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Scot

eBay and Used PCs

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Quick reply about negative feedback's effects for buyers: If you have less than 96% feedback (for some sellers it's less than 98%) as a relatively new buyer, many sellers will refuse to sell to you or may require you to send them information about yourself before they accept your bid. If an auction ends with no buyer, you may also be passed over by a seller who is contacting bidders after the fact. -- Scot
So make sure you do good business as both a seller and a buyer and you should get positive ratings.
Sellers may also not take you seriously if you email them for information in advance of the close of the auction.One of the obvious tips I'm not sure if we've said is: Read the auction thoroughly before bidding.
It's generally too late to ask questions AFTER the auction. The books I am reading both recommend that if you have any questions, ask them prior to bidding. Otherwise, you may wind up owning something that doesn't meet your needs. And if you bail on sale, that is a sure way to get a negtavie on your record and get banned from other auctions.

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Let me post a bit about my e-bay experience.....I have a feedback right now of 14, which is not high, but I have not received feedback from a few individuals. I have also sold several small items, with no problems. My most recent large purchase was my car. Before I bid or anything, I e-mailed the seller quite a few times with questions. Even after receiving the car, there was a problem- the CD player that was in the car did not work. The seller and I are butting heads somewhat over how to resolve the issue, because he advertised the car as "runs and drives 100%." He did offer me free reprogramming for the replacement (GM hardcodes the VIN of the car into the radio for security purposes), but he does not want to pay anything to have it done. I am waiting for him to respond to my e-mail right now.Bottom Line- buying vehicles on ebay can be somewhat a hit or miss affair. COmputers are not as expensive as a car, but the same thing applies as with car auctions. I have several rules for when I bid on a high ticket item....1. Pictures that show you clearly what you are getting, and not pics that are canned product images from the prduct webpage. With actual pics of the merchandise, you know exactly what you are getting, and what condition it is in. In the case of high dollar items (computers and up), the more pics the better.2. Description. I like to see a simple, understandable description that outlines exactly what you are getting, what payment options are, what shipping is, etc.3. Reasonable shipping rates that are clearly defined. 4. Feedback rating (seller) that is 99% positive or better. No negative or neutral feedback in the last 6 months.Final note on this rambling post-If you start to have problems with the other party in a transaction, use Squaretrade to help resolve the situation. Above all, be civil. Stress to the other party that you are simply trying to resolve the dispute, and want to walk away satisfied.-------------------I hope this helps someone out there. ;)

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I know it has been a few weeks, but I read ibe's link with great interest.A related question- does anyone here have any experience with selling on half.com?

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Scot mentioned missing that last bid on occasion.  Has anyone tried one (or more) of the software products I've seen offered that help you keep up on items you've bid on?  Do they work as advertised?
I used Bidwatcher recently to do a snipe bid. Bidwatcher used to work for windows, but ebay made some changes and now only the Linux version works.The snipe bid worked, but I probably didn't even need it, since I was the only one to bid on the auction. The snipe bid is currently set up to go out 10 seconds before the end of the auction. It can be adjusted. Bidwatcher monitors ebay items without using a browser, so you aren't slowed down by all the non-essentials. This is quite helpful for someone on dial-up. The Bidwatcher program did seem to freeze up 5min away from the deadline, so I might need to adjust the refresh rate at that time period. It did get the bid out, but left me in the dark as to what was going on. I suspect that dial-up had a part in that.

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:'( Ebay, addicting, is it ever. Since I started building computers as a sideline/hobby I have purchased all my components case included on Ebay. I have only encountered two mishaps one being the USPS crushed a case, which the seller promptly replaced with one of my choice from their inventory the other was a purchase of some RAM (ED0) which I have yet to find a mainboard that I can use it on. A local computer shop told me that the mainboards that use that type of RAM are not made anymore. Things that I have learned are that you can on occassion receive emails from third party persons telling you that they have the same item you are bidding on at less that what it was listed at ... watch out ... put that email in the trash. Another thing to watch for is the Dutch auctions, you can get some reallllly good deals there, especially in the barebones computer auctions. Also look out for shipping charges on the larger items $45.00 or more is a bunch no matter how long you look at it.

