BANV was had

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    BANV was had. It was the Webkinz that got me. They got me good. Well, specifically a shrewd eBayer right here in Germantown, Md. got me and my 8-year-old. As you probably read on this blog, my kids are big into these $13 stuffed animals that come bearing codes that unlock their virtual online social networking lives. It’s lucky the little critters are now so hard to find in stores or I’d have to endure more frequent pleas to visit Christopher’s and Christopher Matthews. Anyhow, my son has started trolling eBay looking for the Webkinz he can’t find in stores and both he and I have been astonished by the prices some of them are fetching. It takes a bit of study to keep track of which ones are more valuable than others. Shrewd eBayers know, and one of them got us good tonight. I told my 8-year-old I’d let him buy a Webkinz from eBay if he cleaned up the basement. He spent all day down there and made it beautiful. He found the Webkinz he wanted and showed me the page online. I thought I checked it out good. I clicked on everything I saw on that page: the name of the seller, the comments left by people he bought things from. (There were no comments from anyone who bought something from him.) He looked OK. He was asking $9.95 — just below what they go for in stores. But that didn’t seem odd. I’ve seen Webkinz we’ve paid $13 going for that much on eBay. What I didn’t realize is that this particular Webkinz, the Cheeky Dog, usually goes for much more. I clicked “Buy it Now” and used the last bit of money in our PayPal account to buy it for him. He was so excited. We checked Google Maps to see how long it would take for the Webkinz to reach us from Germantown. He was hoping for Monday, but I explained it might take longer. Then my husband came home and took at look at what we’d bought. He discovered that if you scroll down the main page, which was not immediately visible on the screen, it reveals that we purchased a $9.95 raffle ticket (plus $2 shipping — which seems like a lot for a raffle ticket) in the hopes the seller might pull our name from a hat after he’s sold 100 raffle tickets (which would net him more than $1,000). His listing explanation reads:

    “This auction follows all ebay rules and regulations:

    This is not a raffle or any lottery game this is just an auction for a piece of paper and a cheeky dog possibly

    I WILL DRAW out of a hat to see who won the cheeky dog and I will let everyone know who wins”

    So, I’m guessing he’s figuring he’s going to raise some eyebrows in terms of the “rules and regulations.” My son was in tears. I, of course, went running back to the listing to see what I missed. Sure, sure, I should have scrolled farther down the page. But I have to say the listing really looked like it was advertising a pet Webkinz for the purchase price of $9.95. The description that read: “GANZ WEBKINZ CHEEKY DOG BRAND NEW UNUSED CODE MUST READ (150121034765)” did not make clear to me what “must read” meant. There’s no mention of a raffle until you scroll beneath what’s visible on the screen. I’m sure shrewd eBayers and Webkinz resellers are all hip to this. And I imagine it is all within the “rules and regulations.” But you know when you’re dealing in stuffed animals and your most devoted clientele is under the age of 10, it just seems that this kind of an item description is a bit misleading. If you’re going to do a raffle, you should say so right on top and make it clear. So, live and learn. We’ll be shopping for our Webkinz in the bricks and mortar stores from now on.