Why eBay UK should ban stock images for used items

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I’ve been caught out today with a purchase on eBay, in some ways I blame myself but in others I blame the seller and it’s all to do with pictures.

I purchased a used laptop CD ROM drive to replace a broken one – mine has a broken bezel (the plastic cover which is all you can see when the drive is installed in the laptop) and a jammed tray. I found what looked to be the ideal replacement – the picture matched and the title was exactly what I needed.

Unfortunately when it arrived today it was minus the bezel – in fairness to the seller the description did have a note to say that the bezel was missing but descriptions are way down the listing page. The note was after I’d seen the picture, the title, the item condition (Used: An item that has been previously used. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended) and then the seller’s listing header and another item title etc, etc.

If you’re selling used items that have parts missing don’t use an image which shows a pristine brand new item with all the parts intact. If you can’t be bothered to shoot your own images it’s not surprising that the buyer expects to receive what’s in the picture but if you must use stock images highlight any discrepancies in the title or subtitle.

In this instance the seller appears pretty reasonable and is accepting a return (they have no choice under the Distance Selling Regulations anyway) but it’s cost both them and me the cost of the postage which is just a waste of money.

I’m fully expecting someone to tell me I should have taken the time to read the small print and spent the time to read every word of the carefully crafted item description. The truth is though I was in a hurry and it’s a routine purchase for a spare part. Having verified the image was exactly what I wanted, confirmed the title and checked the part numbers for both the drive and the laptop I wasn’t expecting anything to go wrong.

Stock images are great for new items, for used items with damage or with parts missing they can be misleading and will often end up as a return. That’s why and now insist sellers picture the actual item. This experience reinforces my usual habit of shooting used items and using my own images for 2nd hand items and hopefully eBay UK will bring in a ban for used item stock images too in the near future. It’s one of eBay’s few policies that I’m in 100% agreement with.

I’m off to the Post Office to pay to return an item that didn’t match it’s stock image, I’m now crossing my fingers that the replacement I’ve ordered does!

13 Responses

  1. I have to say Chris, buyers should read the product description before buying, thats why its there, if no one reads them maybe its time to get rid of them and not bother, just have a title and photo and price.

    I sometimes wonder why we spend a long time carefuly writing very detailed desciptions as no one reads them anyway

  2. Yes you should have read the description but they shouldn’t have used a stock picture. I hate stock pictures and rarely bother to purchase if they’re used unless it’s a cheap item.

    Yes you can put MISSING INSTRUCTIONS, BROKEN, BOX TATTY, CHIPPED etc etc in the title but I’ve a list of blocked bidders who patently obviously don’t read the title let alone the description, such is the life of an ebay seller.

  3. Chris, I don’t think you go far enough. What is the point of a user made description in the first place? People know what it is or they wouldn’t be looking for it and eBay already has generic stock descriptions just like it has stock photos in case they don’t. They make sense for unique or used items but not new ones that are products. eBay should ban user made descriptions for all new and cataloged listings. They should also require the use of stock images for new cataloged items. This would eliminate the clutter and the need to have professional looking listings when that really shouldn’t matter anyway. Then reverse that for everything not in the catalog or is used.

  4. plus ebay dont make it easy to read a description especially on mobile

  5. You can buy the bezels on ebay.(or you used to be able to) We have box’s of them here. you should have bought from us, so i have no sympathy lol (less than 9.99 for a dvdrw)

  6. Talking about Stock Images. I sell Books. All I need to do is tap in the ISBN and hopefully(cross my fingers) something comes up(although I never fail to be astonished how many are not listed) but how rarely there is an image. The techicals include all the details of size and weight(although many seem to weigh 1g) but no image. Surely if they have a copy to obtain all the technical details from(tape measure and scales in hand) they can take a photo at the same time? Also I wonder about the in depth knowledge of Books who ever it is inputing the information has. As an example many books seem to be published by a Distribution Warehouse instead of the actual Publisher.

    Surely if we are going to have technical details they should be a) complete(or near enough) and b) accurate.

  7. Couldn’t agree more!!! It’s foolish on the seller’s part, too, because it leads directly to 1s and 2s for Item As Described. Too many lazy sellers who can’t be bothered to take their own pics!

  8. There is no harm in stock images as long as the item is the exact same.

    In this case a stock image could have been used from the rear, thus description of bezel could have been put in the main description.

    But would the buyer have read it!!!
    The bezel is crucial in the advertising of this product.technically the seller should realize that.

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