TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  My eBay Experience
Author  :  Jeff Krauss mailto:%20jeff@krauss.ws
Date  :  03-14-2001 on 11:29 a.m.
I had an interesting eBay experience about a year ago, in the April/May timeframe. They had created a subcategory called eBay Great Colletions, and I bid on an early 20th century Shiraz rug being offered ostensibly by Butterfields. Butterfields, an old-line auction house, had been acquired by eBay, if you recall. The eBay ad for this auction said that the rug was located in Charlstown, Maine, United States. The opening bid was $150, there was no reserve, and I was the only bidder. I paid by credit card, sent an email to Butterfields a few days later, and got back a response that the rug was on its way from the consignor in Germany. In other words, it wasn't owned by Butterfields, the auction ad didn't disclose who it was owned by, and it was being smuggled into the country in violation of the Persian rug embargo. (The auction ended April 27 and it actually turned out that the rug embargo was lifted by a Federal Register notice on May 3, 2000, so maybe it didn't enter the country until after the embargo was lifted.)

The rug arrived. I sent in a negative feedback comment, complaining that Butterfields had lied about the location of the rug, and had violated the embargo. I got a phone call that night from an eBay vice-president. He gave me sympathy, he insisted that I accept a refund of the $150 I paid for the rug, and he insisted that I keep the rug as well. I accepted. Funny thing, my negative feedback comment never showed up. Maybe no transaction ever took place?
Here it is:

Subject  :  Re:My eBay Experience
Author  :  Daniel Deschuyteneer mailto:%20daniel.d@infonie.be
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 01:39 a.m.
Dear all,

Until now I bought only two pieces on Ebay and have been overbid two times, during the last seconds, on two other one. I wanted to bid on a few other piece but didnít do, wanting not to overbid friends. The piece they had bought were nice and they told me that they were pleased with their purchasing.

One is from a well known seller and it hangs on the wall in my dining room. Itís a charming small Kordi (Khorassan) kilim, in very good condition, with extraordinary colors. In fact, there was a reserve price and it didnít sold. I contacted the seller at the end of this auction to acquire it, and I got it at a very affordable price. I asked him what ware the shipping and insurance costs and wired the money. Not any problems of shipping to Europe. Some days later he contacted me back asking me how to refund me some dollars! His information were not correct and I had paid somewhat too much for shipping.

I bought also a nice NW Persian Kurdish bagface at a correct price, also from a well known seller. It was correctly presented on Ebay, good description of this item and good photo with accurate colors, except that he didnít told that the back of the piece had been glued along its top an lower border. I was somewhat despite, but the piece is nice and the price was correct. I am quite sure he would agree to refund my money if I wasnít pleased with this purchasing. Let us say that I am 80% satisfied with this purchasing.

So, I am sure that most of us have had some good experiences and that most of dealers are honest.

May be, that with some knowledge we are more able to sort whatís worth to acquire among the overall low level quality offered. Donít we look to Ebay trying to acquire some pieces at a better price? Yes, we can win or lose and knowing the seller feedback is the best guaranty. I am not speaking here of the Ebay feedback system
but well of the positive and negative feedback system which exists among collectors, sharing their experiences. Having an excellent feed back rating on Ebay doesnít mean that this dealer has a good feedback among collectorís !

My best purchasing were done between collectorís, exchanging or selling pieces which no more fit into their growing collection.

Last, we must be aware that our judgements are sometimes biased. There are sometimes pieces offered on EBAY or on OTHER website with aesthetics merits that my wife or friends like, but that I consider to be awful only because they are not antique. Also I have some bagfaces full of life and glowing colors, with some condition problems, one border having frayed, Ö that I didnít restored and that I like very much. When I asked them if they liked them, they laughed, Öand clearly couldnít understand why they got my heart Ö. Fortunately, when I asked to my cat if he would want it, to sleep upon, he couldnít answer.

Art is not a question of antiquity Ö , but until now I am unable to appreciate one rug that is not antique. May be, we may expect a revival of the rug art through Dobag and other projects, but until now they donít catch me. May be because they havenít any history to tell, but thatís another topic.


Subject  :  Re:My eBay Experience
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@home.com
Date  :  03-17-2001 on 10:56 a.m.
Dear Readers:

Like Daniel, I have had mostly good experiences on eBay. The purpose of my post is less to comment on eBay and more to agree with some very astute observations made by Daniel.

Speaking for myself, I also look to eBay as a way to occasionally find something "under the money." And, I agree that you must look carefully and skeptically. In addition, patience and discipline are necessary. I think the only disappointments I have had are when I decided to make a bid above what I had initially decided would be the limit. The same is true at any auction.

In my view, the most astute point Daniel makes is his reliance on collector and private feedback. Although I do not consider the eBay feedback system a sham, it certainly does not tell the entire story. Whether on or off eBay, I think it is always wise to know who you are dealing with and what their reputation is among your peers (knowing who your peers is would be another good idea). Some dealers are all hype. Many or most are basically honest, but may not themselves know what they have.

Finally, like Daniel, some of the most rewarding and lasting additions to my collection are pieces traded through the same network of peers. I think this is a network can be very useful as both a reality check and a source of material far beyond what eBay can ever offer. I am happy to say that Turkotek certainly can and does enhance and promote this experience.

Best, Michael

Subject  :  Re:My eBay Experience
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@home.com
Date  :  03-18-2001 on 11:48 a.m.
e-bay experiences,

I have bought several things on e-bay, including a Mideast Meets Midwest book from (Dealer's name - Deleted) (for whom I left eloquently favorable feedback).
I have gotten a few tremendous pieces for very little money, a few pedestrian pieces for market value (these are the ones you can not tell from the pictures whether they will exceed expectations or not) and just a couple of screamingly hideous, nauseatingly obnoxious, frustratingly disgusting, maddeningly misrepresented things.
It is from these few stinkers that I understand why the rumor exists that the Persian authorities would cut off the hand of weavers caught using synthetic dyes!
In one case I e-mailed the vendor to explain my concerns about the age of the piece but was told there was NO refund available. It was not nearly as old as it looked. In another case I asked before buying (after the minimum bid was not met) if the back of the piece showed any fading or synthetic colors and was told it did not. When I got it, the colors on the back were so bright that the vendor had to pack the thing in radiation-proof packing material!
All in all, I would gladly throw the clunkers in the garbage and be very happy to keep the things I really like and would never have been able to either find or buy locally.
And that is probably the most significant thing about e-bay. It brings all the vagaries of the larger world wide market right to the computer of even a remote and stranded rug enthusiast. And you don't HAVE to buy anything.
Probably the only reason I have collected rugs is that they were available in reasonable numbers in Seattle. I have been able to see a variety and have had access to some very helpful rug dealers. If I lived in a small city or town, the only rugs would be the machine made Sears special.
Instead of corresponding on Turkotek (my favorite site), I would be over on an unmoderated board asking:
"What is my Bigelow Gotcha-stan worth?"

Patrick Weiler

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