Marilyn Monroe aka The Soup Nazi

The telephone rang last evening about 5:30pm.  It is hard working from home – our business line and personal line are one and the same.  We really need to set boundaries about business calls after hours, but working for ourselves has turned us into a 24/7 business.  The caller ID identified the person as “Marilyn Monroe”.  I was certainly intrigued.  Was Marilyn back from the dead and actually calling me?!

No such luck.  The woman was the daughter of a new client we met last week.  We spent hours researching, photographing and listing 25 items for this client from Sunday until Thursday.  Each night I sent a link to the client’s two daughters (she doesn’t have email), so they could follow the auctions.  This is a courtesy I extend to all our clients and it is part of our complete service as eBay Trading Assistants.  The woman (whose first name is NOT Marilyn and whose last name is NOT Monroe) was upset at the opening bids I placed on her mother’s auctions.  I have been selling on eBay for 10 years, and I know what I’m doing.  The opening bids were correct for those items.  I explained how I work with each new client and I am very clear that the client needs to tell me if they have a specific price goal in mind for any items.  If I don’t think their price expectations are realistic, I let them know BEFORE I list anything or sometimes, I don’t even bother to take those items.    This client understood how eBay works  – she used a different eBay Trading Assistant a few years back.  I left her mother’s house with the understanding that I would start the auctions where I thought they should be started.  She did not object.

Now, 4 days into the process, the client’s daughter is calling me.  She told me the starting bids were all too low.  I explained that given the condition and category of each item, I felt the starting bids were right, but I would be willing to change any opening bids on auctions that had no bids.  She told me she would have to speak to her mother and get back to me. Either she was going to bid on the items herself or she wanted to raise the opening bids.  I told her that we did not condone shill bidding and if she won the auctions, we would still be charging her the eBay fees and our commission.

About 1/2 hour later, the phone rang.  It was Marilyn Monroe again.  Supper was cooking on the stove and my food timer had 4 minutes to go.  MM told me she wanted to change the opening bid on ALL the auctions.  I told, OK, but it is dinner time and my food was almost ready.  Could I call her back in 15-20 minutes?  NO.  She told me that if I didn’t immediately go to the computer to make the changes she requested, she would hold me personally liable if any items got bids in the next 15 minutes.  Seriously?  I again told her that it was dinner time.  I then hung up.  I know.  I shouldn’t have hung up – but who was she, the famous Seinfeld Soup Nazi – “No soup for you”.  How dare she tell me that I should leave my dinner and go to work for her immediately.

I then told Richie that I wasn’t dealing with this nut job.  He called her back and told her that we wouldn’t deal with her and that she should pick up her mother’s items.  We spent 1/2 hour de-listing all 25 auctions, some of which already had bids.  We were in the process of negotiating with someone on one item as well.  Now we were left to deal with angry bidders!  She and her mother came by today to pick up their items.  Richie told her about the sale we were about to make on one item and can you believe this (of course you can), the daughter asked us for the name of our buyer so that she could make the sale.  We work on commission – or did she forget?  No, we didn’t give her our contact information.

Selling on eBay is a tough business.  Selling for 3rd parties adds one more degree of difficulty.  Not only do we have to please the buyers, we have to please our clients as well.  We work hard to make everyone happy and try to earn our living at this at the same time.  In this case, we lost a week’s worth of income and left some bidders angry at us for canceling auctions.

All I have to say to Miss Monroe is, why don’t you and your mother go out and get a bowl of soup – I’m sure the Soup Nazi must be a personal friend and wouldn’t mind letting you eat YOUR dinner.  He might even put your autographed photo on his restaurant wall, Marilyn.

Published in: on October 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm  Comments (1)  

Blame it on the Ukelele

eBay’s feedback policy is flawed.  It is one sided, which basically makes it useless.  Buyers can give any feedback they want, but sellers cannot do the same.  If a person has nothing better to do than bid up an auction and then fails to pay, there is way to warn other sellers.  In reality, the feedback system is pretty much a waste.  The only feedback you can leave for a buyer is that they paid.  And if you buy something, that is generally what you have to do if you want to get the item.

