eBay gotchas

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by maxvamp, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. maxvamp macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2002
    Somewhere out there
    Hello all...

    I wanted to get a bit of feedback on peoples experience with eBay.

    I ask this have a long, good track record of buying stuff from eBay, but what I buy is usually vintage video stuff. I did buy the TiBook 550 from them with good luck, but with the way the world works, I am curious about doing that again.

    Long and short, has anyone recently bought or sold powerbooks on eBay, and what was your experience.

    Are there any gotchas or glaring tip-offs that would make you suspect that an auctin is a fraud?

    Thx. in advance

  2. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Mar 7, 2003
    NJ USA
    When looking on ebay you have to remember to take you time. Don't quickly rush in and bid on something just to realize later that way down the page they said "broken LCD". Read everything in the auction listing. Twice. Check the seller's feedback and read some of the feedback.

    Send the seller an email (thru eBay's "ask a question") and flat out ask things like: "are there any functional issues with this computer?", "please describe any physical blemishes.", "are there any dead pixels?", "has this machine ever been dropped or damaged?" Don't be a pain but make sure you ask all the right questions.

    As for fraud, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Other things that tip me off is when they have specs incorrect like listing a 500mhz G4 iBook or when they use stock photos and not actual photos of the machine.

    There are good deals on eBay but you have to be very careful.
  3. ldburroughs macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2005
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Yes! Do not accept any second chance offers from anyone. It is simply not worth it as there will be other auctions to bid on. Take your time and bid responsibly. In fact, I wouldn't even reply to someone sending you a second chance offer. It is a complete waste of time and generally turns out to be a fraud (unless it is offered through eBay and even then, I would be cautious.)

    Also, do not try to buy from someone who is overseas. It's not the logistics, it is simply because you will not really save anything in the end once you paid for shipping and are a prime target for fraud.

    An example of what to avoid would be anyone requesting to do business outside of eBay. There is no need to do this and you will likely lose any money you send unless it is a protected transaction (first time bid winner) through paypal and eBay.

    I would not trust anyone that expects you to wire funds anywhere. If you do, you will have no recourse. The money is gone. Poof! You can't get it back.

    The word of affirmative advice I would offer is to bid on something from someone with positive feedback that is "fairly substantial." You can be the judge of that but I have found that you are less likely to be at the wrong end of a fraudulent transaction. If the person is relatively new, correspond and deal with them only through eBay. You log on in on your own. Don't click on a link they provide you to eBay or trust they are being honest. Protect yourself!

    Finally, if it seems to good to be true, it is! I would say probably but I have rarely seen a case where someone let their system go for anything that seems unreasonable. You can get great deals but if you think it is a steal, you may be right. Only the steal may be on the other end of the deal. Just be cautious.

    By the way, I bought my iBook on eBay a few weeks ago and was very fortunate to deal with a very respectable seller. It was his personal iBook and I won the auction fair and square, no second chance offer win. In the process of trying to buy an iBook I was offered tons of second chance offers from shady people all over the world. One wanted me to send the money western union if she would bring the item to the European version of FedEx on consignment. When I followed up with the shipping company they sent a response that said they had no record of the transaction, they didn't do business that way, and it was a phony.

    Hope this long response is of some help to you. Please be careful! You can have a really positive experience like I ended up having with my seller or you can get scammed out of a thousand or more dollars in the process with absolutely no recourse.
  4. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    A little 'trick' you might try is to send the seller a question, and ask if he will accept local pickup. Generally legitimate sellers with honest auctions don't object to local pickup, since they don't mind the buyer checking out the item before handing over the cash.

    This is of course after you've followed all the other advice above.

    Personally, I don't think it's too hard to get a sense of how good a listing is by reading it over carefully. Are there a lot of good, sharp pictures? Is the item described in good detail? If so (and the seller has good feedback as both buyer and seller), then I generally find these to be good, honest auctions.

    I've bought and sold a lot of stuff on EBay myself. I have actually taken a chance on some 0 feedback sellers, because those auctions will typically go for less. Fortunately, I've never had any problems on EBay.
  5. Borjan macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2004
  6. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    I accepted a second chance offer once (for a camcorder) and it worked out great. The seller was a brick-and-mortar electronics dealer and authorized reseller of a few brands based in Texas with a website, a physical address, phone numbers and real names associated with the company. They were attentive in their email correspondence. I had "lost" the auction for a certain item but I was the second-highest bidder, so the second chance offer was for me to buy an identical item for what my highest bid amount was. I'm glad I bought it from them because they are an authorized dealer, and when I needed warranty work done I was covered because of that.

    On a different subject, as a seller I would stay far, far away from a buyer who asks for guarantees. I identify any flaws in whatever I'm selling and describe them in my listings, but if a potential buyer asks for ridiculous specifics they're signaling that they're going to give you a lot of trouble after the sale if they end up winning the auction. This is another reason why "buy it now" is a risky thing to offer, besides the Nigerian folks who click "buy it now" and waste your time with fake cashier's checks, which has also happened to me. You don't lose money over the Nigerian deals because eBay refunds you your listing and final value fees, but it takes a while to go through that process and of course another week goes by before you can get a real buyer.
  7. maxvamp thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2002
    Somewhere out there
    I am noticing a swarm of stolen eBay seller accounts selling PowerBooks. After emailing the sellers ( through eBay's system ) I am quickly realizing that this is dangerous territory.

