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Cancelled -- Auction 320: WE 1957 Oxford Grey 500 C/D - Ends 01-28-18

Started by TelePlay, January 22, 2018, 12:21:50 PM

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Sent a message to the seller asking when the phone would be relisted. The seller did not respond. Just sent another message asking for the eBay number for the relisted phone. Doubt I will get a response from the seller but one never knows. On the other hand, he might have take it down for a sweet $150 side deal offer, leaving what, at least $300 on the table? In that case, someone got lucky.


Since I did bid on this item, when it was low, I was able to get the bid cancellation list. It was up to $108 with about 5 days to go in the auction when cancelled.

eBay also added a new (at least to me) paragraph in red in their cancellation email to me.

Both are attached.


I've been in touch with the eBay seller several times regarding this phone. Basically trying to find out if she did a side deal or still has it.

In an earlier reply, she said she was overwhelmed with the the number of messages she was getting about the phone after cancelling the listing.

I kept asking when it would be relisted. She asked a few general questions about the phone so I told her what collectors look for and what images she should post when relisted. Her last reply was "that is a lot of good information about this telephone. I'll have to think about removing the back when I am ready to post which will not be for a long time as I have other family obligations. Thank you again and I will let you know when I am ready to post."

From that, it seems she still has the phone and it may be relisted in the future. Then again, she might be lying but if I were a betting person, I'd say she still had the phone and it may reappear on eBay someday.

That's all I know and I'm sticking to it.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke


I think I've told this story a few times. Nice red 40 gets listed. Starts getting bids then it's gone. This was way ack when it was much easier to contact sellers. I asked where the listing went and added that if she had sold it to someone on the side I hoped she got a good price for it as it was a $1500 Phone. Back then a good red 40 WAS a $1500 Phone. I got a reply from here saying she got an offer for $200 (give or take, I can't recall exactly) and she took it to help with her Christmas shopping and went on to say what $1500 would have done for her Christmas. I wound up feeling bad for her rather than mad at her!



Quote from: 19and41 on January 27, 2018, 08:16:11 AM
I wouldn't concern myself any more with it.

I won't in that the seller, if she still has the phone and intends to relist it, will know more about it what that time comes.

I concerned myself with seller's who posted something rare but from their listing it was clearly obvious that they could be taken by those who offer side deals for pennies on the dollar in what I find is an immoral, and should be criminal, theft from a seller who tried to do the right thing but was told something incorrect about the phone to convince them their item would not sell for more than $50 because of X, Y and Z issues so they would be willing to take it off their hands for $75, they'd make a bit of a profit on something that would not sell or sell for little. I think everyone knows what I am talking about so I won't go on.

It takes me a lot of time and effort to put up an auction contest and there was a time where it seemed one out of 3 was cancelled because the seller took a side deal, got robbed, from an thief. Okay, a $10,000 phone with a BIN of $200, that's the seller's mistake. But when I do a contest, it's almost always for a phone that is worth hundreds to thousands of dollars so when I see one of these listed poorly (lack of images and ignorant phone terms), before I do the contest work up, I contact the seller and tell them to let the phone go to a normal ending, the full 7 days, to let the market set the price for the phone.

I started to do this when a seller took a side deal during the period of time it took me to set up the contest. That was Contest #218:

The seller had a damaged housing "Squatting Hound," listed it for $39 and sold it within an hour to a lying cheat for $200.

The phone was worth $4,000 to $6,000. A similar phone with less damage sold less than a month earlier for $6,000. I have not seen one listed since. A rare phone and the seller left a lot of money on the table.

As a side note, after an auction ended, the seller got back to me and thanked me for sending my short message highly suggesting he let the phone go to a normal end. He said he got a side deal offer for $4,750, and I have to say that is an unexpectedly high side offer, one that rarely never is give for something listed for $99. He thanked me because the phone sold for just over $10,000.

I think most collectors would agree that letting a contest go to a normal end is fair to all phone collectors, people who count on the market for determining the final selling price, not a huckster cheap bid preventing all other collectors from having an equal change to buy the item. That makes several losers, the seller for leaving money on the table due to ignorance and all the other collectors who may have wanted to try and add the phone to their collection, in an open, fair and honest eBay auction.

