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Monday, 26 February 2024


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That post gave me a headache just imagining all the additional problems I have (at the keyboard) that I'm blissfully unaware of...

Well, think about the poor sellers... This is the main reason many sellers have abandoned ebay. Legitimate returns are easy; scam returns are equally easy.

Making returns easy is great for buyers. Is it good for sellers?

Belated Happy Birthday, Mike!

eBay has indeed evolved, and not to the benefit of small sellers like you and me. A couple of years ago, in preparation for moving, I decided to empty our house of my accumulation of audio and photography gear I no longer used, needed or wanted. Most of my sales were successful, yielding me a fair price and I even had good dealings with some of the buyers when a problem arose in the transaction. However, I also discovered that eBay appears to take the side of a buyer when a dispute arises and the seller basically has no recourse.

Case in point: I offered for sale a Sony RX100 which had a non-working EVF. This was clearly stated in the listing, along with the statement that no returns would be accepted (unless the item was not as promised). I offered it at a low price, reflecting the inoperative EVF, and it sold quickly. Shortly after it was shipped, I received an irate message from the buyer informing me that the EVF didn’t work and they wanted their money back. I explained that they were not entitled to a refund, but they then complained to eBay who summarily clawed the proceeds back from my credit card. There was no avenue to appeal.

I assume that large retailers who use eBay get better treatment, but no small guys like me.

So … be careful.

I use Ebay a great deal for purchasing and yes the return policies are great for the buyer, but not so much for the seller. Even if you list an item as is, no return, the buyer can submit a return request, receive a free return postage label and as soon as the tracker shows being returned, the seller will need to acknowledge receipt. If the seller stays radio silence, ebay will automatically refund the purchase price plus shipping.
As a buyer of 2 recent cameras in the last few months, a Leica M5 and a Alpa 6D with Kern-Switar 50mm, that did not meet the description(s), I returned both of them.
One, the seller acknowledged the return, the other did not but I received full refunds on both.
Be that as it may, as a seller, one needs to be very careful in their description of items as the return policy has definitely pivoted much more to the buyers favor.

Remember when long distance calls (remember when they were called, "long distance calls"?) were charged by the minute. And on call-rich holidays like Easter you had to put your call on a wait-list and an operator would call you when a line was available?

And no, I never used a crank phone.

eBay was a nightmare and minefield but my recent experiences have been pleasant. It was not about returns but getting battery replacements which are rare and no longer sold in shops.

My 10 year old Leica DLux 5 would be useless without batteries but I found a seller on eBay who still has new ones made for the Panasonic LX5 (both cameras use the same batteries). In the end it was so good that I bought another one.

And also one for my Leica VLux-4 just in case.

1. Happy birthday big fella.
2. Nobody makes great keyboards, just like nobody makes a guitar that's ergonomic. Which is why all professional guitarists are playing 'injured'. All of the time.
3. May you not be scammed on ebay. It's become a plague on that platform. People saying things never arrived - while they onsell them on another platform. It's organised and ebay having such a 'great' return policy just makes it super easy for them.
4. Keep your heart open.

Re: Ebay
Ive been hosed as a buyer and hosed as a seller. Ebay offered no resolution. In fact, I rarely got a reply from eBay. No more.

That great return policy is because eBay now screws over the seller. It has become a bad platform to trade on. For the seller because of eBay’s attitude to believe the buyer and squeeze the seller. For the buyer because eBay always adds tax, even for items coming from abroad and on which one doesn’t have to pay custom duties.

A belated happy birthday Mike!

Kind of an aside from the main subject but lens haze from cemented elements isn't necessarily irreparable. Jason Lane cleaned up a vintage Wollensak wide angle lens for my 8x10 kit that had some balsam separation. He used modern cements in the repair. It performs wonderfully now. He made a little post about it here:


and you can see a resulting shot with the repaired lens here:


Jason, by the way, also manufactures modern dry plates (though production is currently on hold after moving halfway across the country) and designs all manner of lenses from cheap Leica thread mount lenses:


up to really, really, really high performing optics for clients with deep pockets.

There are a variety of reasons why Ebay is tough on sellers. In the UK and Europe they have to accept returns to meet the requirements of the distance selling regulations. The other sad fact which I have found from experience is that some private sellers are unduly optimistic about the condition of the items they are selling (heavy irony here) and makes me suspect that most of Ebay's customer service effort is in dealing with these problems. Most small dealer businesses on Ebay are very reliable and honest in their descriptions. Having said that it would be a shame if Ebay became a business only platform. As Mie would say, "Just saying . . ."

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