But selling for third parties is our business and we need to know that the auction item arrived safely and that the buyer is happy with their purchase in order to pay our client.  We used to assume that no news is good news.  However, we do a large business overseas, and it can take a long time for a package to fly around the world, clear customs and get delivered.  Take the case of the ukelele.  A number of years ago we sold what appeared to be a beautiful Hawaiian ukelele made of Koa wood to a buyer in Canada.  We waited a while, and after no feedback, assumed that the buyer was happy with his purchase.  That ukelele sold for over $400.00. We paid our client.  Well, after about a month, we heard from the buyer that the ukelele was warped and could not be played.  He was sending it back.

Although eBay allows you to list your auctions with a No Returns Accepted option, that is really not an option.  Any buyer can open a dispute and list the reason as “Item Not As Described”.  It doesn’t matter if you sell a Brand New, in Package item, PayPal’s response to you would be that you can’t prove that the item was what you sent the buyer.  In this case, when the ukelele arrived back to us, I took it to the only musics store in Tucson that knew anything about ukeleles.  And even though the ukelele looked good to us, it was warped!  Darn that dry Arizona heat.  We had already paid our client, so we were out the money on that sale.

Now we sometimes have to wait a little longer to pay our clients – especially on foreign sales.  So, all we ask our buyers is please, let us know auctions have arrived and you are satisfied.  If you don’t want to leave feedback, just drop us a note.  We always send personal email confirmation when we ship, just hit reply and let us know you got it.  It would just make our business run a little smoother and for that, we thank you.

Published in: on October 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sleepless in Tucson – A Rolex and Chinese Customs

We recently sold an expensive Rolex watch to a buyer in China.  Although, I believed I had restricted bidding to the United States only, somehow the item sold to a Chinese bidder…go figure.  Setting up selling restrictions on eBay is actually more complicated than it looks.  It is actually a two step process, and since the first step seemed so intuitive, I thought I had set my selling requirements up correctly.  I have since learned how to actually do this, but that is another blog in and of itself.

Selling expensive items to the international market requires that one use FedEx as the carrier, since PayPal will only protect sellers if they get a signature on every sale of $250 and higher.  The US Post Office does not offer this feature on international deliveries.  They say that they do, if you use US Express Mail Guarantee, but in actuality, they pass the package over to Fedex for delivery.

The Chinese market has really grown very rapidly over the last couple of years and it seems that people have the money to purchase high end goods.  The buyer told me that he wanted the watch sent through the US Post Office.  I believe that he thought that by using the post office one could avoid customs duties, which is certainly not the case.  We ship with Priority Mail through the post office all the time for items to foreign markets, including China, and the buyers always have to pay customs.  I told him that it would be cheaper for him to pay for shipping through FedEx, since we have an account and get better rates, but he insisted on EMS (US Express Mail Service).  There are two EMS services – regular (no signature required and therefore not covered under the PayPal seller protection plan) and EMS Guaranteed (which uses FedEx and makes sure that the package is signed for).  I sent the package using the latter method.

I always try to track items shipped and in this case tracking showed that the package was in customs for a very long time. I finally called the post office to find out what was going on, and they gave me a FedEx number to call.  It seemed that customs was trying to verify the actual value of the watch and the buyer kept telling them he didn’t know it.  Customs would not release the package until they could verify the value to determine the customs taxes.  I wrote to the buyer at least a dozen times and he never answered me.  Customs told FedEx that the watch was new, even though the paperwork included in the box showed that it was bought in 1996.  I sent the eBay auction listing to FedEx to show the value and they forwarded it to Chinese customs.  The buyer still would not verify this.  Finally, after a month in customs, I requested that the watch be returned to me.  Chinese customs told me that not only would I have to give them my FedEx account number to guarantee return postage charges, but I had to give them a copy of my US Passport.  If I did not comply, they would keep the watch.   I can’t stress how many nights sleep I lost over this issue.

