Buying on Ebay

BTW - 2 years ago I sold - at a low price - a Lionel Wabash TMCC Hudson to a TCA member (I'm one, too) at a swap meet. He complained later to the TCA - and he was a liar - about promises I made on the loco. He wanted some money back. Seriously? I practically gave the thing to him. Needless to say, he got nothing. I emailed my own complaint to the TCA "agent" and heard no more BS on the subject. No eBay involved. Just the TCA in a face-to-face transaction. Makes one wonder.


Sadly, being a member of the TCA means NOTHING. For too many years too many people would blindly sponsor anybody who wanted a signature. And several years ago the TCA did away with sponsorship altogether.
The TCA still can mediate a dispute between two TCA members. Sounds like the mediation went to your satisfaction.

C.W. Burfle

Personally even thou I still do sell on ebay ( I try to disclose every little thing ) I still rather be a buyer than a seller as all it takes is someone that has say a 2343 F unit and it has a crack/slight burn mark/doesn't work what have you and they buy yours and then cry to ebay that you didn't disclose that crac/burn mark and you get a piece of crap back and you are stuck with the shipping both ways and you have to refund their cost of the item. 

On ebay now days the buyer has zero risk and the seller has 100% of the risk. 

Bill

1500+ eBay transactions as a buyer and seller since 1999.  No problems to date.

After following this forum for about five years, it's pretty clear no one is changing anybody's mind on this topic.  But one thing's for sure--for us postwar/conventional folks, eBay is a dream come true.

Chessie/CSX  -  Minneapolis & St. Louis

    Polar Railroad  -  Hershey Railroad

rtraincollector posted:

On ebay now days the buyer has zero risk and the seller has 100% of the risk. 

Good point, if I had to dissuade people with eBay, it'd be to try to tell them what a nightmare selling can be.

Almost all of my bad experiences with eBay have been as a seller. People really think that, for example, a 60+ year old book should be as new in condition as something they could buy at the local new bookstore yesterday.

I've had my share of buyer's remorse for items I've sold, too. They got into a bidding war, paid more than they should have, then later claim the item isn't what you said it was, because they probably feel stupid for bidding so much. That's happened a few times on items I've sold...

Ive sold models to people that were from different production runs and the paint didn't quite match what they already had. Then they accused me of repainting them. Ive had people tell me months after the fact that the loco I sold them didn't work. Well it worked when it left my house and now you've had it for three months, what the heck do you want me to do?  I hate selling on eBay, its exhausting then at the end of the month I have to write then a huge check

MTH Authorized Service Tech

President Chief Operations Officer, The Lenny Lines

 

I love my trains!!!

 

http://www.netanimations.net/Moving-picture-steam-locomotive-running-animated-gif.gif

I bought a 5 pack and add on 2 pack MTH Lehigh Valley heavyweight passenger cars on ebay about a week and a half ago. When I got them out of the box one of the steps had broken off of the coaches in transit as well as the plastic pieces holding the doors in place on the combine had broken off. Wasn't mad as both were easy fixes.

Only problem I have is whether or not my weaver John Wilkes can pull them all!

- Joe

Somerset County 4-H Trainmasters, METCA,

Independent Hi-Railers Eastern Division,

Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders,

Raritan River Chapter of the NRHS,

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

 http://raritanriver-rr.com/

"You're too young to remember the Raritan River!" -Told to me by a man at a train show.

In all my train transactions my experience here has been 100% positive, from private sellers 100% positive, and on Ebay 95% positive. I ask a lot of questions, get to know whomever I am dealing with, ask for references, and lacking a good feeling quickly follow my gut and withdraw...

I might add that even from my LHS I will test run an engine at the store. ( and my LHS does not require I purchase it first - some may ) I trust them the MOST because they have a local reputation to protect. 

 

TCA - 10 - 64769

Active Ferroequinologist

Collector of 40' scale boxcars

Collector of NYC steam in all gauges

I had only about 4 or 5 problems on ebay out of about 2000 so I can't complain.  I did get ripped off a couple times at York which was my fault for not checking closer. I been a member of the TCA since 1982 and you have bad TCA and non TCA members.

Sueme Valley System

Gene H posted:

I had only about 4 or 5 problems on ebay out of about 2000 so I can't complain.  I did get ripped off a couple times at York which was my fault for not checking closer. I been a member of the TCA since 1982 and you have bad TCA and non TCA members.

Over the past view years I bought a Lionel 2026 from 2 different York dealers. Both engines were marked "runs and smokes great". Neither smoked, and one ran jerky. I won't make that mistake, of going only by someone's word, again.

