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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Many times a saddle would be advertised as one seat size and it ends up being a completely different seat size.
- People are still using the lacquer to make an old worn saddle look like a shiny new saddle.
- 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 HorseSaddleShop.com - 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.