Monday, November 25, 2013

Ebay: Let the Seller Beware II

Recall that I sold my saddle to a first-time Ebay buyer, DB. I think the saddle was for his spouse. Read here to see my first post as well as parts Three (III)Four (IV), and Five (V) for the whole saga!

Photo from Ebay listing

The sale...
DB bought the saddle using the Buy it Now feature, no questions asked. A buyer brand spankin' new to Ebay, one previous sale, buys a two thousand dollar saddle, and not one syllable of communication, no questions about fit, or condition.  That has never happened in my years of history selling maybe ten saddles on Ebay.  Before you shell out that kind of money, you ask questions.

Red Flag! But they did pay.  Still, I reached out to them before shipping the saddle, via email. I wanted to make sure a normal-sounding person, a non-scammer-type, responded. I got a brief but cordial response, so I shipped the saddle.

The $$$ changes hands
The saddle was in DB's possession for almost a month, and I heard nothing in that time -- we had exchanged emails re: the shipping, nothing afterward.  I usually keep money on hold for ten days or so, in case there is an issue -- even though the sale was posted as "no returns." Eventually, though, I apply it to something -- in this case, the money was used to cover my plane ticket home when dad got sick -- a $1500 ticket.

One month-ish later...
Then Paypal contacted me -- after twenty-five days, DB has opened a dispute  on my saddle. Paypal always encourages buyers and sellers to resolve disputes directly with each other -- filing a dispute is supposed to be "the last resort."  The buyers skipped this step, so I really didn't, and don't, have a good sense of what the problem is. The information in the dispute summary is less than twenty-five words and is sketchy at best. The only information I have is a line on the claim report:  the saddle is damaged "internally and externally." There was mention of a slit above and behind the stirrup bar, where it was noted that flocking could seen. To me it sounds like they don't know that's how you flock the saddle and it's part of the design.  Certainly any slits were not made by me or my fitter.

I don't know. I took closeup photos of the saddle in the Ebay post, including the seat, but I did not photograph the saddler's flocking area, nor have I ever seen that area photographed on an Ebay saddle sale. The saddle is only two years old, and it has received super care and regular maintenance. I rode it in regularly for 18 months, and semi-regularly in the last few months before the sale.

Let me harp on this some more...
Why didn't DB contact me? Why did DB let a month go by?

This makes me very suspicious. I have to question what why there was no communication, and might have happened to the saddle in the time it was in their possession. Could it have been damaged by accident, or did they try to have it adjusted unsuccessfully?

On an emotional level, bypassing the step of communicating with me is a giant middle finger, and it does not bode well for this buyer's judgement, honesty, or sense of fairness.

The saddle was sold with the stipulation that returns were not accepted -- that's why the saddle is so much less expensive than at consignment shops, which take 25% commission but permit and manage 3-day to 1 week trials, etc. Buyer's remorse is not an acceptable reason for a return. That said, if I had heard from the buyer right away, I would have been able to follow the chronology of the concerns. But after a month? What happened to that saddle is anybody's guess.

 It did not help when I read this thread on the Chronicle of the Horse about how Ebay buyers almost always prevail on claims. If you read it, I don't think you'll ever sell anything of value on Ebay again. I know I will not.

Stay tuned for Part III...


  1. Your link above takes me to a closeup image of your saddle, not to the Chron article. I bought from eBay a lot 15 years ago, when I first got online. Had nothing but good experiences, but any time there is money involved, there will be crooks. I have a piece of junk custom saddle I want to almost GIVE away just to get it out of my sight--but I DO want to recover something for it. Am leery of selling on eBay because of horror stories like yours. Hope this turns out well.

  2. I hope you have better luck than i did. I had the EXACT same problem with a lynx fur coat I sold. Buyer paid via "buy it now", some days later made a claim directly with ebay, without notifying me. Notified by ebay the buyer returned the coat and ebay reunded his $$ and now I owed ebay. Buyer would NOT provide a tracking number nor would ebay resolve that I DID NOT receive the coat back. I am continuing to fight with ebay about this even when I have emails from ebay stating THEY were in the wrong and not me. Ebay has turned me over to collections for not re-paying back. UUgghh... problem is thatyou can never speak with anyone directly, and ebay doesn't follow through with their own promises.

  3. I am so sorry that you're going through this nonsense. It almost sounds like the buyer is some kind of scam artist.

    Because of this, I will not ever sell anything worth over $200.00 on Ebay. Sheesh!

    I truly hope this works out for you.

  4. Lots of sellers, like myself, won't sell to people who have no feedback or are new to Ebay. I've sold and bought lots of stuff and most experiences have been positive, but I carefully check my buyer's feedback for potential issues.

  5. So sorry. That is a bad deal for you. I had a dispute one eBay once, but I was the buyer. I had extensive email communication with the seller before submitting the dispute. (Item was advertised as new but it was actually refurbished. Fortunately, I had access to the ad text, so eventually, I won the case.)

    Your putting final sale, no returns in the ad helps a little, but the question of damage to the saddle is a problem. I am 100% sure the saddle was fine when you sent it. But if the buyer tried to have it restuffed or something, who knows what might have happened? I will be interested to read Part 3 on this one, but I'm rooting for you!

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  7. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a final sale on eBay any more. Check the fine print. Buyers have the option to dispute the item and more often than not, eBay sides with the buyer over the seller.

    It helps to only sell to people with feedback, but even then you're not guaranteed the item won't come back.

    Last time I sold a saddle on eBay it was expensive, it went to Canada, and I didn't hear a peep out of the buyer after it arrived. I was on pins and needles for a month waiting to see if there was a problem and gave a huge sigh of relief when the time for returns had expired.

    I sold a saddle recently on a FaceBook group and will always try to get a private sale moving forward.


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