Rare Book Monthly

Articles - February - 2008 Issue

An Unhappy Story: a deal gone bad

A-warped-copy

A warped copy


To my way of thinking the seller is responsible for accurate description but, as this seller has made clear, I'm to do the work – apparently to try to convince him that I have a case for returning the book. I trusted the seller, paid promptly, and then, upon receipt, notified him of its defects.

I emailed a somewhat shortened version of this memo [subject to the maximum number of characters allowed] via eBay. Now he's deciding if my claim has merit. We'll see.

A few days later I received a grumpy message via eBay.

"You will get a refund 1) when the book is returned safely and 2) after I have determined you have not removed prints or otherwise damaged the book."

I immediately packed the book in a Priority Mail shipping box and mailed it with a proof of delivery receipt attached [link]. In the box, with the book, I included the following letter:
Dear Mr. --------,

With this letter is the copy of Ruttenber's 1875 History of the County of Orange I purchased from you on eBay January 3rd and paid via PayPal on the 7th. The amount paid was $77 including shipping. The cost to return it via the same method you employed, Priority Mail, is not yet known but can be established from the postage shown on the shipping box.

I note your gracious statement to me, received this morning, "You will get a refund 1) when the book is returned safely and 2) after I have determined you have not removed prints or otherwise damaged the book."

I have not removed anything and it is in the same condition found upon arrival. Your packing was close to non-existent but I think all faults existed before shipping and noticed no damage to the envelope you tucked it into with a single wrap of paper.

I was unwilling to bend the cover back as I know you too were. It's apparent from the lack of title page scan in your description. You could tell the pages would probably tear.

In the future, if you can't open a book you might think to make this fact public as its material.

Upon receipt, please conduct your due diligence and issue me a refund as promptly as I have acted with respect to you.

I am

Very truly yours,

Bruce McKinney

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions