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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by MackyM, Apr 1, 2011.
Is the 1916 Morris on ebay really a Morris? The stems look different than mine.
I'm no authority, but it looks like my Carlton.
Yep, it is a Carleton.
The build record-- just "for the record". I alerted the seller. Hope we get a little publicity.
I was just reading the comments that were sent to the lister of this particular canoe.
There is a very accusatory tone in both of the comments that were sent to him.
Recently, there have been several seemingly hostile threads here about patrolling auctions.
IMHO, if WCHA members want to play the role of Ebay police then there should be a somewhat civil tone to the notes that we send to folks about their listings.
At least in the initial note alerting them to a mistake.
The tone of such a note should be informative and helpful, not accusatory.
This person had no idea whether or not he had a Morris. He thought he did since the previous owner told him that.
When he was informed that it was not a Morris, he changed his listing. At least he did not (as most do) call it an Old Town.
More appropriate than "hey you, that is a deceptive post, why are you trying to cheat people, does it have this that and the other thing" would be
"Hi, I collect canoes and am quite familiar with the Morris characteristics. I do not believe that yours is one because it does not have splayed stems, a brass ID tag, mahogany seats etc. It may be a ...."
Here is a link to the WCHA site where you may find additional information about these canoes.
If you need any additional information, I'll be happy to help. Meanwhile, you might consider re-listing or correcting your auction.
Again, IMHO.....presuming that WCHA are "ambassadors of wooden canoe collecting", not a self appointed mall cop.
Having myself been one who has contacted a number of eBay listers over accuracy of their sales info, I must say that I agree with MGC on best way to make the initial approach, and have always followed such a policy. I try to make a gentle intro, acknowledge that they are probably just innocents that have, themselves, been cruelly deceived about their goods, then proceed to offer basic info to help them correct the situation. I go on to suggest websites they can check to verify, and also offer a bit about my personal background or credentials for making my intervention.
Honest people often write back immediately and say "thanks, I'll pull my listing or change it." Some are more obstinate and do nothing - that will tell you a bit about character or intent. It is a 'buyer beware' world, and many feel that there's simply nothing wrong in passing along the same lie that entrapped them. Scammers don't really care; they ignore, even make repeated listings. The odd one tells you to go jump under a bus.
I wait a few days; if it's really offensive, a 'rip-off' at an inflated price, I'll make a complaint to eBay - who are primarily interested in making fees, but I'll grudgingly admit they do seem to be paying more attention when it comes to fraudulent listings involving canoes.
I take my cue from the pricing. If it's a plainly false listing seeking only a small price, it's likely to be innocent error. If it's crap being sold for $000's, it's more likely a scam or greed by a thoroughly unprincipled seller. That's my cue for serious intervention - still beginning with a polite but firm opening comment. Crooks may ignore it, but they will also know they are being watched. Honest folks usually will be appreciative and cooperative.
I also agree. If I'd seen that listing before it was discussed by others here, I'd have approached the seller in much the same manner as MGC suggests.
I hope the seller appreciates the build record information and gives the WCHA a nod, but if not, at least he may appreciate the help. I offer build records to any seller who gives out the serial number of an Old Town or Carleton and try not to come off as a member of the Canoe Police, but as an ambassador for our wonderful group.
Good, thoughtful discussion. I'll have to rethink how i interacted in my recent contact with the seller of the "Willits" model canoe. I likely was a bit aggressive. I think there is a difference, though, in sellers who are honest in their eBay listings about not really knowing what they have versus those who throw out "facts" about their item that clearly can't be true and seem to be designed to attract unknowledgeable bidders. Particularly when it comes to anything related to Willits canoes!
But I do think there really is too much rancor in society right now, and I could contribute in toning it down when I initiate a contact. Thanks for making me examine my actions and attitudes!
be careful on our forum too?
I agree with the direction of this discussion and thank MCG and others for reminding us of the value of being good ambassadors. In the specific example of this Carlton listing, the questions do seem harshly worded instead of informational.
I wonder if we should also consider taking it a step further and remind all to be conscientious of what we post on the WCHA forum about eBay listings errors and/or comments about potential motives of the sellers. You never know who is reading our posts and we should always be respectful while instructive. I've noticed a couple of posts where we seem to have a little fun with what the sellers think they have and don't know. I think that risks presenting the wrong attitude to the many people reading our posts. I not sure we can ever error being too polite. Thanks for reading my two cents.
Then you have the case of the eBay canoe listing 110590999230. This is a canoe imported by Sears in the 1960's. I gave this information to the listing party more than 2 months ago. I gave him the page of the Sears catalog and picture of the actual canoe showing the construction to be exactly the same.
He never added my comments to his listing. Now I see some else sent him a note that he had one like it that was sent from Norway in two pieces but he did not mention when that was.
The lister replied his Grandfather first saw it in the 30's and bought it in the 50's and said he thinks it was built in the Seattle area. Maybe he thinks it's a Willits, or it was a Willits his Grandfather first saw.
