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Chicago Al 09-24-13 04:52 PM

Uh-oh. Ebay sale, possible signs of trouble. :- (
[EDIT 5 DAYS LATER TO ADD: I am tempted to ask the mods to delete this thread as it is a bit embarrassing. But I'm past 50 and don't care about that any more. :) I thought I had a problem with an eBay buyer but it turns out the problem was with the seller--me. I'm leaving it up in case anyone finds and reads is a good lesson in a. being careful EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU ALREADY ARE when packing bike stuff and b. not jumping to conclusions. Fortunately this one has a happy ending, read to the end to find out.]

I sold a bike on eBay ten days ago, shipped it last week. This is my first eBay sale of a bike though I've sold parts and lots of other stuff including antiques very successfully. And I've shipped a complete bike and a frame and wheelset before, packed following the impeccable guidelines of MiamiJim.

So the bike, a Centurion Turbo, went to a buyer who did not ask me any questions, or respond to the friendly email I'd sent when I received payment.

The bike arrived today, and the first I've heard from him is two emails saying that the brake adjusters are missing, front and back. I find this very difficult to believe. I'd removed the cables and tucked the cable housings up neatly. The adjuster bolts were not loose and I don't see any way they would have backed out by themselves. Especially not both. What really concerns me is his comment that " Once again the bike is not functional w/out these parts." That's obviously wrong even if the adjusters were missing.

He's across the country. I obviously can't go over to his house and check for the parts myself (esp as he did not even know what to call them).

I suspect I am in for some trouble here. Anyone with advice on heading it off, please let me know, here or via PM.

And if anyone in San Diego was handy to check the situation out, maybe show him how the cable housings attach, that would be even better. :)


-making matters worse, I lost money on the shipping. :- (

miamijim 09-24-13 05:04 PM

Can you post a link to the ad or post up pics of the bike?

Some calipers are notorious for adjusters falling out (Dura Ace 7400)

I hate to say this but if he doesn't, or you don't find the adjusters your dead in the water. Did you thoroughly check your work area? I know I've forgotten to package small items on several occasions, in most instances the buyers have been really cool about it...

I found it....those adjusters do NOT thread in, they will fall out if the the caliper is inverted. The odds of both falling out of the box are slim to none.

KonAaron Snake 09-24-13 05:07 PM

I'd apologize - it's a losing scenario. Don't argue with him, offer to send him some brake calipers to avoid sucking two way shipping charges.

It's funny what Jim typed - I had a great member here facilitate a bike for me once, and it lost a DA 7400 adjuster barrel en route. It does happen. I'd actually tie it down to he caliper.

wrk101 09-24-13 05:07 PM

+1 It is possible they fell out, either during the packing process, or they are in the box somewhere. So maybe the buyer is not a flake job. I hope this is the case. If not.......

+1 Unfortunately, I do not have much encouraging to say. 0.5% of the ebay buyers I have sold to were flake jobs. I had one that told ebay the bike shoes I shipped were "not as described" and ebay authorized return at my expense, without consulting me. And what was "not as described?" No idea, to ebay, it sure doesn't seem to matter. Buyers win all disputes, at least in my experience.

The one I remember the most was the sale of a pair of womens shoes, returned because "they did not match her blue dress". WTF? Did I ever say they would match? Of course not.

One advantage of selling framesets is that they tend to go to buyers that know their way around a bike.

Overall, I lose money on shipping. Its one way I consciously avoid complaints on "shipping was too high".

Of course, the vast majority of my ebay transactions go without a hitch.

And on returns, you eat the fees, shipping BOTH ways, etc. And will the buyer take the time to properly repack your bike? I sure hope so.

miamijim 09-24-13 05:09 PM

How'd you lose money on $100 shipping from Chicago to SoCal?

+1. Dig up some calipers to scavenge adjusters from...and the front nut.

wrk101 09-24-13 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by miamijim (Post 16100407)
How'd you lose money on $100 shipping from Chicago to SoCal?

+1. Dig up some calipers to scavenge adjusters from...and the front nut.

+1 Front nut is MIA.

FWIW, I bought a set of these same brakes from a forum member, and they arrived with the nuts gone. When I store this style away, I use a small piece of spoke, bent at a 90 degree angle on both ends, to retain the adjuster.

Looking at the bid history, your buyer pushed it up the last $200 or so, I guess you had a reserve. That shows pretty strong interest in your bike, which is good news (I can't imagine he will want to return the bike, its more likely a matter of supplying the missing parts and making him "happy"). 16 of your 20 bids were all from this buyer.

