You think Audiogon has problems ... look at Ebay

I know there are problems on Audiogon. I was once scammed by a no-feedback seller on a cable purchase. Audiogon tried to help but there was nothing they could do except support me if I wished to press criminal charges which was not in the cards since I live overseas. That having been said, I believe there are few such occurrences on Audiogon, thankfully.

I believe Ebay poses a LOT more potential problems for buyers than Audiogon. Please understand. I am not faulting Ebay. They and PayPal have been very responsive in this case. The problem is that sellers can find ways to misrepresent merchandise they are selling -- and end up the winner -- no matter what Ebay or PayPal does.

Here's what happened to me recently on Ebay. I was caught in a scam while purchasing a tube tester. The tester in question was a B&K 707. Being new to tubes I didn't realize that the B&K 707 does not do mutual conductance testing on most of the tubes I will need tested for mutual conductance -- the 6DJ8 group of tubes.

I did a lot of homework prior to the purchase but this information only came to my attention after I made the purchase. It was buried pretty deeply on sites and forums that took hours to find. In fact, I just happened on this information by accident -- one report from a user. When another user and 2 experts confirmed the fact then I was convinced.

The problem is that the seller claimed the B&K 707 does "true mutual conductance" testing -- quoting the manufacturer. But many tubes cannot be tested for mutual conductance on the B&K 707. They can only be tested for emissions on the bottom of the unit. This applies to many tubes besides the 6DJ8 group of tubes. So, the seller is allowed to quote misleading advertising by the manufacturer in his/her Ebay ad. One cannot expect Ebay to police the ads from manufacturers. But good luck to you if you don't know the name of the game -- that key information is omitted by the manufacturer and is then quoted by the seller who is given license to appeal to buyers not in the know.

This is not trivial because there are many tubes that cannnot be tested for mutual conductance on the B&K 707 and a person can be out a lot of money if they don't realize this since many sellers of tube testers do not take returns. Now, one might say to me that I should have done more homework before deciding to purchase. That may be true but since the ad is not accompanied by an obligation of full disclosure by Ebay sellers how is one to know that the ad is misleading -- and that the seller is running a misleading ad? I might never have learned this information until the unit arrived overseas and I looked through the tube charts to my dismay.

The Ebay seller in question had things all figured out. He knew I was right and that I might leave negative feedback. So he offered to take the unit back if I left positive feedback for him. Since the unit was sitting at a commercial shipping company, unopened, waiting for shipment to me overseas and I had no use for it at that point I agreed to leave positive feedback and return the unit at my expense for refund.

When he received the unit back he said it had been tampered with -- inferring that I did the tampering -- and that he could not send me a refund. I told him I live overseas and am not in the States and that my shipper is a commercial shipper that simply returned the unopened box to him. I appealed to Ebay and PayPal but to no avail.

This particular seller has been refurbishing B&K 707 tube testers for years. In his advertisement he said he refurbished and tested the unit and that it was ready for years of trouble-free use. But when he received it back, all of a sudden it was not only unusable it was unrepairable. He said there were 2 shorts and he could only find one so the tester was junk to him.

There are more and more of us who are acquiring tube equipment and who will be looking for a tube tester to make sure the NOS tubes they will be using are not only as matched as possible, but also have no shorts. Beware there are many pitfalls on Ebay for potential purchasers of the B&K 707. Unscrupulous sellers are plying their trade on Ebay.
Sorry for your misfortune, anyone takes a risk buying there. Ebay has always been like the Wild Wild West, some legitimate some not.
Always pay through pay pal backed up by a credit card. Then get your credit card company to issue a chargeback. They have the final say so as long as 45 days haven't passed. E-Bay usually helps out fraudulent BUYERS. Sellers are rarely helped out. Use the not as described method and always return the item to be signed for. For every crooked seller on EBay there are 15 crooked buyers. Tie a credit card to your pay pal account. Best of luck.
Do you have documentation that you never received the tube tester? If so, it would seem that you have a case for shipping related damage (if the seller is not being dishonest). Was the package insured? If so I would suggest to the seller that you pursue a claim against the shipper. No reason you should take the fall for shipping damage or an unscrupulous seller.

