Bad Sellers

Many of my pens come from eBay. It’s a good source and many of its former faults have been addressed. The one remaining fault, from my point of view, is not one that they can easily resolve: the bad seller. By that I don’t mean the seller with lots of negatives. They can be avoided. What annoys me is the sneaky seller who tries to sell broken pens.

Nearly half of the pens I bought last week have to be returned. One pen had an obvious, large, L-shaped crack in a black hard rubber cap lip. Not repairable. Not mentioned in the description nor shown in the photos. Then there was a group of two Swans from the same seller. The same type of cap crack in one and a cracked nib in the other. These were not hairlines or things you could miss. Strangely, neither damage was photographed though there was a photo of the good nib in the pen with the lip crack. That’s all the evidence I need that the seller knew about the damage but somehow hoped I would accept the pens!

Why do they send out such awful pens? They must know no one will accept these scrap pens. By time they get their pens back they have lost money, having had to pay return postage. Serve them right!

What can be done about it? I don’t have any answers. I could give them a negative but the transaction disappears as soon as a return is accepted. Probably there’s a way of hunting that down but that would be even more of my scarce time wasted. I could name and shame here and elsewhere but that wouldn’t be right, too excessive. I suppose all I can do is streamline my returns routine.

There is another associated problem. eBay has brought out its own delivery and return system, called Collect Plus. No one here accepts packages for that system. The nearest shop that does is 23 miles away. A 46 mile round trip for returns is out of the question.

Why is eBay bringing out this delivery system when it has not been properly put in place? Of course I know the answer – it is more money for them and less for poor old Royal Mail. It will doubtless be cheaper so sellers are buying into it. How long can our universal mail system last in the face of such competition?

The main problem for me is the time that it wastes. I already work longer every day than I ever did as an employee. These bad sellers are time robbers.

5 thoughts on “Bad Sellers

  1. I bought a Swan Mk1 Visofil and these are usually listed with a photograph that shows the blind cap on the barrel removed and the transparent plunger in place. In this instance there was no such photograph but I bought the pen anyway to find that the filling system had been removed. I sent it back, of course, but what a waste of time.

  2. I am the seller of the 2 Swan pens. I genuinely did not notice the damage to the pens and listed them in good faith as I do with all the pens, pencils and other items I have sold over the years. Perhaps, the blog author would like to mention that as a result of the complaint I offered instant apologies and a full refund. I also offered as an alternative a 50% discount on the full purchase and postage costs which the blog author accepted. I believe all the communications we had were conducted politely, promptly and in good faith.

    I have bought and sold literally hundreds of pens and pencils and this was the first request for a refund I’ve had as a result of the item not living up to the description, and I hope it’s the last.

    Sometimes you’re not a bad seller or a con man…sometimes you genuinely just miss stuff.

    1. Colin, I chose not to name you, so you have no cause for complaint. You say, “sometimes you genuinely just miss stuff” – and I don’t dispute that. I’ve done so myself. However, the crack in the cap of the BHR pen was large and L-shaped. When I photographed it I had to be careful not to break it off. Similarly, the crack in the nib of the marbled pen was large and obvious, running from the breather hole. Both occurred at precisely the places I always examine with great care because that’s where they are likely to happen.

      In any case, yours was merely the latest in a long line of pens with undeclared damage that I have had to waste my limited time on – and they are very time-consuming. Some sellers – though certainly not in your case – can be very unpleasant about returns.

      In conclusion, I would say that there are bad sellers, a very few con men and some sellers who do not inspect their merchandise closely enough.

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