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One thing I didn't see mentioned here is looking at whether the shipping costs are reasonable. It says something about how the seller prices and runs his/her operation. Some sellers sell a little lower and jack up the shipping charge. Others are just plain exorbitant no matter what the price. Sometimes with computer goodies, I wonder if a charge of $35 or so is a tip-off the seller is a regular store, the kind that advertises in the NY Times and charges high shipping. In any event, $30 and up for a 15-17" LCD monitor is normally way too high. etc. Reasonable shipping charges not only make the item more attractive, they create a good feeling about dealing with that seller.Gene

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:whistling: In response to genegolds' comment about shipping, I currently have a bid in on a "brand new" still in the box 17" flat screen CRT monitor. The seller (this is the first time I have seen this too) provided the weight of the unit and the H, W and L of the box and then links to UPS and FedEx so that the shipping cost could be calculated. The only drawback is that the shipper did not provide his/her zip code so a little hunting through the USPS web site to get a zip code was necessary. In the end the shipping cost from a rough ball park zip code for Hollywood FL to my location in CA was rounded off to $40.00 as the next highest dollar. This is also in the same general amount as I have paid for other items from the FL area. <_<

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:D    In response to genegolds' comment about shipping, I currently have a bid in on a "brand new" still in the box 17" flat screen CRT monitor... the shipping cost from a rough ball park zip code for Hollywood FL to my location in CA was rounded off to $40.00 as the next highest dollar. This is also in the same general amount as I have paid for other items from the FL area. :)
Longone, I'm not clear what your point is. It left me ondering if you're not confusing the idea of flat screen CRT with a flat panel LCD. In any event, 15-17" LCD monitors these days usually weigh under 10 lbs, sometimes well under. A 17" CRT, flat screen or not, typically comes in at 40-50 lbs or more packaged. For an individual seller (vs. a company with volume shipping rates), $40 may be very reasonable (a 40 lb package NY to LA ground is $40). However, $6 is not reasonable for a single-CD copy of Norton Firewall with or without manual, or for a several ounce pack of Norelco shaver heads. And $35 seems exorbitant for a 10-lb LCD monitor package that comes via UPS ground, whether from Florida or elsewhere.

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Don't forget that you are not paying just for SHIPPING. There is also the HANDLING component (S&H, right?). It takes time and materials to properly pack something. There might also be insurance charges.

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genegold: I do not have CRT and LCD confused, not at all. The point or subject was that as you stated the $40.00 charge for the 39 pound box was not unreasonable. Also as you stated the $6.00 fee for a single Norton CD is way out of line, considering that I just received from FreeSoftwareCDR the 6 CD version of RH9.0 and the postage on the shipping box was $1.35. But for sure I agree with you on some of the shipping prices being way out of line in regard to type of packaging and distance sent.

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Ebay and the entire mail- order field in general are notorious for this. It comes down to an argument over whether the seller is an individual or a business, applying standard business practices in the shipping area. Many do charge 'handling', materials costs, etc. 99 times out of 100, that is a deal- killer for me. Exorbitant shipping costs are one of the natural checks and balances that have been in action over many years, and are the reason why mail order never totally killed off the 'brick and mortar' local, physical stores. Often, a calculation will show that a particular deal is actually more expensive than going shopping for your item locally and paying state sales tax. Just as an example, when I still bothered to follow the RAM stick auctions on Ebay, I quickly learned that I was looking at used merchandise at times, and it was not always clear whether an offering was new, NOS (new old stiock = surplus), or used. At my local Best Buy and Comp USA, there are fairly regular sales on these items, and I get a discounted, new RAM stick with a full warranty which is cheaper even after tax. This is an area where Ebay only seems to be really useful if you want smaller memory (64M, 32M) or older memory, which is very high priced in the stores because it is no longer popular, high volume stuff.

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NY TimesDecember 21, 2003Now You Can Leave the eBay Selling to ThemBy KAREN ALEXANDER When Marc Strohlein bought a mountain bicycle a few years ago, he put his old racing bike in the garage and forgot about it. It languished there until recently, when he noticed a highway billboard in the heart of Silicon Valley offering a tempting proposition: "You drop it off. We sell it on eBay."So, on the day before Thanksgiving, Mr. Strohlein, 49, a market research analyst from El Granada, Calif., packed the racing bike into his sport utility vehicle and hauled it to AuctionDrop Inc. in San Carlos, Calif. The company is one of a handful of new businesses that will take in a customer's merchandise, photograph it, post it on eBay, the Internet auction site, then ship it to the winning bidder. (Customers drop off the merchandise themselves.) Entrepreneurs both large and small are betting on this business model. In recent months, the companies have set up more than a dozen consignment operations, from California to Alabama, specifically to take in merchandise to sell on eBay. They offer an old-fashioned storefront approach to the global, high-tech marketplace of Internet auctions. Some have aspirations of becoming national enterprises.Others in the business offer these services on their own from their homes. An estimated 30,000 people do so through eBay's trading assistants program, which is now two years old. (The site is pages.ebay.com/ sellercentral/formstools.html; click on "trading assistants.")Sell your stuff on eBay through a proxy

