Unplayed as a grading

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Eno_Fan, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    Here's some Discogs experience that I thought might be useful info for our record-buying members:

    I don't know about you, but if I buy an LP advertised by the seller as 'Sealed' that is exactly what I expect to get. When it comes to Unplayed vinyl, which is the next best thing, the lazy Discogs' profiteer and scammer will not be coming to your aid as increasing numbers are using unplayed as a Grading. Seller after seller does this, yet few seem to understand (or care) in their rush for cash that Unplayed is a State, like Sealed, it is not a Grading / an Opinion. I have records in my collection that have been played 100+ times yet look unplayed (because I know how to place a record on a spindle and how to play it without marking the surface), but that doesn't mean that I have the right to fraudulently list it as 'unplayed'. I contact seller after seller about such items whenever I am emailed about vinyl in my Wants list, asking whether the disc is Actually unplayed or whether they are simply grading it as such (i.e., a non-existent grade in either RC or GM terms, but one that might part a buyer from their money more readily than 'Near-Mint').

    Here's the latest (lazy) reply to this perfectly reasonable question from Discogs Seller 'Teddy_mod' (remove the underscore), who listed three LPs all at once with the same 'unplayed', 'only stored', 'archive' spiel:

    "...Thanks for your enquiry. I’m afraid I don’t have time to answer queries of this nature except for prestige (>£100) purchases. If I did - I wouldn’t make a penny. Yes ‘unplayed’ is subjective. Many thanks, Teddy"

    So, not unplayed. This behaviour is ubiquitous on Discogs, e.g., 'fly_records' (remove the underscore) a serial abuser of this term (descriptions of "...lovely unplayed media" duplicated for disc after disc listed), but it's misrepresentation pure and simple.

    It took Discogs years to stop the scammers selling 'unofficial' fakes (and still they let them, see my Comment on seller 'gen_custer' [remove the underscore] here: David Bowie - Space Oddity and this scammer's listing here: David Bowie - Space Oddity: LP, Album, RE For Sale | Discogs that I reported to no effect), so I suppose in five or six years they might do something about the blatant misrepresentation going on with 'Unplayed' vinyl sold by those who prefer not to work for a living.

    But don't hold your breath...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2018
  2. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Location:
    Smogville CA USA
    Do they provide a Visual grade, if asked...?
     
  3. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Unreal. Mint is mint...unplayed is I played. How hard is this? I would never buy from anyone who did this...knowingly, at least.
     
  4. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    The visual grade is built-in to the Discogs listing, almost always Mint but some hedge with Near-Mint. As for asking, I never inquire further once a seller says that their 'unplayed' descrption is merely their (usually inexpert) opinion...
     
    lightbulb likes this.
  5. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    Exactly. I always inquire when a Mint item of interest is described as unplayed, if only to have a message record of identity so that I never mistakenly buy in future from such goons when the answer turns 9 times out of 10 to be 'it looks unplayed', etc. Unreal indeed.

    N.B. I best not get started on the Sellers who list as Mint and when asked to check/confirm (something I always do as well) say that 'on a closer look' (!) their 'Mint' item is actually "VG++ borderline Near-Mint". So, two grades lower, careless amateurism, and another flake off the radar.
     
    Chemguy likes this.
  6. Mean Dorris

    Mean Dorris Active Member

    Location:
    London
    I actually recently ordered 4x records from the first seller you mentioned, one of the items were listed as "unplayed". All were listed NM, both media and sleeves.

    They were not high value items (ranging between 4 and 15 Euro), put I did put a message in with the order asking if they would have a good check of a couple of the items as I had recieved recent copies from other sellers on discogs that were well below the NM's they were rated.

    In fairnes I had a quick reponse saying that they would take a closer look, as items under 20 Euro are given a quick visual grade by a grader, he also did a quick play test of them and reported back.

    I wen't ahead with the order, and although the grading on the sleeves was a little on the generous sign the vinyl was in good shape and played well, although the one that was listed as unplayed, clearly had been on closer inspection under a light, but for a 4 Euro item played fine.

    So whilst I agree, that items should not arbitrarily be listed as "unplayed" as an opinion based on a visual inspection, I would rather have an open discussion with sellers like this.