Find a deal at an antique mall, flea market, garage sale, estate sale or any similar points of sale, good for you. But an eBay auction is just that, an auction open to all so I do take a few minutes to suggest sellers of contest phones to let them go to a normal end. And I don't get a small cut of the profits (if I did it would be in the thousands by now).

Didn't send the message with this phone, my error. Error fixed and if it is listed again, it will go to a normal end.

I do it for three reasons, the first is selfish in not wasting my time to set up a contest only to see the auction ended early and the second, to allow the seller to get the market value, and third, to give every interested buyer a fair chance under the highly enforced eBay rules of active auctions.

Stepping down from my soap box now, and, by the way, if anyone wants to take over the auction contests and relieved me from what I perceive as my moral and ethical high horse to make sure the seller doesn't get screwed by a cheat, send me a PM, it's all yours.

If you disagree with any of this, please post a reply or send me a PM if you want to go uncivil on me with no offense taken. I'd really be interested in seeing where any of what I just said is wrong.


It is plain to see the effort that is put into the contests and I have mentioned it in the past and appreciate it.  In such auctions there is some honor that a seller with conscience will adhere to. but there are those that would sell their reputation for the gain of a quick sub-rosa deal.  My grandmother traded in antiques and I got to know many shady characters involved in the trade that would never see the lights of the roadshow.  I guess that will be a part of the collectible business and the demolition of more auctions to come.  A quick profit blinds some to the manners of civil business.   Collecting should always be enjoyable, but things like this can always happen.  That converts a contest into a learning experience.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
— Arthur C. Clarke


John, I totally agree with everything you said. It is the only ethical thing to do. I once posted something on this Forum about "vulturing" phones several years ago. I got only one person who agreed with me and one or two didn't see anything wrong with making side deal offers on valuable phones. I was stunned. While I'm usually a person who can see both sides of an issue, I see this plainly as being fair to your fellow collectors and not sidestepping the rules. Many's the time I was patiently waiting for an item to end and go to the highest bidder and it got vultured by someone making an offer outside of eBay. Boy did I feel burned.

I've also emailed sellers in the past, telling them to sit tight on their auction and not cave in to any offers. That they will get more in the long run if they let the auction end normally, and all the major bids will be at the end. Many have thanked me for that, and I don't see that as being Mr. Helpful and I don't spread mis-information or tell too much about the phone, other than it's valuable, so I try not to build up their hopes too much. Sometimes I ended up with the phone and sometimes not.

I haven't done any warning the last few years, so I applaud John's doing this, especially when the seller isn't a long-time collector who knows the market. It's the only thing that's fair to everyone involved.

Now if an item is already a BIN and the seller is happy, then I have no problem with buying that item no matter what the price is. But I don't talk the seller into making that price or making it a BIN and I don't go back to the seller if I didn't get it and tell them they sold it too cheaply. And if they have the "make an offer" button, I have used that too sometimes to try and get a slightly lower price. As long as it's above board, I don't see a problem. It's the deal under the table that rubs me the wrong way.

You wouldn't walk up to an auctioneer while he's auctioning something and whisper in his ear and give an offer for him to take it down before it's sold. The audience would have a riot. It's all about fairness. Just my two cents and you are welcome to disagree.


Thanks to all who either replied on the public side or sent me PMs expressing their point of view. Much appreciated.

I want to clarify a few things.

1)  My above "rant" was only intended to explain my "help" to sellers who seemed to know nothing about phones (bad title, poor description, limited pictures) and only those items worthy of an auction contest (those that did not have a BIN, Make and Offer or a Reserve). I only message apparent "ignorant" phone sellers who are selling a rare phone that I want to make a contest that was started at a low price leaving them wide open to getting cheated.

2)  I never contact a seller who knows phones, high feed back number, properly set up or recognize their handle. Those sellers who place a $700 phone on eBay at $9.99  know what they are doing and don't take side deals.

