What's your worst dollhouse/minis buying/selling experience?

26 posts in this topic

I've read a few horror stories over the years, on here and on various blogs, of people who've had some real OMG experiences buying or selling miniatures and dollhouses. Most of those people have reached the point of being able to laugh about them. Care to share any of yours? I'll start.

So I bought a dollhouse. A few months later, multiple postings on Craigslist started popping up from a woman across the country asking if anyone knew what had happened to it or who bought it? She posted pictures and it was very obviously the one I'd purchased. Her mom was downsizing upon retirement and had sold it to get it out of her home. Apparently she'd been hanging onto it for years. It was the daughter's childhood dollhouse and she wanted it back. Well, I can totally sympathize with that so I contacted her. BIG MISTAKE.

She demanded, and I do mean DEMANDED, that I return it to her mother. I said I'd be happy to return it for what I paid for it. I was not seeking a profit, I was willing to just call it all a wash and drive it back to this woman's home and get my money back.

Oh no, her mother needed the money, she couldn't REPAY me, god forbid. This woman kept saying it was HER house. "BUT IT'S MINE!!!" Well no, it's not, not anymore. But okay fine, I get that this was precious to her but...

Me: "Just to clarify, what you're asking me to do is to return this to your mother's house and be out what I paid for it, no refund, just give it back, is this correct?"

Yup, that was correct alright. "I HAVE TWO DAUGHTERS! I CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY YOU FOR IT! NEITHER CAN MY MOM! MY DAD MADE THAT CUSTOM AND IT'S MINE, I WANT IT BACK!!!"

I'm sure her dad did build it for her but it's not a one-of-a-kind house. I sent her the picture below and gave her some links to Ebay and Amazon, telling her those plans were still available and maybe she could find someone to make it for her. Goodbye, we're done. Of course, that was after I deleted my first reply before sending, which included a lot of words I can't repeat here.

Y'know, if she'd just have been fair about it, I'd have happily given it up. Ask me how guilty I feel about still having this house? *YAWN*

Remember When Dollhouse.jpg

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Oh, and a big P.S. to that, this is one house that I'll almost certainly be donating to a charity auction at some point. I'd hardly feel guilty about selling it, but letting it benefit someone else seems the way to go on this one.

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Then there was the supposedly NIB Glencroft I bought on eBay. What I received was a box of the punched out boards. Not one piece of the house in the mess. I've forgotten the outcome. I think I got my money back after a while. I tend to leave disappointments in the rear view mirror, where they quickly disappear.

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I’d let her know where and when the auction is.

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I can only say there is a 'fear factor' for me. Driving to less than savory locations to buy something I just can't live without. I always tell myself that serial killers typically don't bait their victims with dollhouses.

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1 hour ago, Mid-life madness said:

I can only say there is a 'fear factor' for me. Driving to less than savory locations to buy something I just can't live without. I always tell myself that serial killers typically don't bait their victims with dollhouses.

Ah....but dollhouses are always in horror movies! :D

 

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6 hours ago, Mid-life madness said:

I always tell myself that serial killers typically don't bait their victims with dollhouses.

Except, perhaps, for the killer in The Lovely Bones ... Dollhouse

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Posted (edited)

I usually go to a neutral locations - scariest was a strange man “selling his dead wives collection”.  We met in a seedy parking lot.

he kept saying he wants me to look in his trunk, luckily my spouse was with me, he popped open his trunk ... and I nearly pushed my husband out of the way, it was chock full of the house of miniatures furniture kits!  And other stuff.  He said would you buy them all for 50.00 - I said yes!  There were 80 of them, and a bunch of other stuff, lights etc.  

it felt like I was doing an illicit drug deal 

Edited by smjsome
Spelling - dang phone!
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1 hour ago, smjsome said:

it felt like I was doing an illicit drug deal

I know what you mean.....

7 hours ago, KathieB said:

Except, perhaps, for the killer in The Lovely Bones

LOL!

12 hours ago, Shareb said:

Ah....but dollhouses are always in horror movies!

Maybe the sellers are equally scared of us dollhouse people?

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16 hours ago, Mid-life madness said:

I can only say there is a 'fear factor' for me. Driving to less than savory locations to buy something I just can't live without. I always tell myself that serial killers typically don't bait their victims with dollhouses.

15 hours ago, Shareb said:

Ah....but dollhouses are always in horror movies! :D

I wish they would stop giving them ideas..... 

2 hours ago, Mid-life madness said:

Maybe the sellers are equally scared of us dollhouse people?

