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  eBay Space Memorabilia "Surprise Packages"

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Author Topic:   eBay Space Memorabilia "Surprise Packages"
garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1820
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 10-15-2013 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone bought one of these from the seller 360atlas? They are priced up to $1,000 and are said to contain mementos from the Apollo flights. However these auctions are all illustrated with the graphic below, which does not give me much confidence in the value offered.

eBay wow

You can see a sample of these auctions here.

bwhite1976
Member

Posts: 200
From: belleville, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 10-15-2013 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a few thoughts on this:

If the items have a value of $1000 then why not just clearly list the items and avoid the guessing game?

Is it possible that the seller added an extra zero on to the price and intended this to be a $100?

For that price those items better be spectacular. If not, everyone is going to be disappointed including negative feedback for the seller.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3272
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-15-2013 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why does eBay allow listing without a photo? Anyone who parts with their money and gets a bag of air, or even a bag of crappy items is going to struggle to make a claim. Oh, wait a minute, there's money in it for eBay, so anything goes.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2013 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
...there's money in it for eBay, so anything goes.
It also costs eBay each time they have to investigate a fraud complaint.

With millions of listings being made daily, there would be no practical way to police if every auction included a valid photo (after all, these "surprise" listings include an image, just not an image of the product(s) being offered).

As always, it comes down to caveat emptor, regardless the venue. If you decide to take the risk and are burned, that's not eBay's fault — it's the seller's ...and yours.

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 143
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 10-15-2013 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I totally disagree Robert, eBay's number one obligation is to the buyer! With all the technology available eBay has to have a way to police sellers like this.

But I have to admit I would never buy something without knowing what it is first.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2013 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So if you buy a used car through your local newspaper's classified ads and it turns out to be a lemon, your newspaper is at fault?

eBay is not an auction house; it uses the an auction format (among others) to sell, but it operates much more as a classified ad listing service.

It's convenient to place the blame on eBay because it makes money, but so does your local newspaper and every other for-profit company.

fredtrav
Member

Posts: 1173
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 10-15-2013 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think you can see the value? and type of items that might be included in the box by looking at what they have deemed good enough to pull out and sell individually. A set of 5 Apollo 11 20th anniversary patches for $189, Apollo 11 tapestries for $100, or perhaps the hidden gem, a pop up moon rocket children's book for $89, the glass Apollo 11 mug for $25, really?

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 143
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 10-15-2013 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I was buying a used car I had seen in a newspaper I would go and see what it looks like and what kind of condition it was in before I buy it or not.

eBay's not an auction house? Really! Technically is is! You bid on items the last usually last 3 to 7 days and the highest bidder wins! Isn't that an auction?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2013 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You, the buyer, made a choice to see the car before buying it. You took action. The same way you, the buyer, could insist on seeing the contents of the "surprise" package before buying, or not buy it.

You, the buyer, are responsible for your decisions. The seller is responsible for conducting an honest, good faith sale.

eBay and the newspaper are only venues for the sale between you and the seller.

And no, eBay is not an auction house. An auction house receives consignments, in most cases takes physical hold of the item being sold, writes the description and sets the price. eBay does none of those things. It uses an auction format, but is not an auction house.

bobslittlebro
Member

Posts: 143
From: Douglasville, Ga U.S.A.
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 10-15-2013 10:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bobslittlebro   Click Here to Email bobslittlebro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess what it really boils down to is, buyer beware!

GTspace
Member

Posts: 194
From:
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 10-15-2013 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GTspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He/She is in clear violation of eBay's photo policy and also the duplicate listing policy. Robert is correct that they can't police every listing but... when someone uses the "report item" link within the listing, they will take action rather quickly.

astrobock
Member

Posts: 88
From: WV, USA
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 10-15-2013 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astrobock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know who is more mentally ill. Him for listing similar auctions over 250 times and not selling even one... or me for actually counting.

gliderpilotuk
Member

Posts: 3272
From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-16-2013 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
eBay is not an auction house; it uses the an auction format (among others) to sell, but it operates much more as a classified ad listing service.

So if it is operating in that capacity why does it do a half-hearted job of policing anything, like forgeries, fraud and IP violations? At ~10% fees and $2bn net income it's a damned expensive classified ad service that could easily employ smart software to scan new listings for terms of service and other violations.

