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 Post subject: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eBay)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:49 pm 
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Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1098
This is an edit of a post I made recently, which ended up in a spot where fewer folks can see and benefit from it. So I fixed it so that it fits here instead.

I just had a month-long ordeal, with an item shipped and damaged via the eBay "Global Shipping Program" (GSP), and think it's best to share it here so that others can learn from it.

The GSP is a pretty good thing, conceptually. We sellers never have to deal with international shipping or any of the money aspects of it, merely shipping the item to a hub in Kentucky. eBay repacks and reships it to the overseas buyer, and handles any associated costs and billing. And once it gets safely to Kentucky, the insurance burden transfers to eBay.

Nice.

Except when it isn't.

Last month I sold a real nice Edison thing to a buyer (in Hong Kong, but listed as located in Canada), shipped it to Kentucky, and forgot about it, as another satisfactory eBay transaction. Weeks later I got a claim, with a small number of small photos, that I needed to pay for it to be returned because it was "not as described" - but one of the photos clearly showed that it had been damaged in transit. A cast iron crank had been snapped (!). Although I had packed the heck out of it and double-boxed it, some huge shock must've happened.

And this was not as surprising, once it was revealed that it had actually been shipped all the way to China, not Canada.

I messaged the buyer immediately and expressed regret that it had been damaged and told him I'd support the insurance claim. I also called eBay to discuss how to proceed. They were pleasant and told me that he just needed to state it had arrived damaged (rather than just infer that by the photo) and the GSP would refund everyone their money. And even better for him, he could likely have the crank repaired, or even part the thing out - he would get it for free, so that's a win for him too.

But he refused to do that, and demanded that I pay for it to be returned to me. The "work it out together" period expired, and I called eBay again and explained again. I also sent eBay some photos from my listing and his "as-received" photo, annotated to show small distinguishing marks that proved the pictured units were one and the same. eBay then said they would next also ask him directly for acknowledgement that it had arrived damaged.

He apparently also refused to do that for them. He then messaged me to demand $150 payment to ship it back. My guess on this was that he was doubling down, and would take that money too, not actually ship it, and claim the return got lost in shipping.

I also found out by doing a little sleuthing with a friend from China, that the buyer is a dealer in Hong Kong. And he has over a thousand feedback items (only as a buyer, never as a seller), so he's no rookie. And one more thing: he had tried to buy it from me directly before the auction ended, which we all know is a no-no. So the red flags were starting to pile up.

Ok. Here's where it culminates. This morning, eBay told me the claim had been found against me. I was going to be out a few hundred bucks, he keeps the thing at no cost to him, and, well, that's just not right! (And by the way, the money had been extracted from my paypal account, and was for the duration of the dispute, which is also quite inconvenient.)

So I clicked the "appeal" button and then called eBay. After explaining in detail, once again, the whole long story to him...the eBay guy said he'd need some time to review and asked whether I wanted to get a call back, or hold. I opted to hold. I held for 15 minutes. The hold music isn't as bad as most.

Then he came back with good news. All is reversed, I've now gotten my money back, and the thing doesn't need to get shipped back from China (although it ought to be, after all this shady mess).

This is like the 3rd or 4th time over the years, where I've had to just keep at it to convince eBay that the buyer is out of line (fraudulent, lying, uninformed, buyer's remorse leading to false claims, and other such crap).

So, what have we learned?

- eBay will almost always side with the buyer at first blush, but if you stay cool and persist, they will listen to reason

- when making your case with eBay, do not give up, and patiently give them every last detail - even more than you might think is logically necessary - and if they offer to call back, STAY ON THE LINE

- there are reportedly GSP specialists at eBay, so if your case involves a GSP transaction, it may be helpful to ask for one of those upon starting any eBay phone conversation

- always take note of the eBay person's name and time/date of your calls, and have them read you out any case numbers verbally so you can note them too

- ask for email confirmation of the conversation and stay on the line with the eBay person if possible until it arrives

- don't be afraid to ask to talk to the eBay supervisor if the first person doesn't understand or tries to hide behind rules, or otherwise obstructs your desired result...and STAY ON THE LINE rather than opt for a call-back

- take lots of pictures before you ship, of the item and the packing (and video of the thing operating, if it operates) in case you need them later during a dispute

- figure out some unique identifying features, and take pictures of them, so you can later confirm it's the same item if they try to switch it

- think twice before selling to overseas buyers, but if you do, use the GSP to protect yourself

- think three times before selling to China and HK, because even though the buyers there tend to pay top dollar, scammers abound and there is no real recourse outside of eBay's judgement

- pack the heck out of any GSP item that is close to fragile, double boxed, and like you plan for it to get dropped 50 feet

And one last thing:

- try not to sell to this particular buyer (info available upon request) if you are at all risk-adverse! He might even bid high on your item...but if you end up never seeing that money, it won't be worth it. I see a few other folks from this forum in his feedback, so he must feature phono stuff in what he resells as a dealer. He has zero feedback as seller on eBay, so it's obvious he buys from us here exclusively as importer and reseller over there.


