View Full Version : eBay lesson learned

Apr-15-2009, 8:16am
Just a cautionary tale about my recent eBay purchase.

I recently purchased a Kentucky KM-160 on eBay. The listed specs matched the current models, it was advertised as like-new condition with setup by professional luthier, and included a Superior hard case and some instructional materials. All for a starting bid 1/2 off the best online price at stores like The Mandolin Store. I won and the seller was going to ship by the upcoming Friday. Not hearing anything on Saturday or Sunday, I sent a message. After sending my message I was looking at the listing and noticed something in the picture for the first time - the headstock inlay did not match the current models. :confused: Fearing the worst, I contacted the seller to ask but got a reply that it had already been shipped as promised on Friday. Got it yesterday and my fears were realized when I saw the "Made in Korea" decal. Obviously not the same as a new KM-160 currently available at stores which are now made in China. As I also discovered, the model # "160" without the trailing "S" meant this one had a laminate top. Everything else was as advertised - like-new condition, great action and intonation, etc. The listing specs matched word-for-word the current KM-160 specs available at online retailers's websites so it appeared to be simply copy-n-paste. I knew I had a simple case of misrepresentation, an eBay violation and protected against by PayPal. I contacted the seller, politely pointed out the discrepancies, and immediately received a response with apologies and an offer for a full refund which I am taking. :) I believe that this was an honest mistake and I have gone so far as to contact Saga Music to get the original specs for the Korean KM-160 which I will send to the seller so they can properly list the mandolin for sale the next time.

Obviously a mistake of assumption was made by me :redface: and a mistake of ignorance was made by the seller but I wanted to take the opportunity to warn others of the possibility.

Apr-15-2009, 7:31pm
My first hand Kentucky experience only goes back to 1999 (when we became a Kentucky dealer). This was the tailend of the Korean made instruments.

The Korean KM-160 should have been all solid. I don't believe they were using the "S" to designate solid tops then. That should have come later, and then was recently dropped again.

Someone else might be able to correct this, but I believe only a few Korean models used an "S". Once production moved to China, they added the S on more models. When Kentucky Updated the KM-250-S, a couple of year back, they dropped the S. The new 160, 170 and 505 models from China did not have an S and as the 150, 350 and 380 were updated, they dropped the S as well.

Currently, none of the Kentucky models have S in the model number.

At any rate, the latest Chinese Kentucky's have come a long way and are probably the way to go. But at half the price, a Korean 160 would be very tempting! :)

Apr-15-2009, 8:07pm
I should have clarified that the f-hole edges also really looked to me to be laminate. (Sounds bad that I couldn't tell but I haven't looked at many, if any. I did know that there was a KM-160 and a KM-160S and knew that the Saga catalog currently uses the S to differentiate solid vs. laminate on the 140.)

Also, if I had won at the starting bid I would have probably kept it. But on the last day several bids started appearing. I still got it lower than my max bid but that bid was based on a comparision with the new version. Someone may have still found it a deal but I didn't. No big loss and thankfully the seller was cool with the return.

Apr-15-2009, 8:25pm
Good story with a happy ending. Hope you find what you're looking for.

Apr-15-2009, 9:08pm
Ahh ok, I was not aware that there was a KM-160S or any KM-160 models that were laminated.

The whole S, no S thing has been pretty confusing. I still occasionally get complaints from customers that receive the new models without the S, and think that it is laminated. :)

The new KM-140 does have a solid top. This was changed just a couple of months back:
Basically the laminated KM-140 was discontinued and KM-140-S was renamed to the KM-140.

Matt B
Apr-15-2009, 9:53pm
Someone posted here that a KM1000 sold for $3,000 on ebay but when I checked the prior sales section I couldn't find any record of the sale. Hard to believe that someone would pay that kind of money without examining the instrument, even with a 7 day money back guarantee. Then again I have found ebay to be reliable when resolving disputes. I have purchased many instruments and get some bad deals sometimes...but they were cheap so I didn't feel ripped off. You get what you pay for! I will offer my 1982 KM1000 for sale at the Old Songs festival in Altamont, NY this year in June if anyone is interested. (Instrument Exchange Booth)

Apr-16-2009, 9:09am
OK.... so after a little research it looks like there might have been a circa 1990 KM-160 that was laminated. It looks like I fell asleep during Kentucky History class. :)

Apr-16-2009, 11:39am
OK.... so after a little research it looks like there might have been a circa 1990 KM-160 that was laminated. It looks like I fell asleep during Kentucky History class. :)

Until I started with the mandolin, the only two things I knew about Kentucky were the Derby and the fact that whiskey can only be called "bourbon" if distilled in Kentucky. (I learned that last one touring the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Tennessee.):grin:

The fact that an experienced retailer such as yourself was confused supports my reason for the original post. When manufacturers change specs without changing model numbers, there will always be a chance for miscommunication between buyer and seller.

Apr-24-2009, 8:51am
Got my refund - after a few harrowing days wondering. I received an e-mail from eBay inviting me to cancel the transaction by seller request. :disbelief: I still didn't have the refund and they wanted to cancel? Seems that cancelling would get them a seller fee refund with unknown protection for me. I called eBay and they said no problem if cancelled. I called PayPal and they advised to file a claim (locks seller's account until resolved) without canceling, which I did, plus sent a message to the seller saying once I got my full refund, I would cancel the transaction so they would get their refund. Next day - I got my full refund. :)

Within an hour of getting my refund, I ordered a new Kentucky KM-505 and am eagerly awaiting delivery next week.:mandosmiley:

Apr-24-2009, 9:31am
I now both buy and sell on eBay (mysterygal's musical emporium), and have bought numerous instruments. I know many folks do not like Paypal, but I always use it because of the refund factor. I bought both a bass domra and a contrabass domra from the Ukraine back in December; the bass arrived, the contrabass never did. Thanks to Paypal, I received a full refund for the contrabass sale even though the seller never was able to track down it down. He had packaged the bass in only foam wrapping and a cloth bag, so I'm not surprised that the larger contrabass never made it...it's in pieces somewhere! Too bad for him, but to ship overseas like that?!