Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Describing Books as Better Than They Are

This is an old post from last year that was never published, mainly because I wanted to wait until the listing could not be easily found. I forgot about the post, and it was never published. Here we go... and prepare yourselves...

THIS is in "very fine" condition?

I am speechless. To be fair, in the description, the seller does differentiate between the condition of the book and the dust jacket. The seller states that the book is "very fine" with almost no shelf wear. I do see wear to the edges of the book, and to me, that is not "almost no shelf wear." If there is almost none, then I should not be able to see it from a photo that is not close up.

The dust jacket is stated to be in "fair to good" condition. In my opinion, the dust jacket is in poor condition. The jacket is awful!

Buyers are not stupid. When sellers describe books as better than they are, buyers do notice and tend to think of the sellers as unethical and dishonest. At the very least, buyers think of the sellers as unprofessional.


Paula said...

And of course the seller probably showed one small, fuzzy picture of the front cover, conveniently NOT showing the spine or back - right? How in your wildest imagination could this be called "fine" let alone "VERY fine"? I guess the seller figured "If I'm going to "stretch the truth" I may as well go the whole way"! :o Even knowing that sellers sometimes overrate their books, who would ever suspect you would get a cover that is about 25% missing? Without a mention in the description? Amazing! To me, this is totally unacceptable because even inexperienced sellers realize that major flaws must be revealed/described, regardless of how one rates the book. I definitely would've complained about this one - I hope you did!

Another thing that bothers me is when a seller rates the book very highly "for its age", without any indication that they realize what the true age of the book is. That always sounds fishy to me - kind of like saying: "This book is in pretty bad condition, but it is SO OLD what do you expect?"!

The best sellers provide multiple, good pictures - this is the best way to avoid problems IMO. But I've also seen items where the seller says "see pictures for condition" and then provides ONE small and/or unclear partial shot picture of the item...

On a more positive note --->
Happy Mardi Gras everyone!!

Jennifer said...

I didn't buy this one. That picture is the one that the seller provided. It may have been the only picture. I can't remember.

This is one of those sellers who exaggerates everything, and I avoid this seller's listings. Descriptions like this one annoy me to no end.

I cannot understand people who say that the books are in fabulous condition, yet the pictures tell a different story. I suppose since the pictures are there, the sellers are covered in the event of a buyer complaint.

Paula said...

Oh, I misunderstood... then it's not as bad as I thought. It is annoying to have the seller overrate the book, when obviously (from the picture) the book is not the stated condition, but I think in these cases, the seller is not so much dishonest as trying to draw attention to the item. I can roll my eyes in exasperation and move on. The auctions that really cause trouble for me, and where I sometimes suspect the seller of dishonesty, are the ones that I described.

I once sold five 1st printing picture cover books (most were true 1st printings of the title) in a lot that I described as poor condition, although they were not horrendous. I've seen similar 1st printings (described as fair -good) go for $3.00 a piece and up. I had one bidder who got the lot for 99 cents. So much for honesty! I've taken your advice since then to just describe the flaws of the book and let the buyer rate its condition. :)

stratomiker said...

Actually, I don't really mind these kind of listings that much because they are always good for a laugh. Sometimes I cruise around on eBay just for the comic relief it offers. You really can't take eBay that seriously anymore. None of it makes much sense.

There are so many sellers who have so many differing opinions about condition, printings, editions, pricing, etc., and eBay makes no effort to establish any kind of conformity about anything - just tells the buyer to beware. It's really a great big free-for-all.

My pet peeve is the people who neg-bash me for not using the Farah and H&H guide listings, but all users have their own particular pet peeves. But even those we have to take more with a grain of salt than with any amount of seriousness. I've had to teach myself not to be annoyed with neg-bashing over the guides and by the same from idiots who want to receive media mail like the day after they pay for their book.

And you know what? It really doesn't matter if you get negs unreasonably. Why? because most people with any common sense don't take the eBay feedback system seriously. How could you when it is so unreasonably unfair? A buyer can give a negative, but a seller can't? Whoever dreamed that up must have been smoking old ropes, or something similar.

It's the talk of the town wherever I go - even at extended family get-togethers: eBay is making a complete fool of itself. I know I'm guilty too of getting very upset about some of the nonsense, but we have to learn to deal with it with some humor. It's out of our control. They'll either implode or straighten out.