Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When Private Offers Backfire

Sometimes making private offers can backfire on the person who makes the offer. Recently, four early Nancy Drew books with dust jackets came up for sale. A collector desperately tried to get the seller to close the auctions. The seller refused. Ultimately, the person who made the offers won three of the four auctions. The seller refused to sell those three books to the winning bidder.

Since I am sure that the winning bidder will read this, I want to make one point clear: I had nothing to do with the seller's decision not to sell the books to the winning bidder. From what I was told, two other eBay users gave the seller information about the winning bidder that caused the transaction to fall through.

Vintage Nancy Drew Secret Of The Old Clock 1st edition



This auction was for an Old Clock book with a dust jacket that lists to Lilac Inn. The auction closed at $532.56. This offer was posted in the listing:
DEAR SIRS, HELLO AND KINDEST REGARDS!! I WILL GIVE YOU 200 DOLLARS BY OVERNIGHT MAIL TOMORROW MORNING IF YOU STOP THIS AUCTION RIGHT NOW AND SELL TO ME. CONSIDERING THE BOOK IS 80 YEARS OLD, AND THE BAD CONDITION OF MOLD, I AM OFFERING YOU A FANTASTIC PROFIT!! YOU DONT WANT TO GIVE THE BOOK AWAY FOR 10 DOLLARS !!
Vintage Nancy Drew The Hidden Staircase 1st edition



This auction was for a Hidden Staircase book with a dust jacket that lists to Lilac Inn. It closed at $572.22. This offer was posted on the item page:
DEAR SIRS, HELLO AND KIND REGARDS!! I WILL GIVE YOU 100 DOLLARS IF YOU STOP THIS AUCTION AND SELL TO ME THIS BOOK. I WILL OVERNIGHT MAIL YOU THE MONEY. CONSIDERING THE AGE, THE MOLD, AND THE POOR CONDITION OF THE BOOK, I AM OFFERING YOU A FANTASTIC PROFIT!! YOU DONT WANT TO GIVE THIS BOOK AWAY FOR 10 DOLLARS.
Vintage Nancy Drew Mystery At Lilac Inn 1st edit 1930



This auction closed at $449.00 and was for a Lilac Inn book with a dust jacket that lists to Shadow Ranch. This offer was posted on the item page:
DEAR BRIAN, HELLO AND KINDEST REGARDS!! I WILL GIVE YOU 400 DOLLARS FOR THIS BOOK, 400 DOLLARS FOR THE OLD CLOCK BOOK, AND 400 DOLLARS FOR THE SHADOW RANCH BOOK, AND 400 DOLLARS FOR THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE. BRIAN, THAT IS A 1600 DOLLAR PROFIT FOR YOU.CONSIDERING THE AGE OF 80 YEARS, THE BAD CONDITION, AND THE MOLD, THIS IS THE GREATEST PROFIT YOU WILL MAKE THIS YEAR!! BRIAN, LAST MARCH, ANOTHER SELLER LISTED 3 NANCY DREW BOOKS OF THE SAME VINTAGE AS YOURS,BUT NEW DUSTJACKETS.I OFFERED HIM A GREAT DEAL. HE HELD OUT.I WARNED HIM ITS A BUYERS MARKET.HE LOST THE BOOKS FOR LESS THAN 50 DOLLARS EACH.NEXT DAY, HE EMAILED ME AND ASKED IF MY OFFER WAS STILL VALID.TOO LATE.HE LOST THE BOOKS FOR PENNIES.HE WAS FURIOUS WITH HIMSELF FOR NOT ACCEPTING MY OFFER. IN THIS BANKRUPT ECONOMY, YOU CANNOT BE GREEDY AND HOLD OUT TIL THE LAST DAY.SMART PEOPLE TAKE THE HIGHEST OFFER.BRIAN,MY OFFER FOR 1600 DOLLARS IS ONLY VALID UNTIL WEDNESDAY MORNING.
Vintage Nancy Drew The Secret At Shadow Ranch 1st edit



