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eBay Authenticators Can Do No Wrong

  1. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    I recently bought on eBay a Squale Subino. Amsterdam Watch Company got hold of some NOS cases/bezels from the 1950's that Squale had made for Blancpain, and had Squale outfit them with new dial/hands/movement.
    Squale-AWCo.jpg

    The watch went through the eBay authentication program. When it arrived, I gently pulled out the crown to set the time. The crown came out of the watch with part of the stem attached: the stem was broken.

    squale1.jpg
    This was disconcerting. I put in a return request at eBay which was IMMEDIATELY rejected: "We’re sorry to hear you aren’t happy with your purchase. However, items covered by Authenticity Guarantee can’t be returned if the seller doesn’t accept returns."

    I took the watch to my watchmaker and he opened it up. Sorry I don't have photos of this, but he noted that there are no movement clamps in this case. Because of the design of the cap that holds the movement in place, the act of unscrewing the split caseback rotates the movement and puts torque on the stem: he believes this is how the stem got broken.

    I wrote to eBay again and laid out the scenario. (1) The watch arrived broken. (2) If it came intact to the authenticator, he broke the stem while opening (or closing) the caseback. (3) If it came broken to the authenticator, he failed to note this. That is, he didn't even pull the crown to set the time. Over the course of several emails with several different eBay "authentic sneakers" reps (yes, that's what they're called), the stone wall became apparent. Here's an example:

    "After reviewing the notes from the Authenticator for return case id: xxxxxx I have determined that item passed the authentication checks. Our third-party authenticators physically inspect all eligible items before they are shipped to the buyer. We weren't able to grant your appeal because we determined the original decision was correct."

    So: (a) if an eBay seller doesn't accept returns, and (b) the watch goes through an authenticator, you have ZERO recourse no matter what the condition of the watch when you receive it. Please note: before the authentication program existed, I successfully returned a couple of "seller does not accept returns" watches where there were obvious problems that hadn't been disclosed.

    As a guess, eBay had to completely indemnify their authenticators to get them to sign up for the program. Thus they are as gods, and nothing they do (or fail to do) can come back to hurt them.
     
  2. JwRosenthal Apr 4, 2021

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    I figured this was going to be the case. I figure they don’t care enough about the small percentage of lost business from the likes of actual watch collectors since they are raking it in on grey market Rolexes right now.

    lovely watch BTW- have loved the recent Squale offerings. Can it be easily fixed?
     
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  3. Dan S Apr 4, 2021

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    This is obviously a major problem with the authentication system. There are also some other threads about missing accessories and damaged watches. It's always problematic to put the onus on the buyer like this, since the buyer has no way to document/control the condition until they receive it, at which point it is apparently too late. On the other hand, it will dramatically cut back on scams committed by buyers, which also happens.

    That's a really nice watch BTW. Hopefully the repair will be simple, and you will love it in the long run.
     
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  4. SkunkPrince Apr 4, 2021

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    Normally I would not advocate this... but this is a reason to go outside of eBay and if they don't like it, too ' bad.
     
  5. X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Apr 4, 2021

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    Was the purchase funded with a credit card?
     
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  6. JwRosenthal Apr 4, 2021

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    It does beg the question- how can they offer their money back guarantee if they aren’t going to honor the terms. Seems like a breach of contract on their part as it is offered along side the authenticity guarantee.

    E73C7614-F531-4FF3-A6EB-5B946AB07740.png
     
  7. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    Yes, my watchmaker is putting a new stem in.
     
  8. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    No, just PayPal.
     
  9. bgrisso Apr 4, 2021

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    I think your best bet is to work with Paypal. Forget Ebay, they are mostly a total waste of time in terms of customer service. I outlined a scenario last year where someone was running a flat out scam, there was tons of negative feedback outlining the scam from other buyers (not present when I made the purchase, showed up shortly there after). Round after round with Ebay and they said it was my fault, my problem, and they even removed my negative feedback to the scammer account.

    I worked with paypal at the same time, and they quickly resolved the issue and got me a refund.

    In this case if you want to keep the watch, I'm not sure exactly how that works, in terms of forcing a partial refund. That might be more challenging than just a straight up return and full refund?
     
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  10. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    I asked this, and they replied "Since this item has passed authentication, it does not qualify for the eBay money-back guarantee."

    I also asked them what course of action I SHOULD have taken, having received a broken watch from the authenticator. They haven't replied.
     
  11. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    I think this could be tricky, as I believe PayPal would try to claw back funds from the seller--and in my opinion the watch was fine when it left the seller. This is an authentication issue, not a seller scam.
     
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  12. bgrisso Apr 4, 2021

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    good point. I guess you have to decide who you think should get screwed by ebay, the buyer or the seller? Or maybe you determine the total cost and then try to recoup 50% of that from the seller?
     
  13. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    P.S. One potentially huge outcome of this policy is that unscrupulous sellers can unload dubious watches at will. Just price it > $2k and put it in the authentication program. Worst case: authenticator sends it back. Best case: buyer is stuck with a non-returnable dud.
     
  14. funkright Apr 4, 2021

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    Caveat Emptor and Venditor when it comes to eBay. I will never sell another item on ebay given the experience I had over the last 4 months trying to get paid for a few items. User for 22+ years and treated like a thief. They will NOT do anything that affects their bottom line, at the detriment of the buyer and the seller.

    I'd reach out to the seller and discuss the feedback you might leave given this experience. Perhaps they might provide some latitude in covering the costs of fixing the issue or returning it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  15. airansun Seasons will pass you by Apr 4, 2021

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    Sue the authenticator as a John Doe and force eBay to disclose his identity.

    He’s the one who, by his actions, actually broke the stem.
     
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  16. X350 XJR Vintage Omega Aficionado Apr 4, 2021

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    The sucky part is that neither buyer nor seller can opt out of the program.
     
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  17. funkright Apr 4, 2021

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    Funny thing, it was only when I threatened to use this service https://civilresolutionbc.ca/ where we live that they actually paid me the money.

    So, maybe, you're on to something here ;)
     
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  18. SkunkPrince Apr 4, 2021

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    Damn! I should make up credentials and be an authenticator so I can replace real with face and sell the real ones!

    Oh, I forgot. I'm not a worthless piece of shit.

    Ahem.
     
  19. airansun Seasons will pass you by Apr 4, 2021

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    BTW, this shit sucks hard. Heartfelt sympathies.

    I’d be sooo pissed.

    Hell, I’m willing to pitch in $10.00 toward repairing it. @wsfarrell ? Interested in that sort of community support?
     
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  20. wsfarrell Apr 4, 2021

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    Many thanks, but it's only $40 to have a new stem installed, so I can handle it.
     
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