I placed daily phone calls over a three week period with FedEx to follow up.  After a week with one agent, I was transferred to another specialist who was assigned my case.  We spoke so often that we got to know each other on a first name basis.  She was the first phone call I made every morning.  Each day she would write to her contact in China and the next morning (with the time difference) we would go over the responses she received.

Finally, I tried calling the buyer in China who recognized my name, but acted like he didn’t speak English (even though his emails were all well written in English).  He finally wrote me back and told me to get the watch returned and re-send it to him through the regular mail.  Again, I have no idea why he thought that would avoid customs, but it was never going to happen.  I was told that Chinese customs would not send me back the watch unless the buyer wrote them that he was refusing to pay.  At this point, the taxes were $600 (30% of the value).  The buyer wrote me that he would refuse the shipment (at which point it would cost me over $100 to get the watch returned to my address).  If the Chinese customs ever, in fact, released it, I was told it could take up to 3 months for them to do so.

My personal FedEx representative told me that it looked like the buyer was talking to his family about paying the taxes.  We were now approaching the 45 day mark when a buyer could file an “Item Not as Described” claim on PayPal.  I was still worrying that I could be out both the watch and the money on this deal.  A few days later, my FedEx rep told me that the buyer was going to pay the taxes.  A few more days passed and I noticed that the watch was finally delivered.  Now I was really worried that the buyer would file a claim on PayPal, but instead I received a positive feedback on eBay from the buyer.  The next day he again wrote me an email under the topic “Item Not as Decscribed” asking me to split the cost of the taxes with him.  I should give him $300!  I didn’t even bother to answer his request.  After 45 days of aggravation, worry and sleepless nights, this guy had the nerve to ask me for pay half his country’s import tax!

This was probably the most stressful experience I have had selling on eBay.  It is getting more difficult with each transaction that takes place, as eBay is becoming more rigid and requires much more from its sellers.  I’m glad this incident is over.  All I can say is Good Night. I need to catch up on some well needed sleep.

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 7:22 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

THE REALITY OF REALITY TV!

Turn on Cable TV and what will you find on a host of channels…so-called Reality TV shows dealing with Antiques & Collectibles.  The Antique Road Show, Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters…to name just a few.  Each of these shows can make you an instant “expert” on the items you may own, or better yet, can make you wealthy beyond one’s imagination.  It’s just amazing to Judy and I, who have sold thousands of items privately and on the internet, that these shows actually have a following.  I understand that sometimes there are lines outside the pawn store in Vegas that is featured on the show “Pawn Stars”.

What is the “Reality” to these “Reality programs”?  I don’t have a definitive answer but our perception to most of these programs is that they do not even approach “Reality”.  Let’s look at one of the more popular and possibly more legitimate programs, the Antique Road Show.  The show is staged in different cities where individuals can bring valuables to be featured and have experts comment and determine a final appraised value.  The experts have top notch credentials, Christy’s, Sotheby’s etc. and we even saw one from our hometown of Tucson who actually had done an appraisal for one of our clients.  Her appraisal was expensive to our client and did not even include an item that my wife researched and found was made by Tiffany and later we sold for several thousand dollars (some expert).  We also find that the values that are assigned to items appear way too high.  Judy and I often look at each other, roll our eyes and say how about writing a check to me and the item is yours!!

It would appear that many of the shows have plants who do the bidding for the house, to get the prices up; the items are on loan rather than actually being sold/consigned as implied; customers too are plants who intentionally create some turmoil or violence (which may make for good TV, but we doubt is real).  To boot, these shows are also making our work harder.  People watch them and become believers that antiques they may own are worth tons of money.  Often, Judy will ask a potential client, “Do you have any price expectations”?  In many cases the answer is yes and Judy will decline to sell for them.  Also, the prices that are assigned to pieces for sale are exorbitant.  Whatever happened to bargains at garage sales?  Today, not only is the stuff being sole “junk”, but it is expensive “junk” thanks to many of these shows!!

