is it safe to buy on ebay?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macfellow :), Nov 1, 2010.

  1. macfellow :) macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2010
    is it safe to buy on ebay im asking this for any kind of macbook, ipad, or imac. Should i just go by someones feedback and hope for the best or just look for the best deal?
  2. jlwilsonjr macrumors member

    May 24, 2008
    Murfreesboro Ar
    I've bought many things on bay and never had a problem. I just bought a used mac mini off of bay today so we will see how my lck goes.
  3. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Hope is not a strategy.
    Need I say more?

    Never buy from anyone with "low" feedback. For "normal" sellers, ie less than 500 feedback, I would say anything below 90-95% should make you pause. For "power sellers", I would stick to 98% percent or better. But wait, there's more. Go to their feedback page and browse for negative feedback. If you see even one or two "took too long to ship", or "hard to reach by phone or email" consider looking elsewhere.

    Use Paypal. It allows you to claim a refund if you get a box full of dog poo instead of the iPad you paid for. Never wire money. Never mail money. Don't use a "proxy" service. Paypal is a legit proxy service. Sellers generally don't get paid until delivery is confirmed or you leave + feedback.

    Avoid Bidding wars
    Don't overpay. Don't sit there watching auctions that are about to end. Place your bid and go do something else. You don't need the item. You don't need the item. You don't need the item. If you don't believe you don't need the item, don't start bidding or you'll find yourself paying $89,895 for a $500 iPad in a bidding war.

    Completed Listings search
    Use "completed listings only" to search for your item to find out what people are really paying. Prices in red are items that failed to sell. Prices in green are items that sold. If all the prices in green are more than the money you have on hand, you will have to "get lucky" to get your item. More likely, you will wind up paying a scammer using a low price to lure you in. Be prepared to pay the average price in "completed listings" or walk away. You are not going to get an iPad for 50 cents from a seller in the Russian Federation who asks for a wire transfer and says "trust me".

    Lay the groundwork
    Make sure you are ready to bid. Many sellers require a "confirmed" paypal address. This is defined as the same address as the billing address for a credit card you have on file with paypal. Getting an address confirmed is slightly more complicated than the procedure for getting Israel to stop building settlements. Be prepared for a bureaucratic hassle to get a confirmed address set up with Paypal, but it is something you have to deal with for many ebay sellers.

    Address confusion/delivery confirmation
    Often, the USPS does auto fixup on shipping labels and in a few cases the address you want an item shipped to disagrees with what the USPS will allow. This makes it difficult for a seller to send you your stuff. Take some time on trying to send yourself a package so you can see what they think your address and zip code are. This will save you a lot of BS with missing packages, etc. If you are offered an option, have your item shipped by UPS which isn't subject to the same address silliness you sometimes get when shipping via Always pick a shipping method that offers delivery confirmation if the seller offers that option. If not, perhaps you need to buy from someone else. The reason I mention this here is you want to make sure your address is recognized by USPS before going through Paypal's Byzantine labyrinth to set it as your confirmed address only to have a seller email you that they can't ship to that address using USPS.

    Overseas Sellers
    Don't buy from sellers shipping from China. It takes 4 weeks for your expected item arrival and you are already approaching the end of your dispute window.

    If you find you are losing items every time, try a bid sniping service. It will place a bid for you within a few seconds of the end of the auction and you won't be subject to emotional rookies sitting there overbidding you.
  4. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    I agree with everything you say except this. I buy and sell frequently on eBay - however, I am NOT a Power Seller by any means (I have a feedback score of around 300, all 100% positive, so I'm one of those "normal" sellers you refer to). I am always paid instantly as soon as the buyer sends the funds. As a matter of fact, I would NEVER ship an item with the funds in my account, and I'm almost 100% sure that every other eBay seller would feel the same. If eBay ever changes to such a policy, that will be the end of me on eBay.

