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Ebay sellers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's one thing to want to make some money on the side, its quite another to 1)blatantly mirepresent the item's retail price, 2)rip pictures off another site, and 3)"Scalp" items. By scalp items, I mean sellers who buy items from offprice *retail* site like Yoox and Bluefly and resell the item for a *large* profit.  I'm not sure exactly why, but it's a practice that strikes me as dishonest. I'm going to start a list of Ebay sellers who I believe forum members should beware of: 1) Clothesline19 - rips pictures straight from Yoox, and misrepresents retail prices.  Miu Miu boots retailing for $850 and saying that Prada shoes are 70% off when he is asking $275?  Give me a break. Here is an example. He is selling a pair of GianCarlo Paoli boots here: for a starting bid of $319 The same pair of boots is selling on Yoox: for $131. And the same picture too? C'mon man, that is just *too* much. I know that AHarris, for example, has sellers to add to the list.  Here's to public service, y'all.
post #2 of 12
Yes, #1 is bad. Yes, #2 is uncool. No, #3 is not bad. #3 is not "scalping" -- it is called "arbitrage" -- buying an item in one market and selling the same or like item in another market to create a profit between the two events. It's legit, man. Check a dictionary or finance textbook. No harm, no foul -- just entrepreneurs profiting from a lack of information in the marketplace (i.e., eBay buyers not knowing they can buy the same item for less on BlueFly or Yoox). This happens everyday out in the "real" world of offline commerce and especially in the securities markets (although this is getting harder to do with 24/7/365 global information networks). As for the seller you wish to blacklist, it is important to note that $319 is his ASKING price. This does not mean he will find a buyer with the same BIDDING price. Most likely, the seller will have to lower his asking price significantly if he wants to make a sale and convert the item to cash. If there were perfect information out there and all buyers knew all available selling prices, he would have to lower his price to $131 or less before a buyer would bid on his specific item. But, as we know, there is not perfect information out there, and the seller will likely make a small profit by selling to a relatively less-informed eBay buyer who may bid, say, $160 to $180. Ah, capitalism. God, I love it. :-)
post #3 of 12
I think it depends on where and how the person obtains the items affects whether or not "scalping" is bad. Nothing wrong with seeing a few gems (however I'm not fond of people who go beyond that and hoard) at your local thrift store/TJ Maxx/Last Call that just don't fit your size/tastes, but seem too good to pass up, then buying them and reselling them on ebay. You're not depriving an especially large audience, and you're not outright gouging people since there probably isn't a competing source offering the same product at a better price. The additional markup you make when selling actually serves as a legitimate service fee for finding the product and making it available to someone else who might not otherwise have had a chance to buy. However, I can't stand people who try to resell stuff from Yoox/Bluefly etc. Snapping up product from there and trying to jack up the price is contrary to the whole spirit of offering high quality merchandise at discounted prices where those with lower budgets can access it (yeah I know money is the main motivation, but I imagine that people in general would rather sell to someone who plans to use and enjoy a product rather than someone who just tries to gouge other people on resale). It really pissed me off to see some sellers charging inflated prices on clothes that they had obviously bought in bulk off Yoox a week or two after the new season's inventory had come in, especially since one of them was a shirt I had been looking at but was waiting to figure out the brand's sizing in person before buying. Again, I'm not bashing all resellers, but people who a) hoard items that they don't intend to use and prevent other customers who actually intend to use the product from getting a deal on it in the process or b) try to pass off obviously overpriced items as some sort of great deal when there are in fact much better deals out there from more legitimate sources really irritate me. I realize that's how the free market works, but that doesn't make those practices any less obnoxious in my eyes. But by the same token we can use our knowledge to combat the void of information that allows such sellers to get away with them and prevent them from profiting off them. I wouldn't buy from someone who tries to rip-off buyers or who doesn't want to "play fair" and limit his purchases to what he actually wants or needs, and I encourage "black listing" of those who do so, as hopefully it will deter potential buyers like me enough to discourage them from doing so.
post #4 of 12
Just because one can explain it in economic terms and theories doesn't mean it should be condoned, especially so for us buyers. Hypothetically, some members of this forum may have not known the seller's scalping practice and benefit from such blacklist by avoiding the seller and buying the same item from Yoox. I guess I can say it contributes to a more efficient allocation of one's scarce resource.
