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Ah ya gotta love Ebay

Old 05-14-14, 10:35 AM
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Ah ya gotta love Ebay

So this is a first for me. I sold a bike on Ebay (an early 70's Mercian Pro). I felt I had described it well and included all the pictures Ebay would allow me and tried to picture every "defect". I did describe the bike as "highly original" which it is - the frame is completely original, the seat post, stem, bars, brakes, crankset, derailleurs are all original to the best of my knowledge. I pointed out that the brake lever hoods were not original and the pedals were not original. Anyway seller receives bike and everything is fine but... The spokes on the front and rear wheels don't match. The rears are probably original, the front spokes (and I believe the rim) are most likely not although the rim is certainly period correct. Buyer wants some kind of consideration and I will give him some but man I guess I have to now start describing things at a much lower level of detail than I thought.
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Old 05-14-14, 10:50 AM
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Tell him to pound sand. This is nearly as trivial as finding two different brand inner tubes on a bike.
Or offer to buy it back, less shipping. I suspect he'll back down pretty quick.
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Old 05-14-14, 10:53 AM
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Agree with aixaix. I am pretty anal about things matching and I don't even look at the spokes. Maybe if one was aero and one not.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:14 AM
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Well, how different are they? If the rear is galvanized and the front is stainless, that would be something that would annoy me and might be difficult to see in pictures.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:21 AM
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+10 Are they different material of construction? Realize ebay HEAVILY sides with buyers on any dispute. I got one pair of shoes back once, they were "blue" but they did not match buyer's dress.......

The most recent classic was on a men's pair of shoes. Buyer agreed shoes were as described, the right size, and they fit the buyer well, but they "made his feet look fat...", they came screaming back.


Ebay is best suited for routine sales where you assume that 1% to 5% of your sales will go bad. The huge majority go without a hitch.

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Old 05-14-14, 11:47 AM
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He's just fishing for a partial refund. I've had it happen a few times. I tell them the bike matched my description and if they would like to return the bike they are more than welcome to do so.

Every time they have gone away.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:56 AM
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Offer the cost of replacement spokes. Figure a $1.00 each. 36 holes=$36.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:16 PM
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Many guys add a line in their description, something to the effect: "I have tried to point out any flaws and discrepancies to the best of my ability. Photos are considered a part of the description. Please examine photos closely and ask any questions before bidding. No refunds."
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Old 05-14-14, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Well, how different are they? If the rear is galvanized and the front is stainless, that would be something that would annoy me and might be difficult to see in pictures.
Yes the rear are galvanized and the front stainless. I have offered $50 to cover spokes and relacing for the rear wheel, to replace the galvanized spokes.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:29 PM
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I would check this buyer's feedback. Why do I think this is part of a "standard operating procedure"? I am a cynic.
Probably a CR group member too… Or iBob.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:32 PM
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I always offer sales with best possible description with the condition of full refund less shipping cost both directions. If there is a dispute opened, I point out the conditions, and offer immediately to buy the item back with payment upon return receipt without any damages or missing parts(ebay/paypal protect this right).

When I have made an error on a high-dollar/profit item (40 year-old rim had cracks on the eyelets), I offer compensation.

In any case I get the funds out of PayPal as soon as the transaction has cleared, and if PayPal/ebay wants to do a refund I don't agree with, they can deal with my credit card company when I register an unauthorized transaction.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:34 PM
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You scoundrel you, BD63. Different spokes! Sheesh. Can't trust you anymore ….

Jeezum. Some people.

I'm with Aixaix on this one.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
Yes the rear are galvanized and the front stainless. I have offered $50 to cover spokes and relacing for the rear wheel, to replace the galvanized spokes.

IMO, that's a legitimate complaint if it wasn't disclosed. Good on you for taking care of it, I think your offer is fair.
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Old 05-14-14, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
Yes the rear are galvanized and the front stainless. I have offered $50 to cover spokes and relacing for the rear wheel, to replace the galvanized spokes.
You are generous, you blue devil!