This last auction was for the first printing book and jacket for Shadow Ranch. While this was the most desirable of the four books, it was also in the worst condition. This auction closed at $799.35. This offer was posted on the item page:
DEAR SIRS, HELLO AND KIND REGARDS !! I WILL GIVE YOU 100 DOLLARS IF YOU STOP THIS AUCTION AND SELL THIS BOOK TO ME. I WILL OVERNIGHT MAIL YOU THE MONEY TOMORROW MORNING. CONSIDERING THE AGE OF 80 YEARS OLD,THE BAD MOLD, AND THE BAD CONDITION OF THE BOOK, THIS IS A FANTASTIC PROFIT FOR YOU!! YOU DONT WANT TO GIVE THIS BOOK AWAY FOR 10 DOLLARS.
The immediate effect of these offers is that the seller decided that the books were not fit for eBay. He was not used to selling on eBay, so he was unaware that most collectors check eBay auctions. The seller was not going to accept the offers, but he was seriously considering canceling the auctions. He had approached a local book dealer about the books and thought that he was better off taking that dealer's offer than letting the auctions run. The seller was planning to cancel the auctions during the last day if the bids were not high enough. I managed to convince him that he was best off letting the auctions run until the very end.

Desperate private offers can scare sellers into not selling the books at all. This situation serves as a good example of why collectors might not want to come on so strong. In the past, we also have seen collectors contact sellers and gush over the books, telling them the highest price in Farah's Guide for a book in excellent condition, despite the poor condition of the book offered for sale. That behavior can also cause the books to be removed from eBay.

I suggest that anyone who is interested in these types of Nancy Drew books go ahead and place an early bid in the auction. I do that each time I see a book like these. We need sellers to know that the only interested collectors are not just the people who are making the private offers. So few people now bid early on these auctions that it often appears that nobody is interested.

Note: The person who made the offers on these auctions is the same person who had the auction mentioned here closed early.

16 comments:

beautifulshell said...

Shadiness of the intent aside, did this buyer think that SHOUTING about PROFIT across the internet would make him/her more convincing? All they needed to throw in was a line about dying cousins in Kenya. Skeazy!

Brandi said...

Personally, I think that the seller did a great thing posting the offers for all to read. I wanted to cheer!

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

I agree! I'm glad the seller handled the matter sensibly and fairly. It was great to see an unscrupulous offer publicly "outed". But I can see why some sellers would be put off by the craziness and confusion, and decide to sell to a local dealer. At least then, they know who they are dealing with. It's sad that there is always someone trying to beat the system and play games.

stratomiker said...

Why did the seller refuse to sell to the winning bidder? Isn't that against eBay policy? If he didn't want him bidding, he could have blocked him instead of letting him run the bidding up.

I don't understand why ANYONE bid on these books, they were so bad. Meanwhile, that same week there were about 20+ other excellent vintage Drews offered by another seller that did not get even one bid. True, minimums were high but the books were beauties.

Why would he put so mant high-priced books for auction at one time? It's obvious that there aren't those kind of bidders around anymore, only those who would go after mouldy books at a cheaper price.

Drew collecting is really in the doldrums now. Values and prices have hit the bottom and there is no relief in sight. It'd be fun to have the mid-nineties action back again!

Mike

Jennifer said...

Since I am not mentioning names and am not going to mention everything I know, I could give some information.

Allegedly, this person has a history of winning auctions and then insisting upon sending payment through the mail, thus avoiding PayPal. At least two sellers allegedly received a partial payment for a much smaller amount with a note stating that the books were only worth that small amount.

After learning that information, the seller of these auctions refused to accept any payment method other than PayPal, which is within his rights according to eBay rules. According to the seller, the buyer was given 48 hours to pay through PayPal and did not pay. The time limit was also within eBay's rules. Second chance offers were sent out.

Ironically, what was not within eBay's rules was the contact about the buyer from the two other users. I'm not criticizing that contact; I probably would have done the same if I had been in their position. However, eBay policy prohibits eBay members from interfering in transactions between other people, even if one has good intentions.

only those who would go after mouldy books at a cheaper price.

