It is currently Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:30 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:22 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Queensland, Australia
I've never really used eBay much, and when I have it's just been for cheapy 'Buy It Now and Wait Ten Weeks for Delivery' type stuff.

But the last couple of months I've been making a point to regularly check it, hoping to find a tasty flute on the cheap.

What I've noticed, or at least THINK I've noticed, is that quite a lot of the items seem to get relisted over and over again. Particularly stuff being auctioned. It'll go up, attract a few bids, disappear and pop up again the next day with a higher reserve price. Is that the case? And if so, is it legal? I would've thought an auction is meant to be a case of you get what people are willing to pay, and then you're obliged to post it.

The other little mystery I hope someone can enlighten me about is all these instruments called 'Nice RARE flute with BONE head' and the like. Obviously antique instruments, in varying states of repair but usually very much restorable. And the description invariably reads something like 'I have no idea what this is but its sounding length is 672mm'. Where do these instruments come from, and why are they ending up in the hands of people who have absolutely no idea what they are?

And one last bit of mystification, this time relating to the oft discussed Pakistani flutes and pipes. Basically...who the hell is actually buying these things in sufficient quantities to make the market viable? Flutes I can kind of get...they're cheap enough that people maybe don't do any research and figure it looks like the one in their favourite celtic electro-fusion music video. But uilleann pipes? No-one has even heard of the things before, yet apparently a sizeable chunk of the Pakistani economy is dedicated to pumping the things out. I just can't believe that there's a) that many people who want to buy uilleann pipes, and b) of that group of people, there's enough people who don't even do enough research to find out that a decent practice set costs ~$1000 minimum. I mean, you don't just wake up one morning and decide that 'Today I'm going to buy a cheap set of uilleann pipes, without learning the first thing about them or even googling 'buy uilleann pipes'".

For reference, googling 'buy uilleann pipes' in Australia sends you here http://www.celticpipingclub.com/about-c ... eann-pipes, where they explicitly say, in bold, with exclamation marks,

It’s also possible to find sets on eBay, but PLEASE BE CAREFUL! A lot of sets that appear on eBay are Pakistani made replicas and basically worthless as musical instruments.

I sound angry, but I'm actually just bamboozled :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:02 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 5:50 am
Posts: 4626
Location: Larkhall Scotland
Hi Lozq

I suppose I qualify as an habitual eBay user.

Your question about antique flutes has an easy answer. The seller buys them at auction or in house clearances or as a job lot with other items and puts them on eBay to see what he can get for them. The changes in reserve price probably comes from the seller realising he could get more than he thought for it.

As to Pakistani sets, I have bought Pakistani uilleann items, it is a crap shoot what you get. in fact the last uilleann item I bought was a Pakistani practice set :o off eBay. I got it cheap second hand, the chanter was of no interest to me, just the bag and bellows as spares. If either of them functioned then I got my money's worth, (they did).

David

_________________
Payday, Piping, Percussion and Poetry- the 4 best Ps


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:55 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
Posts: 862
Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I use Ebay a lot, (in conjunction with Paypal), for lots of things - but I wouldn't buy any wooden instrument off there.

As above, someone selling a deceased relatives possessions not knowing how much to charge, & house clearance dealers.

_________________
Keith.
Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:10 pm
Posts: 312
Location: Michigan
fatmac wrote:
I use Ebay a lot, (in conjunction with Paypal), for lots of things - but I wouldn't buy any wooden instrument off there.

As above, someone selling a deceased relatives possessions not knowing how much to charge, & house clearance dealers.

I would imagine that in addition to these, people who might go to sales (estate sales, garage sales, auctions, etc.) and buy up things that they think they can resell for more than they paid. It can be a crapshoot, and what they have can run the range of "junk nobody will want even if they practically give it away" to "actually a good find"-- and within this range, if they don't know precisely what they have, it can be overpriced or underpriced for what it is. (And, unfortunately, usually means that if you want to go to any sort of sale to buy something yourself, you have to get there before them because they'll snap up large quantities of what they deem to be the best things.)

(I admit I've not used eBay in probably 15 or more years; I enjoyed it when it seemed to be like a giant online garage sale of people getting rid of stuff they no longer wanted/needed, but as it started going to "dealers selling new stuff I could get anywhere" it stopped being worth trying to sort through that stuff to get back to finding the true used stuff. Too bad, as the only other alternative I know for buying things secondhand online is Craigslist, which is limited to only what's local and isn't any better than searching the local newspaper "for sale" ads or scouring thrift stores.)