Chiming in with those folks mentioning selling - many moons ago I bought and sold a lot of train items.  Over the years the selling aspect became a nightmare - too many bad apples claiming the item was not working or was not as described.  eBay never supported me, the buyer was always right.  I still buy but stopped selling years ago.

 

Now this is irony, I bought a LeMax crazy cars for a layout I'm working on and I paid top dollar for a brand new one. Ive now gotten 2 used ones. This is the first major eBay issue I've had in awhile but I haven't been buying much either.

MTH Authorized Service Tech

President Chief Operations Officer, The Lenny Lines

 

I love my trains!!!

 

http://www.netanimations.net/Moving-picture-steam-locomotive-running-animated-gif.gif

Having bought and sold via eBay since 1998, there has been a huge change in marketplace. I believe this change is in the consumer more than the marketplace as I've bought and sold trains here for about 6 - 7 years and have seen the same changes.

1) Most people know nothing about trains. When kids or grand kids are selling off a collection, or a wife, or just the guy that bought it at estate sale, they know nothing other than what it looks like, this means they often list it as brand new (if it is in the box and looks reasonably new in their view). They aren't trying to screw you, they just don't know better. Take this into consideration and look at the photos, ask questions, the seller wants to sell and not have a hassle down the road.

2) When selling anything used at all, expect the buyer to be entirely unreasonable. This comes from their expectation that although you've disclosed everything you know, and you're clearly stating the item is used, they will expect it to be brand new and fully serviced by you forever and you'll be willing to give them a full refund forever too. This expectation has come from a retail world of "no questions asked" returns, the consumer expects it, even on used trains.

3) Some folks just can't help themselves, they buy something change their mind and want to return it. These same people do this at retail stores every day. You can't change the tigers stripes.

4) There are fakes, scams, etc., everywhere these days. Do what you can to limit being on the losing end. Never send money via PayPal friends and family unless you know the person in real life. If they need you to cover the 3% fee, just add to the transaction, but don't send F&F. On this forum someone sold me an item a few years ago, guess what never showed and the fellow dropped off the earth, when I contested the sale with PayPal and American Express they both advised it was a "gift" and therefore no action could be taken on their part.

Most of these items apply in person at a train meet and online, it is not buyer beware or sell take cover, but just some basic expectations which if consider will help keep the stress down. When a sale does go smoothly and I don't hear from the buyer for weeks after about every issue they have (forgot that one you're their private service tech for life) like where they didn't change the switch from DCC to DCS, or know how to add an engine to their remote, or that they have to add smoke fluid, or lube, etc., it is a joy filled surprise. The same is true when buying, when it show up, looks like expected, runs, etc., what a great day.

Thankfully the old 80/20 rule applies, 20% of sales or purchases are 80% of the trouble.

Happy buying or selling --

Jason

Building the Cincinnati Western Railway

TCA 13-68696

 

The only warning I have about buying on Ebay is there seems to be an increase sale of items from china, that is a too good of a deal, Don't walk but run from that. Perfect example the other night there was one that claimed a 2343 runs great $29.95 with free shipping. Bottom line if the deal seems to good you know it is. also another hint on these they have 0 feedback and that's because Ebay shuts them down and they open a new account as fast as ebay does it. Yes because of there guarantee ebay will refund your money but your supporting a crook doing so. And this is some of what drives Ebay fee up. 

Bill

rtraincollector posted:

The only warning I have about buying on Ebay is there seems to be an increase sale of items from china, that is a too good of a deal, Don't walk but run from that. Perfect example the other night there was one that claimed a 2343 runs great $29.95 with free shipping. Bottom line if the deal seems to good you know it is. also another hint on these they have 0 feedback and that's because Ebay shuts them down and they open a new account as fast as ebay does it. Yes because of there guarantee ebay will refund your money but your supporting a crook doing so. And this is some of what drives Ebay fee up. 

I agree 100%, eBay has good deals but you have to do the homework on the item being sold and the seller.  I always select "US Only" when searching the auctions.

H1000

RonH posted:

When someone is selling a Pre-War train set and states untested but shows picture of the train on tracks on their layout?

Ron,

I assume you are making an ingest comment that shows an example of a clear indicator of a dishonest seller. Yes, run from this, no reason that engine couldn't have been tested before listing.

Ron brings up a good point, look for other things in the pictures that tell you about the auction other than the item itself. A little detective work goes a long way.

When I sell trains on eBay, I include videos of the train running and demonstrate as many of the operating features as possible.  I then promptly take pictures of the train so that items on my layout and lighting environment in the pictures will match what is in the video. IMO, this adds a good piece of mind for the buyer.