I don't disagree with caveat emptor as a personal principle but I do disagree with eBay's disingenuous implication of propriety and simultaneous avoidance of an outright "caveat emptor" statement in its terms of service. Their lawyers leave the picture suitably opaque so that it looks like there's a semblance of oversight but in reality eBay carries no liability for due diligence.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2013 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As Greg (GTspace) points out above, eBay does investigate each user-submitted report — as well as initiates its own anti-fraud investigations based on automated and manual monitoring of sales.

Behind the scenes, eBay has programs like Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) and Enhanced Member Reporting (EMR) that provide those with the proper accreditation the ability to shut down fraudulent sales promptly. That is why you sometimes see problem cases being discussed here quickly disappear from eBay (not my own doing, but EMR members who also belong to this community).

fredtrav
Member

Posts: 1173
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 10-16-2013 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well since they are still up, I assume that no EMR has taken this on and eBay does nothing about it on their own.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2013 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the eBay photo policy, for reference:
Every listing must have a photo of the actual item being sold. Placeholder images used to convey messages, such as no image available, stock availability, or other marketing messages, aren't allowed.
You needn't be a member of EMR to report a listing. If you see something wrong, report it...

On edit: In addition to the photo issue, eBay specifically prohibits "chance" listings:

The listing has an opportunity to win an item or prize either by chance or in connection with a skill contest. This also includes grab bags and mystery items.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2013 01:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wrote the seller to point out his listings were in violation of eBay's rules.

He says he is now working on photos to add to the lots and that he does not plan to continue with blind or surprise sales.

BlueHalo
Member

Posts: 20
From: Boynton Beach, FL
Registered: Oct 2013

posted 10-17-2013 02:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BlueHalo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
VeRO's are very different from anyone else on eBay. Primarily, a VeRO is a verified intellectual property rights owner. The protect themselves (and in some cases others) from copyright infringement, theft of proprietary information or someone who has licentious regard for copyright law.

As someone else stated previously, anyone can report anything they want on eBay and I see it daily when it comes to competitors fighting over what they are selling and other foofaraw. I am a VeRO on eBay and what we use for reporting is called a VeRO Reporting Tool or VRT that allows us to enforce violations of our intellectual property as well as enforce IP violations of others who grant us specific rights to do so. As is the case with the FBI, I can enforce certain IP violations with FBI merchandise branded with the words Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Most major companies/corporations have a VeRO account and they use it to protect their own IPs. For example, Atlantic Records uses their VeRO account to remove counterfeit, bootleg and unlawful reproductions of their recordings. I hope that helps you understand a little better what a VeRO actually is.

You can view most of the official participating VeRO members at this link here.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-17-2013 03:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, and welcome to collectSPACE.

Like you, I've used the VeRO program to put a halt to infringing sales. My mention of the VeRO program however, was only as an example of the types of protective programs eBay has in place. It was not intended to suggest it had application to the "surprise" sales being discussed here. Apologies if that was not clear.

BlueHalo
Member

Posts: 20
From: Boynton Beach, FL
Registered: Oct 2013

posted 10-17-2013 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BlueHalo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Robert, glad to be here. Actually I have been here for quite a while. Long time NASA collector. Just one of the quiet ones. You learn more if you just listen or read. LoL.

MadSci
Member

Posts: 191
From: Maryland, USA
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 11-15-2013 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MadSci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my experience, eBay doesn't bother to police their listings, even when notified of fraudulent items. It seems that they only bother if they fear a listing will gain wide publicity.

Case in point, for years there have been several sellers constantly selling "autographs" that are in fact color prints of autographed items. I have personally notified eBay of a dozen such listings, however they are never pulled, never modified, and the sellers simply re-post the listing (printing another copy) as soon as some unsuspecting victim buys the last one. Many of these sellers have a constant stream of 50 or more of these auctions going on at all times, which I suspect is why eBay doesn't police them - they like the steady revenue from these sales.

I use eBay all the time, but do your homework and Buyer Beware!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 31203
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-15-2013 09:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MadSci:
...which I suspect is why eBay doesn't police them - they like the steady revenue from these sales.
The revenue from a handful of questionable sales — even say a few hundred — is pittance compared to the hundreds of millions that are on-going on any given day.

eBay has little reason to care if they lose the commission from any given fraudulent sale, but they have every reason to care that their members feel safe doing business on the site. Individual anecdotes aside, there is plenty of evidence that they do police their listings.

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