Another thought related to these shows is, why would anyone take certain unique & rare  items to a pawn store where they will be offered the lowest possible price rather than contacting any well known (Sotheby’s) auction house whose costs would be substantially less or sell it on the internet themselves or through a seller like us.  Each to their own, but the people who watch these shows should just open a nice, cold beer and enjoy the entertainment with a skeptical eye.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 10:50 am  Comments (1)  

WE GO THAT EXTRA MILE!

The other day I happened to be watching the reality show “Auction Hunters” on cable TV, two guys who bid on abandoned storage units and always sell the items found for tremendous profits (they never miss…wink, wink).  Although I believe that the proliferation of these shows is a problem when you are selling valuables etc. for third parties (people think that they are going to make a mint selling their goods), this episode I found somewhat interesting and actually helpful.  The two discovered eight (8) duck decoys in a unit they won and took the items to an expert to sell.  Of course as usual, he offered them an extraordinary amount for all eight, but he did seem to know what he was doing. They only identified the expert by his first name, no address or additional information.

Well, we just happen to be selling various items for a client, including at least thirty (30) duck decoys (We live in the middle of the desert, why would anyone have this many decoys when there is no recreational water within hundreds of miles and certainly no water fowl).   I asked my wife Judy, do you think we may be able to locate this “expert” and possibly make a deal?  Judy is sooooo good on the internet that she was able to locate him knowing only his first name and that he was situated in California.  I called and he was interested in what we had.  After many calls and e-mails back and forth we did make a deal on several of our decoys and as a bonus he was able to tell us about the ones he was not interested in.  It was a fun and profitable experience.  We were able to sell outside our usual outlet eBay, which we are finding more and more difficult to deal with, did not have to pay their exorbitant fees and our client was happy to boot.

I am convinced that there is nothing Judy can’t do or find on the internet.  Because of our “extra” efforts, we were able to make sales that we previously did not have much luck with on eBay.  Although not a fan of Reality TV, this time was the exception.

Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 10:06 am  Comments (2)  
Tags:

eBay Feed Back System – Time to Update Your Rule Book

Remember when you were in grade school (or middle school or high school for that matter).  You could never win an argument against a teacher.  They were “always” right.  Well, now that we are in the grown up world,  if you are seller on eBay, they have replaced the role of the teacher.  They are always right – at least in their minds.  And if you want to go sell somewhere else, they know they have the biggest game in town, so you can take your ball and go elsewhere, but you won’t find many people to play with.

eBay has a policy that allows the seller to send an Unpaid notice if payment is not received after 4 days of the auction ending.  In the past, a seller had to wait 7 days.  The seller even has the option to have automate unpaid notices sent for them.

We recently had a buyer bid up 3 of our auctions and after 4 days of non communication, I wrote him and asked about payment.  I didn’t see a response (I have to say that he did respond to my email, but it went to spam), so I then filed a non payment claim.  At that point, I got a scathing email from this buyer telling me that I was “a joke” and the worst seller he had encountered in 10 years on eBay.  His entire email was very nasty.  I wrote him back that I didn’t get his other email, and that I was sorry.  He then proceeded to give me 3 Neutral feed backs calling me “rude” (perfect Freudian transference example) and even mentioned that I filed an unpaid notice against him, but to his defense it was a Holiday weekend.  We had many other sales that Holiday weekend and amazingly everyone else paid within a day.

I contacted eBay about getting these 3 Neutral feed backs removed as they were really retribution for filing the non payment claim – totally following eBay’s rules.  eBay refused to do anything.  I explained my case in as simple English as possible, but they just didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  They said the feed back did not quality for removal according to their rule book.  I asked to see a copy of their rule book and they told me to read their web site.  I told them that the site was only a synopsis and that I wanted to see the entire policy.  They refused to send me a copy.  How can you know the rules if they are kept hidden?  Are we living in the Soviet Union during the Cold War?

eBay, it is time to value your sellers.  You say that retribution feed back is not allowed.  Get a dictionary.  Listen to you sellers – without them, there is nothing for a buyer to purchase.

