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How far do you go to "make good" on buy/sell transactions

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by WT21, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Just was wondering recently about how far to go on making good on buy/sell transactions. Here are some examples of recent transactions:

    1. Sold a 70-210 canon lens on another board. I didn't insure it, but did require signature. The post office delivered it without a signature, and the buyer claimed he never got it. It was "only" $150 (i.e. not $800 or something) and I refunded the entire purchase, because I felt it was my responsibility to ship it properly (since then, I've never not insured. btw -- the post office would only reimburse me the cost of the signature required service, or $2.10, and only if I filed the right paperwork).

    2. Sold a CV75/2.5 lens. Listed it in the description as "in good but used condition" but forgot to select the drop down on the fredmiranda site for condition. The default is "10. like new condition" and that's what the buyer read. When the buyer got it, he complained, because it had scuffs (understandable). I gave him the option to return it, or a reduction. The buyer chose the reduction.

    3. Sold a lens in person (face to face) with a buyer I connected with on a board, but the buyer e-mailed me shortly afterward with an issue with the lens that I hadn't noticed. I believed they were being truthful, and it was just something that was missed by both parties. I did mark the lens "like new" because I thought it was. I gave them a price adjustment and, in turn, they gave me a positive review from the transaction.

    4. Had a buyer for a low-priced item. It was my first cross-border shipping (to Canada), and I made a BIG mistake, sending it UPS (don't EVER use UPS across the border!), who decided they wanted to hold it up for $35 in fees for a $50 item. The buyer abandoned the item. UPS wanted $35 to send it back home to me, so I abandoned it, too. The buyer (graciously) volunteered not to ask for a refund and I was out the item (though UPS got a little gift). IMO, the buyer went above and beyond here.

    Has anyone else had transactions like this where you were in a situation to "make good" on a transaction? What did you do? When is it your responsibility vs. the buyers (or vice versa, if you are the buyer).

    My opinion is that it is the seller's responsibility to deliver the item up to the point of signature. If the item doesn't arrive for signature, then it's up to the seller to refund and seek the insurance claim. The moment the item is signed for, it's the buyer's item, unless they have an issue.

    What do others think?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I sold a flash to a member and it arrived with the clear red piece broken. He actually found and priced the part before he even let me know about the issue(super awesome of him) and I paid for the piece, because I thought I had packed it properly, but obliviously I didn't, so I made good.

    The other time I had any issue was that OVF I bought from you, but that wasn't either of our fault so I wrote off as a life lesson. I appreciate that you offered to reimburse me but it wasn't in any way your error.

    I rarely ship anything of high value to avoid any issues.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I just PM'ed you my hiccup since it's MU-43 related!
  4. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Nightmare WT! UPS should be shot.
    But ... no, I never sold anything ... and all my buys have been totally A1 and spiffing.
  5. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    WT21, I think you did the right thing in all cases.

    I once sold a Sigma lens (known for quirky focusing) that had worked fine for me. The seller left me good feedback, but then a few weeks later I noticed him posting questions and then pictures about how the lens was functioning. People were suggesting to him that it was not an issue, but he did not seem satisfied. I PM'd him and offered to take the lens back, which he happily accepted.

    Had a similar issue on ebay with a non-camera item. Buyer left positive feedback but dinged me on the Seller rating about "item as described". I only noticed because my perfect rating dropped a tenth of a point. So I sent him a note asking if there was an issue. We discussed it and I ended up taking the item back.

    In both cases I could have easily walked away from the transactions, as no one asked for a refund, but I really feel like we have a responsibility toward each other to be good citizens in this on line swap meet we participate in. I'm sure that means that I'll get screwed over one day on something, but that is the way I approach it.
  6. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Wow Demiro. That first one was way above and beyond. In my thinking, it's the seller's responsibility to research, and Sigma AF issues aren't too hard to find. But I like the approach.

    I'll make sure to buy my gear from you in the future!! ;)  Very cool and very encouraging.
  7. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    The guy with the Sigma was just getting in to photography, and I truly think he got balled up in test shots and measurements well beyond just taking photos (too much time on the forums!). I could see that my lens was going to drive him half mad, so it was an easy decision.

    I've got an E-P3 and 25/1.4 for sale right now, and some Canon gear, so you can jump right in! :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    I've learned to always insure packages even if buyers don't ask for it, because ultimately it's going to be on you to resolve it. Saying "you didn't ask for insurance" won't really work for most people. I've been on the other side of this as well, so I know now :cool: 
  9. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I always pack items so that the shipper can drop-kick it and the item will still be protected. I also insure anything I ship. So far I haven't had a problem - but you can't anticipate everything. I take every possible precaution with buying/selling - the risky one for me is trading. I try to trade only with people that I believe I can trust. :cool: 
    • Like Like x 1
  10. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Earlier this year I sold a Gore-tex bivvi bag on ebay for a very good price - I thought the bids had gone way higher than the item was worth. Posted it and heard nothing at first, but about a month later the buyer contacted me to say he had only just opened it because he had been ill and it wasn't quite what he thought it was. I replied that I wanted my customers to be 100% happy and offered him a full refund including postage both ways. He was surprised but grateful that I would do this after that length of time and left feedback saying I was the best ebayer he had ever delt with.

