Now, this is a story all about how — Whoa, am I the only one that just got a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air flashback? Yes? Okay, then…
Anyway, this really is a story all about how you can buy something for dirt cheap and turn it around and sell it for a lot more. It’s also a story about making sure you always take your time when you create your listings so there are absolutely no mistakes when you’re finished. Because if there are, it might just cost you a pretty penny to fix them.
First, the item:
This is a vintage precision casting reel from Shakespeare. It’s the 1922 model and came in the original box. It still worked smoothly and was actually in excellent condition, even though we knew that it was used.
The exciting part of the tale is as follows. We bought this for right around $9. It sold for $222.50. We knew we’d get a good turnaround on it, but no one here had any idea it would be so popular. It was an incredible sale and definitely one for our “best scores ever” book.
Then we got the e-mail that no eBay seller ever wants to see: “Item not as described.”
Here’s my disclaimer. I try really, really hard to make all of our listings as accurate as possible. I never try to hide damage or misrepresent our items. Not only was I not brought up to be that way, but it just serves to give you a headache later on. Everyone on eBay pretty much has to have a refund policy at this point, so the buyer can return it and get their money back even if you were trying to be sneaky. Plus you’ll probably have to pay the return shipping and that puts you in the hole rather than out on top.
With that being said, I do miss things. And it happens more often than I’d care to admit. But I also have to list as many items in a day as I possibly can, and that leads to being rushed and making mistakes. I’m human and it happens. Some people get that, and others don’t.
This person got it. He was probably the nicest eBay buyer I’ve had to deal with so far. He told us that the flap to the box was missing and was wondering if (since we didn’t say it was missing in the description) we could look for it around our store to see if it just fell off.
But there never was a flap. It completely just slipped my mind to mention the fact that the box was damaged. With a little bit of humor, and a lot of apologies, I explained that to the buyer. He totally understood. He kindly asked for a refund, since (and I know this too, which makes me feel even more horrible!) the box is worth more money than the actual reel is.
In the end, we both agreed a $100 refund would be fair. He’d keep the reel, and we still had a $110 profit. It was win-win, just maybe not so much of a win-win.
But, lesson learned. Slow down, take your time. It’ll pay off in the end (sometimes quite literally).
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever been on the buying side of this? Either way it’s a horrible thing to have to run into, but it definitely happens in this business, particularly when you’re dealing in vintage.