I've seen a lot of complaints about items purchased on eBay smelling bad. It happened to me too. I bought a vintage perfume and the presentation box so reeked of cigarette smoke, I had to throw that beautiful box away. So now, before bidding, I contact the seller and ask, "Does this item have any odors of tobacco products, pets, or cooking on it?". Beware of vague answers like, "I don't know", "I'm not sure", "I don't think so", "I can't tell" etc. You get the picture.
If items have no odors, the seller will come right out and tell you. Especially beware of sellers who don't answer the question at all. Be sure to save the email. Unfortunately, some sellers are dishonest. You can use the email to file a complaint under "item misrepresented". Happy shopping!
By perfume and powder from Chesapeake, VA
I bought a purse that smelled of mildew and a moldy book once. I don't buy as much as I used to from there. It seems like alot of sellers just send anything after they have lots of sales.
I feel this same way. Beware! I wish eBay had a place for the seller to mention this....like posted right in the description through eBay. Many people don't stop to think about mentioning it, and there are those that don't care if they list it...just to sell it. Just make sure to ask the seller in plenty of time before the auction ends so they have time to receive the question and answer it.
I have been a purchaser online from ebay for over 10 years. I find that if I get into a conversation of any kind, asking a good question, etc will build a connection, lets you figure out your trust factor before you purchase. It does not take much. 100% positive feedback is wonderful, but you need to read the comments other buyers leave as well. I have made many repeated purchases just because I ventured into that part of it ... conversation. And that is part of the 5 stars ... communication with the seller.
I have over 700 purchases, and probably 95% are good purchases. I always check for disclaimers as part of the deal. That means the seller wants their customer to have a positive experience as well.
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When buying clothing, stuffed animals or books on auction websites, make sure that the items have been in a smoke-free environment. If it's not stated in the auction description, be sure to ask the seller directly. Cigarette smoke odors can be difficult to remove, especially from stuffed toys and books.
Be sure you want the item in spite of a possible odor. I ask about it and am told, "No odor." But it has an odor anyway. The vendor usually says, "Ooh, sorry, my allergies were acting up and I couldn't smell a thing."
I had someone send me a pamphlet type pattern once that just REEKED of cigarette smoke. I cured the problem by putting the item back into the large envelope it came in with a fabric softener sheet enclosed. In three days, the cigarette odor was totally gone.
For stuffed animals, I have found that washing with Febreze liquid in the rinse works. Open the washer lid and soak for a bit in the Febreze rinse if you are able. For sensitivity purposes I washed the items one more time with just water - no soap, softener or Febreze. (11/10/2008)
By Cathy S.
If an online seller is offering used items, unless he/she is psychic, there's usually no way of knowing an item's entire history. If you sell online and it's any type of used item--from clothing to retro pottery--there absolutely should be a disclaimer in your ads that state there's no guarantee of it having been completely in a pet or smoke free environment for those who are repulsed by even a hint of smoke scent or allergic to pet dander.
On the other side of the coin, as an online seller myself, I have a similar disclaimer on every listing that is in 14 point bold red lettering - and there are still people who cannot or will not read that. Online sellers should be honest and vigilant on this--but buyers also need to read listings carefully before buying. (03/23/2010)