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redsonja

Advice Needed - Buying Records on eBay (Iron Maiden - ish).

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Hi, newbie here and could really use some help.

 

I've only had a system for about a year now, and everything's been going fine (it's a Rega RP6, just in case anyone's interested?). Well, I've only just recently started buying vinyl from eBay, and only from sellers with 100% good feedback who are listing records as EX/NM. And out of five orders I've had to return three so far for awful unbearable surface noise. I'm talking 'boom mic over a bowl of rice crispies'. I always message and ask first before buying.

 

Well, today I recieved a package of twelve Iron Maiden albums from a seller with 100% positive feedback, who assured me that they were EX+/NM, that they had been 'meticulously cared for', and that he had graded them himself. Trust me, he said, you won't be disappointed.

 

So, like a fool, I did.

 

What arrived this morning was unbelievable, because when I opened them up the first thing I noticed was the surface dust/hair/debris. This ran across all 12 records, near enough, and it was so dense that it looked like the kind of stuff you'd find in a charity shop or on a car boot sale, most of the time. So I spent a good hour with several anti-static brushes, lightly brushing off the dust, hair, flakes-of-whatever (!), only to discover that underneath, in the light, were dirty splogdes I'm guessing would have to be wet cleaned to remove, dozens and dozens of hairline marks (powerslave has over 50 on last count!), and some pretty deep scratches (one right through the Trooper from beginning to end). And if that wasn't bad enough, once I was happy that they were clean enough visually to dare to try on my TT, the constant crackle was so bad on three of them that I just wished I'd never bought them in the first place. I think out of the entire batch, three of the records were just touching on 'EX -', after I'd finished cleaning them. And that's being incredibly generous. I usually won't play anything less then 'EX' because I just don't enjoy listening to background crackle. The worst records fell somewhere between 'Good -' and 'Fair+'.

 

So I emailed the seller. I sat there for a good two hours and graded them myself to his own grading scheme (record collector, which he has advertised on the listing), making notes of all flaws and also all things that were particularly good. I sent him the list, and explained that I was disappointed, and that I'd like at least a partial refund in exchange for the records I didn't want to keep (which I made clear he would have to pay the return postage on, after all, why should I lose out for his 'mistake'?). I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. But when he responded he ignored my notes completely, and just said send them all back, complete refund, I'd have to pay the postage (£16!!), and he'd only agree to the refund if the records were in the condition to which he 'had graded them' ... which they're obviously not, because he is either blind or a liar (or an idiot).

 

Anyway, I explained that I would rather keep the three good records, having gone to the trouble of cleaning them for him (!! - and after all, I did buy them for a purpose), but he refused. He then stated that he took pictures of the records before he sent them out in 'EX' condition. I also said that I would take pictures of them in teh condition they arrived in, minus the dust, obviously - even though it's very hard to pick out hairlines and scratches without a great camera. He accused me of trying to blackmail him for mentioning this (!??!), and then stated that he would not reply to any further emails.

 

So this is where I am. I've started a case with eBay, but they won't look at it for another eight days and I'm concerned that I won't get my money back (and they were not cheap at all). I guess this has taught me a lesson, but if anyone has had a similar experience or has any advice, I'd love to hear it, because this has put me off buying used vinyl before I can physically test it myself.

I was born in the late eighties, so I missed vinyl the first time around, and only just bought a TT because I'm utterly sick of the sound quality of music these days and devices my friends are using to listen through. I really just want to sit back and enjoy the music (yes, even Iron Maiden - my choice!!). So any help is more than appreciated, and thanks for reading this embarassingly long rant.

Sonja.

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I'm not quite sure I understand ... but are you actually calling yourself 'a dick'? If it's an in-joke, I don't get it. But thanks for the input ...?

 

Wait, aren't you ... Chris Hanson? 'So, um, what are you planning on doing here tonight?'

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A) Dont buy from ebay unless you know your prices. People selling on ebay "usually" has no interest or knowledge about the hobby tm. Especially old records you can get for a dollar else where. Check on discogs first for pricing and cheaper records. Go to a local store first and foremost.

 

B) Check your cartridge, clean properly your records and check your setup.

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Thank you Valtheim :) I was really wary of buying through eBay, but a friend convinced me to give it a try. I really don't understand how these people manage to get 100% good feedback ... maybe I was just unlucky?