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Don't forget that you are not paying just for SHIPPING.  There is also the HANDLING component (S&H, right?).  It takes time and materials to properly pack something.  There might also be insurance charges.
Yes, there are certain kinds of items where handling can a time-consuming matter. But in dealing with computers and related, that's mostly not the case. I mean, how much does it take in time and materials to package a brand new monitor in its sealed factory box? Or a Norton CD? There's a guy who's been listing a bunch of a well reviewed new Viewsonic 17" LCD monitors in box that charges $60 shipping (USPS) or $39 "order processing fee" if you pick it up directly. As Cluttermagnet points out, these sorts of practices tend to drive good customers away and sour the whole process. I've sometimes politely asked sellers like this about it, and they invariably respond somewhere between insistent and belligerent.

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After a while, you develop a good sixth sense about Ebay offerings. It is usually easy to figure out who is an individual seller, who is a legitimate business, and who is an individual posing as a business. Many sellers gouge just shamelessly. You need to develop a sense of what is fair and reasonable for shipping. This can vary considerably between private individuals and businesses, but it is a well- known fact that many sellers are gouging on shipping. You think you got a good deal, a nice low price on your item, but if you didn't bother to carefully read all the fine print including shipping info, the seller can pull virtually anything on you and you have no choice but to go along with it, no matter how unreasonable. Fail to do so, and you are in violation of the rules of that particular auction, which are pretty much whatever that seller decides they are. Such rules are usually written down, but you will be amazed just how many sellers don't spell out what the shipping is going to cost, or more important, what rules and fees are to be applied in making that calculation. So caveat emptor- beware- at the selling rules level, as well as regards the condition and value of the auction item.I have seen a lot of items with a 10 dollar shipping charge for tiny, lightweight items. Say a 64M PC100 RAM strip. Opening bid is 5 dollars, and you might even get it for that. Then you see in the fine print there is going to be a 10 dollar shipping charge. Move on. Don't get suckered. You always need to weigh the shipping charges in any value calculations you are making. How many times have I seen rookies getting stung in auctions such as this RAM item. Be aware that many sellers are actually making it on their outrageously inflated shipping fees, not on the final price on their items. Win their auction, you are going to pay that fee. Fail to do so and you get negative feedback. Not the end of the world, but not a good thing either. Ebay is overall a seller's venue. The rules are heavily weighted in favor of sellers, which are the lifeblood of Ebay. Oh yes, they have rules that protect you, the buyer, but on Ebay the seller definitely reigns supreme and is accorded a lot more protections than you are. Including the right to even overcharge outrageously on shipping to make up for an artificially low asking price on their items. Lots of newbies and suckers fall for this every day of the week. You must know the value of what you bid on and what is a fair and reasonable and customary shipping charge on such items.

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I just brought a digital camera battery on eBay. Weighs 26 grams (just about 1 oz). Battery cost $10.99. I paid $2.50 S&H! Seller advertised that he didn't rip people off with high shipping fees, which encouaged me to buy from him. While looking across the net for this battery, I came across a large number of sites that were charging between $5.99 - $10.49! for S&H on the same battery and the battery cost ranged between $12.99 - $32.99! It pays to check eBay before buying ANYTHING...

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I just brought a digital camera battery on eBay.  Weighs 26 grams (just about 1 oz).  Battery cost $10.99.  I paid $2.50 S&H!  Seller advertised that he didn't rip people off with high shipping fees, which encouaged me to buy from him.  While looking across the net for this battery, I came across a large number of sites that were charging between $5.99 - $10.49! for S&H on the same battery and the battery cost ranged between $12.99 - $32.99!  It pays to check eBay before buying ANYTHING...
Good going. The educated buyer gets some good bargains on Ebay. I am one of those sellers who don't gouge on shipping. Haven't been active for a while, but when I was, I gave my buyers a break, usually charging my actual shipping payout and nothing else. (i.e. free shipping materials, free packing, free 'handling') There are plenty of private sellers on Ebay who are a pleasure to deal with and sometimes have some really good deals. >_< Happy holidays all! And have a great 2004.

