A Bad Pen And A Worse Seller

I’ve grumbled here before about sellers who do not disclose faults in a pen.  Here’s an example of one of the worst.  The seller is devonshire-sales, who has feedback of 2302, so cannot make the excuse that he is a novice.  Here’s the description of the pen:

Vintage Conway Stewart No45, Duro Nib 14 ct Gold Nib
A Great pen in need of some TLC
The inside filling sack appears to be damaged
selling as spares or repairs

The “spares or repairs” tag means little or nothing.  Quite a large proportion of the pens I buy include that in the description.  It’s what is known in the trade as “covering your butt” but it does not absolve the seller from the requirement to make clear any faults or damage on the pen.  The seller acknowledges this by commenting on the fact that the sac will need replaced.

So I open a case and say:

I received the Conway Stewart 45 today. There are numerous faults which were not disclosed in the description – the cap does not screw onto the barrel, the end is broken off the lever and the nib is cracked. I would like to return the pen for a full refund, including reimbursement of my return postage as there is no reason why I should be out of pocket over an item that was not described properly.


That, to my mind, is a factual description of the state of the pen together with an additional claim for a refund of return postage as the fault lies with the seller.  I didn’t even bother to mention the cracks in the cap.  Quite polite, I would have thought.  The seller has a different opinion:

Hi there, Thanks for your message and demands. The item was fairly described, and selling as spares or repairs as stated. You are welcome to return it for a refund, But you will not be re-imbursed for the return postage as we are not obliged to. We might have though had you been more polite. Best Regards,

So there we are!  I would say that being argumentative and unpleasant on top of having quite deliberately concealed the faults of the pen isn’t conducive to getting good feedback.


15 thoughts on “A Bad Pen And A Worse Seller

      1. Deb –

        I think your comment about eBay colluding may be the key here. I have found, with a couple of recent purchases, that sellers omit (withhold?) important information about their wares, and when a claim is begun, eBay turns a deaf ear and a blind eye to the process. I have resolved only to purchase from sellers I know and completely trust. When I have money to throw away, I think I’ll start buying lottery tickets instead!
        Hey, isn’t today the anniversary of the day you Brits admitted American supremacy a few years back.? I don’t know how supreme we are anymore, and I’m glad we’re friends now.

      2. In fairness to eBay perhaps I should clarify the situation a little: I have a full refund, what I’m griping about is the loss of my return postage. Not a lot in itself but it soon mounts up in a week where you may have four or five of these crooks to deal with.

        Not being a Brit but a Pennsylvanian, I don’t really know what to say to that! However, most of the Brits of my acquaintance regard it as the day that they managed to get rid of a lot of whiny Puritans

  1. Ah, the perils of buying sight unseen! Keep in-mind the seller may have been scammed by another online seller back-to-back, and he/she is spiteful and just trying to recover losses. Your only likely recourse is to leave detailed feedback on how you were treated – then buckle in for the retaliation that may come. At least your feedback may save another innocent soul. Good luck. David

    1. You believe I should make allowances for the possibility that the seller had been ripped off by yet another shady seller? I haven’t seen that one in eBay rules!

      In any case, I’ve been here many, many times before. The eBay buyer protection policy ensures I will get my payment and initial postage back. The only thing remaining is the cost of returning the item. If I have that reimbursed, that’s the end of the matter. If I don’t get it, the seller gets a negative.

      As far as retaliation goes, there is nothing the seller can do that will bother me in the slightest. They are limited to sending emails of either the snivelling or the threatening variety. Their email addresses are then blocked in my email editor. If they use the eBay messaging system for whining and bitching I report it to eBay.

      1. I said, “Keep in-mind the seller may have been scammed by another online seller back-to-back, and he/she is spiteful and just trying to recover losses.”

        This happens, as you peruse auctions you see the same items offered by different sellers as time goes by. I’m not sure how this works out when it comes to ebay rules, but I’ve seen the same damaged item offered by one, then another different seller with both the sellers being physically different entities. The clue is how the item is presented – with enough information to disclose it is the same item (e.g., pictures or even more telling serial numbers as in electronic test equipment – which I deal in fairly often).

        As far as retaliation. As an ebay buyer, you can be rated also by the seller. This is where the damage occurs. Correcting this is a major pain.

        As an ebay buyer only – not a seller, there are major flaws in how items presented for sale can be mis-represented. The key (again as a buyer only) is to search deep about a specific item, a pen or a $10K USD piece of test equipment to see where it’s been and why it hasn’t been sold before. Then ask specific questions to the seller. Yes I know – this is NOT an option for smaller cost items for sale like pens.


  2. Well I had a good rant a month or so ago about inaccurate descriptions, but my problem was small compared this outrageous misrepresentation.

    I read your condition for not issuing negative feedback, but you know, a negative might help protect others in the future from such unscrupulous practices.

  3. I see the pen in question has now been relisted, ebay number 251581507796. You are described as a ‘Non paying overseas bidder’!

  4. Hi Deb…I sympathise with you over this….clearly described incorrectly.

    My recent ebay experience selling a pen I fully described the faults on was the buyer demanding a refund as in his words “simply words and pictures sometimes cannot replace seeing the item”….! Where does that leave honest descriptive sellers?

    1. Yes, that’s not much of a reason for sending it back. I am not a lawyer, as they say, but the eBay contract to buy is a simple one. The offer to sell has to be a written one and it’s the language that counts. Pictures may be illustrative of the text but they are not a substitute for description. When all that’s said and done, the contract is to buy what is described on the basis of the description and by no other means. It’s not a “try before you buy” sale or “on approval” like the Stanley Gibbons stamp packets.

      I’m purely a buyer in eBay now but for several years I was a seller. The reason I stopped was because eBay was not providing me with the international coverage I was paying for, not because of pesky customers, though goodness knows there were quite a few of them. There are bad buyers and bad sellers and we seem to run into them all too often.

      There must be quite a few eBay sellers who are heartily sick of me. I’m a very picky buyer and I make no excuses for it. I’m running a business here and pens that have undeclared damage are clearly worth less than what I paid for them in the belief that they were as described.

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