It might be from all the bad publicity we are getting from "horror" movies...... who says "no publicity is bad publicity"? :bangin:

But now seriously, ALL horror stories I've went through in this hobby have been with the customs... suppliers, manufacturers and resellers are usually super nice and understanding, but the post office and courrier services here... oh boy!

They have broken more things than I have the time to fix, sent me mail from other people (including kids xmas gifts.... that they ended up receiving but months later because I had the decency to call the family and mail the toys to them), destroyed books or other important documents by leaving the mail in the rain for who knows how long.... and the worst: they steal if they can get away with it! I am still waiting for a pair of doll eyes I needed for a 1:3 scale doll... they are still listed in their electronic system but they misteriously "vanished" from their warehouse... SHINY PLASTIC! Can you believe this? Maybe they thought those were real "gems"? lol. :doh:

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I tend to buy a lot of dollhouses on Craig's List. Sometimes Lisa goes with me and sometimes I go alone. Twice I've gone to people's houses and picked up the house in the garage. Once, I was so late (because I got so lost) that the wife had to leave and it was her husband who asked me to come into their house to get the dollhouse. Yeaaaahh, sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling and mine said it was OK, so I followed him in. He ended up showing me his wife's "dollhouse room" which was like a mini-shop of dollhouses and supplies. Be still my beating heart!

As an aside, I'm always surprised by the people who let total strangers into their houses. One fit young man who looked like he could fight off anyone insisted on meeting me in a public parking lot. That's OK with me. But I've had at least three little old ladies invite me straight into their houses and then showed me all around. Maybe I just look trustworthy, I don't know. This was when I was buying other things on Craig's List.

Anyway, I think one of the worst, if you could call it that, experiences I had getting a dollhouse had to do with that Joseph Angel dollhouse I bought in Portland. I was driving a Honda Elantra and no way would this dollhouse fit in my car. So the seller came up with a small peen hammer and Lisa and I spent the next several hours, trying to hammer that dollhouse apart.

For any of you not familiar with how these dollhouses are put together, they're put together with long staples.

At any rate, we finally got the dollhouse down to the floors and the center wall. It still wouldn't fit in my car, so we managed to wedge it into the trunk, leaving the trunk half opened and the dollhouse bungee corded down tight, we hoped. We also hoped a cop wouldn't pull us over.

Then on the way home we stopped to eat (note that I had promised Lisa to have her home by that time - "Just a quick jaunt down to Portland and back" I think is how I put it). So we stopped and were walking away from the car when it started to rain. With half the dollhouse sticking out uncovered from my trunk. I think I was seriously hoping someone would steal it at that point.

I had a couple small tarps in the car and after wrestling with the house again for awhile, we had it covered and got a good meal and eventually got it home.

That's actually the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I tend to go a lot on gut feeling and how the people text and email me. If I thought anything was off in the slightest, I'd bail instantly. People I've sold dollhouses to tend to be people I know or who know someone I know. I've never had anyone come back or experienced any crazy sellers.

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"I always tell myself that serial killers typically don't bait their victims with dollhouses." - I dunno Carrie.....

several years ago there was a "Victorian dollhouse" listed on our local CL for a really great price, but no picture.  So I contacted the seller and asked if a photo could be sent just so I know if it is worth the 45 minute drive.  I got a story about not having a camera, blah blah blah.  First red flag. I suggested a family member or a neighbor could perhaps take a picture for me. Nope-got some more blah, blah blah on why that wasn't possible. Second red flag. Well, I thought maybe I could drag my daughter along for "safety in numbers" and proceeded to check MapQuest to locate this person's house. This was before the street view feature, and the aerial view showed the location covered in trees-no view of the house.  hmmm. Not good. I declined the sale.  This particular listing stayed on CL for probably a YEAR!  I remember contacting this person one more time, but got the same no-camera story. Red flag number three!  After that I was convinced this was a serial killer using the dollhouse as bait!  LOL  

 

The other weird encounter was when I purchased the Pepperwood Farm house from a woman near Philly.  She went on about how the house has meant so much to her as a child, etc and asked that I please leave it the yellow color since that was her favorite color.  :glare: Really?  As we were chatting about dollhouses I mentioned that I was part of this forum and would be posting my rehab progress photos on here. Wrong move. When I began posting about my newest acquisition and what my plans were for it, the thread naturally began to include the words "bash/bashing"......Yup. you guessed it.  The seller found the forum and that thread and, not understanding, she thought we meant ACTUALLY destroying a house- and HERS in particular!! :eek::doh: I got a nasty phone call demanding that I not post any more photos of her house online!    Good grief.

 

 

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I have a couple. The first was when we moved home and I placed an order on a website which the owner mangled up and sent it to my old address. That was annoying and the owner of the website wasn't sorry about it.