    I relisted the item and it sold for even more! But there was a catch, the buyer sent me an e-cheque even though I had specified Paypal only and the cheque bounced. He admitted he was having trouble raising the money and I agreed to waiting a couple of weeks to allow him to do so. He still couldn't manage it and was grateful when I agreed to cancel the transaction without reporting him to ebay.

    So I listed it for a 3rd time and on this occasion it sold for less than the previous two times. What I had overlooked was that ebay fees were still charged on the two transactions that hadn't been completed and, with the postage I had incurred on the first sale, I actually ended out of pocket! I would have done better to throw it out with the trash, but at least I still have 100% feedback on ebay!
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Personally, while I would be grateful if I was a buyer, and had one of these issues, I think that communication is key. Whenever selling items, I clearly list in the sales that I quote shipping extra, and ask the buyer what they would want, and how they want it shipped (USPS, Fedex, UPS, etc). I will do my best to package an item securely no matter what happens. So far, though I have had very few issues with the packages, I have never had anyone question me, if they are the ones who chose that shipping method.

    When buying, I always ask for either a trackable package (UPS/Fedex), or with USPS, priority mail with insurance. Fedex/UPS come with a $100 insurance automatically (over $500 requires signature).
  12. Uncle Frank

    Uncle Frank Photo Enthusiast

    Jul 26, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    I only ship to friends or forum mates I've known for a while, give them a 1 week return privilege, and guarantee of satisfaction... but have never had a return. When it comes to strangers, I advertise on Craigs List, and will only sell face to face for cash.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. I just received an "item not as described" message on eBay for the 17/2.8 lens I sold that did not fit the buyer's "Micro Four Thirds" camera...an Olympus E-420. I always figured that you learnt how to use Google before you learnt how to use eBay, but apparently not.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    John, Thanks for sharing, and lots of great catches to watch out for when buying and selling!
  15. zpuskas

    zpuskas Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I guess I've been lucky. I haven't had any major problems with items I've sold. What I don't like is an item is being sold to someone in the US (confirmed address, etc), especially on E*Bay, and the item is then drop shippped to another country. Had an experience with a filter sent to New Jersey and it eventually found it's way to India where the customer complained the filter was scratched. He filed a complaint and E*Bay backed him. I gave him a discount and he was happy. It was a B+W filter so it had some value.
  16. wclavey

    wclavey Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Houston, TX
    I worked in the transportation business for a number of years, so like others who have commented here, I package stuff I ship so it can be drop kicked out of the truck. But I have a question for those of you who insure items you ship: Have you ever tried to collect on the insurance? I am especially interested in knowing the answer if it is something that you did not buy new yourself. I have never had success here... there always seems to be some gotcha! to the documentation I have that ends up turning the insurance fee I paid into a donation to the shipping company. Photos of the object and a copy of the used purchase transaction do not seem to be enough evidence.
  17. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    I always insure packages, but fortunately I've never needed to collect on the insurance. If photos of the object and copy of paid receipt are not enough evidence, I see no point in insurance. But how can photos and receipt not be enough evidence?
  18. wclavey

    wclavey Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    Houston, TX
    I'm not sure... I actually went up to the post office one day when it was a little slow and asked the guy behind the counter some questions about it. My receipt for the object was a copy of the eBay transaction and I had the photo of the object that I had used to post on the forum to sell it. Perhaps it was wishful thinking that the eBay transaction would have been enough... and it was before PayPal - - that might be accepted better. He told me that unless it was something purchased new from a vendor (retailer) it would always be very difficult to collect. As a result, I no longer purchase insurance on things I ship on my own dime. It may be worth testing it again sometime. Maybe someone else has better experience to relate.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    I've asked that exact question to my local post office clerk, whom I know and trust. He's not one to just cite the company line. He'd been clear in saying that a copy of the ebay transaction is enough for an insurance claim. Basically you need to show that you sold item for same value you insured it for and shipped to the address shown on the ebay transaction.

    I've never tested it out though. The only item they've ever lost on me I did not insure!

    Conversely, the manager at the shipping place I used for Fed-Ex tells me that damage claims on self-packed items can be very difficult to win. If they pack them for you the win % improves greatly. Of course he also makes more money in that scenario.
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