H1000

H1000 posted:
rtraincollector posted:

The only warning I have about buying on Ebay is there seems to be an increase sale of items from china, that is a too good of a deal, Don't walk but run from that. Perfect example the other night there was one that claimed a 2343 runs great $29.95 with free shipping. Bottom line if the deal seems to good you know it is. also another hint on these they have 0 feedback and that's because Ebay shuts them down and they open a new account as fast as ebay does it. Yes because of there guarantee ebay will refund your money but your supporting a crook doing so. And this is some of what drives Ebay fee up. 

I agree 100%, eBay has good deals but you have to do the homework on the item being sold and the seller.  I always select "US Only" when searching the auctions.

I report the item to ebay when I come across them

Bill

I really don't get the animosity towards Ebay or even why it is called fleabay on this forum.  If you are buying a used item from a private seller in this forum or on ebay expect there may be something that is less than perfect.  Sometimes the transaction will work, sometimes not.  My limited ebay experience has been by and large positive but my expectations have not been very high.  My equally limited experience here has provided a wider variation.  Some folks have been beyond exceptional, one or two not so much.  Live and learn.  Again, this is a for a used or previously owned item. Ask a lot of questions, develop a sense of who you are dealing with and either buy or not.  Both ebay and the forum provide ample opportunities to exchange products, neither site cares for a minute what I think so proceed with caution and enjoy the hobby.

Folks,

I’ve been buying train-related items on Ebay for many years (I am not a seller) and its one big example of caveat emptor.

I’ve had virtually 100 percent success as a buyer and from reading this thread that seems to be the case (or very close) for many others. The one bad one I had was a tinplate crossing signal that was DOA. Seller returned my funds, no questions asked, within minutes after I sent an email.

I have no special advice that hasn’t already been mentioned: read descriptions very carefully, check feedback, and ask questions if needed.

Btw, see a lot of this these days: “I’m not a train expert…” and “…not tested…” and “…pictures are my description…” When I see those I quickly move on. Those are red flags for me so no sale. There are always other sellers with the same items who know how to effectively craft a for sale listing.

TCA, LCCA

johnstrains posted:

 

Btw, see a lot of this these days: “I’m not a train expert…” and “…not tested…” and “…pictures are my description…” When I see those I quickly move on. Those are red flags for me so no sale. There are always other sellers with the same items who know how to effectively craft a for sale listing.

I don't - those are often the best buys - and fresh from the attic goods.

I don't expect a "Factory Fresh" type of guarantee on used trains...sure seller experience is a consideration - but not enough to keep me from bidding.

Want a group of nit-pickers? Try selling in the high-end audio segment...I'm something of an expert - plenty of sales and tech experience - but I rarely sell that stuff on eBay just because that groups is so full of overly obsessive nit-wits and downright thieves.

I knew I'd jinx myself by posting on this thread!

Just received a Hogwarts Express 5972...it was weak listing with misspellings - and won for 25 bucks.

I didn't expect it to work - and knew a few details were buggered up.

The guy shipped in a box that was more like a paper shirt box - totally mangled...half open.

More details broken - and for sure - she's locked up tight.

But - this is the kind of buyer you take a chance on - Im still going to leave positive feedback.

Based on his handwritten label - this looks like an old-timer - not going to take him to task.

For the money - its not worth the effort - and still very likely I could list in properly and sell for more than I paid.

Win some - lose some!

 

Roving Sign posted:

...The guy shipped in a box that was more like a paper shirt box - totally mangled...half open....more details broken - and for sure - she's locked up tight...But...Im still going to leave positive feedback.

Right there, in two sentences, describes the utter folly of the whole "user feedback ratings" nonsense on EBay. Someone ships a piece of crap that has broken parts, doesn't work and is badly packaged, and he still gets positive feedback? Ridiculous.

It's just one of the MANY reasons why I never, ever buy ANYTHING on Ebay.

Dan Padova posted:

As I read through postings on pretty much any subject having to do with purchases , here on the forums, there are those that have said they will not buy anything from an Ebay seller under any circumstances.  ....

I sure don't understand why, Dan. I joined eBay in 2001, and have made countless transactions .... both O and HO, including some expensive stuff, and lots and lots of non-train items, too.

Completely happy with eBay. Couple of hiccups along the way were promptly resolved. The biggest problem I ever had was of my own making, as the seller of a new, expensive (for HO) Y6b steam engine, that I accidently misrepresented. The buyer and I ended up becoming long distance train buddies, as I corrected the problem with him.

eBay is a valuable and irreplaceable resource.

EBT Jim posted:
Dan Padova posted:

As I read through postings on pretty much any subject having to do with purchases , here on the forums, there are those that have said they will not buy anything from an Ebay seller under any circumstances.  ....