I always require a tracking number and insurance on anything I buy or sell. And I am thinking of not only taking pictures of anything I sell before I ship, but also making a cell phone video showing that the item is working as advertised. Maybe buyers should ask this of sellers as well.

Having been burnt by shipping internationally, I also explicitly ask that any buyer who wants to forgo insurance adn tracking numbers to save on shipping accept all of the risk related to damage or non-delivery.
Excellent point -- do the transaction on PayPal with a credit card.

My shipper received the unit -- then I instructed them to ship it back to the seller. Unfortunately, I forgot to insure it. I made more than one mistake here. In any case, cdsherman had it all figured out. He decided there was no way he was going to refund -- so he found a way that he figured would allow him to get away with it.
Post removed 
Agree with Elizabeth. You changed your mind after entering into a purchase agreement. If I were the seller I would be very wary that you were trying to run a scam. (Not that I think you are, but solely from the seller's perspective). You should have accepted the item and then tried to resell it. There's demand for the 707 and it should sell quickly.

In your defense of your pre-purchase research, the B&K 707 is a tricky item.
Elizabeth and Onhwy61,
You got some facts wrong. Please note that the seller, cdsherman, agreed to receive the item back and agreed to issue a refund. He was manipulating for a positive feedback. Once he got it he reneged. I am not looking for sympathy. I am trying to alert people to some pitfalls people may not be aware about on Ebay with this popular tube tester -- and with sellers who are dishonest.
Elizabeth and Onhwy61,
Agreed. I changed my mind -- for a very good reason. With all due respect, the only problem with your line of reasoning here is that the seller, cd sherman, agreed with my "change of mind" and offered a refund -- and then reneged.
Polk432 nailed it. Whether using AudiogoN, Ebay, Paypal, etc, your only recourse is with a credit card. That bank will save you, the others don't care.
Sometimes sellers are bad on ebay, but it's mostly the buyers. Yesterday I changed an auction after several emails to a buyer to list my item for a buy it now price. He has the invoice but hasn't paid. If your buyer or seller ever sells anything cheap, win it, and have some friends do the same. Pay your friends the money they laid out, and have everyone leave negatives, then sell the items for whatever you can get. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. AND always have a Shill bidder for auctions. You have to protect yourself weather it's legal, moral, or not. Ebay and Paypal only go to bat for themselves. I have 100% feedback on there and would never burn anyone weather I buy or sell, as long as the product is working. If not or something is doa, settle it correctly, and move on.
My experience with ebay, both buying and selling, has been very good. Of course I use paypal as part of the transactions process. With over 175 transaction, I have always been satisfied. Recently purchased an item which turned out to be defective, took less then five days to get my money back. Needless to say, don't do business with sellers that don't have 100% positive feedback and over twenty five transactions.
Ebay is well known for protecting large volume customers from negative feedback, so no one should think that they are not part of the fraud problem.
You have to use paypal or an electronic payment method on ebay so that the buyer has recource even if they make something up. Both ebay and paypal make money that way and do not have to get involved or take any losses. Also a seller can get hundreds of positive feedbacks selling 1 and 2 dollar items. Some sellers have thousands of positives and hundreds of negatives, but they are ok, since you know who makes money either way. Read sometime, and it will make you think. Regardless of someones feedback, use paypal backed by a credit card. If you go over ebays head all they can do is suspend you. You can always use your shill bidder to buy or sell through. (I mean insurance person)
Fraud problem... then why can't a seller leave negative feedback for a buyer (since May 28 08) A buyer that does not pay only gets red flagged then may be suspended after a few times. It only needs to happen once if you are the seller and legit. You are still out the money, and have to relist. It should be a level playing field for all concerned. Let's say a buyer buys a Linn Sondek 12 from me, and records 500 or more albums to a cd. He no longer needs a turntable and can then scratch it and claim not as described and get a refund in 45 days as long as he returns the item. He can even loan it out to his friend for a couple of weeks to boot! Ebay doesn't care to understand this.
Easy to say, but unfortunately for many items, they are the devil that you have to deal with, like it or not.
