|Tue Sept 3 2013 14:26:30|
Are Item Condition Guidelines Confusing?
By: Julia Wilkinson
One would think an item's condition would be pretty straightforward. For most products, on eBay anyway, they are either New, NWOT (New Without Tags), or Used (Pre-owned). On Amazon, they can also frequently be Collectible. But there seems to be confusion or perhaps unawareness on the part of some sellers about whether items in a given category meet the specific criteria for a given condition.
For example, in the Books category on Amazon, where it all began for that company, there are specific condition guidelines that include Acceptable, Good, Very Good, Like New, New, and Collectible. But in an Amazon seller community thread titled "Most frequently broken condition guideline," sellers were complaining that they had frequently seen the guidelines broken.
"As I list more books, I am truly amazed by the number of sellers who explicitly break the guidelines," wrote one seller. They clarified with, "I mean the ones in which the condition comment field lists damage that does not match the condition," and said the "most common one that I see is minor writing on a VG (Very Good) book."
But another seller pointed out that while Amazon's condition guideline for "Used - Very Good" is "Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged," they did not think Amazon should use the word "marred" there. "I don't consider a book with a small amount of writing (for example, minor pencil margin notes or underlining on one page) to be a "marred" book," they wrote. (Mar: "To inflict damage, especially disfiguring damage, on."). They thought that "if Amazon means no writing, they should say "no writing." But they don't."
But what about a book that is in what would otherwise be considered "very good" condition, even pristine condition, and the owner has written his or her name in pencil or pen? One seller said an Amazon rep "once told me that a previous owner's name on the flyleaf page was okay and a book could still be listed as "Very Good" as long as the text itself had no writing." They added, "I wish the Amazon answer person would clarify this."
In terms of more clear instances of breaking condition guidelines, the list included:
- Books listed as "New" with comments like "may contain some highlighting".
- "Collectible" books that don't meet any criteria for "collectible," i.e. "300 other people are selling the book & the "collectible" has no salient characteristics."
- "Collectible" games - a seller reports they see these guidelines broken; note; the "General Condition Guidelines do not apply to Collectible Toys & Games," according to Amazon's Condition Guidelines page.
The seller said they had some items with box damage and weren't aware they could list them as collectible; Amazons's Collectible Toys & Games policy does allow for some signs of wear in the "Collectible: Very Good" and "Good" categories.
The guideline for a "Collectible - Good" toy or game on Amazon is: "Item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition. The original instructions are included and in acceptable condition. The item may be marked, identified, or show other signs of previous use. The item works perfectly and is in good shape overall."
Confusion about item condition issues are not limited to Amazon, either. Some eBay sellers were confused about whether the Cassini search indexed the words in the item condition box (assuming there were any), and not just the condition Item Specific attribute itself.
How about you? Have you ever been unsure about an Item Condition specific and whether your item qualified for the letter or spirit of it? Do you see other sellers breaking the item specifics rules on whatever site(s) you sell on, and which? Post a comment here!