    I think I'll back off for right now.

    Thx all,

  8. sandman42 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    Be wary of second chance offers. A friend of mine (not AFOAF, but someone I actually know) recently 'lost' an auction then was contacted by the seller, who said that the 'winner' flaked out and wanted to know if my friend would like to buy the item for his max bid.

    Turns out, after some not very difficult research, that the seller and the 'winner' had had quite a few transactions, and that they were in cahoots to illegitimately run the bid price up to discover legitimate bidders' maximums. Then try to sell for that price (rather than a legitimate, 'natural' bid price).

    One giveaway was that despite the allegedly 'failed' transaction, the 'buyer' and seller left each other positive feedback!

    In this case my friend confronted the seller, who eventually admitted the scam! The seller had a song and dance about why he felt he was justified doing this in this instance, but couldn't explain why it appeared to be a pattern of behavior. My friend reported him to eBay.

    The only thing deterring people from doing this is that the seller is still responsible for eBay's commission even in the case of a 'fake' sale, and is just plain out that money if the victim (second chance buyer) doesn't bite. Somehow I think this isn't a big deterrent, as the money they do make when they run the bid up to the max probably makes it worth it.

    Frankly, I think the 'second chance' option was a bad idea on eBay's part.
  9. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    General Advice...use common sense.

    For frequent ebayers this should come natural. Buy only from U.S. sellers with a consistent and high feed back rating. Note how long they have been a member of ebay. Do they offer insurance on shipping. If not ask why any seller would risk shipping such an expensive item with out it. Can you pay through pay pal via credit card? This offers many buyers fraud protection both through paypal and usually their respective credit card issuers. Is the price reasonable? Do keep in mind if your only saving a hundred bucks or less factoring shipping and ect...then you are often times better off to buy directly through apple. I Noticed with my edu discount many ebay sellers are way off target with what I can pay from directly buying from apple even with tax included.

    Also, do not be afraid to ask for actual pictures of the product, this should be a given considering how much you are spending, and a partial reveal of the serial number is a good way to weed out many fraudulent sellers. Be highly suspicous of any sad stories...like this was purchashed by my church and now we really cannot afford it and need money badley. Good luck and bid smartley and only after some research on your part...because after all if you loose your money how long will you then have to wait to save up to buy a computer again......be well informed and do not take any unecessary risk.
  10. Rod Rod macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    I agree. That's a messed up scenario you described, and the seller and shill were just stupid. The seller could have gotten their fees refunded by saying the buyer refused to pay for the item / complete the transaction, but I guess it was worth 5 or 10 bucks for them to also exchange shill feedback.

    I suppose the way it worked out for me is how eBay ostensibly intended it. Anyhow, it's been 9 months since I bought the camcorder from them, and they're offering it off their website for over $200 more than what I paid for the item, so I figure I got a good deal.
  11. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2005
    About 'Second Chance Offers'
    I often email the bidders if the buyer backs out or if the reserve price wasn't met simply because I want to get the item sold. Also, one time I had been planning to bid on an item on ebay once, and had been waiting until the last day to place my bid (although there were already a few bids). The seller ended the auction early, so I never bid; I emailed him said I was interested if the other one didn't go through. We ended up making a deal and it worked perfectly.

    However, it is always best to be on your guard :)
  12. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I agree. I sell all my Macs on eBay when I am upgrading to a newer one. I would love for people to come pick up the Mac (and one has before) because I hate shipping it. Something about the Mac being in other peoples hands for several days worries me. I usually offer the person half off shipping if they pick it up (just charge them for the time I wait at home for them to show up......had to wait several hours and take a day off of work when I sold my iMac G4 17").
    Another tip.....check their feedback and their other auctions. Be weary of someone who has tons of listings for very cheap things and then is selling something expensive for a lot cheaper than everyone else. Stay away from those who want money/bank transfers. And always make sure you get insurance when they ship th eitem.
  13. Piarco macrumors 68030


    Jun 24, 2004
    I bought my first PB on ebay in November, and although I was very apprehensive about it, the guy was completely genuine, and it was exactly as he describe - new & unopened in the box. He insisted I opened it up to check if I was happy before accepting the cash.
    Since then I've sold that first PB and its replacement, and both deals have gone well.
    Most sellers in the UK seem to be genuine, with the fraudsters moving to the iMacs for some reason.
    I was recently bidding on an iMac and missed out (which was a good thing as I bought mootpoint's iMac from the boards here!) and I've been contacted by two completely different people offering a "second chance" offer.
    The first person had done a half decent job of immitating the official second chance offer email, but instead of there being a link to the official listing on ebay, it was a link to the persons email address so you could tell them you wanted it.
    The second person used the same idea, but was so lazy he'd just cut'n'pasted a second chance offer page into the email and edited it from there!
    W*nkers. I definately responded in kind to both of them...

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