Invest in a good vacuum record cleaner.

A lot of times a record can go from vg to vg+ very quickly with a nice wet vacuum clean.

 

I've been buying Maiden stuff on eBay for a while, and frankly you're going to end up paying somewhat high prices for stuff in readily playable/"good" condition. That said, I've been able to hang under $20 for most of mine (US 1st presses only). Some I took a little gamble on and they worked out, others came just as described. It's been rare that I've had to ask for a refund on anything.

As was said above, you may just be better off buying through discogs, as things are more properly graded on there for the most part.

 

As far as ratings go. Whenever I buy on eBay I make sure to ask the seller if they are using Goldmine standards. If they 1)don't know what that is. or 2) use their own rating system, I don't buy from them. Goldmine, while it has its flaws, is at least a baseline standard that people can recognize.

In saying that, these records could be covered in small surface scratches, as you mentioned above, and as long as they don't affect play, they'd still be in vg+ condition. Any dirt in those surface scratches may very well be causing worse problems than the scratches themselves, and a dry clean (or even a wet clean w/out a vacuum) may not get that dirt out.

 

All in all, eBay will most likely side with you and you'll get refunded, but you need to be cautious of what you buy, and what sort of complaints you make. If they were described as VG, they're probably right. If they were described as VG+, they may have exaggerated a little bit.

 

Just because something arrives dirty doesn't mean it's not still in excellent condition once you get it cleaned properly, but it sounds like maybe this guy just overgraded some of his stuff.

 

(Are these 12 different Maiden albums, and what did you pay for them if so? What pressing are they?)

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Barnaby Jones (!) - thanks so much for the help. I did try once with discogs and a copy or Seventh Son which the seller had listed as NM, but when I asked him about it he just said that it was as stated, so I pushed him a little further and he said that he 'hadn't actually listened to it, but it looks okay'. And then he got all panicky and said that I probably shouldn't buy it if I'm bothered about condition. So, my interest ended there!! But I'll give discogs another try - that was only one seller. Just feels like it's a minefield out there sometimes.

 

The Maiden records were albums self-titled through to No Prayer for the Dying, including Live After Death and several 12" singles from the First Ten Years releases. He graded them all as EX/NM, and assured me that he had tried several, and visually graded each one, and that he set up his site to sell 'quality, top notch vinyl at a reasonable price'. The pressings are all UK first editions, minus the first three albums, which are on the fame label (I already have a UK first press Number of the Beast in EX+, so I thought I was onto something there .. especially considering the price No Payer For The Dying goes for these days). I paid almost £80 inc. postage for all of these.

 

I'm not sure about cleaning ... I should really get braver and attempt this I guess. I've only been cleaning with a carbon fiber, but I try and make sure that all the records I buy are at least EX ... but that hasn't worked out so great lately :(:unsure:

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Thank you Valtheim :) I was really wary of buying through eBay, but a friend convinced me to give it a try. I really don't understand how these people manage to get 100% good feedback ... maybe I was just unlucky?

They sell to suckers who don't know better and sell small stuff. Check the volume they sell and then price match.

If you don't win eBay you can always file a dispute with PayPal but I'd try to solve it with the seller first.

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Haven't essentially all Iron Maiden albums have been reissued recently? Would've been better off buying them new from outside eBay. Your local record store maybe?

Just sayin'

 

Hey, thanks jhulud - I've tried the reissues but they sound a bit flat to me, like there's something missing. I'm not really sure how to explain it really. They don't 'bite' like the originals do.

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They sell to suckers who don't know better and sell small stuff. Check the volume they sell and then price match.

If you don't win eBay you can always file a dispute with PayPal but I'd try to solve it with the seller first.

 

Thanks again! But I don't think the seller is willing to communicate at all at this point, and not for the lack of trying on my part. I guess I'll have to go the long road of trying to solve it through eBay, and if that doesn't work through Paypal. I've never done this before, so I have no idea how I'd even start?

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Haven't essentially all Iron Maiden albums have been reissued recently? Would've been better off buying them new from outside eBay. Your local record store maybe?

Just sayin'

 

The reissues are mastered poorly :/

Plus I think they've only gone up through Seventh Son.