+1 Assuming you have a Fed Ex commercial account (all ebay sellers qualify), $100 is more than enough to cover shipping.

I have my wife write all responses to buyers that aren't happy, as I am not up to it. I can tell you, we fall all over ourselves to make them OK with the deal. Adjusters would be in the mail post haste, and probably a small credit for the inconvenience. Its all part of selling on ebay.

With only five feedbacks as a seller this year, a negative from this buyer could really hurt your reputation.

Make the guy happy, the pain from a negative feedback will last a long time after the pain from this transaction is forgotten.

rebel1916 09-24-13 05:17 PM

Take the money out of paypal right now. Disconnect your credit card/bank account from paypal. Offer him a credit in the 10s of dollars range.

Metacortex 09-24-13 05:19 PM

I believe this was the listing:

miamijim 09-24-13 05:24 PM


Originally Posted by rebel1916 (Post 16100435)
Take the money out of paypal right now. Disconnect your credit card/bank account from paypal. Offer him a credit in the 10s of dollars range.

Please supply me with your eBay ID so I can permanently block you.

Chicago Al 09-24-13 05:28 PM


Yep, that was the listing. Huh...Jim, if I still had the bike here I'd run out to check about the adjusters being loose in there. All I did in the nearly 4 years I owned that bike was put in new cables. Then for shipping I cut and removed them, and coiled the housings up neatly so they wouldn't be in the way. Fork was inverted, a spacer in lieu of a hub, and bubble wrap around the brake caliper. But the bike certainly was not inverted while I was packing it, so it's possible they did come out somewhere en route.

I am relieved to hear that it may be a legit issue. I was a bit put off by his not being in touch earlier; most transactions I've done like this have had a lot of communication: can you check this for me, etc.

The cover nut I'm not worried about, that was fully disclosed.

If he can't find them I will try to dig some of the adjusters up.

Thanks for the advice guys, knew I would find a knowledgeable response here.

BTW that's what I thought on the shipping too! And I have an account! However the box was just a bit too big to fit into the next, much cheaper, category down. It was 54" long IIRC, that plus the width, etc. put it over the dimensional-weight line by 4 or 6 inches. I had styrofoam blocks on both ends which I thought was nice extra protection, but I ended up paying for it. 8PM with a fully packed bike at the FedEx station is not the place to decide you have to go find a smaller bike box and do the same thing all over the next day!

jiangshi 09-24-13 05:41 PM

Pro tip: Thread the adjuster to the underside of the arm, and put a twist tie through it for extra measure.

Edit: It's easy for little stuff to work loose on a long truck trip.

rebel1916 09-24-13 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by miamijim (Post 16100452)
Please supply me with your eBay ID so I can permanently block you.

Dude I have delivered stuff miles away for free on Ebay. I have never sold anything that was not exactly as described. I have sold stuff with no reserve, and instead of cancelling the auction when I realized it wasn't gonna hit a reasonable number like so many seem to do these days, I kept up my end of the bargain. I don't sell anything on Ebay anymore, because it is too easy to get screwed by the unscrupulous. Paypal will reach into your bank account and take out money with no notice. Eff that noise. Think of me what you will.

Chicago Al 09-24-13 05:59 PM

Yep, live and learn. I just sent the buyer a long email assuring him I would make it right. It's very difficult to gather tone from emails, esp (in my experience) from younger people don't express themselves the same way those of us the far side of 40 do. What I took for kind of a snotty tone was probably just normal for someone more used to texting. Subsequent emails have been friendly enough on both sides.

Anyone got a pair of Dia Compe NGC or Royal GC brake calipers FS? Can be trashed...but must have adjusters! :)

jiangshi 09-24-13 06:08 PM

Refund him $20. That should appease anyone.

DiegoFrogs 09-24-13 08:39 PM

When I bought a set of Campagnolo brakes with the same style of barrel adjuster and nut, they were supplied with a small section of brake cable through them, with the cable's barrel above the adjuster and the bottom cinched by the clamp on the brake. Pretty clever, since the guy had to cut the brake cable anyhow to remove the brakes.

I also didn't realize what was going on until I clipped the cable and the nut and adjuster scurried away on the floor.

FWIW (if it's worth a lot of money!), the adjusters from Campagnolo brakes may work. Not sure if you can source them easier than the NGC adjusters.

acoffin 09-24-13 08:42 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by jiangshi (Post 16100622)
Refund him $20. That should appease anyone.