Published in: on January 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm  Comments (1)  

To eBay or Not To eBay

A few months ago a client gave us only 5 items to sell.  Included was an old Rolex watch that belonged to her deceased husband.  She didn’t like the watch.  It turned out she had bought another watch for her husband as a gift in the 1950’s and he didn’t like that one.  He returned it for a Daytona Rolex.  That was a long time ago, but that exchange left a bad taste for this woman.  She had no idea what the watch was worth and told us to get whatever we could for it.

We didn’t know a lot about different types of Rolex watches, but lack of knowledge has never stopped us before.  After quite a bit of research and writing and talking to people all over the country, we found out that this was actually quite a valuable watch.  It was stainless steel, not gold, and not even in top condition.  However, the model was very collectible.  But my past experiences with eBay left me a little nervous to try and sell this on their web site.  There are probably more fake Rolex watches than real ones, and I was a little nervous about a bait and switch problem happening.  As I wrote in previous blogs, PayPal always sides with the buyer and if someone bought this from me and then mailed me back a fake – I would be out the money and the goods.

My client really needed the money, and although I knew she was in a bit of a hurry to sell this, I told her to give me a little more time.  First I took the watch around to some of the better jewelery stores in Tucson. Either there was no interest, or the offers were insulting.  I then contacted some of the bigger auction houses around the country and although they were very eager, the time frame was too long and their fees were very high.

Over the years we have developed a database of buyers for specialty items and this has sometimes proved to be a more lucrative source than eBay.  So I decided to expand my list of buyers for high end jewelery.  I found a few interested parties in some big cities and after receiving a number of offers on the watch,  decided to pursue this.  We sold this watch for $14,000!  Our client was thrilled – we got her a great return!

Since the sale of the watch, we have sold other Rolex watches and some diamond rings through this same source.  The prices we were able to get our clients was terrific.  Dealing with this new source is extremely safe and there is no risk of fraudulent buyers trying to pull any scams.  It is a win-win for all.  We still believe that eBay is the way to go for a lot of auctions, but sometimes we have found it is best to go other routes.  When a client hires us to sell for them, they should know that we always have their back.

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  

WHO’S THE BIGGER THIEF eBay/PAYPAL OR THE BUYER

We are involved in a major issue with eBay/Paypal that I want to bring to the attention of all Sellers and the eBay community in general. I am under the impression that eBay doesn’t give a damn about their sellers, the backbone of their corporation. Here are the facts.

We sold an item to an individual who presented problems the minute he won the piece. First there were e-mails from him stating that he didn’t need a component of the phone he bought and wanted a refund for part of his purchase price. We refused his request as we sell for third parties and did not want to be involved with oddball situations. He wrote many “crazy” e-mails to make his point, asked us to call him which we did (he was polite on the phone) and then the nasty e-mails started to come and finally the non-payment. We filed a claim and lo and behold, he sent an e-check but also these particular e-mails. “What the hell is this unpaid item case you’ve opened?”… He claimed he was a Colonel in the USMC presently in Afghanistan; meanwhile we spoke on the phone to him a few days before at a Florida number. Another e-mail poorly paraphrased Jack Nicholson from a “Few Good Men”. “Why don’t you come stand the wall and protect ME. I am here in Afghanistan protecting your rights to barbeque… It’s not been a good day. I lost two men…I told you I would pay tomorrow but you probably forgot. When I forget, men die.” Gees, this is one bona fide wacko!! Why would he be dealing with us if he is in battle and lost men.

My wife, who is one of the smartest people I know, did a search on the guy and we found out that he has been arrested for “Scheme to Defraud” and then the next month for “Grand Theft”. I doubt the Marines want a “Few Good Criminals”, a Colonel no less!! His mug shot is above, one scary dude.

