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jonoslack

ebay - a cautionary tale

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Actually i would think legally Leica would have to return to the orginal owner. ...

With the greatest respect, Guy, I have to disagree. Leica's not to know if the original owner has (legitimately) sold a lens without informing Leica (why would he?) or de-registering his ownership - if that's possible. As others have stated, Leica should have handed the lens to the police to deal with. Just my 2p (2d in old money

).

 

Jono, sorry to read about your dilemma and I hope it resolves itself at no disadvantage to you.

 

Pete.

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Guest guy_mancuso

It may have been reported stolen to Leica and i think they keep records of that.

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With regards to brick and mortar stores, at the shop I work at in Vancouver, BC, we follow the local pawn laws to the letter. ANY second hand equipment that we buy, accept as trade, or sell on consignment is held for 35 business days while it goes through a police check. This applies whether the owner has the original receipt or not. If the item was reported stolen in the Greater Vancouver area, the police will be alerted and will come pick up the equipment to return to the original owner. In such a case the store accepts the loss if we paid out for the equipment.

It's not perfect, if someone from another province or country sells us something it could not have been reported stolen to our local police, but it's some sort of insurance.

I'm not sure if any of the shops in the U.S., U.K etc have to follow such rules but I hope something similar would be in effect.

Really sorry about the bad luck Jono. Hope it works out!

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I've got a quite different view of Paypal:

 

Currently I'm in the middle of dispute with Paypal because a person who I sold an M6 TTL .58 (sold to finance part of my M8) claimed they never received the camera. I didn't know Paypal didn't accept USPS tracking numbers as proof of delivery and shipped the camera to my buyer (in Hong Kong, and with a 99% positive rating on eBay) via Global Priority. The buyer said it never arrived and Paypal sided with them because of my tracking information was good enough. I took the situation as an unfortunate live and learn experience, until I checked my buyer's website and found they were selling the camera that they claimed never arrived. The serial numbers clearly match on both their photos and mine, as well as several scratches that clearly match in both photos. Paypal refuses to reverse their decision even though I've provided links to the website showing the sale and how the serial numbers are the same. Basically I'm out the selling price, the camera itself and my ability to use Paypal until I refund the money. Beware of using USPS when shipping anything paid for through Paypal; if it goes missing (or is claimed to be missing) they will not accept USPS tracking information as valid.

 

Sorry to hijack this thread, but I've been dealing with this all weekend and am entirely infuriated with Paypal and the person who bought this camera on eBay.

 

I wonder if Registered Mail would be a sufficient proof of receipt-it is supposed to be the most secure?

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I think the interesting thing about this one is that there really weren't any grounds to be suspicious (except that the lens didn't have a box).

 

I do not agree. Even more when your seller is a reputable firm, it was their OBLIGATION to ask for an invoice of the original purshase. If the guy they got it from could not produce it, then they should not have bought it to resell it on eBay.

 

French people are always very fuzzy about tracing sell and resell invoices back to orginal owner. I now understand why. I am a member of a French forum, and if you cannot produce original and subsequent resell invoices, then no one will buy from you.

 

Eric

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Normally I would not correct grammar or spelling, but fuzzy means soft, and changes your meaning around. You probably meant fussy, which means picky or pedantic.

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With regards to brick and mortar stores, at the shop I work at in Vancouver, BC, we follow the local pawn laws to the letter. ANY second hand equipment that we buy, accept as trade, or sell on consignment is held for 35 business days while it goes through a police check. This applies whether the owner has the original receipt or not. If the item was reported stolen in the Greater Vancouver area, the police will be alerted and will come pick up the equipment to return to the original owner. In such a case the store accepts the loss if we paid out for the equipment.

It's not perfect, if someone from another province or country sells us something it could not have been reported stolen to our local police, but it's some sort of insurance.

I'm not sure if any of the shops in the U.S., U.K etc have to follow such rules but I hope something similar would be in effect.

Really sorry about the bad luck Jono. Hope it works out!

 

I'm not sure about other parts of the US but the same applies here. Sellers consigning goods have to fill out paperwork for the local police and the items are held for 16 days and you have to present ID. If you're the original purchaser from the store and have the receipt then this isn't required. Either way, it's a bit of a safety net to protect all parties.

 

Sorry to hear about Jono's predicament. eBay is a bit like swimming in shark infested waters at times and unfortunately eBay/PayPal definitely protect themselves first at the expense of both buyers and sellers. I've had similar issues with PayPal grabbing back funds from a seller who didn't send the goods - they'll grab back the money for you but only up to the amount that the seller has in PayPal. If it's less than the full amount they won't go further to collect the rest and will consider the case closed.

 

Btw: I'm a little impressed that the Police actually did something in the UK. I thought they all hid behind CCTV these days ... (I'm from the UK)

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HI There

I spoke to Leica UK this morning - in fact they haven't sent the lens back, they are hanging on to it until further instructions, and will certainly send me back my lens hood.

 

They were particularly sympathetic and helpful - one of the nice things about shooting Leica is that there is a real human being at the end of the phone, who seems to be on your side as well as Leica's.

 

Everyone here has been so nice and sympathetic as well - individual replies are deserved (but impractical). I've had email offers of loan lenses as well - what a great community.

 

So, to everyone who has replied A BIG THANK YOU!

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I guess the biggest surprise for me too is that the police are showing an interest. You must have caught them on the one day this year when they can't find any more paperwork to do.

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Reported stolen does not tell the whole story. It might even be an insurance scam by the original owner. There is no way for Leica to know this. The only correct thing to do is to turn the lens in to the police and let them investigate. To return the lens without investigation to the original owner may well make Leica liable for the loss.

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Jono, I am sorry to hear about the aggravation you ran into, but by comparison, I picked off the used 35/2.0 asph uncoded that was listed on Popflash's website for about a month recently for $1500. There was a warning note that there would be no box and no front cap (on checking, I found there was no nice neoprene case, and the serial number suggests that it is pre 2000). But I trust Tony to stand behind his merchandise completely, and I guess I paid about $200 more than your Ebay price. The lens showed up here, at the far end of the earth, in a week, with no marks on it anywhere, with the tight plastic lens hood and cover, and has performed beautifully since. I hope you find another soon.

 

scott

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Every time I have a bad experience buying something, or hear about someone else that did, I try to learn something from it. What is the moral to this story?

 

I buy used stuff on eBay all the time. I'm not going to stop, even though there is some risk. I'm no legal expert but it sounds like the law in various countries differs quite a lot. In the US there is the concept of a "bona fide" purchaser of stolen goods, who purchased in good faith at market price, and in at least some cases is entitled to keep the stolen goods. A lot of fraud happens on eBay, just like at camera shows, pawn shops, and private party sales. eBay gets their commission every time, so they have little incentive to stop it. There is value in buying from a trusted seller that will stand behind their product and protect you from such losses.

 

The only thing I learned for sure from this case is that when you send your lens to Leica for coding, don't send the hood!

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It's early days, and the dealer may easily come up with the goods (Robert, your logic is unnering!). At the moment I don't have anyone to complain about (except the thief!). As someone else pointed out, this isn't a specific ebay issue - it could be a problem with any secondhand gear.

 

I've spent weeks in the past arguing the toss with paypal, and don't want to do it again!

 

I think the interesting thing about this one is that there really weren't any grounds to be suspicious (except that the lens didn't have a box).

 

 

Jono, I am German lawyer and, under German law, there is no doubt that the seller is obliged to pay you back what you paid him in case the lens was stolen. While I don't know UK law, I am pretty confident that the same principles that apply under German law apply under UK law as well.

 

As someone mentioned earlier, if the lens is stolen, neither you nor the seller could acquire ownership, even if you purchased the lens in good faith. The person from whom the lens never lost his ownership, and therefore can claim the lens back, provided, of course, he or she can prove that the lens was indeed stolen.

 

However, you concluded a purchase contract with the seller pursuant to which the seller had the obligation to transfer ownership of the lens to you. While the seller sent you the lens, the seller never transferred ownership of the lens to you. In fact, given that the seller never acquired ownership, it was impossible for the seller to transfer ownership to you. Thus, the seller failed to fulfill his contractual obligations. Therefore, you are entitled to claim back the money you paid him.

 

Of course, your seller can do the same with the person from whom he bought the lens, if he finds that person.

 

Hope everything works out well for you. While all of that is certainly very annoying, at least you know who the seller is.

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Just asked one of my colleagues in the UK, and she responded as follows:

 

I think the answer is that the buyer of the stolen goods has a contractual claim against the seller for breach of contract because it is an implied term of the sale (section 12 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979) that the seller has the title to sell the goods - obviously in this case he does not, so the seller can claim the price back.

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In the UK an innocent purchaser (this could include the dealer and jono) CAN acquire good title to the goods. The stolen goods can in fact loose their 'taint' in the hands of an innocent purchaser.

 

Example:

 

Bill the thief steals a camera from a shop and sells it to Larry at the local bent second hand shop (who buys anything no questions asked) he tells Larry its stolen.

 

Sid who is new to the town innocently buys the camera from the second hand shop.

 

A week later Sid can't get on with the camera so he sells it to his friend Barry.

 

Bill is guilty of 'theft'.

 

Larry commits 'handling' and the camera remains stolen goods while in his hands.

 

Sid commits no offence when he buys and the camera looses its 'taint'

Sid acquires good title.

 

Sid commits no offence when he sells to Barry.

 

Barry acquires good title and commits no offence.

 

 

Now if Barry then reads in the newspaper about the theft, realises that he has the camera involved and then sells it to Jane, Barry would then commit handling stolen goods as the camera would re-acquire its taint in his hands. (he would also commit 'obtaining by deception')

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In the UK an innocent purchaser (this could include the dealer and jono) CAN acquire good title to the goods. The stolen goods can in fact loose their 'taint' in the hands of an innocent purchaser.

 

Example:

 

Bill the thief steals a camera from a shop and sells it to Larry at the local bent second hand shop (who buys anything no questions asked) he tells Larry its stolen.

 

Sid who is new to the town innocently buys the camera from the second hand shop.

 

A week later Sid can't get on with the camera so he sells it to his friend Barry.

 

Bill is guilty of 'theft'.

 

Larry commits 'handling' and the camera remains stolen goods while in his hands.

 

Sid commits no offence when he buys and the camera looses its 'taint'

Sid acquires good title.

 

Sid commits no offence when he sells to Barry.

 

Barry acquires good title and commits no offence.

 

 

Now if Barry then reads in the newspaper about the theft, realises that he has the camera involved and then sells it to Jane, Barry would then commit handling stolen goods as the camera would re-acquire its taint in his hands. (he would also commit 'obtaining by deception')

 

Hi There

Are you sure about the 'good title' - it seems to me that I would have good title in this case (where, it appears there is at least one other middleman). However, the goods are now certainly going to be restored to their original owner (rightly in my opinion).

 

Still, it would seem that the dealer IS going to give me my money back - which is excellent.

Thanks for your post.

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Hi There

Are you sure about the 'good title' - it seems to me that I would have good title in this case (where, it appears there is at least one other middleman). However, the goods are now certainly going to be restored to their original owner (rightly in my opinion).

 

Still, it would seem that the dealer IS going to give me my money back - which is excellent.

Thanks for your post.

 

I must point out that IF the original owner made a claim on his/her insurance and got paid for the loss of the lens then rightfully it is NOT there lens anymore. It is the insurance companies lens. And more then likely they have already written the claim cost off so they would not want it back.

That was another point I was thinking about when you stated originally that Leica had sent the lens back to the OO.

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Just asked one of my colleagues in the UK, and she responded as follows:

 

I think the answer is that the buyer of the stolen goods has a contractual claim against the seller for breach of contract because it is an implied term of the sale (section 12 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979) that the seller has the title to sell the goods - obviously in this case he does not, so the seller can claim the price back.

Hi George - thank you so much for all your effort. Of course, the problem with all this would be the time and effort involved.

Still, it looks like the seller is 'coming good' and will return my money through paypal.

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Hi There

I bought a 35mm 'cron on ebay from a dealer with a rating of over 5000, and 99.99% satisfaction. (it was £700). I spoke to them on the phone - charming and helpful - we even discussed the fact that there was no box, but that based on who they had bought it from it couldn't possibly be stolen.

I sent it to Leica for coding.

It was stolen - the police rang this evening, Leica have sent the lens back to the rightful owner, I'm in their doghouse, I could (but won't) be prosecuted, and I have absolutely NO RIGHT to any money back.

Damn!

 

 

Does the paper trail from eBay mean anything to the police?

 

That eBay dealer must return your money. How did you pay him? If you pay thry PayPal, start a case and they will hold his money. If you pay thru credit card, call your credit card and they will reverse charge.

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