eBay troubles and tea

A happy new 2017 to all my readers. I hope 2017 will be a great year for you.


Reading the Well-Appointed Desk’s blog post about the grinch convinced me to write a similar blog post.

Bleistift is an ad, sponsor and Patreon free blog, so you might wonder what’s there to say – well, it’s all about eBay.

I have used eBay since the late 1990s, when I was still living in Germany [1]At that time it was called Alando (in Germany) . In more than 15 years I have probably done more than1000 transactions on eBay (difficult to tell how many exactly, especially since most buyers don’t seem to leave feedback anymore).

Well, recently I started selling a lot of things so that there’s a bit of extra money for the end of the year, but some of the transactions went wrong…

The Pelikan Set from Germany

On eBay I bought a set of Pelikan pens from seller Heike A. from Frankfurt. The seller was quite new, but did have positive feedback, so I  wasn’t too suspicious when she asked me to send the payment as a PayPal friend transaction. I was glad that she accepted PayPal at all as sending money within the Eurozone is free (I think), but sending it from a British bank to the Eurozone is quite expensive.

When I didn’t get the pens I was told they were actually broken and I will get a refund, but unfortunately I never got the money back and she just ignores my messages. I have opened a case with the police in Frankfurt last year, but I don’t think I’ll see my money again.

The Pelikan pen for China

By far the most expensive item I sold in my end of year eBay dealings was a Pelikan fountain pen with a gold nib for £100. The buyer was in China, so the pen was supposed to go through eBay’s shipping centre in the UK. Well, I guess someone handling the envelope realised that it must have some sort of value if it goes to a shipping centre and someone is happy to pay for forwarding it to China (as the name is on the envelope in PinYin) – so the pen magically disappeared before it was registered as having arrived at the shipping centre.

I completed the paperwork for a lost item last year, but haven’t heard back from Royal Mail. I guess in the best case I’ll get £20, so I’ll be £80 short, which basically meant that selling all the other items was pointless.


Well, both of the previous problems were my fault. I probably should have insisted on using another way of sending the money and I should have definitely bought extra insurance for sending the £100 pen, so next, for a change, here’s an example that wasn’t my fault (but isn’t stationery related).

Last one

David S. from Oxford bought a limited edition item from Asia I was selling on eBay for £6. It was still in sealed packaging.

I am not a business, so I set eBay so that I don’t allow returns and I assumed the eBay setting wouldn’t allow returns, but somehow eBay lets the buyer start a return process anyway, with a message encouraging the seller to accept the return so that the buyer has a better eBay experience. Well, the buyer started a return process and told me that he changed his mind and didn’t read the description properly and that the item isn’t what he wants. Only after I asked him whether he opened the packaging he told me that he did, which basically means I wouldn’t be able to sell this collectors item anymore (or if I did postage would probably be more expensive than the value of the item).

As I didn’t want to take the opened item back the buyer then gave me negative feedback (great, now I have a negative feedback on my profile). In the comment he implied that my item description was misleading, even though he told me himself that he was the one who misread the auction description. I asked him to take the negative and misleading feedback back, but he didn’t.


Well, what can I say. Bad eBayers suck and unfortunately there seem to be more and more of them (or I just happen to come across more of them).


Calm down, dear

To end on a happy note, here’s some tea to calm you down.


I was tempted to introduce a tea of the month series of articles. I know it’s not stationery related, but Gunther described his blog as a lucky bag – you might not always get stationery, so I guess it wouldn’t be too bad to have the occasional tea post here. I wasn’t able to convince myself though. I surely wouldn’t run out of teas to show, but there is a good chance that increased workload will heavily reduce my blog posts soon [2]and of course it goes without saying that after real wages have been going down for many years this increased workload doesn’t come with more money either, so I didn’t want to have a tea category leaving less time for stationery blog posts.

OK, let’s talk about the teat hen: this is East Frisian tea, you can read more about this tea in this New York times article. It’s mainly Assam, which I love anyway (I don’t mind Lapsang Souchong, but I usually prefer Assam heavy version of Russian Caravan) and it looks like I’m not the only stationery fan who’s a friend of this type of tea. Michael from Just Another Pen had an Instagram picture where he showed his latest buy (since they’re hard to get in Bavaria /  Southern Germany). This one is like normal East Frisian tea, but iwth added pieces of Vanilla. Nice.


