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  1. #1

    Default E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    A little story for you.... I will present the facts as they are, and you can judge whether I am right or wrong....

    I keep a permanent search on eBay for Houbigant because I have collected it for over thirty years (at least) and I like finding things. I especially like to make up sets or runs of similar bottles. Just an idle pursuit that I enjoy. I never have much money but I keep my eyes open and get things when I can afford them. With patience I often find the odd little matching gem for my collection but mostly they go to higher bidders, and so be it.

    The other day, a sweet little 1920's Houbigant Ooloo black cat bottle flagged up, so I kept an eye on it because it answered to the Houbigant set and it also answered to the kiddy bottles set.

    I didn't expect to get it because they normally are priced in the region of £60 ishy-ish ($87) if they are in good nick. However this little one had a fallen off ear and a crack in the lid. A similar one had sold fairly recently for £37 ish ($53), and there is another selling for $57 (£39) but this one was in a worse condition so I was a little more hopeful of being able to afford it. I don't care what condition they are in as I like the collective set thing.

    I kept an eye on it and settled down at the end of the auction to bid on it. I left a really naughty hefty bid of £42.50 whilst it was still at a low bid of around £2ish, as I expected a last minute rush on it and was expecting to be given a run in. I was wondering at my sanity at the time, but you all understand that sort of lunacy. Anyway, to my delight, nobody did and I won the auction for £4.50, so I was very happy as only a true collector can be.

    I paid up, asked for it to be packed nicely, and rushed off to make it a little special space on my kiddy perfume bottle shelf. A bit like a magpie really.

    I've covered the sellers name (even though he doesn't deserve it).



    Happiness was short-lived. I then get a message from eBay telling me the vendor has cancelled the transaction after I had paid and was going to refund it. I knew exactly why, so I sent a curt note telling him that surely I deserved the courtesy of a conversation beforehand, that it was bad eBay manners to cancel because he didn't get enough money, and that it was bad karma to him.

    He then answered and said if he'd realised it was going to go for pennies, then he would have put a reserve on it. Didn't I know what they were worth and thanked me for the education it had given him. He said he's sent me a note saying it used to be his grandmas, but there wasn't a note.

    I was seriously hopping mad at the sheer audacity and said that I didn't care if he kept the bottle but that it was not the way to deal on eBay. I said his grandma would probably have preferred it to go to a collector rather than be sold in greed. I hoped that he enjoyed the extra money and good luck to him, but bad Karma would come his way for doing that to a genuine person as I had bid a lot in good faith. It wasn't my fault nobody else had.

    He then told me I was now being rude because I was frustrated and not to send him any more messages. That made me even more cross.

    I then sent one more, saying I wasn't going to be rude but that I would further his eBay education by pointing out exactly what the lawful position was, that was a lawfully binding contract, that technically could be pursued by solicitors....but that I wasn't going to do any of it because I couldn't be bothered, and said that was the end of matter.

    He then STILL sent one back saying he was going to report me if I sent any more messages to him..... having just done exactly that to me, after I clearly stated end of matter.....

    I don't do being cross very well at the best of times. I have an absolutely squeaky clean, unblemished eBay record and I just know if i leave him his deserved red mark that he will do it to me. So i'm left furious, helpless and really upset because I haven't done anything wrong, lost my dear little treasure (which doesn't really matter but I didn't deserve to) and might get a blemished record to boot..... I have been really put in turmoil inside.

    There is no recourse other then the red mark, so what do I do?.... Just forget it I suppose.
    The PONK club - gymnosium for perfumers (NOTE:- All club matters still on hold whilst I care for my dad now.)

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  2. #2
    Basenotes Institution 30 Roses's Avatar
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    That is terrible.

    Ebay sellers have not been able to leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers since 2008 (at least in the USA) so I say go ahead and give him the negative he deserves.

    However if he cancels and refunds you the transaction may disappear from your account and you may not be able to leave any feedback. If you already have your refund, take a look at your purchases page and see if the item is still there.

  3. #3

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Phew... because it isn't about the bottle or the money really. It is about good manners and honour. If he'd asked me nicely before cancelling or given me a better reason then I wouldn't be so cross. Even if he'd lied I would have known anyway. It's obvious.