    I started buying from Discogs from the beggining of 2017 of a bought a few hundered records since, either I am getting more fussy or I think on the whole grading in general has got considerably worse in that period, and I find myself more often that not, disappointed with what I have recieved and sending some stuff back, with occasions of stuff being gobsmackingly overgraded....
     
  7. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    It is my observation that visual grading in general is a load of crap. Riddle me this. Why would an item that’s whole purpose is auditory have it’s quality judged solely based on its visual appearance? If a seller isn’t going to listen grade an LP they want to offer they should offer the item at a price no higher than VG+ and make clear that it has not been play graded. If it is a high dollar collectible then play grade it be conservative about it. I’ve yet to buy a batch of records on discog where all but one or two of a dozen or so played nearly as well as the seller had graded them. Near mints were VG+ or VG, VG+ were VG or G, VG were G+ or G.
     
    Romerovm likes this.
  8. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    Yup, like I said "...I only buy sealed or unplayed/NOS because of previous experience of online sellers' joke grading abilities". Mint is the absolute lowest grade I now buy (and only for stuff that I just cannot find NOS or sealed and it's working very nicely for me too -- a year ago I was sending most everything back, but thoroughly questioning each seller (and moving-on if they won't play ball) since then I haven't returned an album in over 9 months.

    Don't forget what Mr Zappa said about Flakes...
     
  9. R. Totale

    R. Totale The Voice of Reason

    Location:
    Bi-Regional
    If I am at a store or a record fair and I take out a record to look at it and to me it looks unplayed I pretty much know what to expect. That the seller thinks it looks unplayed to them is useful information to me, and I see no reason to leave it out of the description, as long as the seller is being honest saying so. Our individual standards for that might vary, but it's a description, not a grade. I will likely be paying with Paypal, and if the record is significantly not as described I know it can just go back.

    But if possible I far prefer to buy in person so I can make these judgements for myself.
     
  10. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Oh man, the last two Amazon partner sellers that I asked, “Sorry, but is this really a Mobile Fidelity recording as indicated in the ad?”, answered “No, it’s not.”

    How on earth is this possible except for blatant deception?

    I’m tiring of this.
     
  11. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Lets be realistic. What are the chances that an open album has never been put on a turntable? Why would anyone buy a new record, take it out of the shrink wrap but not put it on their turntable and play it? Maybe someone plays it once and puts it away but never played? Highly unlikely.
     
    AidanB, smoke and TheVillageRecorder like this.
  12. Mint can only be mint if sealed and perfect corners, like a baseball card. An opened records can never be mint imo.

    I always laugh at the Discogs, Ebay and other places that have the line "only opened to check vinyl color" or "only opened to check vinyl condition". You open it to play it. If it's been opened assume it's been played. If you think otherwise, that's all on the buyer. You don't open a can of tomato soup to see if its vegetable.
     
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  13. Thesmellofvinyl

    Thesmellofvinyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cohoes, NY USA
    I've seen it as a description of the appearance, which is fine, but no, it's not a grade.
     
  14. Rodz42

    Rodz42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    actually more than unlikely.....I've too many in my collection that fit that exact description. Embarrassed to admit it, but yeah it can be a real thing.
     
    ellingtonic likes this.
  15. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    You appear to have misunderstood this Thread entirely. I don't care what the seller "thinks" is the case in regard to whether a disc has been played or not. We might all agree to disagree over the details of low-grade record grading (e.g., VG+) as this is a matter of opinion, and while you suggest that "...Our individual standards for that might vary" I would remind you that this is why we have standardised systems of grading -- so that I know exactly what you're talking about when you grade something "Near Mint" (and thus what I'm getting when buying sight unseen) and so that there are fixed terms of reference when there is a dispute over condition.

    Sealed and Unplayed records are different -- these are statements of fact, not opinion. A sealed record is not one that I opened did something with and then resealed again, and neither is an unplayed one one that I merely "think" is unplayed. Nor is unplayed "...a description, not a grade" as you try to suggest -- when the seller says an item is "unplayed" that should only be offered as a description if it is factual (i.e., known); if it is just an opinion (i.e., "...the seller thinks it looks unplayed to them") then it is worthless information and directly misleading. If that is useful information to you then I expect that you would be happy with most anything.

