I really enjoy messing around on Ebay. I don't get anything expensive, but if I find something I like, I'll bid on it. I run into this problem a lot, and I'm trying to think of a nice way to phrase it.
Ebay is an international site, so a lot of the sellers don't use English as their first language. I have no problem with this, until it gets to the point where I can't understand what they mean. If it's just spelling or grammar issues, I read the message, translate it all in my head, and move on accordingly. In fact, I'm slightly impressed because I know how much I would fail if I had to say, speak Chinese or French in order to buy these items. I would be going directly from a translator.
It's when I can't understand the message that I get a bit concerned. Today I won the bid for a painting for my BF's Christmas present. It's cute, and I really like it. I got an email offering some form of mounting for it at a (admittedly very small) aditional cost. But I honestly couldn't understand *what* kind of mounting it was. I couldn't figure out how I should respond, and I didn't want to ignore the message and just pay for my item as is.
I didn't want to say that I couldn't understand what they were asking (the entire message honestly was so choppy that it was almost impossible to read.) or even go the more rude route I've heard so often. So I responded asking if they had picture examples of the mounting with other paintings (they sell a lot of paintings, and the mounting is offered for each one) so that I could make the decision better. I thought maybe if I could see a picture of what sort of mounting it was, I would understand better.
Is there another way to do this? In person, I will ask for people to clarify, but that's because I rarely understand speech without reading lips anyway (I have perfect hearing, but when watching movies I have to have subtitles. I don't talk on the phone often because I have to have people repeat slower so often.) so I don't feel as rude doing it. But is there an etiquette-approved way to handle situations like this over the internet?