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I'm looking into buying my mac on eBay because the prices seem reasonable (some of them anyway). I'm not a member yet, but I'd like to know if I can trust the people selling macs on eBay? What happens if I'm ripped off or if its broken?
 

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Two words: BE WARY! If you are ripped off in a fraudulent manner, there might be some recourse through eBay or the agency you use to pay for your purchase - it will not be easy, automatic nor quick. If you receive broken goods, you are looking at reliance upon the integrity of the seller. There are many good sellers on eBay who deal good products - and there are some bad ones. Do your research, check the feedback, ask questions and , above all, read the listing very carefully. Shipping costs for large items such as computers can be high and brokerage fees, if importing, can be exorbitant.

Did I say BE WARY?
 

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LGB is right, but I want to add my views, as I'm someone who is very careful and somewhat paranoid of being defrauded. eBay does have fraud protection but it is very difficult and agonizing to deal with them (I've heard horror stories). I think the best bet is to pay for all items with a credit card, and never NEVER EVER use wire transfer (EMT). The credit card companies offer the best fraud protection, from what I've read, so use BidPay or PayPal. An even better bet is to only buy from people with enormous numbers of positive feedback. I like to read through every negative feedback, if any, to see what kind of complaints the seller has gotten. Sometimes it's plainly obvious that the buyer was somewhat confused or annoyed and decides to post negative feedback for spite. Happy Bidding!
 

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You need to do a lot of research on the seller before you buy
and even then Sh#t happens, I tend to buy from people that
haven't changed their names often or I buy from large dealers
with a eBay rep to uphold.

I have bought from smaller sellers in the past without any
problems, But usually it was for a fantastic deal that didn't cost
much should I have been hood winked.

Good luck

Dave :cool:
 

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Using feedback is not a safe bet - there are hundreds (if not thousands) of ebay identities that are "hijacked" so the fraudster can lull you into thinking this auction is safe.

Look for location of the item (eg: buyer has "suddenly" moved to Italy but is selling his 22" LCD display and 17" laptop), ask questions before you bid from the seller and see if the questions you are asked are really answered (or is it just a generic email with really bad spelling telling you how to buy without winning the auction), is the auction "too good to be true"? I have seen hundreds of scam auctions with the exact same description (usually a high end laptop with every option including a 23" LCD for less than half it's reatil price). and finally as mentioned before - the seller asked to be paid via western union or wire transfer only. These are hard to impossible to trace methods of payment (and no matter what the scammer says about your money being safe until you give him a code), once sent you can kiss your payment goodbuy.

All that being said, if you are careful, use your common sense, and pay attention to details - eBay is a great place to get some good deals.
 

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All have agreat advice here.

Mine??

I just like to work close to home. So, I oft scour eBay Canada before I go anywhere else. In order, I would proceed like this:

Canada>my province>my city. For fraud and shipping purposes (as ppl can rip you on shipping), I like to work in Toronto (and surroundings) as much as I can. Outside of that, I can get pretty probing with details via email.

It can happen. I bought one of my Pismos on eBay and it was in fantabuous shape! if it [the deal] feels funny, don't do it. if you get that odd gut feeling? forget it. I find that digi shots of items of more than available these days. I always ask for them.

Caveat Emptor dude. ;)

H!
 

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There was one large online eBay company that I had problems
with when I bought a PCMCIA card off of them and they said
that they had lost the order, I went through a lot of haggling
and frustration with them but in the end I ended up taking a
refund and bought the card I wanted from a non eBay dealer at
the same price.

So sometimes...It's better not to deal with eBay for good deals.

Dave :cool:
 

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Like anything in the auction world especially eBay, If it looks to good to be true its most likely a scam. For the most part eBay has been good to me, excluding some shipping customs matters... Do your home work and don't hesitate to ask questions. Make sure all your payment are done through eBay no on the side deals, follow the eBay process and you have some kind of recource in the event of fraud. Check out the Safe Harbour section on eBay.
 

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Some eBay hints:

Check feedback, but don't just go by positive/neutral/negative. Click on the item numbers. See what the items are.

Are they selling similar things, or wildly different stuff (ie is what you're buying out of character).

Do they have a lot of buy links for small, trivial items, or are they regular sellers? Someone who sells a lot has an interest in keeping you happy too. Someone who buys trinkets then sells a new Mac may be just bidding up the feedback with junk buys before a scam.

Check the seller's "other online auctions" link while you're at it.

Do they buy/sell from/to the same people all the time? Networks of scam artists give glowing feedback to each other.

Negaitve/Neutral feedback isn't always a red flag; some buyers are just idiots and can't be made happy with anything. Check out both positive and negative feedback by clicking on the feedback rating of the guy who left it. You can usually tell if he's a moron from his own feeback.

Although there is probably a genuine reason for a "pre-approved buyer only" auction, I can't think of any. Chances are he's harvesting your eMail address for some nefarious purpose. Don't bother.

Always, always, always pay with a Credit Card.

When you buy something, get the seller to give you a phone number and street address before you pay. The address is going to be on the shipment anyway; there should be no objection. Check the info online before you pay. Be suspicous of cellphone numbers (they can't be checked).

Be suspicous of any auction that does not include a real photo of the item. It's easy to cut and paste a picture of a Mac from the web. Look for the guy's carpet in the photo.

Although I don't consider friendliness a curse, be wary of a "chatty" seller when you contact him after a winning auction. People who are too nice to strangers are usually trying to disarm your normal wariness.

While you're at it, eMail the seller before you bid. It's easy. Ask for more photos if you want. Get details someone would know if they really have the item somewhere in the house. Anyone who's really used a Mac knows something about them; PC users and scammer's don't.

