In order for there to not be silence or static on this blog, I am going to embarrass myself a little by telling you about my latest yarn destash experience.
I often purchase my yarn from fellow knitters looking to get rid of something at a discounted price. This makes me feel like I am getting a “deal” while also recycling old unused yarn to a new home. The deals can be anywhere from under retail price by a buck per skein to major price cutting on my most favorite yarns. There are a few problems with this method but it has worked very well for me over the last two years, and I’ve often gotten rid of leftover skeins or unwanted yarn this way too.
I think the major problems with this are threefold. One cannot be overly choosy in the color department, one never knows in what condition the yarn will actually arrive, (I’ve seen yarn already balled up, having been knit into swatches and frogged again, though this is usually stated pre sale) and one does not often know the person she is purchasing from. So I suppose the opportunity for fraud is out there. On the other hand, it had not happened to me, and using paypal does lend a level of comfort to the transaction.
So, earlier this month I happened upon an amazing destash. Yarn for just a fraction of its original cost. Though there should have been warning bells, it was just too good to pass up! So, after giving it far too little thought and consideration, I spent my paypal balance (approximately $150) on a load of yarn that would have originally been more like $600. I actually thought I’d be able to turn a profit on the yarn. I then did something even worse than considering the purchase for like, a nanosecond….I got in touch with my friends, and let them know about this amazing destash. One of them was determined to purchase yarn from this destash as well, and after about a day of trying to get in touch with the seller, was successful. We then began to worry over this yarn, as the photos were stock photos and the seller hadn’t been a particularly active member of the knitting community.
So we began to do a little online research. We managed to find an old blog of hers, as well as some other information, including a home address. This lead us to believe she was actually a real person and she might truly intend to send us the yarn in question. Collectively we began to wait. And get concerned as our questions to her went unanswered.
After a time my friend even managed to find her husbands work email and address. It is amazing how much info is on the internet, if one has the means and reasons to find it. We set a date to give her to hope the yarn arrived and we continued to wait. I, having been vocal about the purchase, began to get messages from other purchasers who had felt stung, asking if I had received my yarn. It seemed that all of us were out our money and our yarn. We began to keep a list of everyone who was involved. After a way more than reasonable time frame, we made the decision to file paypal claims. These were immediately escalated because paypal told us that they could not get in contact with the seller. And then we decided to use our final weapon, which was the husbands email address.
He did confirm that he was the husband of the seller and while he knew she had sold yarn, he wasn’t aware that people had not received yarn. I won’t even get into the various excuses that were made by this woman as to why she did not send it out, it was quite drama worthy, and I have become somewhat of a cynic in the “personal problems” realm. I now don’t even believe that she had the yarn in the first place. At least not as much as she sold. After a couple weeks of communications with the husband we concluded that nothing was to be gained there, and had no choice but to wait for paypal to settle our claim.
I am so happy to note that paypal settled in our favor and has issued a refund. I’ve already received mine. And while I have heard of paypal incidents where the seller has removed their funds from their bank account and paypal has ruled in the buyers favor, the funds then could not be returned, it did not happen to us. I am convinced that the sheer number of people filing claims at once put some sort of hold on her account entirely and she was not able to move the funds had she tried to.
I’ve been so embarrassed over this incident. I like to think myself a savvy internet user for the most part, questioning most everything I read here. Had I not been so greedy and yarn crazed I’d have thought about the purchase and why it might not have been a wise idea. (I also blame the time frame, it was pre coffee and about 5:00 AM when I purchased the yarn). But, I did it, even ignored my instincts to do it. The only reason this has a resolution is because of paypal, my own stupidity not withstanding.
Unfortunately, this has made me a bit more careful of destashes in general, I now feel like I’d rather pay the yarn shop price than go through something like this a second time. It just doesn’t seem worth the deal I might get.