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Woah! Look at the date on Cluttermagnet's last post there! :lol:Guess it's never too late to pull up a good thread - especially a gem like this one B)

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I've only ever bought one thing off of eBay: A seven-year-old adapter to hook my computer up to my television screen, still in its nice shrinkwrapped box. Seller accidentally shipped the wrong thing, but fixed that soon enough and it arrived with absolutely perfect timing, right when I needed it most. I love the thing (it's a TView Micro, one of the old ones that only does 640x480). Works great with my laptop, because even though it has the same thing integrated the external one works with Linux as well :sweatingbullets: Couldn't be happier.

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Since this thread was started I wound up having a very bad experience with an unscrupulous seller who was using a different eBay ID than his original one (which had thousands of transactions). I won't go into the details, but this guy sold me a clearly, obviously used LCD display advertised as "New In Box." There was dust, fingerprints, and even spittle from coughing on the LCD as well as several dead pixels. The serial number and manufacture date both indicated to me that it was over a year old. And I have bought several of this exact same item, and could tell that the packing on the inside wasn't original.Long story short, we agreed to an amount that he would return to me from the sale, that was in the 15-20% range. The unit was dropped shipped to me "from his supplier." And he had been great in pre-sale email, so I thought I'd cut him a break. Foolish on my part. I should have boxed up the unit and sent it right back. In the end, after almost two months of emails, he reneged on giving me a partial refund. It was all his supplier's fault. He shouldn't have to pay for his supplier's mistake. Unethical. I didn't buy it from his supplier; I bought it from him. He should stand behind his sale.In the end, we ended up swapping negative feedback. The thing I was trying to avoid. He immediately made his feedback private. If you ever see someone with private feedback as a seller, probably not a good plan to buy from them. His negative feedback to me was nasty, a character assassination, and aimed at nothing more than discrediting me any way he could -- never mind the truth.At almost the same time, I had another very different problem. I bought another LCD -- this one a lot more expensive, from another seller. This was just a guy, not someone with a lot of sales on eBay. He sent me exactly what he advertised, and I was (and am) fully satisfied with my purchase. The problem was that PayPal was not satisfied for reasons PayPal never explained to me (apparently to protect his privacy??). PayPal can be stoopid sometimes. What happened, though, was that PayPal refused to send him my payment. They had taken it out of my account, but refused to fund his account with it.This was actually one of the bigger purchases I've ever made on eBay, over $1,500. And I felt bad for the guy, so I called PayPal three times and also wrote them vouching for him and his sale to me. It took over a month for him to finally get paid. In the end, he did. But no matter what PayPal's beef was with this guy -- unless the monitor was hot -- they had no right to hold up his payment. In talking to PayPal reps several times, the story they told me did not imply that the item had been stolen. The problem had to do with a previous transaction, that was also not based on a complaint by a buyer, but was something PayPal was just checking out. Basically, they froze his account on a suspicion.Doesn't seem to me to be the way things should work.I still buy on eBay, but those two experiences coming back to back have cooled my jets a bit on the whole thing. I've also found that I can find cheaper prices elswhere for some items. EBay isn't always a deal. It's still something I check and consider though. I know my way around.Also, despite my earlier comments against sniping, I've changed my tune about that. There are so many idiot buyers out there and it's just not worth the hassle. I use a service called AuctionSniper. It's worked very well for me. They charge a small percentage when you win an auction, and nothing when you don't. There are many others like AuctionSniper, as well as programs that do the same.-- Scot

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Wow, thanks for the story! It's too bad the way that some things turn out. Fortunately, if you look closely, you can sometimes tell which "negative" feedbacks are nothing more than blasphemous, but it still subtracts from your overall percentage.

Edited by epp_b

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I've gone right off eBay, I can get pc parts a lot cheaper and faster from a local supplier. Used computers are also so cheap now and if I need one in a hurry I have a good ex-lease supplier who is cheap and ships the same day. A few years ago eBay was good but I find it's too risky now and also very slow as I can get parts delivered the next day from other suppliers.