    With eBay, it is win some lose some. I would have felt guilty if he had said he was hoping for more money and might well have sent him some perfume or something instead. I've done that before to someone else. I'm fair like that.


    Bah.... too bad. I just needed to rant somewhere where people understood. I feel better now. All irritation gone. Thank you.

    Anyway here is a good example (from google image), just for some cheer.

    Last edited by mumsy; 11th May 2016 at 05:41 PM.
    The PONK club - gymnosium for perfumers (NOTE:- All club matters still on hold whilst I care for my dad now.)

    Twitter - @PonkClub for regular twitter updates

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    Currently wearing: Charisma by Avon

  4. #4
    Basenotes Institution 30 Roses's Avatar
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    It is unfortunately common for sellers to do this when they don't get enough money, and there's no way to forces a seller to ship.

    I hope you find another one at a reasonable price!
    And I hope his sits there unsold and rots.


    Edit:
    Oh, the bottle is cute!
    Well, the nice thing about an image is that it's free (and doesn't need to be dusted).
    Last edited by 30 Roses; 11th May 2016 at 05:44 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    The Karma will unfold on its own without my input....

    I wasn't looking for a catty bottle. It found me... and it will again if it wants to. The grandma will give it to me. Just wait.
    The PONK club - gymnosium for perfumers (NOTE:- All club matters still on hold whilst I care for my dad now.)

    Twitter - @PonkClub for regular twitter updates

    My Tincture list

    A perfumed life - Tinctures, perfumes, cordials, wines and ingredients
    Currently wearing: Charisma by Avon

  6. #6

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    DEFINITELY leave the seller negative feedback. It is fully deserving in cases like this, and is really the only recourse that you have. I've had similar situations myself, unfortunately....

  7. #7
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I agree that negative feedback is warranted. What an awful thing to do to a buyer who has won a bid fair and square.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I've had similar happen to me as a buyer. I've never done it as a seller. I have had buyers try and scam me, but very few and far between (thankfully!).

    So sorry it happened! I hate when people back out of a contract.
    Currently wearing: Amber Absolute by Tom Ford

  9. #9
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Mumsy - Reading your original post reminded me of a "Buy-it-now" auction I won only for the seller to cancel it and say he had not meant to use "Buy it Now." I did not think there was anything I could do, so I just forgot it. These sellers are claiming they do not know how to use eBay quite yet, which I can understand.

    The deal I lost was $100 for an unopened 50-ml bottle of Egoiste concentree and a bar of Egoiste soap.

  10. #10

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I am sorry for your disappointment. I know exactly how you feel as I have had it happen to me albeit not with perfume or perfume bottles. I apologise for the length of my story, but this is what happened to me.

    In my case I saw an item on auction and contacted the seller to ask if he were interested in setting up a buy-it-now for me. He said yes, and he set the price for it and the shipping for it. I simply agreed to the amounts he demanded. I purchased the item and immediately paid for it. The next day he cancelled the purchase and refunded my money without contacting me to even let me know what was happening. I contacted him, and eventually he replied. He said that he had not charged me enough for shipping. As I recall, I think I paid roughly $25 for shipping. Well, I am a reasonable person, so I offered to pay him the difference, but he asked me to pay an exorbitant amount of money. I told him it was too much and offered to pay half of it. He refused. He then re-listed the item that afternoon with an even higher shipping cost than he had asked me to pay.

    Naturally, I was not pleased. I contacted eBay, and as most people know, talking to eBay customer support is highly time consuming and frustrating in every way. One knows that half of what they tell one is read from a prepared script---seriously. Then I was transferred numerous times and put on hold numerous times until someone in Trust and Safety said eBay cannot do anything about it and advised I open a formal complaint and leave a negative feedback. I opened the complaint which was found in my favour. Ebay confirmed I had a binding contract with the seller, and he was obliged to follow through. He still refused to work out the shipping with me, and then I saw that he increased the shipping cost on his auction yet again. To my utter amazement, the item sold with the exorbitant shipping cost. I had to wonder who was foolish enough to pay that much for shipping? Next, I left him a negative feedback and decided there was nothing more I could do as eBay told me that leaving a negative feedback was my only recourse. You will not believe what happened next.