Now the eBay/Paypal situation. All during the above back and forth e-mails etc., we were in constant contact with customer service at both eBay and Paypal reporting what was taking place. It was about three weeks later, after sending the phone, since he had paid, and his receiving it that he initiated a claim against us. He first stated that his son made the payment without his knowing, then he said that “item was not as described”, that we had sent him garbage. Again, many calls to Paypal to report his language, the fact that he was a professional felon, and the lies. However, to our amazement, we had the feeling that Paypal was going to rule in his favor. He was following eBay/Paypal rules to a tee (after all he was a professional thief and probably knows the INS and outs of the system better than the customer reps). He sent back a package, with tracking which is all that is required to receive a refund from Paypal, who took the monies directly from our account. We spoke with at least a half dozen representatives from the company, received tons of misinformation and then finally approached the Post Office to warn them that we were about to receive a “suspicious” package. The package arrived and we received a phone call from the Postal Inspector from Tucson, asking for permission to x-ray and then open the package, which we had to agree to in order to protect our interest in the dispute. Although we were not present when the package was opened, what was returned were two pair of used underwear and some glass. We passed the Postal Report on to Paypal and as if from out of a science fiction movie, the ruling came down against us in favor of the felon. Go figure. We are appealing the ruling, but will surely lose in the long run as sellers are the Bain of eBay. Meanwhile we have neither the phone nor our money from this equitable system. What a country!!

We would love to hear from any eBay sellers who are dissatisfied with the present system as something needs to be done to make it even handed and more equitable for all. Our e-mail is sales@joedawolf.com. It is important that we are heard by management.

Published in: on August 17, 2011 at 11:34 am  Comments (3)  

A Tough Couple of Weeks – Buyers 4 / Sellers 0 – As Usual


This has been a tough couple of weeks.  Between Amazon and eBay, there are just too many bad seeds in the apple lately.  It started with a buyer who waited 2 months to file a claim with Amazon that she didn’t receive a DVD she ordered.  She admitted that she is overwhelmed taking care of twin babies, but she suddenly remembers that the movie never came.  Amazon charges the buyer enough to cover shipping costs and more.  However, they reimburse the seller less than the actual cost of shipping.  Unless an order is worth at least $10.00, we assume that most buyers are honest, and therefore we don’t pay the extra cost for tracking from the post office.  If an item cannot be delivered, it is most often returned to us anyway.  Well, in this case we did not get the First Class package back and this buyer most probably got the DVD and forgot where she put it.  Since we don’t have tracking, we automatically lose when a claim is filed against us.

Next we get an email from a buyer asking the whereabouts of a DVD  that was ordered and delivered months ago.  Well, in this case, the order was over $30.00, so we easily traced the package and told him it was delivered on May 2.  He then writes back that it must have been a different DVD that wasn’t received, but that our DVD is scratched so he wants to return it.  Wait – now you remember you have had the DVD for almost 3 months?  You just said you didn’t get it.  We are not Blockbuster – we sell movies, not rent them until you are tired of watching them.  We told him we wouldn’t take it back after this length of time.  He then wrote back that Amazon allows up to 3 months for returns.  It will be 3 months in exactly 5 days.  How convenient of him.  First he tries to scam us by saying he didn’t get the DVD (hoping we didn’t use tracking).  Then when he loses on that bet, he tries to say the item is damaged and files a claim against us for selling damaged goods.  That case is currently under review.  In the meantime, Amazon freezes the money for 30 days.  Even if we should win this case (which only happens if you have tracking and the buyer says they didn’t receive the goods), Amazon still freezes the funds for 30 days.  No wonder Amazon stock is so high – they make money on shipping costs they don’t incur and hold the seller’s money in their own interest bearing accounts even after it has been determined that the seller did no wrong.