    Other than that tiny bit of info, I agree with you 100%! Great post! :D
  5. BIS2 macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2004

    I haven't bought a computer on Ebay but I have sold several. I have also looked at ones and considered buying them. Personally I would feel more comfortable buying from someone who is clearly an individual selling a personal computer (or who at least appears to be one as best as you can tell) vs a more impersonal appearing "store." But this is just me and I suppose it could be naive. Look at how they describe the computer, if they tell you how it was cared for, if they were the only owner, and if they as a "regular person" (as opposed to an ebay business) have good feedback (check if they've sold electronics before and what the feedback was). Ask them some specific questions about how they took care of it, what it was used for, etc. If they say is has a dent or scratch ask for closeups. Ultimately there isn't much you can do but do as much homework as possible and in the end trust your gut!
  6. ntrigue macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    I have several hundred feedback with 100% positive. The majority of what I sell is over $100. The issue comes in when people 'pad' their feedback with knick-knacks. In other words, don't buy from someone that sold 100 USB cables and for the first time is selling a Core i5 iMac.

    The two computers that I purchased on eBay have been issue free :)
  7. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    on ebay i would only buy if its really a cheap item and new (connector, cables spare parts)
    or i want to get surprised , means if i dont mind if i lose my money
    or i know the item , for example i would always bid on a eMac 1.42 , but never again on a iMac g5 or later unless its still covered by apple care

    the feedback is misleading for two reasons some leave it to early , others like some sellers force people to leave good feedback if you want a easy solution to your problem with the item ,
    most shops have less knowledge about what they sell then you

    and more and more people try to get rid of their Mac's if they know there is a problem coming up soon and they did not buy apple care getting rid of it before it gets expensive

    and you only got a chance to win a case if the seller really did say its working like new in perfect condition , if you want your money back after the Mac falls apart literally
  8. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    Often, for buying and selling, I use eBay. r0k's comments are good. For me, my 15" i5 mbp, 16gb iPad, ips monitor, and Dell i7 desktop were purchased from eBay. All of them are in great shape and function admirably. Overall, for those items, I have saved over $1000. Yes, there's a risk; so far, I have been extremely pleased.
  9. hamlin macrumors regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    If the seller doesnt have 98% + feedback and at least a couple hundred items sold I wouldn't buy it. Just make sure you read EVERYTHING on the items info page. It could say at the end (Item needs a a new....blah blah etc). Otherwise its pretty safe to purchase on ebay. most of the sellers are online stores. Ebay isn't really that much cheaper anymore.
  10. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008

    BTW, I forgot to mention that not all items are subject to this policy. I sold several cell phones on ebay and my money was held up until delivery was confirmed. Other items I have sold I got paid right away.

    I would expect expensive items like computers to be subject to this policy. This is why I probably won't sell one of my old Macs on ebay. I'd probably use Craigslist so I could meet the person and get paid cash on delivery. It also takes shipping out of the equation which saves everybody money.
  11. JayX macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2007
    I bought my first Macbook on eBay in 07, got a good price for it and found that the person I was buying it from lived in the same building on campus that I had a few years prior. I simply popped on the train, met him in the uni bar, he opened the box and proved it was brand new and did the first boot up and I gave him the cash.

    I'd stay away from things like chargers and batteries tho, they're most likely 3rd party tat that is usually incredibly low in quality. (Friend had a 99p iPod charger catch fire etc)
  12. Frank81 macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2016
    I just bought a cellphone on eBay that was supposed to be New but ended up beign Used. Seller was very suspicious so I ended up Claiming my money on Paypal. They had ME PAY THE RETURN SHIPPING !? I’m basically waisting time and money for NOTHING … Great Protection! I’ve been a customer of eBay for 10 years now with over 500 transactions, and I can tell you that the past few years this site as been rotting hard, there seems to be more and more crooks on that site because, obviously, eBay now protects crooks more then buyers. They make money on all the “illegal” transaction that are made so now it seems they rather take the money then keep customers … I hope people realize that and stop going there. (NO punishement for that seller other then negative feedback) Be very carefull !
  13. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Dunno about the "getting paid immediately" part.

