I want to purchase a saddle on ebay but am kind of afraid. I asked the seller if the tree was sound and if the tree was adjusted? It's a pretty old saddle, that probably needs to be reflocked to. Who can I bring it to get the saddle checked out? I don't want it hurting a horse's back and want to make sure nothing's wrong with it.
When you buy on ebay, you don't know for sure what you'r going to get, but you should have a pretty good idea.
Look at the sellers positive vs negative ratings from buyers. When they'v had several hundred transactions and they are 100% rated positive, you have a pretty good idea that what you see is what you get.
It should be fairly obvious if the tree is broken, but you could probably take it into a tack shop or saddle shop and have it inspected to ease your mind.
I just sold an old saddle on ebay for a 1/4 of it's new price. It was in like new condition. Somebody got a really good deal.
A good tack store in your area should be able to give you a reference to someone who works on saddles.
There are clues you can look for when buying on ebay, wrinkles in the seat sometimes (not always) can indicate a broken tree. You can also look for symmetry, lack of it can indicate a broken or warped tree.
mainly, when you buy used, and old, you want to buy good brands like stubben, county, albion, crosby or passier. Because they were made better they're more likely to escape tree problems.
Ebay does have great buyer protection. If you ask the seller through the ebay email system if the tree is sound, etc. and they answer yes, and you get the saddle and find the tree is broken, ebay will help you return it and get your money back no matter what the seller's return policy. You report the item as 'significantly not as described'.
I have bought and sold over 50 saddles sight-unseen online, ebay is the best place because the prices are low, the selection broad, and ebay has wonderful buyer protection (not so great for sellers though, its a tough place to sell anymore). I have never gotten a broken tree (touch wood).
There is something to be aware of about the ratings. They percentage of satisfactory transactions reflects only the transactions within the previous 12 months, but the number of transactions listed includes transactions much older than that.
In an example. My son bought something from a seller who has 100 percent positive ratin of 450 transactions. Great, right? Well, not so when you know that the 100 percent is for the 20 transactions that took place within the previous 12 months, and that there were numerous negative comments prior to the 12 months. The negatives of the earlier sales were actually more relevant.
So, really go through the feedback.
Make sure you have Ebay's buyer protection plan - it used to be through PayPal but now it all goes through Ebay, I think.
I buy and sell A LOT on ebay, and I in fact, bought my saddle there. I would say 99% of sellers on ebay are completely trust worthy. Also, paypal and ebay are buyers markets. If for any reason the saddle has more damage than was disclosed in the auction you can open a case against the seller and have a 99% chance of having your money and shipping costs return. The seller isn't even given the opportunity of rebuttal, which can suck for the seller.
However, it IS your responsibility to make sure you are familiar with the saddle and its fit. It would be unfair to file complaints of leave negative feedback because you were uneducated about the product.
There are many sellers that do provide trail periods for saddles.