    Seller contacted eBay customer support and talked someone into removing the negative feedback! There was absolutely nothing in the feedback that violated eBay policy. I was more than a little upset at this point. Once again I belled eBay to complain. Again I was on the phone with them for at least an hour and half and was transferred several times. Finally, I spoke to one gentleman who said he had no idea how the seller had convinced customer service to remove the feedback, but it should not have been removed, so the feedback was reinstated. It "only" took me a mere three hours to get to this point with eBay customer service.

    I checked again a few days later, and once again the negative feedback was gone. Again I was on the phone with eBay for almost two hours and was transferred several times. This time I was told that the feedback should not have been removed, and they would investigate why two different representatives had removed it. However, eBay refused to reinstate the negative feedback. I was told that "it is eBay policy that once a feedback is removed, it may not be reinstated." I was now very angry with eBay and the seller. In the end, the seller managed to avoid the negative feedback, which eBay always says is the buyer's only recourse in circumstances like this. I told eBay they could not have it both ways, but of course, dealing with their customer service representatives is like trying to reason with a two year old child. The majority of their customer service representatives could not reason their way out of a paper bag. I was so chagrined. Not only had I been cheated out of my item, I had also wasted an enormous amount of time on the phone with eBay customer support.

    Well, many months later, I listed a household item on eBay, and a buyer purchased it but failed to send the payment. I emailed her numerous times through eBay's mail system and also through her registered email address, but there was no reply. I tried to bell her through her listed contact number, but the number had been disconnected. Finally, after about two weeks, I emailed her for the umpteenth time and advised her if she did not either submit payment or contact me by the end of the week, I would have no choice but to cancel the transaction and re-list the item. Five days passed, but still there was no reply, so I cancelled the sale and re-listed the item.

    Almost IMMEDIATELY after I re-listed it, she emailed me. She did not offer any explanation as to why she had not paid for the item or why she had not responded to numerous emails or why her contact phone number was disconnected. Instead, she verbally abused me and immediately left a negative feedback for the transaction. If only she had offered to pay for the item, I would have agreed, but she only seemed interested in verbal abuse and leaving an unwarranted negative feedback. I have not sold a great deal on eBay, and this was the first and only negative feedback I have ever received. I felt it was unjustified, and I reluctantly contacted eBay for help. Once again, I spent an inordinate amount of time on hold, and I was transferred numerous times, and with each transfer, I had to explain everything all over again. Dealing with eBay is both physically and emotionally exhausting.

    Finally, someone in Trust and Safety advised me that they could not remove the feedback despite what had transpired. They read the numerous emails I had sent to this buyer and saw that I had tried my best to amicably resolve whatever problem there might be but that she never responded. I was stunned. I asked them how reasonable was this?! I was told, well, it was the buyer's "perception" of the transaction that it was not a good one, and there was nothing that eBay could do about it. She even called me a "scammer" in the feedback, but not even name calling was justification for removing the feedback. I was stunned after what had happened to me in a previous transaction where I paid for an item but the seller cancelled the transaction and resold the same item on eBay and managed to get the negative feedback removed not once but twice.

    For me the upshot is that it is self-torture to even try to dialog with eBay customer service. Secondly, there are unethical, unreasonable, and in the latter case probably mentally unbalanced people buying and selling on eBay. In most cases, one loses. After these two horrible situations, I resolved to always try to buy anywhere except on eBay. It simply is not worth the stress of trying to deal with eBay. I will also add that I have never experienced anything like these two transactions on other sites. In my opinion, eBay has the worst customer service in the world, and unethical, unscrupulous sellers and buyers know it, so it is not worth the risk of buying and selling on eBay.

