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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 08-24-2009 11:45 PM 1289 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4405 posts in 3971 days

08-24-2009 11:45 PM

A project in the not-too-distant future will be a toolchest/workbench similar to the Melhuish cabinet: (thanks, Alistair for posting that!!)
And in preparation for that, I’ve been trying to gather some well-aged, period hand tools both from my own stockpile and some interesting ones on eBay as well. I’ve also been stockpiling planes, and I’m beginning to notice some underhanded sales techniques. Whenever a seller offers, say, a Stanley #5 plane with a ridiculously low starting bid, and the eBay shipping calculator indicates that the shipping charge is $60 or $70 it tells me that they want to make money on what you pay for shipping. Which means that they will make a buck off you even if you find the item unsatisfactory and send it back. Rarely will any seller offer to refund your shipping charge. Plus, you are out the money spent to ship the item back.
The other issue that raises a red flag is when a seller states that he “does not know anything about planes”
which seems to somehow let him off the hook for describing the item accurately. Their starting price usually indicates that they know more than they want us to think.
My eBay horror stories so far don’t have anything to do with woodworking, except for a lumber dealer who balked at honoring my crazy low single bid on some bloodwood.
Anyone got some eBay battle scars to share?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

15 replies so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3934 days

#1 posted 08-24-2009 11:54 PM

Check with LJ fedsawdave he knows everything regarding shipping charges.

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 3639 days

#2 posted 08-24-2009 11:54 PM

One thought about the shipping, some sellers do that for us Canadians. You don’t pay insurance or import fees on shipping, just purchase price.

In my experience you don’t find many good deals from people who know about the tools. The guys you get deals from scrounge thrift stores and garage sales for items that they know they can resell at a profit.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3814 days

#3 posted 08-24-2009 11:56 PM

Well No
I’ve bought hundreds of things on e bay and most were fine ,including equipment,trucks,tools ,food and of course routers and more .Your evaluation is pretty good when you run across things like those kind of items don’t bid. It’s like any business transaction if you don’t feel good about the seller or don’t believe what there telling you or the won’t tell you what you want to know,don’t do business with them.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4059 days

#4 posted 08-25-2009 12:20 AM

One note I would add to this is that I have bought items on Ebay and had ridiculous shipping charges, such as $500, for an item only to see a discount applied that brings it to a reasonable level when I go to make the payment. I am not sure if this is what is going on with you or not but I really do not see what the purpose behind this practice is for. If a shipping charge is advertised as $10.00 I fail to see the logic behind posting a $500 shipping charge and then applying a discount of $490.00.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3934 days

#5 posted 08-25-2009 01:18 AM

Shipping, handling, duty charges you can never trust what they are going to be it is a gamble.
Even if it is free always beware of some charges

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4455 days

#6 posted 08-25-2009 01:38 AM

I’ve bought lots of stuff on eBay and never had a problem. You just need to remember that anything that seems too good to be true probably is. Keep your expectations in line, and you’ll be okay.

As far as shipping and handling, some sellers like to price low, but get you on the shipping and handling. Others will offer free shipping, but they get you on the price. I’ve found it is best to add the price and the shipping together and just look at the bottom line when deciding if an item is worth it or not. For example, I bought a bunch of clamps one time that were dirt cheap. Shipping was about three times the price of the clamps, but the bottom line was still a pretty good deal.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3965 days

#7 posted 08-25-2009 01:44 AM

remember that planes are often heavy and awkwardly shaped. All shipping has gotten more expensive. normal sized planes shouldn’t ussually cost more than $15 per item no matter where in the continental US you are.

View poopiekat's profile


4405 posts in 3971 days

#8 posted 08-25-2009 01:46 AM

I always contact sellers for the precise amount they will charge. I don’t bid until I get an answer. Those shipping calculators that some sellers link to their listings are pretty reliable.
Anyone ever receive an item that was grossly misrepresented?
Scott, I wonder if overinflating the shipping charge, then discounting it, puts them in a more favorable bracket in their UPS account? Just a guess…

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View poopiekat's profile


4405 posts in 3971 days

#9 posted 08-25-2009 01:52 AM

CharlieM1958, That was one of the points I alluded to earlier. If your ‘dirt cheap’ clamps were so unsatisfactory that you had no choice but to send them back, the seller would still keep the lion’s share of your money in his pocket, by refunding your dirt-cheap purchase price and keeping the inflated shipping fees in his pocket.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4011 days

#10 posted 08-25-2009 02:49 AM

We have had an Ebay busisness for 8 years now. We sell collectables and antique paper, trade cards and mics. We have also bought hundreds of items on Ebay as well. If a seller does not post shipping costs and return policy we ask them before we bid. If they do not provide this information, we do not bid. We have never had a problem selling or buying on Ebay.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3854 days

#11 posted 08-25-2009 04:44 AM

Never had a problem with Ebay. I look close at what the seller is charging for shipping.

The largest I had was a driveshaft for my bike. $5.00 only one to bid, $14.00 shipping for weight. Retail used is 600 plus 1300.00 new.

And a set of front forks since they were 10 dollars. Shipped for 22.00

I have gotten a few tools, I watch the bids. I check how they are being shipped and stay within the US for the most part.

Make sure they are firm upfront.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View knotscott's profile


8177 posts in 3612 days

#12 posted 08-25-2009 11:17 AM

Ebay is just people…most are honest, some prone more to profit (many are businesses), and some are a bit dishonest. Most of my dealings have been good. I expect realistic shipping charges or I won’t bid/buy.

There are several guys who have an excellent reputation for rehabbing and selling handplanes on wwing forums like Woodnet…possibly some here, I just don’t know who they are.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View poroskywood's profile


618 posts in 3601 days

#13 posted 08-25-2009 02:37 PM

I charge Flat rate shipping for my Curly Maple, It’s pretty much $1.00 a pound. On the east coast I might make a dollar / ship to the west coast I lose a dollar. It all works out.
Use your gut feeling, and contact the seller ask them Why are you charging this amount. Pretty much if you think it’s a funny deal it probably is, so find a different seller that you feel comfortable with and buy from them. Ebay works on the fact that people are generally good. However, I did get it once, it was my own fault for not going with my gut feeling. The seller location was listed as USA. That should have tipped me off.
I bought a Little Einstines DVD pack for my son Nick. When I got it, it turned out to be in Korean. The sellers account had been closed and I got ripped off. My sister took it to the city and asked about five differnt asian people if they could read the cover until one said yes, my sister gave it to her, she was happy to give it to her grandkids.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

View bobthebuilder647's profile


128 posts in 3489 days

#14 posted 08-25-2009 04:47 PM

Also look at the sellers feed back score. I have sold and bought on e-bay for 6 years and maintain 100% positive feed back. I don’t buy from sellers with less then 90%. I only had 1 bad buy but it was my fault for not completly reading the discription. I bought a dozen tape measures and didn’t realize they were only metric.
But then I did sell them and made a small profit so not so bad after all.

-- Rick, Pa. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 3504 days

#15 posted 08-25-2009 05:14 PM

people do that as a workaround on the ebay posting fees as the shipping charges are not counted towards the price of posting and selling an item on ebay.

basically it works like this

the seller has an item he wants to sell for $100. shipping the item will likely cost about $8 so the seller lists the item for $1 and charges $108 for shipping

when the item sells (for $1) ebay charges him their fees for a $1 item and the seller pockets his $100 fee free

it is a clear violation of ebays rules although many people do it. i would avoid that seller personally….

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