Thursday, February 01, 2007

Powell Furniture 292 Heirloom Cherry Jewelry Armoire

Now, a little lesson on economics, price, and deception on eBay.

Exhibit A (item #130072195672): Powell Furniture 292 Heirloom Cherry Jewelry Armoire. $169. Plus $50 shipping and handling. Total: $219.00

Exhibit B (from Powell Furniture 292 Heirloom Cherry Jewelry Armoire. $219. Free ground shipping. Total: $219.00

Given the fact that eBay listings always tend to emphasize the purchase price, it is very easy for unsuspecting buyers to ignore the cost of shipping and duty (which is never calculated within eBay, as it always varies from location to location) and just blindly place a bid on an item, thinking that they are getting the most amazing deal.

If there is a lesson to be learned, is that there is nothing that is ever free, and if they are going to find a way to make you pay for something, they're going to find it.

With smaller sellers, it's often more difficult to recoup losses in case anything goes wrong. I'm still stinging from the time I purchased a berimbau (a bow-shaped musical rhythm instrument) which was "insured", and on which I spent $50 on "insured" shipping. When I received it, it was not packed according to specifications and was damaged. I contacted the seller and he would not honour it unless I paid him for more shipping. Punk.

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