Although I agree with the lost architect (Wrongway Wright?) that galvanized vs stainless is less trivial than a simple matter of branding, I think these things are best treated as the opening of negotiations. It is better to state your position firmly without getting confrontational, offer to cancel the deal, then wait to see what comes back. If he's just fishing for some money, he's less likely to push it than if he feels genuinely upset. You always have the option to ask him what he wants and give it to him: no need to do that straight off.
People are such a pain sometimes. Bikes are nicer.
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Old 05-14-14, 02:12 PM
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Did you advertise that it came with stainless spokes? Sounds like the galvanized are part of the original build that you advertised. He should be complaining that the stainless ones aren't correct.
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Old 05-14-14, 02:34 PM
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I agree that mismatched galvanized/stainless spokes is a legitimate complaint. While I acknowledge the type of spokes is a minor issue, some of us are more OCD than others and lose sight of the forest for the trees. Personally, having a mix of galvanized & modern spokes would bother me. That said, your offer of $50 is both honorable and fair. I hope the buyer accepts, but I wouldn't be surprised if the buyer comes back and says his LBS quoted $1.50 per spoke plus $70 for labor (~$125), especially if the buyer has never built a wheel before. The fact that one of the wheels, presumably the front, has been rebuilt may cause the buyer to wonder what happened that required new spokes for the front. Was it crashed? Is this the original front hub/rim? I am not suggesting anything dishonest on your part, but these are things the buyer may be asking himself.
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Old 05-14-14, 04:47 PM
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I'm hearing more and more of this tactic by eBay buyers. A friend sold a set of Easton wheels for much higher than they were worth, and 65 days after leaving positive feedback, the buyer opened a dispute saying they weren't in the same condition as described. He offered $50 back, for no reason other than to end the dispute, and offered a full refund if the wheels were returned in the same condition as the ad showed. Buyer took the $50.

Another friend sold 2 cruiser bikes, new off an LBS buyout, shipped them Fed Ex and had a Delivery Receipt, with signature. Buyer said he never rec'd them, and eBay appeared ready to refund the money, so he'd have been out the bikes AND the money. I had him notify law enforcement in Brooklyn, and the seller miraculously found them.

The best tactic is a complete front-to-rear thorough description of each wheel and component on the bike, then pack well, photo same, and request a signature delivery. The buyer can then ask the delivery firm to confirm no damages upon delivery, and you have a signed confirmation of delivery and acceptance. If you are truthful and thorough, everything should be exactly as described unless it was damaged in shipment. Offering full refund upon receipt and inspection of the item, at buyer's expense, is a good way to call any bluff.

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Old 05-14-14, 05:17 PM
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Send him 36 galvanized spokes.
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Old 05-14-14, 05:21 PM
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So he did come back with a counter and we settled at $75. It was worth it to me to resolve things quickly and not get negative feedback or an Ebay dispute. I agree that this was a failure on my part to describe at the level I should have. The bike was a flip for me so I don't know the full history but there was absolutely no indication of any front end damage. Most likely the front rim just got bent or had brake wear. I did notice the spokes (and rims) weren't matched but I didn't think it would matter and honestly my price was REALLY good and I thought the mismatched spokes and non original pedals were reasonable given the low price. Live and learn. I think I am going to probably stop selling full bikes on Ebay. I hate to break up bikes but it is much easier to fully describe and document single components, easier to pack single components or a frame and I will certainly make more money overall.
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Old 05-14-14, 05:25 PM
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i'd still do what others have said. Offer a full refund upon return of the product in the condition it was sent out in. Buyer pays return shipping. If you haven't already put that in your listing : returns accepted , buyers pays return shipping.

He will most likely decide his best recourse is to keep it. You did your part without being taken advantage of. If you do this and he leaves negative feedback (and you offered to return the product via eBay messaging) his feedback will be removed.

disclaimer - I'm an eBay employee but I'm giving you my thoughts based on my opinion and personal experience alone.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Send him 36 galvanized spokes.
I think I'd send 37. With a subtle suggestion where he could…store... the spare until he needs it.

The resolution from the seller is honorable and admirable. But I can't help but think this was pretty on the buyer's part.
I sometimes think the worst of people. Especially in circumstances like these.
Sad but true.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BlueDevil63 View Post
So he did come back with a counter and we settled at $75. It was worth it to me to resolve things quickly and not get negative feedback or an Ebay dispute. I agree that this was a failure on my part to describe at the level I should have. The bike was a flip for me so I don't know the full history but there was absolutely no indication of any front end damage. Most likely the front rim just got bent or had brake wear. I did notice the spokes (and rims) weren't matched but I didn't think it would matter and honestly my price was REALLY good and I thought the mismatched spokes and non original pedals were reasonable given the low price. Live and learn. I think I am going to probably stop selling full bikes on Ebay. I hate to break up bikes but it is much easier to fully describe and document single components, easier to pack single components or a frame and I will certainly make more money overall.
The buyer should give you stellar feedback.
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Old 05-14-14, 06:45 PM
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You know...it's a shame that people too often try to get things for free. Plus, all it takes is for one person to make this the way he gets "better deals", and to brag about it...then it grows exponentially (yes, I teach math).

When I bought my bike from BlueDevil, it arrived PACKED TO THE HILT. I mean, he went way above and beyond (IMHO). I am sure that this bike was shipped in the same manner... And yet the buyer probably didn't even notice...and certainly would not have put as much care back into it to ship it back...

BTW, was that the big yellow one you had?
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Old 05-14-14, 09:20 PM
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Anything you say (or write) can, and will be used against you....
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Old 05-14-14, 09:36 PM
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Despite my earlier statement, I would consider galvanized vs stainless an issue and would likely have raised the issue myself. Good job on the resolution.
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