    Obviously, if we can see the record in-person in a shop then the seller's grading is as irrelevant as this statement. Likewise your Paypal statement, free return shipping for misrepresented items a US phenomenon that is not global. Neither does Discogs have the buyer guarantee that Ebay does, and not everyone wants to spend all week trekking to the post office for returns.
     
  16. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    Same here. I bought records back in the early 1980s by artists that my then-girlfriend liked but I never played them. When I sold that record collection in 1983 those records -- 'Physical Graffiti', 'Presence', 'Brain-Salad Surgery', etc., were as unplayed as the day that I bought them. Similarly, the NOS copies of 'Music For Films', a Track 'Electric Ladyland', and a Pink-Rim 'Tarkus' that I bought in the 90s when I had it in mind to rebuild my collection and then sold for pennies in the 2000s when it seemed a pointless dream. All unplayed.

    LDs is an invalid generalisation. It happens.

    When a seller states 'unplayed' I don't expect to find the discs covered in spindle-trails on receipt, as happened recently with an Ebay seller (mikey4560) who said that he had an unplayed 70s-80s vinyl collection form a music industry professional who received them and simply stored them, having no interest in them. These, "unplayed", "Mint", "archived" discs were scratched, spindle-marked VG-junk, and I so-raked this bstard over the coals for his deception that he stopped listing on Ebay altogether. Good riddance.

    Like the man said.
     
  17. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Izieu, France
    Sure, and I like your analogy, but if the seller states that it's Unplayed in the listing then it's actually all on the Seller.
    You don't put a 'tomato' label on a tin of soup that may be chicken just to offload it to a vegetarian...
     
  18. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    There’s always an exception to any rule. I think it is very rare.
     
  19. ellingtonic

    ellingtonic Forum Resident

    I currently have 12 records (yes, I checked) sitting on my to play shelf that I bought new, cleaned, and put on the to play shelf over a year ago (out of about 50 titles on the shelf). I've sold a few and will sell a few more. I've bought several things that ex-girlfriends were into that weren't my thing so I never played them.
     
  20. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    Buyer beware.
    If it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
    There are a lot of good honest people out there......but there are a ton of dishonest people too.
     
  21. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know

    Location:
    Lillington NC
    I’ve got a few sitting there too, but i’ll Eventually play them. If you open a record, clean it an put it back on the shelf, then offer it for sell on line you might want to describe it as opened but never played but it should never be listed as anything more than NM. It is a used record! As a buyer I would disregard any reference to never played. I’d venture to guess that less than 10% of records advertising as never played have actually never been played.
     
    ellingtonic likes this.
  22. ellingtonic

    ellingtonic Forum Resident

    Agreed. I really don't think there is such a thing as a truly Mint record, just ones that haven't been opened yet.
     
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  23. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    Honestly, I've bought some collections and I have had to open a few to actually check which version it is. I only did this after bumming out some buyers because I thought something was something else but it was incredibly hard to distinguish from multiple versions listed. I don't like everything so I'm not going to play it and I will say so. But this is where a buyer needs to check feedback and such to see how honest a seller seems to be. As far as condition goes, some do need opened. I had two copies of a particular 'old' album. I sold one and it turned out to be warped. I went ahead and opened the other to be sure it too wasn't warped. Once again, I put these things in the description. I personally attempt to be as honest as I can.
     
  24. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    I will say about the 'unplayed' part. When I first began selling on Discogs, I made the mistake of saying 'unplayed' and meant I (me) had not played it. I learned quickly to change my description to "not play tested" for the items I don't want nor have the time to play especially if it's a cheaper LP.
     
  25. ANALOGUE OR DEATH

    ANALOGUE OR DEATH Well-Known Member

    Location:
    HULL ENGLAND
    Remember,prior to the high increase in mail order record shops most new records sold (in the U.K anyway) were not sealed.Virtually all of the album's in my collection bought new from record shops prior to around 2005 were not sealed.It just didn't happen in the U.K.They were still mint though.
     

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