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Thread: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

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    Default The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Just posting this as a reminder for everyone to think about. Of course you know better, but when you’re new to a hobby and hoping to find a deal you see a fuzzy photo:



    ..and an informed but basic description:
    “Vintage W.A. Sheaffer Fountain Pen Made In The USA. Condition is Used”

    So you just know you want to add it to your collection. But we’re all aware even the cheapest phone today can take photos that would print razor sharp at 8x10, so pretty much the only reason to use poor photos like that on an auction site is to hide defects.

    My little Sheaffer came in with deep gouges and the band that provides friction for the cap was torn off the barrel and being held on only by the section.

    It wasn’t an expensive mistake, and I will still be able to write with it which is all I wanted anyway. But thought I would write this post to help everyone here keep in mind the dangers of auctions like this.

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    FPG Donor ♕ Chrissy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    If the deal you had was on ebay then you only have to return your pen for a full refund. It's so easy and straightforward. No mistake needs to be accepted. Just click on return this item and follow the link that automatically comes up. You don't even have to pay return postal cost.
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Yesterday I placed a bid on a Parker 21 Super. Upon looking better at then photos I saw a crack in the plastic which caused me to watch several videos of how the crack could be repaired. When I was outbid with 2 seconds remaining, it was a relief.

    That said, if you have less than $20 invested, it might be a good project with which to learn. You might find that after restoring as best you can it will become your new best friend. I had this happen with a Parker 51 pencil a couple days back. Using a progression of wet dry sandpaper say 500 to 2500 can remove most scratches. 0000 steel wool and Mothers metal polish works great on plastics.

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Sometimes it's worth taking a chance with fuzzy photos. You can get a real bargain because other buyers back away, fearing concealed defects. However, as Chrissy says, it's easy to return a pen under eBay's current rules and the other reason for fuzzy photos is sheer incompetence, not dishonesty.
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Sometimes it's worth taking a chance with fuzzy photos. You can get a real bargain because other buyers back away, fearing concealed defects. However, as Chrissy says, it's easy to return a pen under eBay's current rules and the other reason for fuzzy photos is sheer incompetence, not dishonesty.
    I have just finished a dispute with a belligerent seller who sold to me a pen case described as leather, when it arrived it was clearly made of plastic, the seller argued for weeks that it was actually leather and refused to accept a return. The case had no leather marks, didnt smell of leather, didnt feel like leather and the seams showed the fabric to be plastic. Ebay rejected the return. Paypal agreed that the item was wrongly described but I then missed the deadline for the return and the cost of the return postage was almost as much as the item was worth, also I didnt know about some special postal arrangement for low value items to be sent back for free, the weather was too bad for me to go out, admittedly not the sellers fault!

    I was a bit disappointed in ebay in rejecting a wrongly described item because the seller said No Returns.
    Last edited by Fermata; March 1st, 2020 at 06:27 AM.

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Good points. Photos can be deliberately deceptive, below par phone camera, or photographer failure.

    Mine tend to be below par phone camera. I'm using an inexpensive BLU smart phone several years old and I've noticed they're not as sharp as I would like them to be. But that's OK.

    In my professional career as a commercial, architectural, editorial, travel and portrait photographer I have cases of Hasselblads, 4x5s, lighting, lenses, and other goodies. I'm just not dragging it out for a couple of pen photos.

    However, most phone cameras can take a 'sharp enough' image to show true condition.

    With new pens you can usually visit the manufacturer's or vendor's website to see a variety of photographs from different angles.

    But with vintage, NOS, high-end modern pens sold on the secondary market, it's different.

    If selling a pen take photos from all angles. Front, back, sides, capped, uncapped, posted, top of cap, barrel end. Nib top, nib bottom showing feed as close as your camera will focus. For dark pens photograph on white paper (though I prefer grey); light colored pens use grey paper. Black paper tends to over-expose and you'll lose pen details and true color.

    Speaking of color, 95% of all pen photos aren't showing true color - close but not actual. Color correcting, even with Photoshop, takes work and knowledge. So realize that sometimes blacks will look blue, blue will look black, maroons will look too dark, and whites will look creamy, yellowish, beige, or dirty.