The second was a Sylvanian Families canal boat I bought of e-bay. I assume that her daughter hadn't liked the fact that her mother was selling it because when it arrived it was broken - it looked like someone had stamped on it and the box wasn't damaged so there was no way that it had been broken in transit - the boat was broken before the seller sent it. There wasn't any way that I could repair it, either. It was a nightmare getting a refund because the seller was really rude about it and thought that we wouldn't mind losing the money! We got half the money back in the end (the loss came from the postage of sending it back to the seller.) I only hope that she didn't try selling the thing to anyone else. I've not bothered buying houses and miniatures off e-bay since because it was too stressful, espeacailly considering the rudeness of the seller and her attempt to cheat us.

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On 6/8/2019, 6:31:09, KathieB said:

Except, perhaps, for the killer in The Lovely Bones ... Dollhouse

Even though that story is sad and disturbing.  .  .it became one of my favorites when I read it. I saw the movie the day it came out in theaters. And whenever I watch it, I look at the dollhouses in it.

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My worst experience was buying two VERY pricey miniatures from a website which shall remain anonymous. When I received my two items, one was completely wrong (and had been pictured on the website, but clearly was NOT the item I ordered) and the second item was broken, with a missing wood piece that was not in the packaging or wrapping. . . meaning it HAD to be broken prior to sending. When I contacted the seller, he insisted that the wrong item was "due to it's handmade nature" and not the wrong item, and that I should contact the post office about the broken item. After several (rude and curt) communications back and forth, he agreed to let me return the "wrong" item, but insisted that I pay a 25% restocking fee and the return shipping. It was a nightmare start to finish, and I will NEVER order from this particular site again. My dad is handy and was able to sufficiently repair the broken wooden item, but what a hassle! 

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Please don't ask about bad experience sellers on the open forum; that's more appropriately discussed in PMs.

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On 6/11/2019, 11:13:41, jbnmini said:

The other weird encounter was when I purchased the Pepperwood Farm house from a woman near Philly.  She went on about how the house has meant so much to her as a child, etc and asked that I please leave it the yellow color since that was her favorite color.  :glare: Really?  As we were chatting about dollhouses I mentioned that I was part of this forum and would be posting my rehab progress photos on here. Wrong move. When I began posting about my newest acquisition and what my plans were for it, the thread naturally began to include the words "bash/bashing"......Yup. you guessed it.  The seller found the forum and that thread and, not understanding, she thought we meant ACTUALLY destroying a house- and HERS in particular!! :eek::doh: I got a nasty phone call demanding that I not post any more photos of her house online!    Good grief.

This is really funny! Sorry that happened to you.

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Mine is that I bought a lovely little house on ebay - micro scale, so it was completely shippable in a small box. And please know that I have had mostly (97%) greate experiences online.  But this experience made me so mad.

Well,

1. the seller sent it Book Rate despite charging me first class shipping. Ok, that's cheap but ok...I didn't know it was sent book rate, thought it was first class regular mail due to shipping and handling costs. I guess it was mostly handling costs.

2. They put the tiny house with all its tiny details and delicate trim in a box. Without ANY packing material. Zero. Huge mistake on their part. Box was too big for house. 

3. Since they cheaped out and sent it book rate, it took forever to arrive, had ZERO insurance  (the item cost me over $100), and...the tiny box arrived completely squashed. A huge dent almost halving the box. OMG. I'm sure it had been squashed by numerous heavy boxes that actually belonged in the book rate batch. Inside, the house was smashed to smithereens. The little box was rattling like a jigsaw puzzle box when I picked it up. My stomach sank. And it had been such a great house at the start of the journey.

BUT WAIT...

4. Seller said it wasn't her fault, and she would not refund or offer any solution. Told me to go to the post office and make a claim. You know how that goes - they want the shipper to do that - she had no intention of doing that since when she shipped the item, it was fine (of course, she sent it book rate and didn't pack it well at all so technically her fault, but I get what she was saying). Until I said "that's fine and I'll go through ebay or paypal to resolve this" and she wouldn't have to do a thing. I said that only after appealing to her 3 times to offer a resolution - explaining each time why I felt she should.  We reached a fair solution after I said that. I realized she had no idea about how to pack or value miniatures...she had no idea what she was doing. I gave her some credit for being completely clueless, and we reached a fair deal.

And now I definitely shy away from buying smaller-scale houses online unless I know the seller very well and know they pack well.