I sure don't understand why, Dan. I joined eBay in 2001, and have made countless transactions .... both O and HO, including some expensive stuff, and lots and lots of non-train items, too.

Completely happy with eBay. Couple of hiccups along the way were promptly resolved. The biggest problem I ever had was of my own making, as the seller of a new, expensive (for HO) Y6b steam engine, that I accidently misrepresented. The buyer and I ended up becoming long distance train buddies, as I corrected the problem with him.

eBay is a valuable and irreplaceable resource.

Speaking of long distance buddies, I sold a couple of items to a fellow in Australia, maybe ten years ago.  We're still communicating regularly.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I have been and Ebay buyer/seller for 20+ years. I understand everyone's comments here, however, I am in northern California. This this is where there is no York, or the numerous train shops and mail order houses that are  on the east coast. Therefore, going  somewhere to actually put my hands on it is slim to none.

I have bought on Ebay, and never had any may issues to speak of. I have also purchased items from forum members with no regrets. Quit frankly, Ebay gave me access to items I would have never had, and made wonderful relationships with those sellers. They even knew which items I was looking for. However, I normally purchase the locos from a dealer.

Joe Gozzo

Right there, in two sentences, describes the utter folly of the whole "user feedback ratings" nonsense on EBay. Someone ships a piece of crap that has broken parts, doesn't work and is badly packaged, and he still gets positive feedback? Ridiculous.

But if he sold it here, that would be OK.
On EBay the buyer has recourse if he/she chooses to use it.

I understand why Roving Sign doesn't want to leave neutral or negative feedback. I think he knew the seller wasn't up on trains, paid a low price, and took a chance. I've purchased similar lots.
But I handle the bad ones a bit differently.
If I feel the seller was probably honest, but lacking in knowledge, I will send the seller an email explaining the issues with the sale, and not leave any feedback at all.

C.W. Burfle

Agree with trainlover - for some of us there are no other options to buying through an internet source. So far I've had good results with Ebay and one purchase through Craigs list. Also good results direct from some dealers. Regardless of the source, I don't have the option of looking at the actual item until it is delivered to the door. In this case, the old adage about location, location, location applies to the buyer as much as the seller.

OGR Webmaster posted:

It's just one of the MANY reasons why I never, ever buy ANYTHING on Ebay.

There you have it folks, you don't have to worry about bidding against Rich! 

For the record, the only (knock on wood!!!) bad experience that I have had buying online was from one person on the OGR Forum.

Ebay has morphed into something I really cant stand as a seller

1- Sellers can NOT leave negative feedback

2- Evrything is geared for the buyer  Any item that is brought up to a case goes the buyers way no matter what  The seller has to pay the return shipping also

3- The fees are astronomical

4- There are too many buyer that take advantage of this to get partial refunds

I still sell on ebay because I prefer not to get the haggling emails from Buy Sell boards

 

As a buyer on Ebay you should have no qualms buying anything because a return, refund, or partial refund is just a click away

 

Good point on obtaining items.  Local shows are nice but ebay offers the entire country/world as a 'shopping flea market'. 

I have lionel/MTH/3rd rail, etc but I'm mostly into HO modeling and I can purchase very nice (most have never been run) brass locomotives.  The price of most brass engines are around what they were selling for in the 70's-90's so, with inflation, they are extremely cheap.  Usually, at flea markets, anyone selling brass engines usually has them way over priced.    The same with a lot of Lionel products: a lot of stuff that was thought to be hard to get, isn't.  

Without ebay, I would never have been able to get my collection of 'train stuff'.

Some items are very hard to find.  I have two geiger turntables that were made back in the 70's.  On ebay, someone had a complete motor mechanism for 10 bucks that I now have as 'backup' for spare parts.

One can input 'saved searches' of items that you are interested in and ebay will notify you, via email, when one is for sale.  Sure saves me a lot of time, checking every day/week to see if that item is available.

One can also click on the 'sold' option to see what 'like' products sold for to see what current prices are for an item. Although the price can vary by time of year and even by week.  I've bought items that I thought was a very good buy, only to see, a few weeks later, people paying a lot more for the same item.  This is in relation to brass locomotives where the overall quality is a lot narrower 'field' versus 3 rail items that can vary widely on condition.

My view on buying, I pick, ahead of time, what I think the item is worth to me.  If I get it, great, if not, there will be more of the same, sold later.  Items that I really want, and don't come up often, I will pay more for, but that is rare.

