I know that sellers and selling on Ebay is a bit, ummmm, controversial around here, but I would like to get something off my mind that bugs me alot and maybe will provide conversation chowder. With my recent auction listings, the issue has come up again for me.... I sell/sold alot of classic stuff -much to CR members- and I hope this discussion is appropriate.
The issue is ending auctions early.
I am routinely "hit up" by would be buyers who ask me to end an auction early by offering me a side deal for a higher-than-current bid/price. I know this is done all the time but....
It is clearly against the Ebay rules. Without going into long quotes from the Ebay seller agreement, I'll bring up some cases where the option to end an auction early is frequently employed, sometimes improperly.
When the item is no longer available. That does NOT mean it got sold to someone outside the auction. That is most unfair to those already bidding; it is unethical and not right. If the item on auction becomes unsaleable because it got damaged or stolen, or turns out to be grossly mis-identified, that is fine. Anything else, not so. That is clearly against the rules.
Playing "fish" for offers i.e. making a private side deal and then ending the auction early cheats Ebay ( no crocodile tears here, but right is right and honest is honest) out of their final value charge. Again, wrong is wrong.
Another twist is offering a "no reserve & .01 cent starting price" listing. This saves big on the Ebay listing fees. No problem here unless the seller stops the auction short because the price isn't as high as the seller had hoped for. Once more, this is against the seller rules, unethical, unfair to those who thought they were going to get that NOS part real cheap and at the last second, whoops, the auction disappears.
Also, but not so offensive to me: When the "seller's" intent is not to sell but by using a high value reserve and fishing for offers to establish/document a value for insurance purposes. ( ...think about it: Offer your NOS Italian show bike with a likely unreachable reserve value and see what comes in. Either let the listing run out having failed to make reserve or if it does go over reserve, end it just hours early. Now you have a full list of what the collector community thinks it is worth. Since there is really no reliable "classic bike valuation service" available, this is an affordable way to establish a fair value for your homeowners insurance, say.
At least in this scenario, Ebay charges a fee for the reserve price that is not refundable unless the reserve price is made ( and then in all practicality, the fee morphs into a final value fee).
So without going on longer, I'll state publicly what I am weary of writing privately. I DO NOT end auctions early.
Sometimes I cry when I see how cheap something I listed goes for. But guess how many times I excitedly watch an auction of mine hit the stratosphere ( think MASI NOS water bottle late last year!)
and if you got this far, thanks for hanging in. I DO try to give the CR list a heads up and I WILL sell items intended for Ebay but not yet listed. Just last week a very active CR member scored a fantastico NOS MIB first gen Rally rear derailleur.
I respect Dale's rules about shilling here, and so advise those interested to bookmark my photo site and watch for my "Shameless Ebay Shilling" posts. In all my auctions, I now employ "Buy It Now" buttons to provide a shot at snagging a "must have".
I am thinking that in next set of listings ( due around Sunday if I get them all written up and photograhed) I will list the "buy it now" price in the post and that will be the CR member price, per the list rules, prior to the auction upload.
Just please don't ask me to screw around and make you deal once the auction starts. I know it is done. I know it is something you really, really want. I know you were "late to the auction" or "just found out about it.." and the myriad of all the other reasons. Just don't even ask....
And if you sell, even occaisionally, on Ebay, I suggest you revist the seller's agreement and chart your own moral course.
Ohhhhhh I am so sorry this went on so long, but.. Richard Bulis ( Riccardo Bulissimo) Verdi, Nevada.