Don't like 'em? Most would not buy or sell anything anywhere. But then again, there's always the option of paying retail. Never in my case, ever. You just have to understand how the system works, and word your listings carefully, like selling as is, guaranteed not to be doa, if selling, and use paypal backed with a credit card when buying. Use common sense and caution.
As with old Ebay feedback system, a seller could sell a (known) broken/non working item. (possibly mandate insurance necessary, and attempt to have seller collect, saying that item must have been broken during shipping) When buyer wants to return the seller could first stall hoping buyer will run out of time to leave feedback. Finally if/when buyer leaves negative feedback, seller could then retaliate with a return negative feedback. That is why Ebay changed policy: Sellers can no longer leave negative feedbacks.
Non payers should receive negative feedback so that the seller can deceide if they want to sell to them or block them to avoid trouble before it starts EBay changed the policy to give the power to the buyers. EBay tries to imply there will be a warranty on used items that way. If you do not ship the following business day or offer a 14 day or longer return priveledge you pay more as a final sales price. I have 100 buy and sell feedbacks with 100% and 5.0 rating. Why should I pay more, and offer to buy back something that I sold as used?
As long as an item is not doa, if it no longer works after a week, it should be on the buyer. The seller has no way of knowing this or if the buyer hooked it up wrong and ruined the item. The buyer can always pay top dollar and buy new. Some buyers also threaten to leave negative feedback if they can't get free shipping, so the seller has to report them to EBay.
Polk, I agree. Some sellers do have a clause "If you have negative feedback or less than #'s, please contact me before bidding or your bid will be cancelled." With possible dishonest sellers or buyers no system will be perfect.
I bought a "new" CD years ago. When it never arrived, I emailed the seller. They said my payment was never received. I answered that I would do a money order search which costs $. In the meantime I received the CD, (used). I was ok with that. Later on I noticed the seller gave me negative feedback,"never sent payment". My solution: I boycotted Ebay for years. Then a friend informed me of new policy and looked up my feedback. Ebay had erased that 1 negative out of 300 positive. Recently, I bought an antique from England, I'm in USA. It came as a repro. Seller agreed to a return. After sending back, I never heard from seller for a couple weeks, then they said they were in hospital, etc. I contacted Ebay, and was told they could do nothing. I had them look up my past history. I asked what $ items do I buy and sell? Do you want me to leave Ebay again? They then "VERY" quickly fixed my problem. Also, I will no longer buy or sell from outside USA.
After a year negatives can be erased. If someone is only a buyer they will not have negatives, and if they have enough feedback the sellers will not know to block the bidder. I had a buyer put in a negative for me years ago because I would not ship for free after the fact. When I received the negative, I took 10 days to ship them a half of a brick. Then I made them put in a claim to get a refund and took the full 45 days to repay them. Make sure you get a new CC# first when you do this. After 1 year my negative was erased. Why can't people just be honest or ask first? I let them know that I have friends that will will win anything (cheap) they have for sale in the future and leave negatives for them. All they would have had to have done was ask me to help with shipping or to pay half of it first, but no, once they won the bid, they were able to put a negative if I didn't ship. You also have to make sure to block all of the other countries you won't deliver to. You can't just put Lower US in the heading. Live and learn, I guess.
Lately I've found that if I list some vintage electronics for sale to the U.S. only, foreign buyers will bid using an address from the U.S., probably someone working for them. Then the items will ship to either the east or west coast. From there, the buyer ships abroad. But the problems come when it's time to pay. There is usually no, or limited communication, and payment is usually late. They have complained about added expenses that are clearly listed in the auctions. I even removed packaging costs on one auction of 55 pound speakers (each) just to get them to pay. I didn't want to go through the hassle of making a claim. I think I'll have to add to the description that I have the option to remove bids if I so desire. Hard to tell which will be trouble though. Getting close to 1300 transactions and it seems that this practice is becoming more prevalent. Plus they don't leave feedback. I do as soon as the deal is done.