Ebay feedback question


This is somewhat off-topic, but I know many on this forum regularly buy and sell on Ebay. I recently purchased a 41CX there. There was a photo, and only a limited description. I saw the auction at work and I didn't have a lot of time to ask detailed questions, so I just made a reasonable bid.

I just received the calculator, and am unhappy with the condition. Two of the rubber feet are missing on the back, and there is a spot on the front of the unit which looks as if it has been melted by a soldering iron. Neither was visible in the Ebay photo, nor were they mentioned in the ad.

I emailed the seller very politely, stated my concerns, and asked if I could return the unit. I specifically stated that I would not expect a refund of shipping charges, and I would pay $10 for the seller's trouble, so only a partial refund would be required. The seller responded that the defects were small and to be expected in a calculator of this age, and that he never said that it was mint. I agreed that he never said it was mint, but that these defects should have been mentioned in the ad as they were not visible in the photo. In summary, he refused the request to return the item.

Anyway, I am now about to leave feedback. It was certainly going to be negative had I typed it 2 hours ago when this first happened. However, I'd like to get the opinion of someone who is not personally involved. Given the facts stated above, should it be negative, or neutral?

In case anyone is wondering, the seller is not someone who frequents this forum, at least not that I have seen.

thanks for your views,


As a long time eBay buyer, I've had plenty of opportunities to question seller ethics. I think your case is right on the borderline. The seller should mentions defects of any significance. But you are also somewhat responsible. You should always ask the buyer for more details if you are serious.

Finally, the seller's apparent unwillingness to deal with you after the sale is troublesome. I'd suggest NEUTRAL feedback, where you mention only the facts. Item had undescribed defects and seller unwilling to follow-up. That at least raises a warning flag. Be prepared for retaliation, and remeber that as a buyer, eBay doesn't care about you at all (only sellers because THEY pay the fees). So don't look to them for any help at all.


To me, negative feedback is called for. If the picture is poor, then the description should state any problems with the calculator. As a seller, I go out my way to make clear any defects of my products. And I would take back any item if I didn't make something clear.


I had a similar case a while ago,
and unfortunately I had given feedback for the seller just after having received the item.
Later it came clear that the item was not only in used condition, but with a broken frame, which made it useless for me (it was an OmniBook).

However, please note if you leave negative feedback for the seller,
he may leave you a negative feedback in return, so you have to decide between private anger, or an official negative feedback point;-)

If the melted point of your calc is on the keyboard overlay, just put a new one there...




you have mentioned an interesting point: if you leave negative feedback you most probably get negative feedback, too. An otherwise perfect feedback gets "dirty" but it's NOT your fault (the seller did not describe the condition properly).

That's the reason why I do not trust in eBay feedbacks too much. eBay is risky: some time ago, I've paid EURO 50.- for some HP-41 stuff and got nothing. That's really annoying! But fortunately, most sellers are honest; and most of the time eBay is fun.



Neg him. I buy stuff on eBay too, and I appreciate the warning if I should ever want to bid on this guy's items.

You may get a retaliatory neg in return but anyone researching your feedback will see that for what it is. Think of it as taking a hit for the team. You also get to comment on the retaliatory feedback right there on your feedback page.

I have 2 retaliatory negs; they haven't hurt me any.

I really hate it when sellers don't list the defects in detail.

I have taken to sending a canned form letter to the seller asking all the relevant questions that a collector would want to know about a calc including branding, scratches, dings, self test results, etc. Also people's definition of 'mint' varies greatly.

Please neg the guy. I wouldn't want to do business with someone who doesn't care a whit about customer satisfaction.



I once bought an antique mantel clock off ebay. I wanted something I could just dust off, put on the mantel, wind, and enjoy. The ad said the clock "runs, strikes, and chimes."

Well it runs, fast. It chimes, but 15 minutes out of sync with the time displayed. And it strikes -- CONTINUOUSLY for about 45 minutes until the striker spring unwinds.

So the ad was truthful, and I did not neg the seller because the ad described the behaviour of the clock accurately, but I should have clarified with the seller if it would meet my particular out-of-the-box usability needs.

I have since learned how to repair the clock it to make it do what I require, but it cost me the price of a few evenings research and a couple old clock repair books.

I have also learned to ask a lot of questions before bidding .


For what it's worth, I had a recent ebay buying experience that may illustrate a different approach that could be useful in some cases.

I noticed a certain calculator which was described as "excellent." I realized the picture used was taken (stolen probably) from a popular calculator website. (The number displayed gave it away.) However, I bid anyway and won the machine. Upon receiving it a few days later, I found that the unit really did not deserve an "excellent" description, and that I had payed more than It was worth to me.

What to do? I wanted to keep the machine. I didn't have this model, and it wasn't really BAD, just not excellent. Also, I would have to convince the seller to give me a refund and probably would have to pay postage on a return. A lot of hassle.

I knew I would be happy with a partial refund, so I estimated how much I would have paid if I had actually seen the machine. (It amounted to only about $3 less - It was a rather inexpensive purchase.) I emailed the seller, explaining the reasons for my dissatisfaction and requesting a partial refund. Within 30 minutes, the money was credited to my Paypal account, and an enote reply sent to me. She apologized for not looking at the unit more closely and noticing the faults.

I gave her the benefit of a doubt in my feedback: It was "positive," but I only commented on her quick shipping and good communication. I'm quite sure she's not a collector (and seems to sell mostly clothes), and so she may not actually have looked at the unit closely.



It's happened to me too.

It was non-working HP calculator (Spice serie).
I've seen the auction in the last few minute and of course, didn't have time to ask detailed questions, and won the bid.

The calculator came in. I was not satisfied with its conditions either.
The unit has been opened with tinkering inside. There were many scratches on the keyboard label, it has been unecessary lifted off to open the case, I guess.
None of those were specified in the ad.

I've talk to the seller & we've had agreements : I've fixed everything, cleaned and made all setup to make life easier for him relisting the unit before sending the calculator back .
A week after returning the item, I've got the full refund and surprising enough,.. an extra
$ as payment for my efforts spent repairing his unit.

It cheers me up to know that there are still some nice honest people in the world and specially on ebay.




Exactly this is my message....calc-sellers and
calc-buyers are marvellous women/men.

This is one of my ebay-stories:

I bought a HP-41CX. When I received the item, I
played around....it works....and I give postive feedback.
Some minutes later I discovered that one side was
open and the machine doesn't work if I pressed this
side. Hmmm, got very angry ( about myself <g> for buying
this calc [ because the description said nothing about
the condition of the item ]. But I decided
to COMMUNICATE to the seller. And surprise, surprise,
he answered, and he was a very nice men. He refunded
a significant amount to me. I send the machine to Daniel
Diggelmann, Swiss ( well known, I suppose ). He was
aware of this flaw. Now the machine works like new :))
At last I think, it was a bargain to me.

Don't accuse the sellers for our lust.

(h)appy (p)rogramming........Erich N.

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