post #5 of 12
I don't agree that practice #3 is akin to scalping.  Unlike, say, a third-row Bruce Springsteen concert ticket that a scalper knows with certainty he will be able to resell at a price far above the ticket's face value, there is no assurance that an item bought from Yoox or Bluefly will resell at all, much less for a significant profit over its original selling price.  The eBay reseller is taking a calculated risk, for which he will eat the item's price plus the eBay listing fees if he is wrong.  In that sense, it seems to me that buying from Yoox or Bluefly for the purpose of reselling on eBay is closer to trying to flip an item purchased from a brick-and-mortar store -- which no one contends is improper.
post #6 of 12
The point then is to not have a blacklist of eBay sellers that anyone can libel/slander/whine about in a public forum, but for Forum members to remain aware and educated of alternative sources to eBay for clothes so that they can always get the best price available. A blacklist reeks of McCarthyism. Who gets to decide who is on or off the blacklist? What gives them that power and authority? Besides, if a seller is a troublemaker or providing unsatisfactory service to his or her customers, his or her eBay feedback will reflect that. If you don't like what you see a seller doing, then you have the freedom to choose to not bid and walk away. If you want to make other Forum members aware that arbitrage is taking place in the market, fine. Just say "Hey, some ebay sellers are buying stuff on BlueFly and Yoox and reselling it on eBay. You might get better prices on BlueFly and Yoox. Go there first before shopping on eBay." But singling out sellers or arbitrageurs and suggesting that they be blacklisted for their entrepreneurial savvy is NOT fine. In fact, it's a little Orwellian. Yes, you are competing with these eBay sellers for the clothes on Yoox or Bluefly. You are also competing with these eBay sellers for the discounted clothes at Neiman-Marcus Last Call, Off-5th Avenue, etc. It's no different whether or not the items are just one short URL away. A blacklist is not the answer -- competing better is. Get there first. Beat the resellers to the bargains. If competing that way is not that important to you, then just wait for the resellers to buy up the clothes, put them on eBay, and pay a slightly higher price. But don't pay exorbitant prices. Be smart. Know the value of the item. Compare that to the asking price. Bid or don't bid accordingly. In a way, the resellers are actually providing a valuable service when it comes to deals at Last Call and Off-5th -- they are finding and "harvesting" deals restricted to one geographical area -- like Dallas for example -- and then making these deals available to you and the rest of the world via eBay. If it wasn't for the reseller, you would not have ever been aware of the existence of the highly-discounted item in Dallas. You would have had to travel to Dallas or hire a personal shopper to find it yourself. The fact that the item is highly-discounted on eBay and available for you to buy is a value-add that the reseller provides. He or she should be reasonably compensated for his or her time and effort. What is reasonable compensation? Social engineers and egalitarians would try to decide on and put a compensation scheme in place that would reflect what THEY think is "fair". Thankfully, in America at least, we don't live in such an egalitarian society where the "educated" few decide what is best for the masses. Instead, the masses have the freedom to think for themselves and decide what is best for them themselves. They are the market and they decide among themselves what is reasonable compensation on each and every single item put up for sale on eBay. Sometimes, the seller is compensated handsomely. Sometimes, when an item just won't sell at any price, the seller loses all of his or her money and has to give the item away to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. That's the risk the seller takes when he or she trades cash for inventory HOPING to trade that inventory for even more cash. That is "fair".
post #7 of 12
A blacklist reeks of McCarthyism.
Poor old Joe, still being blamed for HUAC's blacklists when he was in the Senate and had nothing to do with blacklists.  Funny that decrypted Soviet cables proves that all but a couple of the government employees that McCarthy charged with spying for the USSR were unquestionably spies, and his reputation is still dragged down by what has become a synonym for extremism.  And to think that while he was conducting his investigations, Robert Kennedy was one of his chief aides and that he was the godfather of JFK's children.   But back to the point, I think blacklists are a poor idea.  I think we should make people aware of difficulties we have with certain sellers - Such as the purchase of a counterfeit. But compiling a list could become troublesome.  I could envision a situation where someone wanted to add a seller just because they realized they overpaid for an item.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Vero, I completely agree with your contention that resellers are actually doing buyers a service by taking away some of the geographical limitations in the market. However, sellers exploiting Yoox or Bluefly *are* in fact scalpers, *unfairly* hindering access to a limited commodity, and they are *not* good for the market. Just think of what would happen if I bought up a large fraction of Yoox's inventory at BTW, to beat these sellers to the bargain, with no intention whatsoever of keeping, say, more than a pair of boots and a shirts. I return the rest of the merchandise just in time to buy up another huge batch. If enough people do this, Yoox changes it's generous return policy, or at worse, goes out of business, and everyone loses. I have actually tracked Ebay sellers doing just this. Buying a bunch of stuff off Yoox, seeing if they can sell it on Ebay for more, and returning the stuff when it doesn't. If it does sell, it is selling because the buyer lacks proper information. The person with the best information is therefore disserviced. BTW, scalpers of concert tickets aren't always garanteed to sell them at a profit either - just check out the scalpers desperately trying to unload Lakers tickets in the second half. And I think that this forum is a great place to warn each other about unscrupulous sellers. Ebay's feedback system is problematic because there is no arbitration, so it is *very* easy to intimidate a buyer. Not as uncritical of capitalism as vero_group (it's not a perfect system, after all) LA Guy.