There is no doubt the canoe he has was imported by Sears and sold in the 60's.
I notice he has had some offers but has not sold it yet. I'm not sure how you notify the public, or is it buyer be ware.
In this case, what are the odd's of anyone that is not quasi informed spending almost $4K to buy a canoe like this?
I'd say slim to none. The fact that the auction is ongoing supports this.
A person that might buy a canoe like that would be interested in a Willets and would know better.
Folks that post auctions like this are only fooling themselves.
If I were you, I'd very politely circle back with the same information and let them know that the community of canoe collectors is watching his auction, with amusement. Then I would suggest that he lower his price threefold to reflect that it's a Sears canoe, not a collectible Willets.
Likely, he will ignore you again...but at least you have made your attempt.
Ah, the conundrums and challenges of life .....
in this case, whether to try to be helpful, or to abstain and allow the innocent to stumble? - both the potential purchaser as well as the would-be vendor.
When eBay first began 15 years ago, it was really just a cute means for those mostly in the San Francisco area to use the Internet as a new form of electronic, on-line-type garage sale to dispose of stuff taking up room in attics and basements. The crowd was small, the listings sparse. The 'community' was extremely friendly; members would freely contact one another to offer advice, even going so far as to advise others when they were selling a truly valuable treasure far too cheaply. It was friendly, open and fair. To take advantage of one another was extremely frowned upon. Yet, everyone also understood that the old adage 'buyer beware' prevailed. Ebay, itself, constantly reminded everyone that it did not guarantee anything; it was merely providing a mechanism to advertise. Then it grew.
When regular-type antique dealers faced economic bad times in the late 1990's, many began using eBay as a secondary outlet. As a consequence, it became more commercial, and morphed into a large electronic flea market. The 'garage sale' type listings persisted, but the discount sellers really began taking over. Scammers also began appearing. Then Meg Whittman took eBay big time with her 'power seller' program. It mushroomed! It became the hangout for thousands of little operators peddling everything under the sun, with individual listers still popping up trying to flog 'grandad's old canoe'. More and more the intimacy and innocence was lost and commercial greed took over. The ballyhoo and b.s. of sales promotion grew.
Those who care about their collections and their chosen fields of interest often feel hurt and threatened when they see plainly incorrect claims being spouted by vendors - some innocently, some far more fraudulently. It pains any honest person to watch another getting fooled. Innocent neophyte buyers get badly burned, then never come back. They tend to bad-mouth everyone, and we all suffer from the mis-deeds of the few. I understand where Pat is coming from. I, too, get badly upset when I see others offering new, cheap Chinese imports offered as "authentic, vintage salesman's samples". But, what to do? Intervene or stay silent? Well, we're having that discussion.
I favor intervention, politely, of course, because we're all susceptible to making honest mistakes. And, it's very difficult to persuade the other person that what his grandfather told him about that family heirloom canoe is really a 'crock'. He loves his grandfather, and doesn't know us. He isn't particularly looking to be educated, and will only reluctantly, if ever, be persuaded otherwise. We can try, but have no power or right to insist.
One of the ways I have tried to cope with misinformation that is out there was to write an eBay 'buyer's guide' on sample models, offering those interested some basic info. A couple of those efforts have now been read some 10,000 to 15,000 times. If they go ignored, so be it; I tried.
Just some thoughts.
Nice summary...Ebay is not what it once was, not even close. I learned that the hard way about 10 years ago....I got burned by someone that falsely posted a (very pricey) bicycle. I never got compensation or satisfaction, only negative feedback. Ebay is a mega operation that does not give a crap about anything except revenue.
As far as grandpa's heirloom goes, watch the Antique Roadshow some day to learn that every antique in America was brought over on the Mayflower...
certainly buyer beware....
Fiction can be very appealing; we might inherit some fictional stories when we buy an old canoe, but it's nice when the fiction isn't about the canoe itself.
Thumbs up for that!
Written on the wall by the phone in my shop many times is "MYOB" , along with "if you (Gil) haven't seen it, it is junk" . Unfortunately for me, I don't always adhere to my own advice, but in the recent past I have successfully refrained from contacting anyone on Ebay about the description of their canoe or boat for sale.
BUUUUTTTT, I was silent when a supposedly closed gunnel Old Town sold on Ebay, and I knew from the photos that it was misrepresented. I had remarked to myself earlier " somebody is going to pay way too much for this piece of junk". As usual, after seeing the canoe in person, it was worse than imagined.
That's an interesting angle for you professional restoration folk: if you stick your nose in the auction is going on, you're sometimes told to MYOB. But it very often becomes your business! If you choose not to disappoint the seller, you'll soon be put in the position of disappointing the buyer... as they proudly pull into your driveway with their misinformed prize.
As long as you're disseminating info out of kindness and concern that nobody gets misled, you're on good moral footing as far as I'm concerned.
"if you (insert your name) haven't seen it, it is junk"
Separate names with a comma.