 

 

Barnaby Jones (!) - thanks so much for the help. I did try once with discogs and a copy or Seventh Son which the seller had listed as NM, but when I asked him about it he just said that it was as stated, so I pushed him a little further and he said that he 'hadn't actually listened to it, but it looks okay'. And then he got all panicky and said that I probably shouldn't buy it if I'm bothered about condition. So, my interest ended there!! But I'll give discogs another try - that was only one seller. Just feels like it's a minefield out there sometimes.

 

The Maiden records were albums self-titled through to No Prayer for the Dying, including Live After Death and several 12" singles from the First Ten Years releases. He graded them all as EX/NM, and assured me that he had tried several, and visually graded each one, and that he set up his site to sell 'quality, top notch vinyl at a reasonable price'. The pressings are all UK first editions, minus the first three albums, which are on the fame label (I already have a UK first press Number of the Beast in EX+, so I thought I was onto something there .. especially considering the price No Payer For The Dying goes for these days). I paid almost £80 inc. postage for all of these.

 

I'm not sure about cleaning ... I should really get braver and attempt this I guess. I've only been cleaning with a carbon fiber, but I try and make sure that all the records I buy are at least EX ... but that hasn't worked out so great lately :(:unsure:

That right there should have tipped you off a little bit. If they were really ex+ on all of them, that lot should go for around £30/record at the very least, putting you right at about £360 for the lot, not including postage.

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The reissues are mastered poorly :/

Plus I think they've only gone up through Seventh Son.

 

 

That right there should have tipped you off a little bit. If they were really ex+ on all of them, that lot should go for around £30/record at the very least, putting you right at about £360 for the lot, not including postage.

 I guess I'm an optimist :/ or maybe just still naieve when it comes to buying records secondhand. Agree with you on the reissues; they sound kinda flat to me, except for Powerslave, which sounds punchy but not quite as good as the original UK pressing I heard.

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 I guess I'm an optimist :/ or maybe just still naieve when it comes to buying records secondhand. Agree with you on the reissues; they sound kinda flat to me, except for Powerslave, which sounds punchy but not quite as good as the original UK pressing I heard.

Well, I wish you the best of luck. You'd be surprised at the number of Maiden fans on here, so no need to apologize for having sweet taste in music.

 

It's always worth while to try those deals, but don't get your expectations up too high.

There will be times when you get a sweet deal, like my Elektra copy of Master of Puppets that some junk reseller on eBay listed in "good" condition, so nobody bid on it, but looked really nice to me in the photos. When it arrived was NM, shrink still on it, just a little dusty. :)

 

I'll quote another user on here about the represses, he said, "They sound like someone threw a blanket over the speakers." Probably the best way I've come across to describe it.

 

Your best bet is to educate yourself as much as you can, and always ask lots of questions.

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Well, I wish you the best of luck. You'd be surprised at the number of Maiden fans on here, so no need to apologize for having sweet taste in music.

 

It's always worth while to try those deals, but don't get your expectations up too high.

There will be times when you get a sweet deal, like my Elektra copy of Master of Puppets that some junk reseller on eBay listed in "good" condition, so nobody bid on it, but looked really nice to me in the photos. When it arrived was NM, shrink still on it, just a little dusty. :)

 

I'll quote another user on here about the represses, he said, "They sound like someone threw a blanket over the speakers." Probably the best way I've come across to describe it.

 

Your best bet is to educate yourself as much as you can, and always ask lots of questions.

Thanks Barnaby :) Awesome score with Master of Puppets. I managed to get hold of a sealed Joe Satriani Not of this Earth from eBay too; my only good find. It cost me £6 near enough. Agreed on the blanket over the speakers thing. All except the European Powerslave have sounded that way to me. I wonder if they'll release the rest of the back catalogue? Did you buy Book of Souls?

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Thanks Barnaby :) Awesome score with Master of Puppets. I managed to get hold of a sealed Joe Satriani Not of this Earth from eBay too; my only good find. It cost me £6 near enough. Agreed on the blanket over the speakers thing. All except the European Powerslave have sounded that way to me. I wonder if they'll release the rest of the back catalogue? Did you buy Book of Souls?

I did! I was lucky enough to snag it when it was $14 on Amazon when their preorder first went live. :) I've been enjoying it quite a bit.

I'm really hoping they reissue the 90s albums on just black vinyl. I'd definitely pick those up to complete my full length collection. I can't see dropping $100+ on the non-Bruce albums, and I refuse to buy the pic disc albums after he came back. I've been toying with the idea of the Russian presses of FotD...we'll see!