    Here's what I got after a sale of an iPad 3 a few years ago with an activated AT&T unlimited data SIM. It fetched quite a nice price:

    While you establish a successful eBay sales history, you may not have access to your money for up to 21 days at [url removed]. You may get it sooner at [url removed], but it may take longer if your buyer reports a problem with the sale.

    And guess what? They made me wait the whole three weeks. The buyers were great though, no complaint there.

    I've been on eBay (since 1998) and have 100% positive feedback as a seller and buyer - but no more than 100 transactions total. Quite a few of them were for high value items. First time this ever happened to me.
  14. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    no, Ebay has turned into a den of scammers and crooks. Paypal protection helps, but the process is can be a real time sync.
  15. phillyboy82 macrumors regular


    Oct 27, 2015
    Not from Philly
    I've had one issue buying a Macbook on eBay in that it turned out it was stolen from a school district as part of larger heist and then disseminated to other third parties. That was fun. Everything else has been fine.

    OP - most sellers are honest on eBay especially those with stores that have a **** ton of feedback as they need to keep return rates low to qualify for lower seller fees. Personally I go for laptops that are put up by personal sellers with positive feedback, who took good pictures of the body of the machine, and don't speak in broken english.

    Usually the "too good to be true" ones are easy to spot, for me anyways.
  16. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    I purchased my rMB from a guy who had 1 feedback, who refused to put up actual pictures of the unit because he had already boxed it up. He neglected to mention that it had Applecare on it. As a result of these three things, hardly anyone bid on it and I won the auction very cheaply. I guess I got lucky. I love the machine. It is my second favorite Mac ever.
  17. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    I've been on eBay for 10 or 15 years, can't remember.

    Got extremely ticked off when they changed from lifetime feedback to only what's in last year or so.

    I praised myself for having over 300 transactions with two negatives by buyer who never paid.
    Now you have to look much closer at their feedback history.
  18. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    eBay was a very different business some 6 years before your post, your observation is pretty nuts-on but old news today and most of us already know it... :rolleyes:
  19. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    Indeed now it's set in favour of mega sellers.
  20. deckard666 macrumors 6502


    Jan 16, 2007
    I have bought ALL my Macs and iPhones off eBay - from my original G4 to my current MP (2010) and a MP Pro, 4 iPhones and and an iPad. Common sense prevails here. Don't buy from newbies and go for someone who has a good solid feedback record preferably over 30 or so and not just small items either. My one big trick is to always ask if I can collect and pay when I collect as that always scares off the scammers. NO genuine seller will ever refuse collection as it just makes your life so much easier especially with anything large or weighty like a Mac Tower etc.
  21. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    I haven't bought a new system off of eBay but I use it for many things. eBay is a bit overpriced compared to private forum trading I have done but I can often find what I am looking for there and paying 15-25% more to guarantee I get exactly what I want is worth it.

    Just look at the feedback. I might get nervous about dropping $1500 on a seller with no feedback but even someone with only 50-100 seller feedback makes me feel pretty good unless they have a lot of bad feedback.
  22. Macyourdayy, Nov 2, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016

    Macyourdayy macrumors 6502


    Sep 9, 2011
    Agreed, except I've been a member since 2003 and I have "only" 90 feedback points as some sellers and buyers don't bother or forget to rate, but it's still 100%. I obviously don't use eBay that much, especially since they charge a 10% commission. Paypal has saved my bacon a couple of times and has to be the safest option for sellers as well theses days.
    My last mac purchase was brand new 17" pro for $2400 that claimed to be a local (Australian) seller, but it shipped from Texas. It was sealed though and I was able to get AppleCare. I still have that as my main Mac, especially since virtually everything else is unmodifiable and unaffordably expensive now for a high spec option.

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