    There's a difference between a 'beauty shot' such as where pens are photographed with other objects or in settings to convey a feeling, and 'product shot' where the goal is to portray the pen as accurately as possible.

    If you're buying a pen, or just about anything, ask for a variety of product shots. Depending on the price point a good seller will do that.

    Hope this help.

    Cheers.
    Sg
    Last edited by sgphoto; March 1st, 2020 at 11:08 AM.

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Colour is always a problem. I can fiddle with a picture in Photoshop until I get it absolutely right but it may still appear a different colour when you see it because your monitor and mine will almost certainly differ.

    I always appeal directly to eBay and I have never had any difficulty with a return since eBay updated their rules several years ago. I had no difficulties before that, except that in those days the buyer was unjustly expected to pay return postage even for an item that had been wrongly described. After much lobbying that was changed and eBay has worked perfectly well for me ever since. It works out, over a year, that I return about 10% of the pens I buy, for undeclared cracked caps, nibs, threads and so on.
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Sometimes it's worth taking a chance with fuzzy photos. You can get a real bargain because other buyers back away, fearing concealed defects. However, as Chrissy says, it's easy to return a pen under eBay's current rules and the other reason for fuzzy photos is sheer incompetence, not dishonesty.
    I have just finished a dispute with a belligerent seller who sold to me a pen case described as leather, when it arrived it was clearly made of plastic, the seller argued for weeks that it was actually leather and refused to accept a return. The case had no leather marks, didnt smell of leather, didnt feel like leather and the seams showed the fabric to be plastic. Ebay rejected the return. Paypal agreed that the item was wrongly described but I then missed the deadline for the return and the cost of the return postage was almost as much as the item was worth, also I didnt know about some special postal arrangement for low value items to be sent back for free, the weather was too bad for me to go out, admittedly not the sellers fault!

    I was a bit disappointed in ebay in rejecting a wrongly described item because the seller said No Returns.
    I didn't think ebay could reject a return based on the fact that the seller says no returns. The legend on ebay says: "If you don't get what you paid for then you get your money back."
    If ebay ever rejects a return request of mine when an item is misdescribed by saying the seller doesn't accept returns I would be sending an email to the CEO
    Regards, Chrissy | My Blog: inkyfountainpens

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    I think the "no returns" statement is meaningless but perhaps eBay works differently in different countries.
    Regards,
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Sometimes it's worth taking a chance with fuzzy photos. You can get a real bargain because other buyers back away, fearing concealed defects. However, as Chrissy says, it's easy to return a pen under eBay's current rules and the other reason for fuzzy photos is sheer incompetence, not dishonesty.
    I have just finished a dispute with a belligerent seller who sold to me a pen case described as leather, when it arrived it was clearly made of plastic, the seller argued for weeks that it was actually leather and refused to accept a return. The case had no leather marks, didnt smell of leather, didnt feel like leather and the seams showed the fabric to be plastic. Ebay rejected the return. Paypal agreed that the item was wrongly described but I then missed the deadline for the return and the cost of the return postage was almost as much as the item was worth, also I didnt know about some special postal arrangement for low value items to be sent back for free, the weather was too bad for me to go out, admittedly not the sellers fault!

    I was a bit disappointed in ebay in rejecting a wrongly described item because the seller said No Returns.
    I didn't think ebay could reject a return based on the fact that the seller says no returns. The legend on ebay says: "If you don't get what you paid for then you get your money back."
    If ebay ever rejects a return request of mine when an item is misdescribed by saying the seller doesn't accept returns I would be sending an email to the CEO
    The seller lied to me about the pen case, insisting it was leather, I suspect that she lied to ebay and even complained about me saying that I had just changed my mind about wanting a pen case, the rejection of the case was a fraud and that the case she sent was made of leather. She lied like a good rug.

    If I have to show any fairness to the seller, this pen case is made by Jasper Conran and I have seen ads on the Net describing the case as leather and before I bought the case I did my checks and was fooled myself.