    In any case, you can try to open a case to get a verdict in your favour. Your seller violated eBay policy and contract law. It will not get the perfume bottle for you, but it will be a black spot on the seller's record. You can also leave a negative feedback. I believe it is totally warranted in your case. Alternatively, you can decide not to invest any more of your time and energy dealing with eBay customer service and let the matter go, aside from leaving a negative feedback. However, if you leave a negative feedback and it disappears, do not be surprised. It is an absolute disgrace that a good buyer or seller has to go through this sort of thing, and eBay is as much if not more to blame than these unscrupulous sellers and buyers. Whatever you do, I wish you good luck.
    Last edited by Oriane; 15th May 2016 at 10:43 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    What a horrible ordeal Oriane!
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  12. #12

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Yes, both cases were extremely frustrating, hednic. Whilst both eBayers's behaviour was deplorable, eBay totally failed in its duty to help and protect me in both cases, and ultimately, that was the most upsetting thing about all of it. However, it taught me a valuable lesson. I am convinced that eBay does not care about the person wronged. They do not care about the person who committed the wrong, either. All they care about is paying the least amount of money possible to run the barest semblance of a customer service department. Without exception eBay has the most inept customer service department I have ever encountered.

    Funnily enough, I used to buy and occasionally sell on eBay in the earliest days before auctions had photos, and before there was PayPal, and before eBay went public, and I seldom encountered any sort of problem and certainly nothing like the two I cited. I used to pay for items with personal cheques and still had no major issues. Once I bought an item sight unseen as there were no pictures. I relied only upon my own knowledge of what it was and the seller's description of its condition. I sent seller a cheque, but she did not ship within a reasonable time. Two weeks elapsed, and I ended up belling her and asking for a refund. I said at this point I had changed my mind about the purchase. She immediately sent me a cheque to refund my purchase price and shipping which was in excess of $200. I would never trust anyone on eBay to pay by personal cheque these days, and if I did, I never would expect the seller to refund me after s/he failed to ship. I am not saying that other people may not have encountered problems on eBay in its early days, but I really did not. Things on eBay have really changed for the worse. It is a different community now. It is sad.
    Currently wearing: Tomorrow by Avon

  13. #13

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I have to agree, Ebay is a very different animal now compared to the early days. I used to sell a fair bit on it years ago. I recall one woman buying something and pretending she didn't receive it, which genuinely happens from time to time. That said, I got a vibe. I had my wife email her saying she'd just missed out on the auction and if at all possible would she be willing to sell her the item for a higher price. The buyer promptly responded and agreed to sell her the item (you know, the one she hadn't received.) I contacted Ebay and Paypal and neither of them gave a monkey's.

    I also recently purchased an old transformer from someone and it arrived broken. Now this thing cost about £3, no biggie, but I did expect, like any buyer, for it to arrive intact and working. I sent off a polite email to the seller who responded in an extremely rude manner. For a fortnight I received threatening and racist emails, he knew where I lived etc, rude and pornographic mail to both of my addresses and fabricated negative online customer reviews for my business, which thankfully, Google instantly removed. This guy was going hell for leather and googling the hell out of my name to try and find info. The time and effort he put in to being a complete pr*ck far out weighed the £3. Hell, he spent more on postage sending me insults. I was left dumbfounded. Again, Ebay did very little but suggested I contact the police. I felt ever so reassured.

    I've conducted thousands of transactions on Ebay and the hideous experiences are definitely in the far minority. That said, when you come across a nut case, they are always the most experienced of nut cases.

  14. #14

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Exactly right, Suspended. Ebay does not care what dishonest and/or demented eBayers (buyers and sellers) are doing. Telling you to contact the police is not poor advice, but their entire response should not be to pass on the problem to the police. Ebayers who are proven by a reasonable amount of evidence to be dishonest and/or truculent and/or mentally unstable should be banned; otherwise, the community as a whole is not safe---there is no such thing as "trust and safety." Ebay's Trust and Safety department is little more than a fiction.
    Last edited by Oriane; 16th May 2016 at 06:12 PM.
    Currently wearing: Tomorrow by Avon

  15. #15

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I've had similar happen to me too and when I complained to eBay they said it was all within their rules and the seller had done nothing wrong. It's sad but you can't do anything so just move on and forget it. I've also had fantastic deals honoured too by great eBayers who let me buy things for under 10% of the real value.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I've nearly given up selling on ebay. I have many repeat buyers, and it is a great way to sell fragrances I'm bored of so I can buy new ones

    However, there have been a few really unsettling jerks that take all the enjoyment out of it, and it makes me really sad as well as twitchy. One such individual claimed he is here on BN, however nobody in the community recognized either his real or ebay name.