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I've gone right off eBay, I can get pc parts a lot cheaper and faster from a local supplier. Used computers are also so cheap now and if I need one in a hurry I have a good ex-lease supplier who is cheap and ships the same day. A few years ago eBay was good but I find it's too risky now and also very slow as I can get parts delivered the next day from other suppliers.
There is only one computer item that I will buy on Ebay anymore and that would be RDRam. Even then, I'm very careful to check out pictures, feedback, background of those giving the feedback and emailing difficult questions to see if there's an inteligent human on the other side. There's a reason why some items are too cheap. The problem with buying computer parts on Ebay is that there is usually some type of flaw that you don't find out about til years down the road or months. I bought a case w/psu that looked like a good deal but not too good. Later, I find out that the PSU had been opened and tampered with. I figured that one out after the PSU died. I ended up paying more for a new PSU than I did for the case to begin with. I just wasn't paying attention when I bought my motherboard. The price was great at around $30. Then, I realized my DIMMs wouldn't work in it because it was a Rambus board. No problem, I'll buy some RDRam. You could only buy them in pairs at the store and they weren't exactly affordable. So, to make a long story short, I went on ebay to try to save money and the only time I did save money was when I bought a 256MB stick of RDRam that if I had been paying attention, I could have been paying less for DDR. There is a good internet computer parts store that has a warehouse 2 hours away from me and their prices are excellent. My next computer will probably be pieced together from parts from them. Of course, I may live another 5 hours away by then.

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:D :whistling: ....AAhhh... it's good to know I'm not the only one who has had some bad experiences on ebay.... my most recent 3 are an item for my RV (the box said one thing but the actual item was completely different) that one was resolved to my complete satisfaction,,, the other two were mainboards, one was an ECS that had a bios battery, and come to find out it was a "pull", had it checked and it is good, the other was a PCChips which I have had good luck with in the past ... this one was NIB still sealed, never been opened, anti-static bag still mfgr sealed.... "NIB" severall years ago,,, it was out of mfgr warranty, the seller basicially said to bad,,, needless to say I'm not as big on ebay as I used to be

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What's your experience with eBay (or similar services, Craig's List, whatever) with buying or selling computer products? ...What I've found is that eBay is a little addictive, and also you can get one helluva bargain (doh!) if you know about the products in question. I've learned a lot.-- Scot
Scot, et al,Well, there has been no feedback on theis topic since 2006 so, maybe the problems for others have leveled out.I have been buying and selling on eBay.com (US) since 2000 and on eBay.de (Germany) since 2001, using either depending on where I am at the moment. Battle stories, the same as most of the earlier reponders - defective equipment sold as operating, no delivery (when buying from a foreign country), addiction.One tip - don't think that you will be able to buy and then resell for a profit. Especially since 2008. The bottom has dropped out of the market for used equipment and there are so many other people trying to do the same.I pretty much have bought equipment for my own use, trying to keep a representative variety for testing software. All laptops, though I will add the caveat that I use them in my home office with 19" monitors and external mouse and keyboard. My speciality has been Compaq since the first PCs came on the market in 1980. The only computer I ever bought brand new from a computer store was a 2-floppy IBM PC from ComputerLand.The models I have bought since 2002 used mostly the same interchangeable parts (a reason I like the Compaqs is the MultiBay for secondary drives). While a laptop that I may buy usually will be sold with a HDD, it is rarely of any real size and I always immediately buy a new HDD of as large a capacity as I can afford (160GB IDE 2.5" these days) from a store that I can take the HDD back to in case of problems.Operating systems are the biggest problem. Microsoft has made it impossible in the US to buy the OEM Quick Restore CDs on eBay even though every Compaq was originally sold with the CDs. Most of the laptops in the US have come back from leases to businesses and noone has the original CDs. I have found the CDs over the years, but usually on eBay outside the US, including from the UK and in Germany (where you can get them in German or English).I finally gave up on reselling because the prices dropped off and because of the complaints from buyers - why didn't you say that the CMOS battery was dead (it was dead when I bought it and noone said anything), why do you charge so much more than the postage for shipping (because my time preparing it for shipping has value as well), etc.I still look once a month at what is being sold on eBay, but I also check the ads for Fry's and go to Best Buys (when I am in the US) to check selection and prices.Words to the wise? - buyer beware and know your product (and have a stock of spare parts as well).-Mac-

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