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HP Forum Archive 13

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Dealing problem ...
Message #1 Posted by Matthias Wehrli on 21 June 2003, 8:40 a.m.

About 4 month ago I made a deal with a german HP collector. He wanted me to sell some HP magazines and a port replicator. Cause I had to wait for a very long time for my items he told me, he would send me the items for free (no shipping rate). Ok, thatís fine, but.... When I got the ďparcelĒ I was deeply scared, cause he put the magazines and the port replicator in a blank (not even air feeded) envelope. The envelope was teared open by the sorting maschine of the postal service and the port replicator was missing...

A picture can be seen on my webside:

I told the seller the problem and went also to my post office. They told me, that the seller didnít packed the items savely and that they will not pay anything. I also think, that this is not the right packing material for these items. What do you think? So far so good... The seller told me, that itís not his problem, but the post office problem, cause they delivered me this indured envelope directly in my mailbox without my signature.. I say, that the envelope was damaged before and that this would not make the thing unmade... I told the seller 2-3 possibilities to solve this problem: 1. to solve the problem directly with the swiss post (I gave him the telfefon and faxnuumber but he didnít contacted the office) 2. paying me back the money. (I also sent a item once before like this and it also didnít arrived. I payd back the money, cause it was my fault to send the item like that.)

So, until this problem, the seller seemed to be gentle (but very slow!). All I can do is to warn you, doing such deals with that seller (W.K. from Germany). Please do not care about all the others german sellers. I know some of them and they are very gentle and trustfull..


I have good luck with German sellers... but...
Message #2 Posted by Mike on 21 June 2003, 8:53 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matthias Wehrli

Only 21 positives and he doesn't sell much. So, he probably doesn't care what people think.

You can tell a lot about the attitude of the seller.

Edited: 21 June 2003, 9:00 p.m.

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #3 Posted by Frank B. (Germany) on 22 June 2003, 6:19 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matthias Wehrli

I think it would be interesting to do a little bit of statistics for ebay selling/buying. Up to now I bought/sold about 140 pieces via Ebay (about 80% of these related to HP-calculators). Bought calculators from the US and from Australia without any problems. Only with one deal I had major problems (seller located in Austria).

The first time I sent him cash in a letter. After a few weeks he told me that no letter arrived. Ok, my fault. Could have sent it via registered or insured mail, or could have made a bank transfer. So, for the second try I used registered mail. This time at least the envelope arrived, but the seller told me that it was empty. No money in it. So, what should I do? The german postal service refused any responsibility, because the envelope made it's way to Austria. And the seller didn't seem to be very motivated to deal with the Austrian postal service. This way I spent 150 Euros for nothing.

I have no reason to blame the seller for all this, because he seemed to be a honest guy. The thing I've learned is that I'll never ever send money via mail. Even if I have to pay 20 Euros fee for a bank transfer this will be cheaper than loosing all the money once or twice.

What experiences do other sellers/buyers have? What's the percentage of deals went wrong?


Edited: 22 June 2003, 6:25 p.m.

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #4 Posted by Mark on 23 June 2003, 7:03 a.m.,
in response to message #3 by Frank B. (Germany)

How about I would never send cash through the mail. I think postal clerks can smell it.

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #5 Posted by Ellis Easley on 23 June 2003, 6:16 p.m.,
in response to message #4 by Mark

I think postal clerks can smell it.
Maybe that's why I was advised to wrap cash in foil for mailing! I thought it was for X-rays or holding up to the light. I used the foil from a chocolate bar (both - or all three - times) only because it was thinner, but maybe the smell fooled the clerks!

I was only completely cheated once on Ebay, and the final bid was US$1 - with shipping, handling and insurance US$5. I had trouble with some other deals but received some adjustment. Best was from a brand-new, serious seller who was more concerned about feedback than profit, he refunded all my expenses and let me keep a TI calculator with a broken battery door. My feedback is 95 but my total is more than twice as high because I bought many items of test equipment from one surplus dealer.

I don't think I ever bought anything on Ebay from a European seller except some BBC Computer books from England. I bought other things from people in Europe who listed, or answered my listing, in the Museum Classified ads, and had no problem.

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #6 Posted by Matthias on 24 June 2003, 10:41 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Ellis Easley

You didn't read my posting exactly.. Not the money was stolen, but the envelope with the items (the port replicator) was damaged... Have a look at my picture...

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #7 Posted by Ellis Easley on 24 June 2003, 5:10 p.m.,
in response to message #6 by Matthias

Yes, my response seems to follow a sub-thread about sending cash! But after looking at your picture, I remember that this a major complaint I have against Ebay - sellers who don't pack things correctly. I get a lot of spam email about education for selling on Ebay - I never read any of it - but I wonder if they talk about packing items for shipment and its impact on customer satisfaction? I have had two cases of serious damage - both through the US Postal Service. One package never came to me, the seller told me it was returned to him badly smashed and he just refunded my money, so I don't know if packing had anything to do with that case. But the other item was packed very poorly, an oscilloscope that was wrapped in a plastic garbage bag and put in a diaper box (very thin cardboard) with a very small amount of foam peanuts - no attempt to surround the item with peanuts. Then the box was wrapped in brown paper. The package showed only a small tear about 4" long in the brown paper, but inside I found that some kind of narrow blade had punctured the cardboard box and two layers of sheet metal on the back panel of the oscilloscope! Maybe it was a miracle, but the only electrical damage was to the small "trace rotation" pot. I kept the unit rather than try to make a claim with the post office, which sounded like a lot of work for a small return. Also, I don't blame the post office - I blame the seller! But the only thing he was willing to do was to help with the post office claim.

