Readers’ Letters: Is a partial refund scam hitting eBay?; Thanks for antique glass research; Not all trash is ‘trash’

Caveat venditor: Partial refund policy poses pitfalls

I have been a subscriber for many years and look forward to each issue of the Antique Trader.

A few months ago, I shipped two Jadite plates to California, well-packaged and fully insured. I personally paid for the insurance. The buyer requested a partial refund as one of the plates arrived broken. I told the buyer I would be happy to send the insurance form, but the buyer refused to file a claim and again requested a partial refund, which I refused to give. I tried to explain the reason for insurance.

The buyer then informed me that their factory had destroyed the packaging and still wanted me to reimburse them. The buyer then filed a claim with PayPal. PayPal immediately froze my account. Fortunately at the time, there were no funds in the account, but I ended my active auctions to await the outcome.

This ordeal lasted for almost two months before PayPal decided not only in the buyer’s favor, but for the full amount, despite the fact that I’d informed the buyer about the insurance and that I would be happy to fax the insurance receipt.

Fortunately, PayPal’s decision was based on the buyer sending back the complete packaging plus the plates, which, of course, they were unable to do. I was then informed by PayPal that the buyer dropped the claim, as the case was settled amicably!
The hold on my account was then released.

The power of PayPal is frightening. If I had lost the case completely, would they have automatically gone into my checking account for the funds?
I have since been informed by other sellers that partial refunds are a new scam. It is easier for the buyers to receive a partial refund than to file a claim.

Sellers beware!

Pat Nelson
Albuquerque, N.M.


eBay sides with buyer due to no package tracking

I’m not one to complain, but needed to vent regarding refund policy for eBay and us sellers.

Antique Trader 2012

I sold a C-Jere brass bird figurine on marble, signed 1970. The item did sell to a buyer and with shipping the total cost came to $55. Keep in mind that I have a 100 percent [positive] feedback and, based on my comments, my items are well wrapped and shipped quickly.
The item was paid for and I mailed it out to the buyer. A few days later she notified me of a new address to ship out the figurine. I told her the item was already shipped out and  that I did not buy a tracking number for the item since it was not requested during the sale. Tracking on my items are placed if asked and automatically when shipping by UPS.

Long story short, we went back and forth. Since it did not arrive, she was asking for 1/2 refund of the lost item. I explained I do not have control of mailing once an item leaves my hands and do not give refunds, so she put in a claim/complaint to get full refund.
After explaining my side to eBay, they sided with the buyer and gave her a full refund of $55. Their decision was based on me not having tracking. I am out $55 and a unique figurine is gone.

So what does this mean for the seller?

If the seller does not put tracking for each of their shipments and the buyer states they did not receive the item, eBay automatically refunds the item price. Talk about being unfair to the seller.

When is the seller going to be protected and not just the buyer? The buyer could say they did not receive the item but we will never know if they really did get it and if they only know how to work the system to get their money back.

Tony Cejmer
Sterling Heights, Mich.


Artist, researcher shares shell-art findings online

I’m sending this e-mail because of the well-done article “Shellwork: More than summer memories” by Francine Kirsch from back in August 2008.

I felt your company has an interest in the history of shell art and thought I would bring my research to your attention in the blog I posted: “Who Created The First Sailor’s Valentine.”

Bill Jordan,
via e-mail


Cheers for the glass market news

I must congratulate you on your recent article, “What’s hot in the glass market is a matter of taste.”

I opened my first antiques shop in 1971, and, as the years passed and I learned more, I moved into older merchandise. Today, I frequently feel as though I am out in left field when patrons ask for 20th century items, e.g., old cowboy boots, instead of antiques.
The emphasis on “collectible” is not evidenced in just the trade publications, but also the media, e.g., “Antiques Roadshow,” “American Pickers,” etc.

That you folks published an interview with Jeffrey Evans surprised me. He and his associates are the premier students and sellers of antique glass in this country today.

Again, congratulations!

Ruth Van Goor
Dapple-Gray Antiques
Eagle Harbor, Mich.


Original U.K. ‘Roadshow’ 
outshines all of the rest

Wow. Thanks for that listing of the new (and sometimes atrocious) collectible and antiques shows now appearing on the tube. I was unaware of several of them; now I can look for the new ones.

I was kind of disappointed you didn’t mention the daddy of them all though: “Antiques Roadshow U.K” — the one that WGBH in Boston modeled “Antiques Roadshow” from. Frankly it’s a poor carbon copy, but it’s the best we’ve got.
Around here, the original is only available on New Hampshire PBS (NHPTV) on Friday nights, 8 to 9 p.m. It must be available elsewhere, but I do not know where.

It’s a classy show: When we talk “old,” we mean 19th century; when they talk “old,” they usually mean 17th or 16th century.

Jon Scarborough


Reader advises getting professional advice before filling the dumpster

Pasted below is a note that I just sent to Wayne Jordan. I believe this particular “tip” was a real dis-service to your readers.

Dear Sir:
I just read your online article 10 tips on how to succeed as an estate executor (page 13, Sept. 21 edition). While most of the advise is right on the money, I could not disagree more with: 8. It’s OK throw things away. Rent a dumpster. Use it.
I have been in the business for 26 years and I am constantly shocked by the amount of items of value that are sent to the landfill. Not only is item #8 a direct contradiction to item #1, in the same way that you need expertise to tell what items are of value (#4), you need expertise to tell what items are NOT of value. If you have the time, read some of the stories I have posted on my website at:

Just recently, a local auctioneer said to me: “Most of the time I would love to trade them straight across … What they threw away, for what we got in the auction.”


Richard R. Old, Ph.D.
via email


Personal research is key to looking out for your own best interest

I was reading the latest Readers’ Letters in the Oct 12, 2011 issue of Antique Trader on page 6 titled “‘Roadshow’ appraisals shouldn’t replace research’ and I have to agree.
I took an original oil painting that was done by Americo Makk when he and his wife Eva were commissioned by the Brazilian Government to go on a year trek through the Amazon rain forest to paint and study the native tribes to the “Antique Roadshow” appraisal event in Pittsburgh Aug. 13, 2011.

I did my research and could not find any original oil painting that he did for sale like this one which he signed: “A.MAKK AMAZONAS” for sale at any time on the Internet, therefore I decided to take it to the “Antique Roadshow” to see if they could give a fair market value. It was appraised at between $1,200 to $1,500, which to me seemed quite low …

I then decided to go to The Makk Studios website and see if they could give me the replacement value. To my surprise it has a replacement value 30 times the value I got from by attending the “Antiques Roadshow.”

I must therefore agree: “Roadshow” appraisals shouldn’t replace your personal research.

Tom Allshouse
East Brady, Pa.

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