Hello List Members:
No doubt many of you have encountered a similar problem to this one once or twice:
A Holds Zephyr was offered on Ebay with a $175 reserve by Ironbix. He now goes by the moniker of greg*lemond. his real name is S.Fisher, from Paris, France even though his address on Ebay is Swindon, UK.
I e him with questions about the frame that I needed answering regarding original finish, some sizes, etc the usual stuff. He e's back with some rather interesting (hindsight suggests inventive is a better word here) and very long-winded stories about the frame's pedigree, the stories increase the value of the bike, lots of interest from Japanese collectors etc.
Fine: can you back up those stories? No he can't, he says "I've found buying vintage bikes myself, that unless you actually get an original shop receipt for the bike, or, as in France, a metal ID tag, all other documentation is futile." With hindsight and my added experience in these matters I now find that to be the one thing he said that is mostly truthful. He nevertheless goes on to claim that it was ridden in many races, Ian Steel of the Glasgow Wheelers beat Reg Harris at the Hampden Park on it, and that he bought it from "Ian's widow", rode it himself for years, it is a great frame. BTW the Japanese have made an offer to good to refuse but do I want it for x $s? If so I can have it.
I decide to match the reserve so as to obligate him under Ebay (foolish me!) and ask him to support his info or supply well known and reliable references. He instead pulls the auction and basically tells me in not-so-many words to .... off and blocks me in his spam bin!
To make a very long story short, it turns out he bought it from Hilary over Ebay barely a month earlier, even copied Hilary's listing word for word, and used many of the same pictures (when I first saw the ad I thought it WAS Hilary's listing). The only thing different was that the headset was missing. Needless to say, Ian will be surprised to find out he is dead.
At the time I was naive enough to be upset at all this, what I wanted to do to Ironbix cannot be repeated in Dale's living room, this is family entertainment here after all, but suffice it to say some of you may be familiar with that notorious scene from the film Deliverance. You will see that Ironbix /greg*lemond's Ebay feedback is 100%, but experiences like this by their nature cannot show up there unless you are so vengeful that you want to resort to means such as bidding $1,000,000 on his next round of auctions so no one can buy anything from him! (There was a story in the NYTs recently about self-appointed Ebay police doing this very thing) But if you read his positives carefully you see that in the context of the above info that some of his positives have another meaning.
A similar story with another Holds frame, I closed the sale, the best the seller could do was provide a letter from the VCC member he got it from saying the frame is what he claims it to be, his VCC reputation rests on it. A beautiful frame at the right price anyway, the seller made the attempt to satisfy my request, and most important I have more experience with who the players are in the UK and whom I can trust more or less.
On the other hand, I am told by another seller who I had no previous experience with AFTER my recent purchase from him: BTW, the frame was built by so-and-so. But he chose not to post the info in the listing even though in this case he was in a position to back it up! A seller with restraint and ethics! Refreshing!
MORAL OF THE STORY: some British sellers (or some sellers who CLAIM they are British) will tell you that Jesus Christ Himself was seen riding this frame out of the tomb on the day of the Resurrection. A Japanese is hoping to ride it to the Pearly Gates himself but I'll give YOU a great deal for only x $s.
If YOU get an offer like this, don't believe them. Don't ask the seller for ANY info that can't be gleaned from the ad (excepting maybe Hilary, Pete, the usual suspects), do your own homework, make a bid, pretend you are at the casino and hope for the best.
Michael Lebron NYC Very far from The Pearly Gates
>From: "Tom Sanders" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: [CR]E-Bay fraud question
>Date: Sun, Jun 20, 2004, 4:14 AM
>Irving, I certainly sympathize with you not getting the Hetchins frame you
>bought and paid for. However the real question might be why you would deal
>with her given the feedback comments of other buyers regarding her not
>sending items under similar circumstances. I am not trying to be critical
>of you here, but I would urge folks to heed such warning signals...it's a
>rough world out there. Fortunately most folks on E-Bay have been good to
>me, but I have encountered some real scoundrels, too.