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I did! I was lucky enough to snag it when it was $14 on Amazon when their preorder first went live. :) I've been enjoying it quite a bit.

I'm really hoping they reissue the 90s albums on just black vinyl. I'd definitely pick those up to complete my full length collection. I can't see dropping $100+ on the non-Bruce albums, and I refuse to buy the pic disc albums after he came back. I've been toying with the idea of the Russian presses of FotD...we'll see!

I picked Book of Souls up on release day, but it cost me about £23 I think? For a Kevin Shirley record it sounds really great in places. Empire of the Clouds is incredibly dynamic - and I swear it 'flies by' in about 8 minutes! $14 dollars though, wow, crazy prices. I actually used to have Fear of the Dark on vinyl. I must've been about eight years old and my uncle gave it to me with a stack of stuff that sat on my shelf as a nice looking ornamanet and never got used ... and then we moved house, I went to university, and I never saw them again. When I think how much that album costs now ..........

And I think I'm one of the few people that actually really likes The X Factor, if only they'd have included the two b sides instead though. I really liked the first two solo Blaze albums. They were incredible.

 

Edit: Something odd I realised today when comparing my two UK first press copies of Somewhere in Time. One has a fair amount of crackle, but the dynamics almost make up for it. I've never heard that album sound so good before (and my ex used to play that all day long at one time or other on CD), yet the replacement I bought which has way less noise doesn't sound quite as punchy to my ears. Oddly, even though it's the same pressing, the first one is cut from thinner vinyl - I can actually wobble and flex it a little (I probably shouldn't do that too much ... don't panic, I don't make a habit of it), whereas the replacement copy is quite firm. Odd...

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Barnaby Jones (!) - thanks so much for the help. I did try once with discogs and a copy or Seventh Son which the seller had listed as NM, but when I asked him about it he just said that it was as stated, so I pushed him a little further and he said that he 'hadn't actually listened to it, but it looks okay'. And then he got all panicky and said that I probably shouldn't buy it if I'm bothered about condition. So, my interest ended there!! But I'll give discogs another try - that was only one seller. Just feels like it's a minefield out there sometimes.

 

I usually downgrade my records just a hair so people won't be all up in arms when there's a small crease I failed to mention.  Then, when I start getting the insane emails asking for 20 pictures and the record's provenance, I tell them the same thing, why don't you go look elsewhere.  I'd rather not make a sale then spend a month on emails back and forth and, possibly, out the money.

 

I guess I could understand for $100 records, but $20, c'mon.

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I usually downgrade my records just a hair so people won't be all up in arms when there's a small crease I failed to mention.  Then, when I start getting the insane emails asking for 20 pictures and the record's provenance, I tell them the same thing, why don't you go look elsewhere.  I'd rather not make a sale then spend a month on emails back and forth and, possibly, out the money.

 

I guess I could understand for $100 records, but $20, c'mon.

 

I sympathise with this, I really do, but at the same time I think people need to know excatly what they're buying (but there are limits, I agree!). But even for a $20 dollar record the principle applies I guess, otherwise that same person ends up with five copies of the same unusable record, all with surface noise that wasn't listed, and it's cost them $100. So I guess it kind of ... goes both ways? I can understand how it's got to be annoying for a seller, too, though.

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It's gotten to the point where when a seller lists something on Discogs or eBay at near mint, I expect a VG+ record. A lot of the times those "scuffs that do not affect play" DO cause extra noise. I think in the past year or so, out of 15 orders, only maybe 4 or 5 were properly graded near mint.

I really don't think Discogs is that much better when it comes to grading records than eBay. (Given that the seller does in fact grade on eBay)

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I feel your pain, man, that's pretty much how it is for me in recent experience, and then that odd one comes along that actually is NM for a great price and you sit there and end up thinking 'maybe I will give it another try after all ...'. It never ends! Still, at least I don't buy shoes and cell phones like most of my other friends (I mean, I have those, just not in abundance). Music is definitley a worthier cause :P

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Get one of those heavy ass Dyson vacuums, lay your records out in a row on the floor and just vacuum right over them. The heavier the vacuum the better.

Haha!

 

To be fair to OP, I did mean and vacuum record cleaning machine, not just a "vacuum cleaner."

 Dammit, Ryan :)

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