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  • Hello again

    Hello again. Not been here for a while. All these new regulations have now just about finished me! I see that even Royal Mail are now only paying out "cost of materials" for lost or damaged items. I am still building miniature ships, but at a much reduced rate & have stopped on Ebay altogether. Here is a recent one, tiny Norwegian barque SVAERDSTAD. Just finished cruise ship STELLA POLARIS of 1927, but not doing anything at all at the moment! Last maritime auction in London was a "flop" as far as I was concerned - one out of three sold, & that for a low price (probably world-wide financial turmoil)! Not looking for sympathy - am less than four months off retirement age & find it ironic that although I feel I could go on for years, it has been all this burocracy that has finally put an end (almost) to my hobby of 50 years plus!
    Bob

  • #2
    You are very talented . What are they made of? and is the water just painted - it is very realistic
    www.RedShedCeramics.etsy.com
    www.folksy.com/shops/RedShed
    www.mosaicshape.co.uk

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    • #3
      Thanks. The hull is wood, plated with paper plates. The masts, spars & rigging are all metal - rod, tube, copper wire. Sails are airmail paper. All made from bits & pieces. Sea is plasticine rolled into shape & painted by my wife. Built from original plans.
      Bob

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      • #4
        Not often moved but..... WOW mega impressed. I once made miniature furniture for 1/12th scale houses they looked ok but this is in another realm,

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        • #5
          As impressed as I was the first time I saw your work!!
          If marketing is the problem, have you tried renting a cabinet in a local antique center, they tend to sell anything collectable, and as long as you provide a suitable box to transport your pieces the damage problem should be out of your hands, just an idea but could be worth trying.

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          • #6
            Thanks for comments.
            Urbtaf. The problem is not selling them. The problem is that the EEC Distance Selling Rules make the seller 100% responsible for getting items delivered safely. They have also introduced the "coolong off" rule where a buyer, on receipt of item, can say they have changed their mind for any reason within a week. The seller then has to refund in full (including transport costs) even before the item is returned. The buyer still has no resposibility to return it, but simply to make it available for collection. No genuine buyer in the past has ever wanted to return one, but now the new rules are becoming more publicised, it would only be a matter of time before someone got one just for the sake of curiosity & then wanted to return it. Until these rules came in, couriers would insure items for loss or damage, but once the new rules came out, they changed their terms & conditions so that a lot of them will not accept insurance for works of art, whilst other would insure for "cost of materials only!" The cost of materials in my case is only a few pounds, but the finished value is hundreds. I now simply deliver them to the London saleroom twice a year & hope they sell. Normally they do, but the financial turmoil has had a bad effect - maybe it will improve before the next sale. Auction houses can still get realistic transit insurance because they handle large amounts of goods, but for "sole traders" such as myself, it is virtually imposible. It can be done, but the premiums for "sole traders" are almost the value of the item anyway & the new rules say that the seller cannot pass on the cost of transit insurance to the buyer. Result, my production has slowed cosiderably, I earn a lot less, the income tax gets a lot less cash from me & a lot of my "distant" regulars are left disappointed that I will not send them by courier anymore! There really is no solution, but I am fortunate that I am now close to retirment. One good thing that came from it is that the Income Tax have just refunded me quite a large amount of "overpaid" tax.
            They don't sell locally, because very few people in the UK actually know much about the sea these days & will refer to anything that floats as a "boat" (rather than a ship), even if it is quarter of a million tons! My best sales over the years were USA, Hong Kong, Greece & the Continent.
            Bob

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            • #7
              I just visited your blog - WOW! Fantastic work!
              Gail x

              My Blog: http://gailburtonart.blogspot.com/

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              • #8
                I have to say that model is simply stunning. I've always loved all things nautical and think it's sad that you aren't able to sell much in the UK.

                It's such a shame that regulations are continuing to make things harder for sole traders and small businesses. Do not despair, the current world financial crisis will not last forever. Sorry things are so tough for you now though.