    I didnt pay a lot for the pen case, I am annoyed at being cheated but tommorrow is another day.

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    I take a good hard look at whether a seller accepts returns. Why? Because unless I think it is really, really, really worth the risks if it isn't clearly a good purchase, I very much weigh the time/angst/energy/money costs of having to put up a fight to return to them. It may very well be eBay's policy to allow a return every time, but if it means a hell of a lot of effort on my part to overcome inertia, I certainly factor that in when considering the purchase.

    Every fuzzy photo is a gamble, with possibilities for good or ill outcome. As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    No way to talk to Meghan.

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    I take a good hard look at whether a seller accepts returns. Why? Because unless I think it is really, really, really worth the risks if it isn't clearly a good purchase, I very much weigh the time/angst/energy/money costs of having to put up a fight to return to them. It may very well be eBay's policy to allow a return every time, but if it means a hell of a lot of effort on my part to overcome inertia, I certainly factor that in when considering the purchase.

    Every fuzzy photo is a gamble, with possibilities for good or ill outcome. As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    I don't understand the "time/angst/energy/money costs" bit. I've had no trouble with returns for years - and I return quite a few pens. Does eBay have different rules in the US from Britain?
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    I don't understand the "time/angst/energy/money costs" bit. I've had no trouble with returns for years - and I return quite a few pens. Does eBay have different rules in the US from Britain?
    But, just to be clear: to the best of your knowledge, were any of those returns on items where the seller specifically has annotated "Seller does not accept returns"? I've done a number of returns, always from sellers who have no issue with them, and for the most part it was ok. The bit you refer to is simply whatever cost and time is involved on my end: when it goes smoothly, a low cost all-around; if one has a situation like Fermata (and I've only had one that approached that), my time on the planet is getting more valuable by the day, as I age. I just don't want to be spending my efforts haggling over a bad item to go back. I figure that if the seller actually *states* they don't accept returns, there is bound to be some extra hassle.

    Maybe I just have a low bar for hassle tolerance!
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Where a seller states that he/she does not accept returns, that applies to people changing their minds or other trivial reasons. It does not apply to undisclosed faults. I've returned many pens to sellers who said they did not accept returns because there was an undisclosed fault which made the pen unacceptable. I haven't experienced any difficulties with that. Usually the seller apologises for missing the fault. There is never any loss of money. Ebay's regulations overrule seller's wishes.

    I'm surprised that Fermata did not get a refund. I would have thought that selling plastic as leather was a most egregious fault, tantamount to misrepresentation or even fraud. Admittedly, the normal person can never forecast what the strange people at eBay or PayPal will come up with.
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Deb View Post
    Admittedly, the normal person can never forecast what the strange people at eBay or PayPal will come up with.
    Well, that is kinda where I put my chips: if it can go South, it will. Then again, I'm not certain if I fall in the "normal person" category anyway!
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    No way to talk to Meghan.
    I guess I'm feeling a little dense: who's Meghan?
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    No way to talk to Meghan.
    I guess I'm feeling a little dense: who's Meghan?
    Meghan Markle is recently married to Prince Harry who is a grandson to the Queen.

    There is much discussion on the couple because he has given up Royal priviledges and certain Royal titles to leave the UK and go to live in Canada.

    I understand that England is divided on the subject as to whether he should have the option of walking away from his Charities and duties in favor of supporting his wife who, I presume feels that there is more happiness to be had in Canada.

    Poor bloke, he must feel torn apart.

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    Senior Member Deb's Avatar
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fermata View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Szanto View Post
    As Harry famously said: "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
    No way to talk to Meghan.
    I guess I'm feeling a little dense: who's Meghan?
    The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, actress and royal bride. Married to Prince Harry.

    Fermata beat me by a minute! That will be Britain, Fermata, not just England.
    Last edited by Deb; March 1st, 2020 at 12:55 PM.
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    Default Re: The reality of fuzzy auction photos

    I use a fountain pen and a paper planner - paperinkplan.wordpress.com

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