3)  I never tell the eBay seller about the auction contest, the forum, past eBay auctions, the value of their phone or provide links to anything related to the places and things I just mentioned. I always bid on the phone before sending a message and the message basically says "I am interested in the phone (and they see my bid), it is worth quite a bit more than the starting price. How much I don't know but it is best to let it go to a normal end so don't fall prey to a side deal offer you may get within the first day or so. I would really like a chance to buy the phone and like to bid in the last 10 seconds, as many others do, and hope to win the phone if it fits in my budget. You will get the best price, the true market value, for the phone by letting it go to a normal end." Nothing is implied other than I am interested, I've bid on the phone and I'd like a chance to bid my best and final offer right at the end of the auction.

4)  About 90% of the time I send a message, I get a reply. They run about 80% for thank you and 20% agreeing saying they are aware of cheating side dealers and let all of their auctions go to a normal end.

5)  Of the 80% that thank me, quite a few say they were surprised by the number of side deal offers they already received and will take my advice and let it go to a normal end. I think they realize that if several people are willing to pay what appears to be good money to them right away, it must be worth more when everyone sees the item and has a chance to bid on it.

6)  About 40% of those who reply to my message say they have received the same caution in messages from other eBay members. Seems I am not the only one who does this to make sure the phone of interest stays to the end so everyone has a chance to bid on it. I am always glad to get that reply then knowing I am not the only person who helps sellers in this way.

7)  If a seller replies with questions, I will respond with answers containing general, generic information with respect to why it is of some value and include the fact that the person who buys the phone won't place a bid until the last 5-10 seconds, it will be their first and only bid and what they think the phone is worth. Also saying that if more than one person does this, the price can greatly increase in the final seconds if the phone has not been bid up to near market price during the first 6 days. Not being Mr. Helpful here, just offering historical eBay advice that anyone deep into eBay would know and in doing so, trying to save the rare phone from the vultures.

8 )  And I never tell the seller if the phone was brought to my attention by someone else. As far as the seller knows, I am a buyer that found the phone on my own, I like the phone, it is to me a collectible worth a lot more than the listed price and I hope the phone stays on eBay until the end so I, and others who may be interested in the phone, have a chance to place a last second bid to hopefully take the phone home.

9)  Finally, the other side of the coin. Yes, eBay is full of "artists" on both sides of the coin and I had no intention here to explore all of the different ways eBay can go wrong or be a bad experience for a buyer or seller. That nickle candlestick is the first that comes to mind and it seems eBay buyers spot and report that image, every time it comes up, within an hour of being a new listing and I'm sure reporting other listings to eBay for good or nefarious reasons. There is no test for honesty for either eBay buyers or sellers. Feedback number size, positive feedback % number, items sold, items for sale and reading the feedback comments are a few ways to check the quality of the seller if a listing looks suspicious. I've had a few bad buys (problems with the item or shipping) in the past but other than disappointment, all were resolved to my satisfaction. Buyers, well, they have their own scams and unfortunately, eBay sides with the buyer on most issues - the price we pay for selling on eBay, I guess. What I am saying here is nothing more than I selfishly send a message to a seller of an interesting phone encouraging them to let the auction end normally. Since I did not send a "let it go 7 days message," I sent several post cancellation messages to this gray 500 seller to see if it went in a side deal or it will resurface, and the seller seems like a good person that I would trust and it will be relisted - for those interested in buying the phone. Time will tell.


To conclude, I don't want to become, to even come close to being seen as an expert appraiser or advisor, a Mr. Helpful, to the few sellers I contact. I try to be just an eBay buyer who has collected a few phones, is interested in their current offering and hoping not to see the auction end early. Simple as that. Never once have I mentioned the forum, the contest section, TCI or ATCA. In no way do I want to offer advice or get their hopes up of receiving a certain value for the phone, just hoping to have them keep the phone on eBay for the full 7 days.

That Squatting Hound phone to this day bothers me in that the seller got ripped off, and the vulture posted his "deal" on another site bragging about it. There are many phones each week that could be an auction contest but I only message sellers of phones I set up in contests, if they look new to phones. As I said, I do it for a selfish reason, not having to cancel a contest, and not protect every novice phone seller from the vultures. Of those sellers that got a "beware of the vultures" message from me, I have not had one disappointed seller.

Thanks again for all of the feedback on my first post.