_________________
Here's tae us--
Wha's like us?
Damn few--
And they're a' deid--
Mair's the pity.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:22 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 8:06 pm
Posts: 564
Many pros and dealers also peruse Ebay regularly so anything that looks too good to be true probably is.

Pulling an item off ebay and relisting is meant to allow sellers to rethink their choices, but it does seem to be overdone by certain sellers. And the practice of saying "I don't know much about this" can be because the seller is truly naive about the item, they are trying to limit their liability-- "I never said it was repairable", or they're playing some psychological game-- letting you find the treasure.

Those inexpensive "bone" head instruments are often nach meyer type german flutes which may or may not ever be satisfactory even with work.

Sometimes a good modern flute will be listed. Though you may not see it under wooden flute, or simple system flute searches. They are usually listed by maker's name and will vary in condition.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 6:54 am
Posts: 649
Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I think you need some "translation" of the typical "eBay-speak":

"I am selling this but I don't know much about it" translates to: "I bought a piece of junk and try to feint ignorance so the buyer won't ask me, why I sold him junk."
That's similar to, for example, a watch being sold (I collect watches, therefore the example) and saying -- "I haven't checked accuracy but it seems to run fine." -- that translates to "The watch is in dire need of a service and runs like junk and you'd be better off using a sun-dial."
Similar "nuggets" of creative descriptions:
"Good condition" -- "scratched all over but you won't notice without your glasses on."
"Rare." -- "Thousands were made but the seller didn't do any research/has no clue/wants to jack up the price."
As for those items getting re-listed again and again -- it is highly likely the seller has a friend who puts in bids to drive up the price and/or make a high enough bid so that nobody really buys the damn thing, because it was the seller's friend/neighbor/uncle who "bought" it so the seller can then re-list it. In the case of the ivory headjoint flutes -- most of the time they are mass-produced cheap junk. Don't buy unless you know exactly what you're doing. And why are there so many Pakistani "fire-wood" flutes? Because it's not worth the effort/money to send it back to Pakistan when it turns out to be junk. So some other poor schmuck can be duped into buying it by using the descriptions above.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:02 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:47 pm
Posts: 85
Sedi wrote:
I think you need some "translation" of the typical "eBay-speak":


Also people who say they’ve ’won’ an auction. Being obliged to give somebody a sum of money for something that nobody else thought was worth that much isn’t a win in my book.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Queensland, Australia
And there I was thinking I was too cynical already, now I have to assume all eBay sellers are scumbags as well. Sigh.

I do wish you could filter out dealers/businesses (professional or amateur) from the normal folks. Most of the items for sale are the same crud you can buy in stores locally, but about twenty percent cheaper. Then add the same amount back on for shipping. It's a bit weird. I mean, unless you're living in Outer Mongolia surely it's easier to just pop into the local supermarket if you need a spare phone charger or what have you? The only new thing I think I've bought on there that actually saved me money was some off-brand clarinet pads, because my local music store only had semi-fancy ones.

Surely buying up oodles of dodgy stuff and hoping to make a few bucks by reselling it on eBay isn't very...well, effective though? If the business strategy of 'buy heaps of random stuff and hope someone, someday, somewhere will buy it for more than you bought it for' worked then...surely that doesn't work?!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:46 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:10 pm
Posts: 312
Location: Michigan
Lozq wrote:
And there I was thinking I was too cynical already, now I have to assume all eBay sellers are scumbags as well. Sigh.

I do wish you could filter out dealers/businesses (professional or amateur) from the normal folks. Most of the items for sale are the same crud you can buy in stores locally, but about twenty percent cheaper. Then add the same amount back on for shipping. It's a bit weird. I mean, unless you're living in Outer Mongolia surely it's easier to just pop into the local supermarket if you need a spare phone charger or what have you? The only new thing I think I've bought on there that actually saved me money was some off-brand clarinet pads, because my local music store only had semi-fancy ones.

Surely buying up oodles of dodgy stuff and hoping to make a few bucks by reselling it on eBay isn't very...well, effective though? If the business strategy of 'buy heaps of random stuff and hope someone, someday, somewhere will buy it for more than you bought it for' worked then...surely that doesn't work?!


Not sure. I once had someone argue at me online, with a splash of vitriol, about why eBay was so great for buying stuff, etc. "But I can get stuff so much cheaper, but you go ahead and pay the full price at stores!" My question, of course, was "why? These sellers aren't taking a financial hit for charitable purposes so you can buy something cheap, so why is it so much cheaper than you can get it elsewhere yet they can still manage to make a profit?"

