seller. Maybe I should go back to having garage sales. Look for a big sign in my yard next springâÂ?¦ Power Rangers for sale – buy one get one free.

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