 I also find auction houses a very good source for items.  Stout seems to be the best for knowledge of 'train stuff'.  When viewing products, it's obvious some 'houses' have no knowledge about trains.  Stout puts in lots of pictures and a well detailed description of the item.  One must remember to add the 19-25% that they add to the price of the item plus shipping.  One can put in a bid ahead of time, which is nice, as you don't need to be 'online' to win and, again, if I win, great, if not, keep looking.

 

 

Another thought about buying on Ebay.  I like to take my time looking.  As was mentioned, Ebay is like a world wide flea market, although buying from overseas can be costly on the postage end.  I do attend train meets that are not too far from home.  I'll drive an hour.  I have been to York three times.  It's two hours from me, almost 100 miles.  That's pretty close to a tank of gas.  York is so big that it clutters my mind.  I loose track of what is where quickly.  Smaller meets are much easier for me to browse.  That's why I don't like shop-pain at malls.  There's just too much going on.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Adding to BlueLineC4, I know of one 'Buyer' with two "Positive" feedback entries which point out that he did not pay.  I asked the administrators about 'buyers' who do not pay and was told that after three 'no pay' events, they might caution that 'buyer' not to do it anymore.  The wording in the feedback may be negative but it is still a Positive entry.  John in Lansing, ILL

rtraincollector posted:

Personally even thou I still do sell on ebay ( I try to disclose every little thing ) I still rather be a buyer than a seller as all it takes is someone that has say a 2343 F unit and it has a crack/slight burn mark/doesn't work what have you and they buy yours and then dry to ebay that you didn't disclose that crac/burn mark and you get a piece of crap back and you are stuck with the shipping both ways and you have to refund their cost of the item. 

On ebay now days the buyer has zero risk and the seller has 100% of the risk. 

I have sold on eBay for 17 yrs . Only got burned once on a Lionel 3520 gen. car . I had one from a guy who was from a rich family . He got all the toys as a kid , he did not like trains ,he was 50 and wanted to unload all of this in one sale , I got a station wagon full of in the crisp box postwar trains some never opened . The generator car was sold they buyer said it was not as described , I told him to send it back , he sent back a different one , I did not check it right away and refunded him

He kept the mint one . It was my fault . Now any postwar Lionel like that I sell , I mark with invisible blacklight paint in little dots in a few spots .

Also as a seller , if you put a lot of pictures , and this disclaimer , look at pictures , if you see something email your question before you bid , and make full description and state NO RETURNS , if you do not accept these terms DON'T BID . I have never lost out from eBay , never had to give money back , and if they left negative feedback it was removed .

I list all the glaring flaws and even small things and refer them to the pictures as the determining factor for bidding under the above terms . Tell it like it is , most bottom feeders on eBay know they won't win a dispute . I insure the item for the full value of the item sold price . If they say it is damaged file a claim , you are not out anything .

I recently bought a hopper from a seller who sells a lot , they item arrived totally wrecked from poor packaging , I emailed them the picture it was priority mail and $50 insurance , item was like $30 , I got a full refund and so did the seller and I was told to keep the damaged item.

I gave a very positive feedback , I have had some of my expensive custom cars sell for $200-300 and once a coupler was broke off from the heavy dropping or handling . I had it insured for the full value , the customer wanted to keep the car and repair it , I requested $50 in damages plus shipping to and fro with pictures documenting the damage , I got $75 from USPS in about a week or 2 and sent the money to the customer he was thrilled . Bottom line make an accurate listing and insure and track it .

Another thing many sellers are not super train freaks so many times they don't know , just look at their selling history of completed items , sometimes they sell all kinds of stuff . I think common sense people skills resolve 99% of these issues .

ebay seller since 2000

 

 

Scratchbuilder1-48 posted:

Also as a seller , if you put a lot of pictures , and this disclaimer , look at pictures , if you see something email your question before you bid , and make full description and state NO RETURNS , if you do not accept these terms DON'T BID . I have never lost out from eBay , never had to give money back , and if they left negative feedback it was removed . 

This won't save you at all as a seller, if the buyer claims it's not as described. Got burned selling a Locomotive Cyclopedia once like that. The listing says AS-IS and plenty of photos. the buyer said it was more messed up than that. Ebay denied his claim and he appealed and got it overturned.

EBay actually refunded his money directly out of their pocket, something I'm told happens from time to time when I called eBay about it. But I got to keep the purchase money, but he got the money and the book. The eBay guy on the phone says you only can have that happen once and only under special circumstances, so it's not a tactic anyone can use to get free stuff.

But the buyer can claim something broke or was messed up along the way and you WILL have to accept the return in such a case, no matter what you said in the listing. I've confirmed that with eBay, too.

That's why I rarely sell on eBay, but rarely have issues buying from it.

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