Low start bids for scarce books tend to make people lose all sense. I have often seen auctions for poor condition books go for insanely high prices just because the bidders had a chance for a bargain.

Paula said...

Let's not forget the biggest offense against ebay rules was the buyer's initial requests for the seller to stop the auctions and accept payment through the mail, which seem to indicate a suggestion to avoid ebay and Paypal fees entirely. As for the other contacts with the seller after the auction, I'm glad to see honest ebayers helping out others.

seriouslybookin said...

Is this buyer in Southern California? I seem to be running into the same thing with a buyer there. Smelling more and more like a scam.

Jennifer said...

The buyer is in Southern California. This person is buying heavily right now, so anybody who is selling early Nancy Drew books is likely to run across him. It is not advisable to allow the buyer to mail payment, since the buyer apparently has a past history mailing something like a $60 money order for a $400 book.

Jennifer said...

I'll also tell the rest of the story on these auctions. As I already stated, the three transactions for the auctions won by the person who made the offers were never completed due to a failure to pay through PayPal. The second chance offer for Shadow Ranch was accepted by someone else, and the other two for Old Clock and Hidden Staircase were not.

The other two books were relisted, and an ID that appeared to have been inactive in recent months won the auctions. I believe that the winning bidder was the same buyer circumventing a buyer block. I have not been in communication with the seller about this, but I have my suspicions based on some observations.

I now know that at least one of those transactions with this other buyer also fell through, because the second highest bidder on Hidden Staircase from the second auction has now left positive feedback for the seller. All that remains unknown is who bought Old Clock, if in fact anyone has at this point. That book could end up listed again if the second chance offer was not accepted.

At this point, I have no desire to list any early Nancy Drew books on eBay. I wish to avoid any further involvement in this situation, if at all possible.

Jennifer said...

I need to amend my previous statement: Anyone who is selling Nancy Drew items currently on eBay, even for low prices, may run across this buyer in the coming days or weeks. If you have a Nancy Drew buyer insist on mailing payment, then you need to be wary. This buyer is completing some transactions just fine, but other transactions are falling through.

stratomiker said...

It's amazing the idiocy they come up with. One buyer actually got a user name that was my name, and would bid on my Hardy Boys books with it so it looked like I was bidding on my own books. He was mad at me because I had hot books to auction and I would not sell to him. I blocked him about 10imes and he just kept coming up with new ways to antagonize me. He wasn't trying to get books - just trying to bother me.

EBay cares so little about any of this kind of stuff. Just try to get them to do something about it. That's why I think feedback and DSRs and all that is so stupid because they will not help you if you are being victimized and crazy buyers know it and will go ahead and do such things.

Mike

Jennifer said...

Sellers cannot warn other sellers about this buyer because nobody can leave buyers negative feedback. Sellers can file unpaid item disputes against the buyer, which will get the buyer kicked off eventually, but in the meantime, the buyer can keep running scams.

seriouslybookin said...

Blowing like the wind?

Paula said...

I decided to share with the followers of this blog some suspicious bidding activity that occurred on an item I was bidding on today. Item number 370545138876. A bidder (n***n) on this item obviously was trying to bid up the price. (Note: Since the feedback number doesn't match that of nancy212111 mentioned previously, I believe it is a different member ID.)

I was the first bidder and placed my high bid a few days ago. n***n bid today several times getting my "showing" bid up, until he/she was higher than me. At that point n***n retracted the $45.01 bid, giving the reason of "entered wrong amount", and I was again high bidder (at a higher price). Another person began to bid on the item. n***n then began bidding again against the new bidder, going well over the retracted bid amount of $45.01. Obviously, this person was bidding to get the price up for whatever reason. Even if not related to the seller, this member is playing games trying to get prices higher, and I reported the situation to ebay.

Jennifer said...

That does seem odd. I don't understand why that person bid, retracted one bid, and bid again.

There is some unusual activity right now with the Nancy Drew listings on eBay. Some of it can be attributed to the one bidder who was the subject of this blog post. Some of the other unusual activity can be attributed to enthusiastic new buyers who read the Country Living article from this month. Go to my Facebook page to see a few listings that I mentioned yesterday.