Now comes the eBay whammy.  A buyer who scours eBay for scrap gold buys a broken watch band from us.  We described in the offering that the watch was broken, as was the band.  However, the band was made of platinum, gold and diamonds with a couple of tiny sapphires for color.  A real watch repair/jeweler could fix the band and easily have made triple what it sold for.  It was in the highly coveted Art Deco style.  The buyer was in Canada, and since the auction sold for over $250, we had to send it registered, return receipt.  Without a signature, even tracking doesn’t hold water in a PayPal claim.  If the buyer says he didn’t get a package for over $250, tracking proves nothing.  So it cost about $30 to mail this lightweight package.  The buyer receives the package and gets back to us that the watch is broken.  Duh.  We told her that was true, as stated.  Then she writes back that the sapphires aren’t real and that one is cracked.  You almost needed a magnifying glass to see these miniscule sapphires – and we never claimed that they were real or synthetic in the first place – the value in this piece were the many, many diamonds, gold and platinum.  Anyway, as usual we tried to appease the buyer and offered a $50 refund to fix and replace the itty bitty sapphire.  She said she would think about.  Well, the next day, after probably trying to sell the piece at a profit to her local gold dealer, she wrote back that she wanted to return the watch band.  We reluctantly said OK – there is no such thing as a “No Return” policy on eBay, even though they have that option on each selling page (which is the one we chose).  The next day this buyer files a claim against us on PayPal – instant money freeze!  We wrote back that we would accept the return, even though there was no errors in the listing.  So we will be out the $30 it cost us to send this as per PayPal’s rules. Seller always loses.

People say that bad things usually come in 3’s, now it is 4’s.  The 4th incident was only a return of an undelivered item, so we refunded that Amazon buyer her money.  We can sell that DVD again.  Enough.  Let’s have a few months of easy sales and happy customers.  We are bruised enough for now. Let us heal.

Published in: on July 28, 2011 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment  

EXPECTATIONS

 

It has been some time since we last posted, so here come the latest “words of wisdom”.

When Judy and I go to new clients, one of the first thinks we ask of them is, do you have any specific selling price in mind? This is commonly known as “expectations” and it is one of the most difficult client issues to deal with. After being bombarded with all the TV Reality shows night after night, from the Traveling Antique Road Show, American Pickers to some of the Pawn Shows etc., people have come to think that they have in their possession some of the last remaining treasures left undiscovered on the planet. They tend to put a value on things with extraordinary price tags and Judy will tell them as much and also tells them that we cannot handle selling for them because we cannot get the price they want.

We have noticed that over a period of time, specific collectibles tend to go in cycles as to what is popular and is selling or not. Try to sell a twelve (12) piece Noritake china dinner set. Not only is the packing and shipping difficult, but getting any price today, let alone the price one wants, is a feat and as a result we are not presently accepting such items for sale. Maybe they will be popular again, but it may not happen in my lifetime. Same goes for such popular names as Hummel, Baccarat and even Waterford. If the china sells, not a given in today’s market, generally it is priced much lower than what would have been realized or “expected” several years ago.

These are difficult times, and it is our opinion that Internet sales have slowed, selling prices have declined and the mechanics of eBay selling has changed substantially. When a client’s expectations are way too high, what is a seller to do? The choices are few. You either do not take the individual on as a client or you try to reason with them that we will list the piece, after considerable research, at a price that will attract bidders and sell. Our experience has shown that eBay buyers are looking for bargains, usually in the 30% range or more, and that one’s expectations are contrary to reality. We have had clients who were insulted when told that their expectations were too high, or become angry when they feel the final selling price was lower than what they had hoped to recapture. Expectations are a factor that may drive a person into action. They hear what a supposed “expert” on the Road Show quotes as a value for a piece on the TV and think that they have something equivalent to it and should realize a similar price. Judy and I just look at each other, laugh and comment that if an item is indeed worth what they quote, than the Road Show expert should just take out his/her checkbook and write a check.

I have great “expectations” that you will enjoy reading this post, but then again, I may be expecting too much.

Published in: on July 24, 2011 at 11:00 am  Comments (3)  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers