eBay question, about a bid which included a message
February 19, 2020 12:51 PM   Subscribe

A klaxon's blaring because of a note a prospective buyer sent with their auction bid. Please help me figure out if my concern is an overreaction? Thanks in advance.

I've bought and sold on eBay for more than 15 years, with an overall feedback score of 100% from 250 positive ratings. After a long selling hiatus, I started listing items late last year. An old engagement ring is on eBay as buy it now or make an offer. This ring received a bid today, good for 24 hours, with this note:

"This looks the ring that I had before my place got robbed a couple of years ago. I've been looking for this sweet style for a few years now. Thank you for considering me."

There's no way my ring is their stolen ring. My ring was bought new at a jewelry store and had been paid off through an installment plan before I received it, though I do not have any paperwork. The ring has been in storage since that engagement ended around 1998. Bidder has been on the site for over a decade, too, with a 100% positive standing based on more than 400 ratings. They've also bought and sold over the years, including selling rings, but they do not have any items currently for sale.

Is there any reason I shouldn't accept the offer and complete the transaction? I find the message weird, and I wonder why they included it. Their bid is about 100 dollars under the current asking price, and I was considering pulling the ad to try a pawn shop. If I did accept, the package would be shipped first-class mail with insurance and tracking once their payment had cleared.

Temporary link to auction listing is on my profile page, if that helps with advisement.
posted by furtive_jackanapes to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Best answer: It just sounds like it looks similar?
posted by so fucking future at 12:54 PM on February 19, 2020 [15 favorites]

Best answer: My first thought is that they're trying to use an emotional appeal to get you to accept their (slightly lower than asking) bid. I don't think there's anything shady going on and I don't think they're accusing you of selling their stolen ring.
posted by mekily at 12:56 PM on February 19, 2020 [55 favorites]

Best answer: This seems relatively innocent to me. They’re bidding low and trying to tug a bit on your heartstrings to see if you’ll take the lower price. They might be lying, they might be telling the truth, but either way it doesn’t sound all that nefarious.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:59 PM on February 19, 2020 [10 favorites]

Best answer: "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your stolen ring! My ring was bought new at a jewelry store and has been in storage since that engagement ended around 1998. I hope this one is a good replacement for your stolen ring!"
posted by bluedaisy at 1:09 PM on February 19, 2020 [22 favorites]

Best answer: They don't actually say they think this is their stolen ring. They only say that they are happy to find one of the same style. They just seem excited for the opportunity to bid on it.

I wouldn't let this affect the way I conduct the auction at all.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:17 PM on February 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "This sweet style" is the important part. They're looking for this style of ring. There's nothing going on here.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:18 PM on February 19, 2020 [11 favorites]

Best answer: That doesn't sound worrisome to me at all. I could see myself including a similar note, not at all to be manipulative but out of excitement at the prospect of finding something I'd been looking for for a long time and also to counteract some of the anonymity of the internet. And, looking at the listing, that is indeed a style of ring you don't see every day. I think you're all good.
posted by anderjen at 1:22 PM on February 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I make best offers all the time, even sometimes when the seller doesn't include that as an option. And I always write a note along with my bid to try to let the seller know that I have an attachment to the item, that I really want it, so it doesn't seem as much like I'm lowballing them. I think this is someone with the same idea. Trying to make a human connection so that you'll consider the offer even though it's lower than they think you'll accept. I think they were trying to say that this was a great loss, and finding one like it was like seeing an old friend again -- not hinting that it might be theirs.
posted by Mchelly at 1:23 PM on February 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I read that message as “please please please accept my bid, let me tug on your heartstrings a little in case that convinces you”
posted by sallybrown at 4:11 PM on February 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Since everyone else has gone with the "this is fine" angle, I'm just going to chime in to say that I totally understand why the message worried you. When I was reading it, as soon as I finished the first sentence, I thought "oh no no no, this person is going to get the ring and then start claiming it's actually their stolen one."

On reading the rest of the message and thinking things through though, I feel like it was most likely just a poor choice of words on the part of the bidder. Also, if the intent was to scam you over this, I don't see why telegraphing this with a message on the bid would aid them in that.

As a general caution though, both eBay and PayPal can be biased strongly towards the buyer in disputes and I have lost count of the number of horror stories I have heard from sellers who have shipped something to a buyer, gotten some bogus story about a box of rocks or something, and ended up out of both their item and their money.

So I would personally be extremely wary of selling anything very valuable to anyone on eBay, unless the payment was by cash on collection or some other non-reversible means.
posted by automatronic at 4:36 PM on February 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I will also chime in on the "this set off wild alarms" front, but would agree that the comment about it being the same style means it's probably just a badly worded effort to up their chances of landing the purchase. Still, any time anyone on the internet opens up with a comment like that, my whole body tries desperately to puff out fur it no longer possesses. It's the online age equivalent of that caterpillar that looks like a snake's head.
posted by Scattercat at 5:37 PM on February 19, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I think the first auction of this ring falling through, back in December, made me even twitchier than usual. Bid accepted, listing ended, marking all of y'all answers as best because each one helped me, and updating question to "resolved".
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 7:14 PM on February 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

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