    I do recall buying and selling many years ago on ebay before it went public, and it was a much more happy place. I have a few trusted sellers I purchase from and I share information with sellers that I know IRL here and on FB groups. It definitely helps, but even now, as I type, someone "purchased" an item and has yet to pay. If it were someone with 200 transactions to their name, that would be one thing, but this buyer is one of those that probably has been with ebay since its inception. That's the sort of nonsense that makes me want to punch Santa.

    Mumsy, I'll keep an eye out for you - are we allowed to ship bottles into England?
    Currently wearing: Amber Absolute by Tom Ford

  17. #17

    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Bless you for asking. I don't need or really want the bottle at all. I wasn't even looking for it, but it just cropped up and I accidentally won it at a low price. However because Houbigant permanently flags up in my email because of ebays auto search, I noticed the same little Ooloo cat bottle, easily spotted because the ear is missing come up for £40 buy it now and nobody bought it. It had then been listed again for £30 and is still running. There are so many immaculate ones that no bottle collector except the likes of me wants a broken one anyway. It isn't that rare, just old.

    I don't actually care if the vendor gets lots of money for it or not, nor do I really want another bottle. I actually hope he really does make decent money to make the unpleasant exchange at least worth having done it. Karma goes where it's due on it's own.

    I've sold things at a silly price sometimes because of the 99p start and nobody noticed the listing or wanted them. I always find it funny because I am always so pleased when it happens to me, that it is only fair when it happens for someone else. I sold a fabulously strong parrot cage like that once and a superb quality travelcot. My fault for not wanting to pay the eBay fees over a 99p start. But the recipients couldn't have been any happier, and the young chap really needed the uber strong cage urgently due to his pet creature chewing its way out of his flimsy one. So it went to a good home for a very naughty rat. Bay is win some and lose some. It works out fair in the end.

    The only time I felt really guilty is when I bought a very smart singer sewing machine that was immaculate and used to belong to the sellers late mother. I won it for just 99p and it was stunning. Complete with all the original bits and books. So when I went to collect it, I took her a selection of my homemade jams and jellies too. Once I had explained it was for the children at school to use in sewing lessons, then she cheered up and was glad instead of sad.

    Manners, civility, reason and honour are vanishing throughout humankind IMO. Mostly people are fine but the thankfully rare, ghastly ones stick out like a sore thumb. Luckily I'm not the one stuck in any of their bodies and can walk away unscathed. These sorts are stuck with themselves forever and good luck to them.
    The PONK club - gymnosium for perfumers (NOTE:- All club matters still on hold whilst I care for my dad now.)

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    Currently wearing: Charisma by Avon

  18. #18
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    I love the stories about the bird cage and the sewing machine - how sweet!

    I have also experienced (and extended) kindness via ebay and I always enjoy it when someone gets to have something they have been searching for. The majority of my sales go to repeat buyers, so many times I am thinking of them specifically when I put up a small lot or a partial bottle. I'm happy when I know someone can get something I know they will be excited about. One lady sends me photos of how she displays the vintage perfumes she purchases! I love it! I mean, I don't really make any money on this - it's more like recycling scents for me - but the people you meet and the stories/connections you make. It can be pretty cool

    Currently wearing: Amber Absolute by Tom Ford

  19. #19
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    Default Re: E-Bay, vintage bottles and unscrupulous sellers - hopping mad

    Quote Originally Posted by Suspended View Post
    That said, when you come across a nut case, they are always the most experienced of nut cases.
    So true. I've made over 1,000 purchases on eBay since 1999, and had maybe two really miserable experiences. Which is a considerably lower percentage of wackos than I have encountered in real life interactions in that time period.

    But selling is another matter. There are far, far more nut-case buyers than sellers, in my experience. Sellers at least have something to lose by misbehaving. I quit selling altogether when they removed the ability of sellers to leave negative feedback for buyers.




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