Saturday, December 27, 2008

Buying used saddles on Ebay? Be prepared.

It was nearly 8 years ago that I first purchased a saddle on ebay. I had a grand idea that I could find bargains, fix them up and turn a small profit. I wanted to flip saddles. My seasoned partner Dale, was quite against it, thinking it would only bring headache. So, I ventured out on my own .... and on my own was burned.

I purchased a used 15" western trail saddle, I believe a Bona Allen - good name brand. The picture looked as though the saddle was in very good condition and I felt the price did not nearly represent the saddle. The write up had no negatives and I felt I could easily sell it for a small profit. A short time later the saddle arrived and I quickly learned that the person selling this saddle misrepresented it.

First, they sprayed a type of lacquer over the saddle that made it look all shiny and new in the picture. This hid the true condition of the used western saddle which was actually worn and heavily used. Another large misrepresentation was the size they advertised. They advertised the saddle as a 15" western when it really was a 14" western saddle. The resale value of a 14" is much lower than a 15".

This caused me to suspend the used saddle idea. The suspension lasted until October '08, a full 8 years later. Since October 2008, I have purchased many used saddles online both on Ebay and through other online classifieds websites. Unfortunately, even now, it is rough going. It is rare that what a person advertises, is what they actually deliver. The following is a small rundown of mishaps in the last 2 months:

  1. Saddle is advertised as having a "Sound Tree" when it actually had a broken tree. I sent the saddle back, seller refused to send a refund, and filed a dispute through PayPal. I won the dispute, but PayPal has not been able to recover the money. Result: I'm out $450. This was from a power seller that had over positive raitings.
  2. Purchased a saddle on Ebay, promptly paid and waited for the arrival. After a sufficient amount of time I contacted the seller to ask where my saddle was. I got no reply. I filed a dispute with PayPal. She claimed she did not send the saddle becuase she thought it was worth more than what the auction ended at and that she did not have the money. It took a few more weeks before I was able to get my ~ $500 back.
  3. Many times a saddle would be advertised as one seat size and it ends up being a completely different seat size.
  4. People are still using the lacquer to make an old worn saddle look like a shiny new saddle.
  5. A saddle will be shown in the picture to have an off-billet and cinch strap and show up without.

This is a small sampling of the troubles of buying saddles from novices and those who have no problem taking advantage of others. There is a great need for honesty and plain dealing in the saddle industry, both on the individual and corporate levels. There are some good bargains out there, but buyer beware: What may appear to be a great deal may only be a great deal for the seller. You can buy with confidence at - we back all our items with a 2 week return policy and we have experts go over each saddle to determine it's true worth and measurements.


Anonymous said...

I have bought only one saddle online and that was through ebay. Seller had a 100% positive rating. I paid for the saddle and it never showed up. Contacted seller and she made several excuses as to why she couldn't ship out the saddle. Finally after a few weeks and an attempt by me to personally pick up the saddle she admitted she didn't have either the saddle or my money. I paid with a cashier's check so I was out of both money and saddle. Since the money went through the postal service I filed a complaint with the post office and they tried to get my money back for me. The lady gave a sob story about hard times and still no luck. Took her to small claims court and got a judgment against her but 9 years later and I still don't have my $500 back. Now I'm gunshy about buying online.

Anonymous said...

When you win a judgement, as you found out, it isn't the courts responsibility to make the other party pay. It can be frustrating. The best solution I have found is to have a lien placed against their home, if they own one. What happens is, when they eventually sell that home you HAVE to be paid off or the sale will not go through. Plus if it has been several years, you'll also get a nice interest payment on the original amount you were owed. This is how you get your money back and more. And it's all legal- no fuss, no muss.

Anonymous said...

I too have been sadly ripped off by supposely "Power Sellers" with excellent ratings on ebay and thus will no longer be buying anything on ebay again...the last saddle was won on ebay on 2-2-09 and on 2-19-09 I filed complaints with ebay, Paypal and AMEX...after many, many emails, calls, and finally a huge packet of copies to AMEX of my emails, and the fact that the seller had resold it at even more than I paid for the saddle I got a letter from AMEX that I would be fully credited for my purchase price plus shipping costs unless the seller proves that he never got my Paypal I have until 5-13-09 to wait and see about my 2-2-09 ebay purchase...BEWARE of online buying from private parties...NU

molly said...

I have sold several saddles on Ebay from our farm since my kids have grown and I am down to one horse. I am finding people buy a saddle just to try it with no intention of keeping it. I show the tape measure on the saddle. Take lots of pictures and describe the saddle in detail with its honest pro's and cons. The saddles always end up with a good honest happy buyer but it takes some patience. I have a Hennig Sofa going in a second time this week after a buyer(honest but did not read description well)bought it thinking she was smaller than she is or wants a roomy saddle while this one is made with a deep seat. Paypal charged me and Ebay was soo short on the shipping I am out 125.00 for this return. The buyer is still thinking she is small, I am re-listing tonight. Always ask for a tape picture(visable tape on saddle) for size, do not buy saddles with lousy pictures, request close ups at all angles and try, measure and look at the saddle you want to buy before bidding on one. You will know exactly the saddle you want and recognize changes people have made to cover problems. Good luck. 3imara on ebay