1 At that time it was called Alando (in Germany)
2 and of course it goes without saying that after real wages have been going down for many years this increased workload doesn’t come with more money either

8 thoughts on “eBay troubles and tea”

  1. Sorry to hear that you too have been the victim of internet dishonesty. But the tea sounds delicious and when all else fails, making a good cup of tea seems like the only solution.

  2. Hey Matthias, If you did a transaction through paypal, you can file a report and ask for a refund through there, they offer buyer protection on every transaction so they should be able to help you!

  3. Sorry to hear the troubles. It sounds like the overall proportion of problems hasn’t been high, but these recent problems were all quite bothersome.

    I’ve had another worry – I lost a pen, a Pelikan M600 under one year old. I bought it at retail in Toronto at a store that let’s one dip and try nibs before purchase. So for this level of service, the price is much higher than online pricing – it was easily the most expensive pen I’ve ever purchased – and I’ve gone and lost it. 🙁

  4. Thank you very much for your comments.

    Ana, it is a nice tea. Luckily I can boil water in the office, so that keeps me going at work.

    Dries, she asked for a friend transfer (or is it called family transfer?), so there is no protection, but I was grateful she accepted PayPal at all, so did what she asked for. I shouldn’t have..

    Stephen, that sounds really painful. Especially now that they are so expensive (more than all my eBay losses together)! I hoe you find it, but I guess that’s unlikely. When I bought my M60x they were on offer for €99 (for the blue M605). Mine is a great pen with a great nib, which makes ‘singing’ noises.
    What body and what nib did yours have? I hope you get it back, it would be so much money lost. If you give me your address I am happy to send you a German made piston filler as a consolidation (no gold nib though).

  5. I bought 2 decks of cards Exploding Kittens in october on ebay but they did not arrived. The seller offered to resend them and assured me he sent them after my payment. I refused as i take his word for being an honest person and belive the error is somwhere along the delivery chain. Plus the price was modic. Sometimes a cup of tea is the best answer.

  6. Matthias, it was the standard blue striped version with an M nib. I used it mainly with a Design.Y notebook. (I think an F would go better with that paper.) And I also lost my first Design.Y notebook, but in 2014. That hurt in another way as it had a lot of personal information and sentimental value.

    Your offer is very kind, but I have faint hope of finding the Pelikan, and don’t want to jinx the effort. I do have another Pelikan that no longer leaves my home.

  7. Oh Matthias, I am so sorry to hear of your troubles. eBay can be so stressful! I do hope they will sort themselves out. I have never tried to sell anything on eBay, I much prefer pen shows and the like where you can meet potential buyers face to face, but these are few and far between and eBay is so convenient, isn’t it. Hope you will have better luck from now on.

    And I for one welcome tea posts! You might embolden me to start my own, I’m getting a TWG shipment any day now 🙂

  8. Thank you for your comments.

    Rares, exploding kittens? I had to look that up first.
    If he has kept his receipt he can probably get the money back from the postal service, but I am not sure who is officially responsible for transport (buyer or seller).

    Stephen, thanks for the details on pen and paper. I really hope you will get the Pelikan back.

    Sola, thank you. I had to look TWG up first. Even though they are from the UK I haven’t seen them here, but I did see TWG in Shanghai. Regarding eBay, Heike Amileri (the seller of the Pelikan pen set) is in contact with me now. She doesn’t care about the police at all and tells me the value is too small for the police to take action, so the case will be closed (as I don’t have experience committing fraud I don’t know whether what she wrote is true). She is however upset about the negative feedback I left (to which she left a feedback comment that is a lie). She wrote that she will give me the money after I take the negative feedback back. Well, she didn’t give my money back before the negative feedback, even though she said she would. I won’t take the feedback back as I don’t think she will then give me the money that she owes me (Fool me once…) but I did offer to take it back if she pays me (as a sign of good will). I am now exploring how to continue (police, lawyer, ..).

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