_________________
Here's tae us--
Wha's like us?
Damn few--
And they're a' deid--
Mair's the pity.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:04 am
Posts: 1317
Location: Mercia
Katharine wrote:
so why is it so much cheaper than you can get it elsewhere yet they can still manage to make a profit?"
Retailer's overheads and the costs of the risks they take. If the retailer doesn't have it on the shelf they have to get it from a distributer. The distributer has to ship it to the retailer and could almost as easily ship it to you. If it is on the shelf the retailer has to pay for the shelf and the building to put it in and is taking the risk that no-one will buy it at a price that gives him a return.

I bought some hiking boots from a local shop and payed 20% more than I would pay online. But he let me try half-a-dozen other boots and knew how the different construction boots would stretch or not stretch. I was very pleased with them. Next time I bought almost the same model online, but they had changed slightly and I had pay postage to send them back to try a different size.

Some ebay traders seem to do what the 'specialist' dealers who go round local auctions, flea markets, car boot sales, charity shops do. They know what things in their line will sell for and can charge a little more because a shopper only has to go to one place to chose. Pre-ebay a housemate, as a hobby that paid for the time she spent on it, specialised in 1920's costume jewelry. She knew what would fit the modern fashion, people who had it amongst a load of other stuff didn't, and enough of them were happy let it go at what they knew was 'a dealers price' to move it out of their stock.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:58 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 6:54 am
Posts: 649
Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
Maybe my post was too cynical. I rarely have had a bad experience on eBay but the descriptions do tend to be a bit "creative" sometimes. When people sell stuff that they advertise as "rare" or "in good condition" you just have to keep in mind that often they are neither. But if the price is still good, why not buy it? I never got really scammed or anything. But I did get stuff that was advertised as "in good condition" but wasn't. The price was still okay though. But I also have a limit for eBay-purchases. Maybe a couple hundred € but I think the most expensive thing I ever bought on eBay was 500€. And that is also about as much as I'd spend. And stuff where I think I might have to use the warranty for example, I buy in brick'n'mortar stores preferrably.
I wouldn't buy used flutes if I lacked the expertise to tell from pics what it is and what it's worth and if it could be restored properly. If the description is good and honest (and words like "rare" should be used sparingly in a description if it was a mass-produced instrument) and the pics are good enough to judge the condition adequately. Then I think it's fine if you know what you're doing.
Another example -- just because something is old doesn't mean it's rare. I collect bibles and an old Luther-bible is often not worth anything because those things were printed in HUGE numbers. So a nice leatherbound bible from the 30's is not worth more than maybe 10-20€. So some old flutes were mass-produced and are not very good so they're basically not worth much and especially so when you cannot test-play them.
When unsure, I'd rather buy a new one from a reputed maker before possibly wasting a lot of money on something in unsure condition.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:58 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
Posts: 4632
Location: WV to the OC
I'm a regular Ebayer. Before the internet, before Ebay, I would walk around antique malls and charity shops.

Ebay is like having tens of thousands of charity shops and antique shops in your house. Ebay has most of the same joys and dangers of those.

Lozq wrote:
'Buy It Now and Wait Ten Weeks for Delivery'


If the implication is that long delivery times are typical, the default Ebay thing is to require an item purchased to be shipped in three business days. Yes there are overseas sales and other sales with longer delivery times but they must be revealed by the seller. You can filter your search by delivery time, if that's a priority.


Lozq wrote:
...hoping to find a tasty flute on the cheap.


I don't do flutes on Ebay, but I've bought and sold a fair number of Highland pipes over the years there.

I warn people that buying vintage instruments on Ebay has potential rewards for those with detailed knowledge, but potential danger for newbies. This isn't Ebay's fault. A buyer's level of ignorance or education is the responsibility of the buyer, and can't be blamed on anyone else.

With Highland pipes there are bargains on Ebay every day. I run into pipers all the time who have spent $1,500 or $2,000 on a mediocre-sounding new bagpipe when for half that they could have bought a vintage set on Ebay that would play circles around their new set.

When people ask me about buying vintage pipes on Ebay I warn them it's not for the non-experts. I tell them to let me know when they're ready to purchase a bagpipe, and I'll give them a list of the current Ebay bargains.

Both of my Highland pipes are great-sounding 1940s sets that will outplay anything made today. Both were got on Ebay. The seller of both is somebody I trust. He has a large number of great old pipes. All are in nice condition, and his prices are very reasonable.

One set cost $600, one $800. I have $1400 total in two great vintage bagpipes, less than one mediocre new set costs.

BTW people new to piping overpay for mediocre new instruments because they don't realise that musical instruments aren't like cars.

They think new=good used=bad. If they looked around they would see that most of the good pipers are playing vintage pipes.

Lozq wrote:
What I've noticed is that quite a lot of the items seem to get relisted over and over again.


Yes if an item is priced too high it probably won't sell anytime soon. It's usually the case of the seller not knowing the item's typical value. I can only guess that somebody "informed" the seller about the item's value, and the seller wants to stick to that price. The only way such an item will sell is if an unknowledgeable buyer with too much money comes along and overpays. Experts will leave it alone.

People like that- unknowledgeable buyers with too much money- is why it behooves sellers to go the auction route. All the fixed-price Buy It Now does is prevent somebody for paying more for your item than you think it's worth.

I've contacted sellers before, when they list an old set of bagpipes for an absurdly high price. I'll tell them what that sort of pipes generally goes for- all they need to do is look on Ebay to see I'm correct- and I assure them that they'll never sell the item at anything close to that price unless a total ignoramus with a pile of money burning a hole in his pocket happens along. You can wait years and never have that happen. And indeed these pipes get relisted in perpetuity.

Lozq wrote:
I would've thought an auction is meant to be a case of you get what people are willing to pay, and then you're obliged to post it.

I'm not sure what that sentence means, sorry.

When an auction ends the seller has to go through with the sale to the highest bidder, even if the seller imagines that the item is worth more. If a seller wants to cancel a sale once the auction is over it has to be approved by the winning bidder.

In general things on Ebay don't go for much less than they're worth because knowledgeable buyers will bid up the item. Like water, an item's value will find its level.

However you can get lucky! There was a 100 year old set of pipes on Ebay with an opening bid of $200. I thought sure the bidding would go up, but when the auction ended I was the only bidder and I won those pipes. I still play them, they're amazing. The seller sent the pipes to me with an angry note saying the pipes had been appraised for nearly a thousand dollars. That's the seller's fault, not having a minimum built into the auction. If you list an item with a super low opening bid, with no minimum, you take that risk.

Lozq wrote:
The other little mystery...all these instruments...the description invariably reads something like 'I have no idea what this is...'


A seller can't know everything about everything and they often end up with things they know nothing about. Perhaps a relative passed away, or they bought a blind lot at auction, it doesn't matter.

About the claim that sellers feign (the word you were looking for) ignorance as part of a scam, I buy and sell vintage things on Ebay pretty often and in my experience that is virtually unheard of. The knowledgeable sellers are Ebay regulars and they describe things very accurately. The unknowledgeable sellers are obvious. Usually they're up front with their ignorance. Even if they don't specifically state that they know nothing, that fact is obvious by the way they word things.

It's a mistake to believe that sellers have something to gain from vague and inaccurate descriptions. As a seller I know that if I miss the tiniest thing in my description it can come back to haunt me! The buyer will find a microscopic scratch and want their money back and/or give me bad feedback. You won't last long on Ebay that way.

One frequent bane is a seller having inadequate and/or blurry photos. Anybody with any knowledge and common sense will be scared off, or they will ask the seller to take better photos. Things with blurry photos won't sell, except to an unknowledgeable newbie with more money than sense. Once again it's the buyer's responsibility, not Ebay's, to educate themselves.

Lozq wrote:
And one last bit of mystification...Pakistani flutes and pipes...who the hell is actually buying these things...you don't just wake up one morning and decide that 'Today I'm going to buy a cheap set of uilleann pipes, without learning the first thing about them"


But people do!

That's their market, the ignorant newbie.

As a bagpipe teacher I cringe when a potential student tells me "my husband bought me some bagpipes when he was on a business trip to Ireland last week" or "my wife gave me a set of bagpipes for Christmas" or "I picked up these bagpipes on Ebay". There's nearly a 100% chance that they show up with Pakistani trash.

Actually I have more encounters with Pakistani Highland Dress things- kilts and sporrans etc- than flutes or bagpipes.

These are marketed in sneaky ways. The first thing is to set up a firm in the UK, so Americans see that it's a UK firm and imagine that the things are made in the UK.

The other thing is that evidently in the UK clothing isn't required to carry a label stating where it was made. In the US clothing must carry such a label. So a UK firm can be set up calling itself "Celtic Kilts Scotland" and it can put labels in their kilts saying Celtic Kilts Scotland. US buyers see that label think it's the US-required label stating country of origin. It's not, "Scotland" is simply part of the firm's name.

Since bagpipes and flutes aren't required to be stamped with the country of origin, sellers don't have to resort to such stuff.

_________________
Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.289s | 13 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)