Ebay Pitfall

ebay auction description for the iPhone boxI was in the market for a new iPhone and was scouring the pages of Ebay looking for a suitably good deal. I came across this auction for an iPhone 3G 16GB in Black. There wasn’t long left on the Ebay auction, and despite having to pay the cost from the Netherlands to the UK, it seemed, at first, to be a great deal and was only selling for EUR90, so far. However, as the description of the item was in Dutch, I thought I’d better use the services of Google Translate just to check the product wasn’t broken or anything sinister.

Well, isn’t somebody going to be very disappointed! They thought they had a bargain deal, claiming an iPhone 3GS in perfect condition for less than the going price and then, when the postman arrives, they are the proud owners of an iPhone box. What could be worse? In their excitement, they rip open the box, tearing at the seal, desperate to find their great deal inside and in the process destroying the most expensive packaging perhaps ever paid for!

Fair play to the seller, whether he was really trying to trick someone, or genuinely selling a box, he certainly made a killing. Maybe the Dutch guy had read this article, Get a good price by selling on ebay! One thing is for sure, the bidder didn’t read “Know how to buy on Ebay!

description in germanSo what happened .. in German (according to Google) he clearly says “Here you can make offers on the original packaging of the black iPhone 3G 16GB.” [Hier können Sie auf eine Originalverpackung des Iphone 3gs 16 Gb schwarz bieten.] and “I expressly point out that here only on the box of the iPhone, not the device itself” [Ich weise hiermit ausdrücklichst darauf hin, dass Sie hier nur auf die Schachtel des Iphones, nicht aber das Gerät selbst bieten.]. So although the title of the auction was “Apple iPhone 3gs Schwarz (16GB) OVP” he was honest in his description. And even more explicit, he says “It comes all that is visible in the pictures.” [Es wird alles geliefert was auf den Bildern zu sehen ist.] so you only need to look at the photos displayed to see that, yes, it is a picture of an empty box – open!

So, the final bidder, who jumped in at the last minute paid a whopping € 107.50 for an iPhone box plus postage! Oh dear. I wonder what he will think when he opens the box.. I wonder what comeback he may have, after all, the seller wasn’t making false claims as to what the description of the box was, unless “The condition of the box is perfect” [Der Zustand ist Tadellos.] was not the case. Presumably the Dutch guy will have celebrated already and spent his winnings down the pub so not much chance of a refund!

bidding on the iPhone on ebayBut the strange thing is, when looking at all those silly mugs who bid on the item making 32 bids in total, an extraordinary amount of those bids (22 of them) were from people with zero feedback. So, that makes me wonder if something fishy was going on? OK, maybe they are all naive new Ebay users, or maybe brand new accounts set-up purely to push up the price of the iPhone packaging.

I think the lesson is, do not bid on ebay unless you know exactly what it is you’re bidding for.

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