eBay - Pros and Cons

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eBay - Pros and Cons

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:05 am

Bob Culver, President, Night Light Miniature Lamp Club , is surveying his members for their thoughts on eBay. I thought I would solicit your thoughts to help with his survey.

So, what do you think? Is eBay good/bad for you? Has it helped or hurt the fairy lamp market? Has your experience with buyers/sellers been positive/negative? Has eBay changed over the years for the better/worse? Other thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

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Pros and Cons

Post by cadking on Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:23 pm

As someone who uses eBay as both a buyer and a seller, I need to break the question into two sections.

As a buyer it has helped me add several lamps to my collection that I would not have had the opportunity to see, let alone purchase using the antiquated search technique. Years ago I would load up the family and drive to the neighboring state to attend several of the larger antique shows with the hope of finding one or two lamps that were not in the collection already, were not damaged, and that I wanted. More than several times these trips were for not. Most collectors only need one of each item for the display cabinet, so seeing seven Burmese domes didnít make any trip better than the last. There were also the trips that called for stopping at every antique store that was along the route, again with the hope of finding another lamp. If you had the time to travel the country, that might be an effective way of shopping, but I donít have the time or money for gas. EBay has given me access not only to the different dealers across the country and the world, but to the single home owner that might be cleaning out their parentsí house for the last time. In this regard, it has helped me. I also think since we are able to have access to a much larger cross sampling of product, it has dropped the prices on most of the lamps in my collection. When the Rufís wrote their book, the prices were determined by a pool of collectors who searched for lamps all in the same way, making many lamps appear more rare than they might have really been. A recent example might be the Royal Worchester Grecian Water Carrier. When the book was written, only about 18 were known in the different sizes, but easily that many have been placed on eBay over the years, doubling their known quantity and cutting into the value printed in the book. This effect has also helped me add more lamps to the collection that might not have been if the prices had remained as high. Of course I think good money will be spent on good lamps. If you are truly an avid collector that must have that one lamp in your collection, damn the cost, then that lamp has the opportunity to go beyond the books high estimated value.
I also think that it has helped me make better decisions as a buyer. In the past, auction companies have printed catalogs which typically contain a single photo of the item being sold. As a buyer, I like the opportunity to see the object from all sides. EBay gives the buyer that opportunity as most sellers add several photos to go along with their description. The down side is that some sellers are not as good at writing descriptions as the authors from some higher end auction houses. EBay also gives me the opportunity to ask as many questions as I can over the auction run time, where I typically would need to call the auction house only days before the auction, as the items are not always accessible weeks before a large auction, and ask the one question that I thought of at that moment. I do miss going to some of the large auctions, and the anticipation that came from waiting for it to start and the adrenalin rush I got as the item was being sold. I can simply put in a bid on eBay and walk away, or even place a snipe to be placed at the last second if I want to, and go shopping for groceries, and when the item sells I will get an update on my iPhone whether I won or lost the item. Then I can pay while in the checkout line seconds later without writing a check, calling the bank, waiting for the total while the auction house takes my item to the closest shipping company and adds the shipping on to the sale total. Even before I bid I have a good idea what the shipping is going to be. So no sticker shock there either.

As a seller it also has served me well. When I sold at some of the larger auction houses, they only had one or two related auctions a year, so I would need to box up the items I was selling related to the auction title and send them off. I waited while the catalogs were created, waited until the auction was held, and then waited for payment after the successful bidder paid his bill. This whole process could take up to 5 months in some cases. And if I missed a cutoff date, then I was out of the auction for another 6 to 12 months. I do like the fact the on eBay, I typically get paid within a day or two, and can ship the items out the following day. Iím happy I got paid, and the buyer is happy because they have their item in under a week. I also like the fact that the buyers can rate the seller. I pride myself in having a very high feedback rating. I limit my purchases from sellers who have excessive negative feedback for whatever the reason. I just donít need the hassle. I know several auction houses that would be out of business if the buyers could rate the service, shipping cost, shipping time and accuracy of their descriptions. Then on occasion, some of your items would be turned down at the auction as they might think they are below the quality they handle. EBay doesnít care if youíre selling a $5000 Cranberry Verre Moire Fairy Lamp or a broken candle cup. If you want to pay the listing price, someone out there might pay your asking price. I am sadden by the fact that some prices have fallen simply because there are more items coming to market than ever before, as this cuts into my profit and exclusiveness in certain selling circles.
I have found that almost all sellers are truthful and are trying to do the right thing by the buyer. If they donít, then they can be removed from the site and run the chance of losing that income. I do hate the fact that eBay takes a larger slice of the pie than I think is necessary from the seller when the item sells, and then takes another slice when you use the required payment system (as they own both sites). When I would wait for a check or money order as payment, it slowed the shipping down by a week, but I didnít lose that percentage as I do now, and eBay discourages anyone from accepting payment in any other form other than their system.

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re: Ebay

Post by RedQueen1 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:36 pm

I'll throw my two cents worth in here...I like the listings on Ebay for many of the same reasons cadking posted in their earlier answer. I'm not a seller so I don't have the issues with Ebay regarding what they take from the seller not once but twice (#$%!!).
Ebay gives me opportunity to study many different makers, see various lamps in different colors and designs. It gives me the opportunity to see what various people are asking for these items...and what people are willing to pay for them. I used to get more frustrated than I do now with the sometimes wrong, sometimes strange and sometimes outright funny descriptions people put on the things they're offering. The listings give me a place to start in terms of identifying some items and I'm not aware of any other source of this many items to study which is running all the time, all year round.
I've not had any bad experiences with sellers and most of them are more than willing to answer questions when I ask them. I would certainly say Ebay is a case of "BUYER BEWARE" simply because there are obviously people who don't know what they're listing and may identify it incorrectly instead of saying "I don't know the maker" etc., but other than that I think it (Ebay) serves a useful purpose for those of us who are looking for something specific to buy. Maddie

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Re: eBay - Pros and Cons

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