Ebay nightmare - spinners beware!

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I am a spinner and thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I found the spinners section of Ebay. So many different kinds of wool and other fiber being offered for sale, and at very reasonable prices for raw fleece! Credit card in hand, I merrily bid away.

I bought a LOT of fiber in a fairly short time. Most was purchased around Christmas and due to the holidays and people going on vacation, several shipments took longer to get here than they should have. With only one single exception, everything was worked out quickly and politely.

That one exception is one for the books tho. I ordered a total of 20 pounds of raw fleece and the shipment took a very, very long time to get here. When it did, it was short by almost 4 pounds. It was pure chance that I found the shortage - sure did look like a lot of wool to me. I'd been wondering just how much weight was lost when raw fleece was washed so I'd been weighing everything I got to see if I could get some sort of ballpark number.

The seller was horrible about the shortage. First denying it. Then saying it had been broken into and some taken out during transit. It was poorly packaged - box had handles cut in two sides and the wool was put in the box loose. I have a very difficult time believing that somewhere along the line someone stole parts of the four fleeces. He also told me that the shortage in weight could be due to lack of humidity in the air!

After threatening to file a fraud complaint with Ebay, the seller finally agreed to make up the shortage. Email was rude beyond belief. Seller was very angry about having to eat the shipping cost.

All the joy of having four new to me fleeces to work with is totally gone. I left the wool in a box for a couple of weeks and finally got it out to wash. Then I found that the long spinning wool was defective - it breaks into three pieces. I notified the seller.

He refused to do anything about it because I'd left negative feedback on the other Ebay purchases. I filed a fraud complaint with Ebay and was told that there was a $25 deductible and since my purchase of the defective wool was less than that, I wasn't eligible for their Safe Harbor plan.

The seller has more of this same "long spinning wool" up for sale on Ebay right now. Both the wool in the first shipment and the wool in the make up shipment is defective. With only gentle pressure, it breaks into more or less three equal pieces.

I'd like to name this seller so everyone could watch out for him, but don't know if I am allowed to do that on the forum. Ken???

Anyone who wants to know the name of this jerk so they can avoid dealing with him can email me privately.

So, spinners beware. If you order wool or fiber via Ebay, weigh it! Everything I ordered from others was right on and even a little over the weight I'd purchased except for this one seller.

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), February 10, 2002


As long as you described the defective nature of the fiber on ebay, any potential bidder will have the facts.

-- Darren (df1@infi.net), February 10, 2002.

People may not know how to check the feedback on a seller, especially if they are new, like I was.

Everyone using Ebay has an Ebay name. Beside that name is a number in parenthesis. Say, for instance, the seller has the Ebay name of crankyfarmer. If you click on the number in parenthesis beside that name, you go to the feedback comments made by people buying from him. Ebay does a neat little recap box on the upper right side of the screen, telling you how many positive, neutral, and negative comments have been made. Scroll down and you get to the comments so you can read what is said.

My Ebay name is carollm24450. There have been 10 feedback comments from people I've bought from on how I handled my end of the transaction.

It's easy to check out, once you know how to do it.

My almost two month long experience with the seller I'm having problems with has been enough to sour Ebay for me. I don't know if I'm going to buy via Ebay again. A lot depends on what Ebay does with the fraud complaint I filed against the seller. But if I do buy via Ebay again, you can be sure I'll check the feedback on the seller before bidding on anything. And if there are ANY negatives, I think I'll either do without the item or find it somewhere else, even if I have to pay more for it. Saving a couple of bucks just isn't worth all the hell of these past months.

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), February 10, 2002.

Carol, you certainly have my sympathy for all your troubles, but I think its unfair to hold Ebay responsible. They have pretty much done all they can to prevent these types of things from happening. They cannot force people to do their homework before beginning online transactions.

I have bought and sold hundreds of things on Ebay, and have rarely had a problem, and none serious. We have bought items ranging in price from $2 to several thousand, from CD's to motorcycles. Its good that you pointed out to people how to check feedback, and in fact checking feedback is not only mentioned in the "new users" section, which should be thoroughly gone through by beginners,but is accessible and evident in three places on each auction page. The seller's feedback feature is what makes Ebay purchases safe, and should always be checked before even considering bidding. I never bid from a first time seller myself, unless its something very small, and have never left negative feedback to anyone, even to the couple of little annoying transactions I encountered.

Hope you have better luck in the future; future bidders will be well forewarned of your experience with this unethical person, and (s)he will find out what goes around comes around.


-- Earthmama (earthmama48@yahoo.com), February 10, 2002.

I have bought from ebay and pay immediately with paypal or billpoint. The sellers hardly ever leave any feedback for me and it hurts. I always think well maybe their waiting for me, so I leave positive feedback and still get nothing. I have been thinking of selling my soap over ebay but..there seems to be an abundance of soap and in order to make any money I would have lower the ounces in each bar plus lower the amount of essential oils I use, just have a less expensive bar of soap, not ready to lower my standards on the soap yet!

One nice thing about a ebaby seller. I paid too much for some longaberger mugs. I had accidently added shipping and then put more money on the shipping portion. I didn't catch it, the seller did and emailed me immediately. We arranged for her to just send the mugs and write me a check for the over. Had she not told me I would haven't caught it. I believe there are honest people out there and she sure was one of them.

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), February 10, 2002.

Hi, were spinners too (daughters), we have 2 looms besides the spinning wheel. I spin from my own sheep but their wool isn't that great, so I give most of it away, Blackfaced crosses, all meat to show type sheep. Their wool isn't as good as others. After I shear this year, I'll keep the extra and give to who ever wants to learn to spin for shipping. Like I said I don't shear that great so that is probably why the wool isn't the best too. There is this German woman for some reason is always begging me for the hides. I think I will make "her" buy a few lambs for the hides, she just wants to buy a leg of lamb. This year it will be the whole lamb not just a leg!!

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), February 10, 2002.

Debbie, I know sometimes people dont leave feedback; some never will. But I have found that most will, although they frequently need reminding. When I communicate with my buyers I always lightly mention the feedback thing in every email, emphasizing how it will benefit them as well as me. I try to keep my emails to them fun and overly friendly {sweet enough to make myself sick :)}, you know, charm them into liking me and feeling really good about the transaction. Course I believe the customer is always right, even when they're wrong, cuz one bum feedback isnt worth being right.

I keep a list of past transactions, and periodically go over it to compare to my ebay feedback page. When someone hasnt responded for quite some time, I kindly email them again, apologizing for any inconvenience on their part, and this usually does the trick. Usually they have just forgotten. A few folks I never hear from, so after two tries like that, I figure maybe they weren't entirely happy with what they bought, but not enough so to comment, so that's fine.

Please try not to take it personally when they don't comment; on-line selling is a learning curve, like storefront is, and we learn as we go, and there's always room for trying something new. I do know what you mean about low prices though........some things just dont pay to sell there, and some sell seasonally, but theres no point in giving your hard work away just cuz its convenient.

Good luck!!

-- Earthmama (earthmama48@yahoo.com), February 10, 2002.

Earthmama is right. Some people just forget to leave feedback. I confess I'm guilty. Such a scatterbrain. I don't mind at all if someone emails me a second time to remind me.

-- vicki in NW OH (thga76@aol.com), February 10, 2002.

Hi Carol,

I am kind of on the opposite side Carol. I sold my first fleece on ebay this year. For me ebay is wonderful as I have a market for things I never had a market for before. I was very nervous about selling my fleece as I had never sold one in the past and I have heard so much about what spinners want. I even emailed the buyer personally that she should critique my fleece and let me know what was wrong and if I had in any way misrepresented it. Luckily for me I had the sweetest buyer and she was very very happy with my rambouillets lamb wool. I find that the feedback is a great way deal with problem sellers. I always look before I bid on something. I am so sorry you had a bad experience, I sure hope it doesn't sour people to using ebay. I for one would like to know the name of the man whom did you a dirty. My email is real so please feel free to contact me.


-- kim (fleece@eritter.net), February 10, 2002.

Dont let getting gypped in a busines deal ruin your emotional health. Learn to forgive and lay it down and get on with life. Find something good to be thankful for.

-- daffodyllady (daffodyllady@yahoo.com), February 10, 2002.

Random thought. If a seller like this has frequent auctions, seems like they should be willing to provide a small free sample on request. Wouldn't hurt to ask in the future. Is there a national grading standard they can be held accountable to?

Was yours the only negative feedback rating they have? (By the way, I have one negative on eBay.) If they file a negative on you in return, there is no way to get it off your rating. All you can do is provide your side of the story. (A negative without a counter statement, to me, means it was valid.)

I have seen eBay kick off both bad buyers and sellers. A seller bidding against their own auctions is pretty well an automatic kick off. I have seen some auctions where the seller charged an extraordinary amount of shipping. eBay says as long as they said in the listing what shipping would be, they cannot take action. For example, one seller listed a Dutch auction of 100 very small pocket knives for $.01 each. However, unless you were high bidder on all 100, shipping would be $3.00 per knife. If you were outbid on even one, you would legally be responsible for the full shipping cost. Primary reason I've seen for a buyer to get kicked off is non-payment on several auctions. On sellers, it is for being extremely rude (and probably vulgar) on returns.

I include a feedback reminder in each shipment. My guess is only about half do so. I've rather gotten to the point if they don't leave feedback for me, I won't for them, but it may be a standoff situation of you first.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), February 10, 2002.

Ken - I don't know how a seller would get kicked out for sending rude or vulgar emails. I had to file a Non Payer Bidder Alert and then file to have my fees returned when I had a buyer not send any payment for almost a month, then send an unsigned check, and ignore all my emails. I received a profanity laden email from her because I had posted negative feedback for her & she received a warning from Ebay (she stated of course that it was all my fault). I contacted Ebay and was told that just because she sent vulgar email and threatened to leave undeserved negative feedback for me (which she did) that they could do nothing. They said they could only do something if she threatened "bodily harm". I did contact the postmaster for her ISP but heard nothing back. I have to wonder if it's worth getting my little bit of fees back if I end up with negative feedback.

-- Cindy in NY (cjpopeck@worldnet.att.net), February 11, 2002.

Cindy: The case I remember was a dealer selling baseball memorbilia. For every card he required something like $8.00 in shipping, which would be reasonable if sent priority mail with insurance. He'd just drop the card in an envelope with first class postage. When people complained the cards were not originals, but reproductions, he chided them saying he was an expert and they were wrong. You wouldn't believe some of his feedback tirades. It apparently was those and a number of complaints to Safe Harbor which got him kicked off.

On another I was interested in an item which disappeared off eBay. I had recorded the seller's e-mail address and ask why. Seems several of his employees wanted the item so he said he would place it on eBay and they could bid. They bid using his office computer. When eBay saw this, they terminated his account. He was eventually able to get reinstated.

I have participated in getting a couple of bad sellers off the system through eBays warning system. Originally they had to have four warnings, now the third one does it. Some folks apparently don't realize they are expected to pay for the auctions they are high bidder on. I have one now to where the woman has been telling me payment is in the mail for coming up on two months - and she was a repeat buyer with quick payment the first time.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), February 12, 2002.

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