Will Rays eBay Strategies(2)

Auction Item: ’95 Epiphone NightHawkWinning Bid: $249
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Epiphone Nighthawks were only made for a few years starting in 1994. They sport two humbuckers, a single coil in the middle, a 5-way pickup selector, a mini coil-tap switch, and gold-plated parts. I’d always been curious about them, and when a friend told me they were fabulous guitars, it was off to eBay.

I located one for a really low “Buy It Now” price of $249. Whenever I see a low BIN, I sweat bullets fearing someone will beat me to the draw, but experience has taught me to check the seller’s feedback and shipping costs, as well as reread the auction description to ensure I don’t miss anything important. Everything checked out, however, so I clicked the BIN button.

From the start, I had trouble with the seller’s lack of communication, and I finally received the guitar only after weeks of countless e-mails. The packaging was terrible. There was no padding, and parts of the guitar were actually poking out in places. I noticed some serious scratches, a large gouge on the body, and a mini toggle that was broken off at the stem. I figured this was due to shipping damage until I re-examined the auction photos. Somehow, I had missed the broken toggle and one scratch in the photos, but neither problem was mentioned in the auction text. I

e-mailed the seller, who rudely insisted that all sales were final, and then stated that I was an idiot to expect a fully functional guitar at that price. The threat of negative feedback didn’t budge the seller. I planned on reselling the guitar at a loss, but I soon discovered that it actually played great, had a comfortable neck, and is stunning to look at—all of which make it a keeper. Moral? You can’t always judge a book by its cover.