Random header image... Refresh for more!

eBay: Den of Thieves

Ok, so the title is a little harsh. I really do love the site. In fact, it’s not actually eBay that’s the culprit here- it’s some of their users.

A couple of months ago, Whittney got a job as an account manager working with eBay’s Top Sellers. I hadn’t used eBay for years, but all the talk of online auctions and fortunes-to-be finally got me, and I decided to go back.

I’ve had my eyes (not sure why people normally use the singular ‘eye’ in that situation) on a pair of headphones. Since we’re all in basically the same room at Move, it’s nice to have a good pair of earmuffs when you want to crank Stevie Nicks, but you don’t want everyone else to know you listen to the coolest music in the world.

So I found them on eBay. For only $75 plus $30 shipping. That’s a pretty discount, and they had it at a “buy it now” price, so I didn’t have to play the auction game.

A couple hours later, I got an email from eBay telling me:

“We removed this item from the Site and cancelled your bid because it appears that the seller’s account has been compromised and used by an unauthorized third party.

  1. Stop payment with your bank if you paid by check.
  2. Contact the Security Department of your credit card company to file a chargeback if you paid via credit card.
  3. If you paid via Western Union or MoneyGram, contact the company directly.
  4. If you paid with PayPal, eligible transactions will… etc.”

Despite the email, I wasn’t too worried. The eBay could be wrong, I thought. Since Whittney works there, she checked it out for me. Trust and Safety department was looking into the seller because of a variety of factors including an account that hadn’t been used in a while and a conflicting IP address. Actually, she gave me all sorts of information they’d already pulled together. Apparently there are all sorts of behind-the-scenes algorithms that constantly monitor all the activity on the site and end up preventing a lot of what would otherwise be scams.

Anyway, I had a tracking number showing that my headphones were on their way from Japan, so I wasn’t worried. A few days later, there was a package slip in our mailbox- my headphones had finally arrived!

When I saw the package, I knew it wasn’t what I’d ordered. In fact, it turned out to be a $105 block of styrofoam wrapped in yellow packing tape. But combined with my tracking number, it was enough to throw me off the scammer’s trail for an extra week. eBay was right.

So a friend let me borrow his Bose Quiet Comfort 3 noise canceling headphones. They are amazing. Turn them on, and even without any music your surroundings become quieter. Throw in a little Kings of Convenience, and you’ll feel like you’re front and center at Red Rocks.

At the time I had them, I worked next to a server room, which I imagine to be similar to the noise of a jet engine. For the frequent air traveler, they would be the perfect fit. Blocks out engine noise and possibly the little kid screaming for more Sprite two rows behind you. (Note: In practice, the technology actually does a better job of knocking out repetitive hums and mechanical noises than a pesky toddler, but all noise is dampened to some extent.)

With just the cancellation turned on and no music playing, you get about the same feeling as a dose of nitrous oxide in the dentist’s chair. It’s the eerie feeling of sounds and voices floating just out of reach of your comprehension, but without the annoying vibrating in your skull often caused by the dentist’s drill. They really are a great product.

Anyway, the good news is, I got all of my money back in about a week’s time. And while I still don’t have anything better than my iPod earbuds for the occasional Bette Middler jam session, at least I didn’t come out in the hole. I can’t say anything for the Pioneer HDJ-1000’s that never came, but if you’re in the market for a serious pair of high-end, consumer-grade headphones, I highly recommend the Bose. Just be careful if you find them for under $275 on eBay.

Oh- and on a marketing/advertising note- my buddy’s Quiet Comfort 3’s came with a stack of “pass-along” cards to give to friends who ask about the headphones. They store inside the custom case so that you’ll have them with you wherever you travel. A great idea since everyone who tries a pair on will probably be wanting more information on the amazing technology. All you have to do is flip out the card, and turn up the Sade.


1 Matt { 06.21.07 at 12:07 pm }

I agree. I’ve wanted a pair of those headphones for a while now.

Honesty is a very rare thing.
Quietude even more so.

2 When you’re hot, you’re hot. Until you’re not. | Brett Crockett | { 07.13.09 at 8:38 am }

[…] Remember eBay? I know GM wants to start selling cars on there…but traffic (no pun intended) to the site keeps falling. In fact, it’s dropped 32% over a year ago. Part of that is probably due to the economy, but when was the last time you found a good deal—and bought something worth more than a few dollars on the site? When I thought I had, I found out I’d been had. […]