THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS GUIDE. I DO HOPE YOU WILL FIND IT USEFUL. YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ MY COMPANION GUIDE 'SELLING VINYL LP'S: PREPARATION, DESCRIPTION, POSTAGE'
I have bought many vinyl LP's on eBay and can recommend 99% of all sellers I have bought from.
But despite this, there are still a few sellers of vinyl LP's on Ebay who don't play by the rules, no matter how many regulations eBay management puts on them. Often these sellers, despite their high 'red or green star' feedback scores, have much less than 100% positive feedback, and it's a good idea to check out other buyers' bad experiences before bidding. You can do this by first clicking on the seller's feedback score and then clicking on the number of negative feedbacks recorded in the last 12 months - this will reveal everything bad others have said about the seller AND the seller's responses (which may well be rude or offensive showing how little they care about customer satisfaction).
So here are a few hints and tips on things to look out for:
1. Beware incomplete or misleading descriptions. If the seller says the LP is 'original' or '1st issue', do not expect to see the album on 'budget re-issue' labels such as MFP, CFP, Wing, Contour, Sunset, Marble Arch or Decca Ace of Clubs or Hearts. These labels came out in the late 1960's to re-issue albums from the late 1950's and early 1960's. Their value is in most cases almost zero, so don't pay more than £1 each for these. The condition of these 'budget re-issue' vinyl LP's may be 'Mint', but they are still almost worthless no matter what the condition.
2. Beware sellers who say in their descriptions that an LP has been 'visually graded' as to its condition (and therefore its value). No matter how shiny a vinyl may be, it can still sound awful when you come to play it, if at one time in its past it has been played with a faulty stylus. Visual gradings mean absolutely nothing. Look instead for those sellers who have played the record through themselves and are happy to give full details of any 'hiss', 'crackle' or 'pops' - these are the sellers who are generally the most honest and will give the best customer service.
3. Steer clear of sellers who say that an LP is 'excellent' or that it has been 'visually graded 'EX' in accordance with RC guidelines'. They cannot possibly give a grading of 'EX' (excellent) in accordance with the 'Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide' guidelines UNLESS they have played the record themselves and listened to it! And don't bid on a vinyl LP unless the seller has shown you at least one picture of the album - you really can have no idea of what you are getting.
4. There are a few sellers (usually dealers) of vinyl LP's on eBay who insist in giving you very detailed descriptions, which initially look very inviting. There are often lots of words like 'brilliant!!!!', 'seriously rare!!!!', 'impossible to find!!!!' etc. which may mislead you into thinking such LP's are better than they actually are! So it's important you read ALL the small print carefully before bidding.
5. Unless you really want a particular vinyl LP, or you are bidding on an especially valuable one, don't bid on an LP where the seller is intending to charge more than £3.50 to post it to you. Most sellers are happy to post for much less than this, so why let yourself be ripped off by paying more?
6. If you are thinking of bidding on more than one item from the same seller, make sure that the seller will offer a p&p discount for multiple purchases of vinyl LP's sent together in one package - expect to pay no more than £1 for each additional LP. If no discount is shown, ask the seller by eBay message first if he/she gives discounts, remembering that they are not obliged to.
7. When you place a bid, be careful not to place too high a maximum bid early in the auction. I still believe (although find it very difficult to prove) that there are some unscrupulous sellers on eBay who may use other eBay ID's operated from their own computers, or arrange with other eBay members known to them, to artificially raise the bid prices of LP's (see 'shill bidding' under eBay's Help topics). For example, suppose an LP has a starting price of £1, but you know it is probably worth say £25 - don't place a bid of say £20 straightaway as you will then leave yourself open to 'shill bidders' who may make multiple bids up to a figure just under your maximum bid, and then make no further bids to outbid you, resulting in you paying much more than you really wanted to. You can always check the bid history by clicking on the number of bids figure shown at the top of the auction description. If you are suspicious, don't hesitate to report such sellers and/or bidders to eBay - remembering that even if eBay don't take immediate action, it is all good useful evidence for eBay to try to remove the fraudsters from its site at a later date.
8. In connection with point 7. above, take great care when bidding on LP's being sold by dealers, who can be identified by being registered on eBay as 'Business Sellers' and/or who have very high 'red or green star' feedback scores (that is more than 1000). Whilst I would not for one minute wish to imply that such sellers are in any way dishonest, it has almost always been the case that when I have reported potential 'shill bidding' to eBay in the past it has been on auctions run by eBay sellers fitting this profile.
9. Finally, make sure that the seller details his 'returns policy', which usually will involve him offering to refund the 'hammer price' paid (but possibly not the p&p charge) on safe return of the LP. Bear in mind that the cost of postage back to the seller will usually be down to you, and remember that the seller will only agree a refund if the description is not accurate (for example if he says the LP is 'EX' and then you find it either 'jumps' or 'sticks' or there is an horrendous amount of surface noise). In my experience, sellers have been generally great in dealing with my very rare complaints.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS GUIDE. I DO HOPE YOU FOUND IT USEFUL. YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ MY COMPANION GUIDE 'SELLING VINYL LP'S: PREPARATION, DESCRIPTION, POSTAGE'