 

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I'm okay with people posting their horror stories in this thread, but please let's keep leaving out the names of the retailers (as people have been doing) and not speculate about who they are (I deleted a couple of posts like that). Since Greenleaf does business with retailers and anything posted on this forum can appear to be an endorsement from the company, it's a touchy subject and they have asked us not to name names here.

 

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On 10/20/2019, 3:57:45, fov said:

I'm okay with people posting their horror stories in this thread, but please let's keep leaving out the names of the retailers (as people have been doing) and not speculate about who they are (I deleted a couple of posts like that). Since Greenleaf does business with retailers and anything posted on this forum can appear to be an endorsement from the company, it's a touchy subject and they have asked us not to name names here.

 

Makes perfect sense.

I *do* like the stories in general because I learn a few lessons from others. Instant hindsight/20/20!

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I'm in the UK and have lost about £300 worth of stuff when trying to buy from a very well known miniatures person in the US. The items never arrive. The replacements that are kindly offered also never arrive.

I am actually wondering if a thief is targeting the work of this person... and very sadly, I have given up ordering anything from this source :(

 

On the other hand, some one from Etsy ripped me off for about £120, and closed their shop during the period when I was trying to get a refund. Charming.

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Some funny and not so funny stories on here.  I think the worst for me was about 15 years ago I bought a Ken Doll from an online seller. lIsted as good condition. When it arrived one arm was totally loose. It was ok I guess as he was just a model for clothes I was making though a bum arm makes posing harder lol......but when someone isn't forthright it makes you feel sort of victimized.  I left good feedback anyway because who knows, maybe the spouse or the teenager packed it for them. Everyone makes mistakes. I have gotten a few other items that most would have left bad feedback I just never have for a seller. I try to give the benefit of the doubt because I am a seller also. Unless I would have paid a lot for an item I wouldn't return it or ask for a refund.  Keep in mind, there are those that buy and do a charge back or refund just trying to get something for free. Most people are good and honest though, 

I have left about 5 bad feedback for non paying bidders back when we could do so. Now, customers that are nasty or those nasty about asking something or ridiculing my auction haha I just shake the dust off my feet and move on........but I do block them from buying from me :) if I sense trouble in the making .......I also have looked at peoples left feedbacks and if they leave negs to sellers for stupid reasons I block them too. I just don't have time to deal with nasty people.  I would just get in a fight with them. lol.  When buying it is best to always read peoples feedback before buying. But even if they have negatives or neutrals you can click on those and read them and sometimes you can tell they were uncalled for

I had a package the post office actually lost. I even had  a search done on it. It was never found. The tracking just stopped one day.  Another time a customer said she ordered the wrong thing and it was for inexpensive little pine trees so I just sent her a full refund  and told her to keep them.  I think I did block her though I mean the description was very clear.  

One thing I noticed on this thread is about the postal claims,  It is true that the customer, who has the item is supposed to make the claim for damaged items.  On the comment about someone sent an item as bulk mail, it was probably Media mail and it was against the law for them to send it that way. Media mail is only for books, learning materials and the like. I think CD's fall in that category. full size miniatures magazines would fall in that category too.

I have had bad experiences with bad packaging but usually from big outlet stores. I get things faster buying on Online Auctions n Buy it Now's than anywhere and usually better packaged 

Well I have rattled on long enough....better quick while I am ahead lol 

Edited by mininecessities
Removed Company names to follow guidelines ?

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I once made a doll I sent to KathieB for her quilt shop and the Post Office totally destroyed it, even though I printed "please hand cancel" all over the package.  Two years later I got the mangled remains back from the PO.

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3 hours ago, havanaholly said:

I once made a doll I sent to KathieB for her quilt shop and the Post Office totally destroyed it, even though I printed "please hand cancel" all over the package.  Two years later I got the mangled remains back from the PO.

Sorry that happened to you :( I can't believe how careless the Shipping companies can be!  Any more I sometimes double the boxes to help.  I use to put Fragile or Handle With Care until I heard that it just invites grumpy workers to put out their oneryness so I quit doing it.   I never have received my lost shipment back........a search was done and they finally just said they can't find it :( Glad it was just a couple evergreen trees. If I spent a week making something and that happened omg......Ha reminds me of a package I got, all squished and you could  see tire tracks on it! :cry: 

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2 hours ago, havanaholly said:

I once made a doll I sent to KathieB for her quilt shop and the Post Office totally destroyed it, even though I printed "please hand cancel" all over the package.  Two years later I got the mangled remains back from the PO.

I remember this. I hope she was laid to rest with a suitable memorial service. I suspect there is some truth in Cheryl's observation that "Fragile" or "Handle with Care" is taken as a challenge rather than a plea for careful handling by a few twisted souls in the delivery world.

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