I think part of the problem is that we are spoiled by having very good shipping companies. I have had very little trouble out of a large number of shipments, including packages that were wrapped extremely poorly but arrived with no damage. Even retail mail order businesses pack things in a way I would consider to be insufficient. They put a boxed item in a large box, free to move around with very little, or no, padding. They are trusting the manufacturer's display box - and the shipping company! (usually the US Postal Service) And usually, nothing goes wrong, but once in a while something does go wrong and I think all packages should be wrapped with the assumption that something will go wrong. With retail items that can be easily replaced, I can understand why a business would take advantage of the excellent performance of the post office and other shipping companies, and save some money on packing materials. But for hard-to-find or irreplacable items, I think it is inexcusable to use sloppy packaging.

I think one other factor is that on Ebay, a seller has frequently bought the item for very little cost at a flea market, or found it in an attic, so he puts a small value on the item. Sometimes the fact that at least two people were willing to pay him hundreds of dollars for the item doesn't alter his valuation!

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #8 Posted by bill platt on 25 June 2003, 10:30 a.m.,
in response to message #7 by Ellis Easley


"I think part of the problem is that we are spoiled by having very good shipping companies..."

I think the "very good" ones only applies to the parcel business--UPS, FedEx, and usually the USPS is good but not as good.

When it comes to bigger stuff (using common carrier freight), or international, the game really changes.

I once had two canoes shipped from the US to Canada. They arrived crushed. The loading instuctions were clear about top-loading only---but the morons that actually loaded those trucks didn't care. I absolutely do not understand how those big freight companies stay in business (Yellow, Old Dominion, etc). They charge almost nothing for shipping (like $90 for the canoes!) and then everything gets damaged. I claimed against them for $1050 and got the money. But the first boat that came, I did not have my claim filed within 7 days and so they refused to pay!

Yes, the shipper should make an effort to pack stuff correctly, but really it is the carrier's responsibility to flag an item that is improperly packaged---in the end it is the carrier who pays for the damage!



Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #9 Posted by james (UK) on 24 June 2003, 12:29 p.m.,
in response to message #3 by Frank B. (Germany)

Most of my ebay deals have been with the US (1 Malyasia, 1 Canada and 2 UK) and all have been fine.

I haven't had any European deals because most European sellers don't seem to take PayPal and as the banks in the UK want at least $35 for making a bank transfer shipping stuff across the Atlantic becomes the better option.

Despite seeing a lot of unfavourable comments about the US Postal Service I have never had any problems with delivery.

Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #10 Posted by Mike (Stgt) on 23 June 2003, 9:52 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matthias Wehrli

Up to now only one fraud in about 20 deals. It was with a bunch in Ulm. All others: no problem, worldwide!


Re: Dealing problem ...
Message #11 Posted by Vassilis Prevelakis on 25 June 2003, 9:09 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Matthias Wehrli

Whenever you are dealing with people you do not know, there is always the possibility of misunderstandings.

I'll give you three examples:

a) I ordered a serial card for the HP-85. The eBay auction showed the card with its box which looked in a very good condition. Well the seller shipped the card in that box (without additional packaging). The card arrived intact, but the box was a mess. Since I wanted the card, I didn't mind, but if I wanted the box, I'd have been furious.

b) I ordered an HP 41 card reader. It never arrived. I contacted the seller and he said that he had sent it, but could not provide any proof. In the end I gave him a negative rating. Some time later I checked and found that he had added a comment after the negative rating to the effect that the problem was resolved (!!!). Needless to say I never bought anything from that loser, but I did note that others did buy stuff from him and gave him +ve feedback.

c) I purchased an HP 9915B computer and the seller gave me the impression that he did not actually want to sell me that machine (he sent it to the wrong address - he refused to email me the UPS tracking number - he was slow in responding to my email, to allow UPS time to give up and return it to the shipper - when the item was returned to him, he claimed it was my fault and wanted additional money to send it again, etc.). I persisted and in the end I did get the 9915B, although it arrived dead (PSU prob).

The big problem is that these items are rare, so these transactions are not typical. Getting a refund when a rare manual is lost in the post is little consolation. E.g. the 9915B closing price was $10; for this price I was prepared to spend a lot of time to make sure I got the item.

So, to avoid disappointments, its better to deal with people you know and trust. It is often also cheaper, as you can bypass eBay altogether.

It is also important to prepare 1-2 paragraphs with instructions regarding the shipment (your address, packaging instructions, mandatory insurance, tracking numbers, etc.). You have these instructions in a file so you don't have to think about it, you just attach it at the end of your email. E.g.

NOTE: Packages MUST be sent to me with some kind of tracking number (e.g. delivery confirmation for USPS Priority Mail, with some other shipping methods, such as UPS ground, it is included in the price). Please include this in the shipping cost. The tracking number MUST be emailed to me after the package is dispatched. If a package is sent without a tracking number, and is "lost in the post", then I will post negative feedback and demand full refund.

Make sure that the seller understands that these instructions are part of the deal, so that if there is a problem later, you can go back and point to your original email.


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