post #9 of 12
i think most people who shop on ebay know that there's a chance they can find the same merchandise somewhere else for a lower price. as long the seller doesn't claim "lowest price on the internet" he is not exactly being dishonest or unethical. i still see this scalping as being sleazy and in poor taste. i wouldn't want to buy from someone i knew was doing it. vero, the fact that something may be legal in the state/country you live in doesn't make it cool.
post #10 of 12
VeroGroup is simply making the argument (and defending) from an economic stand-point. A profit is a profit.  An ebay seller puchasing at lower prices and hoping (i.e. speculation) to sell later for higher is simple business tactics. He/she is no different than the local Tony Romas, Kroger, Gap, or bicycle shop. He/she happens to be (like all business owners) fortunate (and sometimes lucky) enough to have the means, in both time and funds, and access to lower priced goods. He is taking a somewhat calculated risk and hoping to end up in the positive. I think the problem is more apparent to people like LA (nothing personal of course) because all of us know a lot more than the average consumer when it comes to fashion or style and clothing.  As students of clothing (students because our hobby requires studying.  We must remain informed, like in school.) we know or can find out with pin-point accuracy where a product was manufactured, by who, and maybe at what price-point. We are very, very informed.  We establish pricing systems using factors such as value/quality together with the looks of the piece.  Let's not forget one's income. We are smarter consumers. Back to my point. A business is a business. But also...we know too much.  It doesn't bother us (well not me) that we pay $1 for a can of Coke because we know nothing of it's retail, production and shipping costs. Nor do we really care. I could care less if the 7-Eleven got it from Coca Cola directly or whomever.  On the other hand, because I work and sell at a shop, I wouldn't pay more than $1000 for a Pinarello Prince bike frame because I know, or have an idea, where they are built, what the shop pays and a reasonable mark-up.  If I knew nothing about clothes and wanted a Loro Piana cashmere v-neck because I saw one in and liked it, the guy on ebay "might" be doing me a favor.  I know their retail cost at the store and decide to bid or not.  I might or might not know about Yoox/BlueFly. And as consumers we set the prices. Someone that knows about such stores has the same chance to attain a piece as we do. Our greater knowledge doesn't allow us to fall in the ebay seller's "trap".  We can't get upset for other buyers' lack of information. We can't add someone to a quote blacklist simply because they are making a profit.   We "can" add them because they are giving false information and misrepresenting an item. I couldn't agree more.
post #11 of 12
I think we have a few red herrings here. First of all, I think we've established that nobody is condemning people for reselling items purchased from physical stores, as geographical limitations and time spent searching make the profit seem more reasonable. What I find troublesome is the people who hoard a generally available product and try to scalp the item to the exact same audience at an arbitrarily higher price. I find it akin to someone at a Black Friday sale pushing through and walking over other customers, grabbing a whole stock of a discounted product and then waiting outside the store and trying to sell at an inflated price the product to the same people whom he obstructed from getting the product at its original price. Nothing wrong with it from an economic standpoint, but that does not make it any less distasteful. Second, I think the term blacklist is a misnomer that seems to be inspiring knee jerk reactions relating to McCarthyism. These resellers derive their success from a lack of information on the part of customers. What a list here would do is simply fill that void of information on those who had not previously known: namely that a) the product can be gotten at a far better price and b) that the seller's methods in hoarding the product from a publicly available site and trying to advertise it as a rarer/higher quality/more expensive product than it is are unscrupulous. The choice of whether to buy given that information still falls to the customer. I'm not advocating that resellers be banned from ever purchasing from Yoox/Bluefly, nor that they be banned from reselling items on eBay. However, I find that to be bad behavior, and we have every right to discourage it by spreading information and knowledge, thus making people know better and making the practice unprofitable enough that scalpers will stop scalping and look for other means of income. I don't see how that violates any free market principles. And not to seem too overbearing, but it seems to me that any fears that spreading this information will drive away customers is somewhat of a tacit admission that the practice of reselling product from publically availble discount websites is indeed a distasteful one.
post #12 of 12
Sure, I can agree that it's simply a difference in tastes.
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