                Elinor
                x
                Elinor
                x

                My Misi page
                Follow me on Twitter

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                • #9
                  Hi Elinor,
                  Selling is not really the problem, it is the safe delivery. Although it doesn't take me long to build them, about a month each, I still don't want to risk them being damaged or lost knowing that I as the builder can no longer obtain transit insurance & it is me that pay the bill for anything lost or damaged. They will never change the regulations now. I see that a few of the couriers are now getting into difficulties because they will no longer offer realistic transit liability. I really wonder why the EEC does not force some code of care onto the couriers, i.e. if they lose or damage anything, they should be made to pay up, but they seem to be exempt from the rules that bear down on the rest of us sole traders.
                  Bob

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                  • #10
                    Hi Bob,

                    Couriers do not seem to care about items that they carry. Royal Mail is pretty good at coughing up if they have damaged anything, providing you have paid the insurance. But once items leave the UK all the couriers involved seem to be exempt from responsibility for care of the parcels. It's a miracle anything does turn up where it is supposed to. I recently posted some things I sold on ebay to the USA and the parcel was tracked. It made it to the US and then went back and forth 3 times between the same 2 cities before eventually making it to its intended destination. During this time I was informed it was being returned to me, then the recipient emailed me to say it had arrived, very battered but still in one piece, just.

                    Anyway, you have a wonderful skill and make beautiful models, I hope you can continue to do so.

                    Elinor
                    Elinor
                    x

                    My Misi page
                    Follow me on Twitter

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                    • #11
                      Hi Bob,
                      I really hope a solution of some sorts comes along soon, it would be a great shame if people with your excellence in crafting stopped!

                      I love your work, I wish you luck
                      Sarah

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                      • #12
                        Hi Elinor & Sarah,
                        Thanks. I will not stop building them, because my main reason is the pleasure that I get from doing just that. As long as the London sales pick up again, it will be OK. It is only recently that the Royal Mail changed their rules on compensation. They will now only pay out on cost of materials, not the market value. Someone actually took them to court over this issue & won the case, but RM will still not change the rules. Not many people would risk taking them to court for small value items & they probably realise this. Not that they were ever any good for delivery of fragile items like ship models. The only solution to the problem for all of us is that the EEC make couriers responsible for goods in their care. I have always found couriers quite good with only five or six models damaged out of over 200 sent out over the years. But I think fraudulent claims have increased since it became more commonly known that the seller is totally responsible for goods damaged in transit. According to Ebay users, there has been a sharp increase in buyers claiming that items never reached them & getting refunds since these EEC rules came in.
                        Bob

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                        • #13
                          Sadly alot of buyers are exploiting the distance selling regulations 2000 , this was one of the reason I shut my shop on ebay at the start of the year.
                          Such a shame as your models are fanstastic,have you looked into sending by a smaller courier firm , a few of the smaller firms near us will wait while the buyer opens and checks the goods and only if they are satisfied their goods have reached them in good condition are they asked to sign
                          sadly the cooling off period has been in place since 2000, you must therefore stipulate in your returns policy that goods need to be returned to you.
                          Wish you lots of luck and glad to see that despite it all you are still enjoying what you do


                          I have included a link for anybody not familiar with DSR's ( distance selling regs)
                          http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_res...g-regulations/
                          Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes CAN change your life !!

                          my website http://www.ticketyboo-jewellery.co.uk
                          my misi shop http://ticketyboo.misi.me.uk
                          my blog http://ticketyboojewellery.blogspot.com/



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                          • #14
                            Hi Becky,
                            Thanks for reply. I feel you are right, the rules have caused fraudlent claims to escalate. Small couriers will not normally insure works of art anymore. Although some couriers will wait for a parcel to be opened, I suppose it all depends on the driver. But even so, it does not help if it is damaged if it is not insured. Although the coolling off period started in 2000, it never affected me because I din't even know about it until recently and during that time, no-one wanted to return anything anyway. Because of my age, I am now in the happy position of being able to let is all "wash over me." I will not participate in distance selling at all. If anyone wants one, they must collect in person. This has reduced sales of course, but my expenses have also gone down and the amount of income tax I pay has also gone down, also the amount of paperwork spent on accounts & records has also reduced by a fair amount. Now in my 65th year, my tax allowances have increased considerably & I will shortly be able to add the OAP to my incomings.
                            From now on, I am building for pleasure more than anything else, but a lot of my regulars overseas are not too happy about it.
                            Bob

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                            • #15
                              I too have seen your ships before - there is no question about it they are beautiful and this one is up to your usual standard.
                              If we lived in an ideal world you could sell several at the same time in, say, Spain and combine courier and holiday therefore solving your problem but that ideal world is a long way off I fear. I do hope things pick up for you. Do enjoy your retirement, it's not so bad. At least you get a lay-in in the mornings.
                              Carol
                              God helps them that help themselves.

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