A Tea Addict's Journal

Ebay misadventures

January 7, 2008 · 10 Comments

I think almost anybody who’s tried buying stuff from Ebay or other auction sites have had bad experiences with inaccurate descriptions, false advertising, etc. I am just reminded how sometimes things don’t work out on these things.

I bought a tetsubin through Ebay from a Japanese vendor. It looks nice, the price’s reasonable, and I have been wanting to get my hands on one to play with. So far, so good. It arrived…. and it looks good. Except one thing — there’s a small hole in the bottom of the tetsubin that the seller didn’t mention. Since there was no shot of the bottom of the pot, it was not possible for me to look at it either. So… I got a pot that will leak water right through the center. Since my name’s not Moses, I can’t part the water in the middle to keep it from dropping through the hole.

So now I’m dealing with the seller through paypal. Has anybody tried using the conflict resolution thing? How did it go?

Oddly enough, I felt somewhat uneasy when I purchased the first one, and I stumbled upon a second one, obviously inferior, but still a tetsubin… and very cheap (cheaper than one of those small enamel-lined tetsubin teapots you normally see). So, I ended up buying that one too, and that has arrived at the same time. It works — although I don’t know what the previous owner has used it for, because water that’s been through it smells like chamomile, and the outer surface of the pot was covered in some sort of grime. Now I’m trying to boil out the nasty sweetish chamomile smell from it… hopefully it’ll be usable after some treatment.

But tomorrow, I’m back on the road…. this time to Portland OR. Fun.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • iwii // January 8, 2008 at 2:22 am | Reply

    Well the Paypal dispute is a good way to get your money back. Basically you can discuss with the seller and if he disagrees to offer you a complete refund (shipping included), you can escalate the claim so that a Paypal person will monitor the state of the deal. Basically, if your tetsubin is not usable and that it wasn’t mentioned in the description, the dealer is obviously not so honest, so there is nothing he can do really and you should be refunded. At least I was the two times I had to go to these extremities.

    For you other testsubin smelling like camomille, I know that some people in Europe, but also in Japan are using testsubins (even bigger ones) as pots. That sounds a bit odd, but I saw that a couple of times already.
    If it is the case, it probably won’t be easy to just boil out the smell, since it must be deeply bound into the inner surface…

  • behhl // January 8, 2008 at 8:33 am | Reply

    Wrote you an email but forgot to mention (as iwii has correctly said) that you should first ask the seller to make good and provide him a firm deadline to agree and return your money prior your returning the pot, after which if that fails you should proceed straight to lodging a claim with Ebay/PayPal. Those emails you sent to the seller can be later shown to the mediator as evidence – The main thing is to attempt amicable settlement first and to show that you have been completely reasonable but were totally misled. Good luck!

  • MarshalN // January 8, 2008 at 8:22 pm | Reply

    The guy backed down and decided to refund me. I am at least happy to reach that settlement. He even said I can keep the pot (since it is, after all, broken). Maybe there will be a way to fix it….

  • xcasper54x // January 9, 2008 at 12:02 am | Reply

    I love Portland. But like you I was very much underwhelmed by the Tao of Tea when I went there. I had some kind of high roasted oolong that was served in a glass teapot that was way too big for the amount of leaves I was given. Bummer.

  • iwii // January 9, 2008 at 2:59 am | Reply

    > Maybe there will be a way to fix it….

    Maybe you’ll be happy to read Stephane’s blog…

  • mulcahyfeldman // January 9, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Reply

    I bought a new tetsubin from zensuke.com. It was expensive but no holes and no evidence of previous use. It was a pleasure to deal with this company. Lots of models to choose from. Some are extremely beautiful and if you call them, unheard of on the internet, they will discuss which one is best for you. Maybe they would comp you one because of those who follow your blog. Something like a press pass. Good luck. Eileen Feldman

  • mulcahyfeldman // January 9, 2008 at 9:58 pm | Reply

    I forgot to mention, these are the real things, no enamel linings. EF

  • MarshalN // January 10, 2008 at 12:29 am | Reply

    Hmmm, I gotta look into their site, thanks for the lead!

  • MarshalN // January 10, 2008 at 12:38 am | Reply

    Waaa…. that’s quite expensive for tetsubins that are pretty plain.

  • Anonymous // January 19, 2008 at 7:48 pm | Reply

    Not all of the tetsubins from zensuke.com are without enamel. I looked into this at one time when considering a tetsubin. Here’s a quote from the email I got from them when I enquired.


    The following items have plain metal:



    The following items have very thin coating so eventually will be plain metal and will get rusty inside:







    I’m not too sure what this coating is… perhaps some kind of teflon type thing. I don’t think I’d really want it. It’s a pity that the only tetsubins without any coating are the super expensive ones!


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