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:00 am 
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Victor IV
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Man who ride on tiger find it very difficult to dismount! Charlie Chan
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:29 am
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Location: Temecula, CA
WOW, THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP! I've heard of this kind of thing happening before. Back in the days before the GSP, sending an expensive phonograph overseas was very risky. About ten or twelve years ago I sold an Edison C-150 for about $200. The winner outbid a guy in Arizona by just $5. But he lived in South Korea. The shipping was going to be freight at about $2000. I asked the Korean to send me a money order. He refused saying he always paid with a credit card. I refused to ship for obvious reasons. I knew that he could say he didn't recognize the transaction a couple of months later and I would out the phonograph and the $2200!!! So I requested to cancel the sale. I'm dumb, but not that dumb!


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:50 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:44 am
Posts: 561
Location: Davie, FL
I never use the GSP because in my opinion it puts another middleman into the process and not only adds to the expense, but also to the hassle if something goes wrong.

And, speaking of something going wrong, if you do business, something will eventually do go wrong, whether or not it is your fault. It’s part of business and life. The main thing to keep in mind that nobody is happy and it is your job to make things right. Case in point, which is documented here on the Forum, I sold a Victor Schoolhouse to BrianU. Somehow the carrier squashed the crate and ruined the horn. The first thing I did was to refund all of Brian’s money, and then I handled the claim, which resulted in no recompense. I lost about $1,200.00 and chalked it up to experience and good will.

The majority of my business is overseas and when the occasional issue arises, I always immediately offer the buyer the opportunity to return everything (at my expense). Usually it turns out there is a much simpler solution or the buyer was just looking to squeeze my testicles..

Dishonorable buyers, sellers and scam artists are not limited to foreigners. In fact, over the years, I would say that the majority are right here in America, and some right here on the Forum.

Raphael


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:22 am
Posts: 5
Location: Hong Kong
Sorry to hear that Peter, as an enthusiast myself based in Hong Kong who has used both GSP and regular postage as a buyer this casts a really dim light on dealers this corner of the globe potentially 'upsetting the cart' for the small purchases I make.
As a buyer the GSP has worked well, three small gramophones arrived intact and numerous parts & records to boot with only one missing record out of around 30 shipped transactions, -Which did eventually show up five months late and warped like a banana but played fine after I carefully ironed it back flat!
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:19 pm 
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Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1098
Yeah, I plan to keep using it as well, but only when practicing all the cautionary tasks listed above.

Steve, do you know the HK dealer of my story?


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:43 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:22 am
Posts: 5
Location: Hong Kong
Hi Peter,
No I hardly know anyone here at all being a relative new comer to the scene in the past year. If you send a private message as to the identity i'd be grateful though.

Cheers Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:57 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 7:00 pm
Posts: 229
Location: Hollywood, U.S.A.
Perhaps it would help to photograph the item before packing and how you packed it. That would show whether damage was done in transit.


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:24 pm 
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Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1098
yup, like I said in the original posting:

- take lots of pictures before you ship, of the item and the packing (and video of the thing operating, if it operates) in case you need them later during a dispute

- figure out some unique identifying features, and take pictures of them, so you can later confirm it's the same item if they try to switch it


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:27 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:55 am
Posts: 1952
Location: Eugene/ Springfield Oregon USA
PeterF wrote:
yup, like I said in the original posting:

- take lots of pictures before you ship, of the item and the packing (and video of the thing operating, if it operates) in case you need them later during a dispute

- figure out some unique identifying features, and take pictures of them, so you can later confirm it's the same item if they try to switch it


It won't work with eBay. They'll tell you they have no idea what you actually sent and simply refuse to look at any evidence. You have to just keep calling back to get a rep willing to take some time to listen. It's a pain, especially when you need to have their own policies bookmarked so you can direct the rep to them for review.


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 Post subject: Re: Selling/Shipping Machines Overseas - Lessons Learned (eB
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:41 pm 
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Victor IV
Edison, Columbia, Victor, Pathé...and oddball makes
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:06 pm
Posts: 1098
Interesting. Even though my recent experience was lengthy and painful, I was able to review photos in real time by telephone with the eBay people and get them to acknowledge seeing specific details of damage, identifying details, lack of damage to the boxes, types of packing materials and so forth...eventually leading to the logical conclusion in my favor. Maybe I got lucky, but this was the case with three separate eBay people over a two-week period.

The summary conclusion, I guess, is just keep cool and reasonable, and find a very deeeeeep zen well of patience within yourself...or just don't sell to overseas buyers.


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