I would be very surprised if you can find just the adjusters. $20 likely won't buy complete brakes.

If you can't find anything send me a PM, Al, but don't want to sell mine.

Chicago Al 09-24-13 08:56 PM

Yeah, I'm resigned to buying brakes to get the adjusters...though not at the sky-high prices for some NOS examples on eBay! I have some alerts out including in the ISO page and among local friends. Campy ones are definitely going to be easier to find, though not sure if buyer would accept them!

gioscinelli 09-24-13 09:00 PM

Email the buyer with "what do you propose, to bring closure?". If the buyer threatens to leave negative feed back or demands are exorbitant restitution, this violates one of Ebay policies. Contact Ebay with the problem, get the name of the Ebay representative and work order number before discussing the issue. It's usually the first to call is what Ebay favors. I agree with other comments, offer money or the missing parts, with a statement the the parts were shipped with the bike and could be among with packing material. Or, even offer to send back the bike with terms.

b dub 09-24-13 09:30 PM

Al, I have an extras Royal GC caliper I don't use. You can have the cable adjuster. I think you have my email.

flash2070 09-24-13 10:23 PM

Al, sorry to hear about that, but let's look at the big picture, and hopefully the buyer will as well! That bike is a gorgeous bike, along with all of that Superbe/Pro/Dia-Compe, saddle and everything else. He couldn't possibly back out of a deal just because of the adjusters. The adjusters are probably somewhere in the box, in-between all of the packaging material, or at your house somewhere (hopefully). Have you done a complete search for them? Forgive me for asking, but like you said, once we hit 40, 41, 42, etc, our memories are seriously challenged. Sometimes I don't even know how I get to work in the morning! :-)

I have actually sold about 40 bikes on ebay, and frankly, I have never taken parts off other than the saddle/post, quick releases, front wheel, and bars and stem (but the bars not completely off, just the stem out to be able to turn the fork, and fit the front wheel and bars in the box), and back derailleur. I wrap the frame completely with unsulation piping, and do bubblewrap/styrofoam overkill. You definitely have to watch for the oversize. Always keep your boxes at 54"x30"x8" (54+ 2 times height 30+30+2 times width 8"+8"=130", or any combination below that like 53x29x8=127" No matter what combination it is, it has to be below 130" in combined lenght and girth or else it is an automatic $55, plus the transportation charges and any surcharge like a residential delivery, declared value, and definitely signature required..all a must. Before walking iside of the bike shop, drive to where they keep their dumpsters and look for boxes...that will save you $10 per box. My shipping material I get from Lowes or Home Depot" (piping material) and the styrofoam from furniture store dumpsters! :-)

In this case since it is a small item that was lost, I would definitely go with the refund and/or a new set of adjusters. All the best to you! That is a beautiful Turbo, I have one that I have been working on restoring, but have not gotten around too. Same 84 model. :-)


DiegoFrogs 09-24-13 10:47 PM

I just looked at my Campagnolo ones, and they seem to have a longer threaded section and the nut is clearly marked with the brand name.

It's weird to think that Campy might be the cheaper, more available alternative!

Grand Bois 09-25-13 07:06 AM

I falsely accused an Ebay seller of shipping me a turntable without the stacking spindle. Those spindles sell for more than I paid for the turntable. I didn't need the turntable, just the spindle. I even opened a dispute with Ebay. I found the spindle when I was breaking down the box for the recycle bin. Boy was I embarrassed! I apologized profusely, but I'm sure he thinks I'm just another flakey Ebay buyer.

shoota 09-25-13 07:18 AM

And this is why I don't sell on ebay. But some items lend themselves to being more easily than others. Bikes have got to be one of the worst items to sell online. Clothing might be one of the best. And stamps.

miamijim 09-25-13 08:30 AM


Originally Posted by Grand Bois (Post 16101887)
I found the spindle when I was breaking down the box for the recycle bin. Boy was I embarrassed.

I'm glad you mentioned this, back in the day when parts were missing they'd be under the bottom flaps 9/10 times.

gioscinelli 09-25-13 10:09 AM

2 Attachment(s)
When packing small parts, put in a box and mark what the contents are in bold letters! After packing the bike and accessories, while the box is still open, take a picture before sealing the box and email (using Ebay's email) it to the buyer!
I know it's after the fact, but this is a necessary precaution! This shows the buyer and is a reference for any dispute.

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