Be careful of inflated shipping costs. Some people make most of the money from shipping. A little is OK; I don't feel it's dishonest to try to add a dollar to cover the eBay listing fee and a trip to the post office.

Couriers offer tracking; USPS offers the heavy hand of the US Postal Inspector who can lay felony charges. Premium USPS services offer tracking as well. The $5 brokerage fee from Canada Post (via USPS) is a good option; UPS or FedEx might charge you $40 to collect a dollar's worth of GST.

Take your time, relax. This isn't video poker. Pick a price and don't go above it.

Very few things are so rare that you won't see them on eBay again, from a seller you feel safer with.

[ December 31, 2003, 07:49 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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I agree with ohenri. Try to buy from someone local, especially if it's a desktop computer. That way, you can just pick the item up and avoid shipping hassles. You can also make sure the the item actually exists and it is not a scam. Most likely you'll also be able to see the item working. Make sure to email the seller first before you bid to make sure they offer local pickup.

Ebay makes it easy to shop locally. Each major metro area in Canada has its own "home page" on ebay. Vancouver's is here. Search all of Canada too, because some local sellers may not specify Vancouver as their location. If you don't find your item at first, just wait around. With Vancouver's size it should show up eventually.

I would definitely avoid buying from the US. The customs fees can easily nullify any good deal you may have got. Good luck!
 

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All in all, there's no clear cut way to be safe on eBay. Someone with hundreds of feedback can still end up screwing you over. Meanwhile someone like myself (who has 30+ feedback) can be completely honest.

Beware of those who want payment via Western Union or through escrow. Always pay through PayPal to ensure that you're covered by PayPal's safety policy. Ask many questions before bidding to measure how quickly the eBayer replies. It's a good indicator of how communicative he/she will be.

Finally, try to arrange (if possible) to pick up your item if it is local.

Trust your instinct.
 

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I've bought a few things on eBay (cameras) and have never had a problem. However, I personally know two people who have tried to buy Apple PowerBooks on Ebay and the sellers turned out to be crooks; both individuals lost over $1000.00 CDN. If this doesn't change your mind, bid only on auctions that require a VISA (for payment) - many VISA cards have insurance policies (check first - bid second) or use a third-party payment company (bidpay or paypal). Beware of people requesting payment in certified cheques or money orders - they're often sketchy. Once they have your money order, it's gone forever...
 

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The customs fees can easily nullify any good deal you may have got
The Fees?? hell, Customs can wreck it. A friend of mine used to work there and told me that they used to open up boxes @ will... told me to take care in ordering stuff from US as they they had free reign over these parcels. :rolleyes:

But I just hesitate as I'm totally unsure of border fees. Is there a site I can consult to see what it is that I'm faced with??

H!
 

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Custom Fee's really aren't something to concern yourself with. My iMac DV shipped from the U.S after I bought it from someone on eBay, and the grand total of Custom Fee's when coming over the border was.... $12.

$12? Really not worth worrying over, especially since the iMac itself cost almost $500.00, plus $45.00 to ship it (44 lbs).
 

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When buying on eBay, always check someones feedback, this goes without saying; but I find that when you are buying from someone with a lot of feedback it is more helpful to read the neutral and negative feedback than the positive stuff.

Positive feedback from a lot of buyers and sellers has just become so many form letters, 90% of it seems to be "Great eBayer! A+++++++" or something along those lines, whereas neutral or negative feedback actually contains information about what actually happened during the transaction.
 

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From experience, here's how I think customs fees work:

The seller has to declare the value of any package shipped overseas. If this value is less than $20 CDN, then there will be no customs charges. Over $20, then the fee is $5 for handling, plus GST/PST calculated based on the declared value. Some buyers of course would ask the seller to declare a false value just to avoid customs, but of course if you get caught...

This all applies if the seller ships through USPS. If they use Fedex or UPS, or others, then the package is handled by a third-party customs brokerage firm, who'll charge much more than $5 for handling.

Some packages do make it through customs without getting any fees slapped on them, perhaps because the seller declared it as a gift and not merchandise as it should be. Bottom line is if you do order from the US, make sure they ship using USPS. I learned that the hard way. :(
 

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Bottom line is if you do order from the US, make sure they ship using USPS.
Although cheaper, most sellers will refuse to ship it that way for two (or one) reason(s):

1- no insurance (correct me if required)
2- no tracking

All transactions I've had over eBay, the seller demanded UPS every single time without arguement, plus it was in their terms. You sometimes don't have a choice - especially if the seller has a UPS account.
 

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There are just as many insured/tracked options for USPS as there are from Canada Post.

USPS International

Brokerage fees can be quite onerous. Even for items shipped by USPS, if it is large, heavy, or otherwise outside Canada Post's standard service, you may well find it still carries brokerage fees in excess of CP's $5; USPS will send some packages to Purolator Courier for delivery.

However, the courier's broker is only used if you don't provide an alternative. You can use your own/your company's/educational institution's broker, and you can broker the package yourself.

For self-clearing, generally this involves contacting the shipper when you know a given package is on the way and asking for a delivery notice (rather than a home delivery) so you can pick up the forms and clear it. If you don't do this, you must refuse home delivery (when you sign, you are also agreeing to use their chosen broker) and again get the forms from UPS or whomever, pop down to CCRA, and deliver the cleared forms back to he shipper.

Keep in mind that shippers are in the shipping business; they don't care one whit how something clears customs, only that it does (thier bond with CCRA demands it). They use external brokers (again) because they're not in the brokerage business.

[ January 02, 2004, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 
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