Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Strange habits of eBay sellers


It's already mid-March and I'm chagrined that I haven't posted anything yet for this month. In my defense, I've actually been working on my collection every day and will have a couple of posts related to this, but not for another week or two. So in the meantime I thought I would write on a generic topic, specifically about some of the stranger things perpetrated by eBay sellers of Blue Volume Ones.

Right at the top of the list are those sellers who say that the Volume Ones they are offering are "unique" and that these albums are rarely offered on eBay. Have they really not done any research? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is never a day that someone doesn't have a Volume One for sale. So are the sellers who make such claims clueless or …?

Somewhat related are sellers, almost always ones who admit being unfamiliar with stamps, who think the albums themselves are valuable for their maps, spaces for rulers and flags, etc. They lovingly photograph the bindings, title pages, and advertising materials. They go into rapturous detail about how the album is an homage to dead countries and bygone times. But about the stamps, if there are any, not so much.

And what about the sellers who go to the trouble to take photographs, but these are too blurry to show condition and sometimes even identify what stamps are being depicted? And we are not talking about one or two fuzzy-wuzzies. There are at least a couple of sellers who have on multiple occasions uploaded dozens of blurry photographs.

And then there are the sellers who have the focus thing down but only include a small portion of the album page in the photo. (I'm not talking about providing detailed photos of the valuable stamps which are always appreciated.) Perhaps there are photo-hosting sites that charge by the square inch?

I don't see it too often, but don't you love sellers whose take photos of entire pages but who upload the images randomly out of order? Like many of you, I suspect, I compare the images of prospective purchases against my own collection and there is nothing like seeing a page of Zanzibar followed by Aden followed by Switzerland followed by Belgium.

And finally there are the many approaches taken by sellers as to the number of stamps in their albums. I particularly like the sellers whose titles say something similar to "Bulging album bursting with stamps." Then when you get to the fine print of the description you see a phrase like "there are hundreds and hundreds of stamps." As the Blue contains thirty-five thousands stamps, don't they know that an album containing hundreds of stamps is 98-99% empty? Not exactly bulging. To state the obvious, even in an album containing 3500 stamps, 9 out of every 10 spaces would be blank.

And how about the sellers who not only do not give a count but go out of there way to say that "no, they won't count them, so don't ask"? (Of course, some of the most prolific sellers rarely give counts, preferring to supply hundreds of page shots instead. Thank goodness, because most of their textual descriptions are cookie-cutter and next to useless.)

No doubt you have others that could be added.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

“Right at the top of the list are those sellers who say that the Volume Ones they are offering are "unique" and that these albums are rarely offered on eBay. Have they really not done any research? I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is never a day that someone doesn't have a Volume One for sale. So are the sellers who make such claims clueless or …?”

As one who is looking for a Vol 2 on eBay for some time, I can tell you that I would be shocked that there is ever a day without a few Vol 1’s for sale.

“Somewhere related are sellers, almost always ones who admit being unfamiliar with stamps, who think the albums themselves are valuable for their maps, spaces for rulers and flags, etc. They lovingly photograph the bindings, title pages, and advertising materials. They go into rapturous detail about how the album is an homage to dead countries and bygone times. But about the stamps, if there are any, not so much.”

I suspect (based on bad experiences) that those sellers know more than they let on, and intentionally don’t discuss the amount of stamps!!!

“And how about the sellers who not only do not give a count but go out of there way to say that "no, they won't count them, so don't ask"?”

As above, I STRONGLY suspect that these Sellers (who frequently claim to know nothing about stamps) know quite a lot about stamps, and know good and well that if they were to write the true amount of stamps, they would receive little. In one particularly egregious case, a seller (who of course know “nothing about stamps” ) sold an album with “hundreds of stamps”. Four or five pictures, full of stamps, because “he didn’t have the time” to take more pictures. Album had exactly 200 stamps!! Large portion on the pages showed. Yes, I was able to return it, but it still cost me $12.00 shipping to return.

Bob said...

On your last point, I like the approach taken by NYStamps on eBay who says "Please bid solely based on what is shown, with no assumptions, as most or all stamps were already shown. Large albums could be very sparse, or do NOT contain stamps (stamps could be removed by its former owner(s) before it reach our office)."

Even meager Blue collections seem to have the same fullish pages of WWI era Austria, Belgian parcel posts, and Germany inflation issues which, of course, sellers love to photograph.