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Your best or worst online auction steal? Or ripoff?

By robo_dev ·
Tags: Off Topic
I buy and sell a ton of stuff on eBay and buy stuff on sites like

While over the years I've gotten ripped off for a few bucks due to counterfeit goods, I've also made some incredible buys.

Such as:

Two APC Rack-mount 1500VA SmartUPS units, no batts: 99 cents + $30 shipping (ea)
Cisco 3524 ethernet switch $19, delivered
APC rack mount transfer switch with APC NetBotz Appliance $45, delivered

And, on Craigslist:

Two complete Avaya PBX units with 150 phones, two voicemail servers, Five server racks, some boxes of CCTV gear, and a half-dozen PCs $200

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How the **** do you vet that stuff?

by AnsuGisalas In reply to Your best or worst online ...

I mean, OK, nobody sells stolen UPS units for 99 cents.
But do you wipe it all, or what?

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Not sure what you mean

by robo_dev In reply to Your best or worst online ...

Wipe off the fingerprints, wipe the data, wipe off the serial number?

It's very true that there are lots of items of questionable origin on eBay. For example, there are a great many portable GPS units for sale where the security PIN has been 'lost' by the owner.

When it comes to things like Cisco WLAN products or switches, I would suppose that some items might be stolen, but I really tend to doubt it.

Now If I want to buy a stolen TV, laptop, or portable GPS, the local craigslist is the place to go for that. It's also a great way to robbed, attacked, or killed, as criminals offer items for sale, hoping to lure people with cash to meet them somewhere.

And, of course, there are the scammers. When I was selling my Avaya PBX on Craigslist, somebody offered, via email, to send me a cashier's check for the system and send a moving van right over.

The interesting thing about the email was that the time-zone-offset in the email header was GST +8, and I am in GST -5. So this guy in Western Australia was offering to send a truck (across the ocean!) to the the US for a $200 load of phone gear. (of course this is a classic scam, as they issue a fake check for a larger amount and request that you send the excess back to them),

Surprisingly, when I sent a return email, which showed that his IP address and time zone was in Western Australia, and then guessed that he was in a certain city there (where many Nigerian scammers have emigrated), his email account was disconnected within about twenty minutes.

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Well I picked up a Mercedes Coupe for 99 cents

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Your best or worst online ...

Wasn't any good as a car but it was complete and good for spares on one that was being restored for the wife to play with.

Cost $500.00 to have transported here but it was the right type for what was needed at the time.


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Reponse To Answer

by omgitzme In reply to Well I picked up a Merced ...

I love how nonchalant you are about that. Haha!

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Never bought a car for less than a dollar

by robo_dev In reply to Your best or worst online ...

Though I've owned a few that were worth less.

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Never tried.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Your best or worst online ...

I've used Craig's List twice to get some obsolete hardware off the company shelves. Other than that, I have no experience on either side of the auction equation, and no clue how to accurately assess the offerings or game the bidding system.

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It can be a lot of fun

by robo_dev In reply to Never tried.

If you know what you want, and what it's worth, sites like eBay can be great for finding the exact repair part to fix something.

For the most part, sellers tend to be honest. As long as the seller has a good feedback rating, and you pay with PayPal, your risk is low. There is a dispute process with PayPal which will give you a refund in most cases.

For repair parts, ebay is great. I have an old Bissell Green Machine carpet cleaner, and it's pump died. The cheapest new pump I could find was $80, but I got one on ebay for $14. Obviously you don't spend $80 on a 20 year old appliance, but $14 gets it fixed and working again.

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I've never had a steal

by JamesRL In reply to Your best or worst online ...

I've only bought camera equipment from eBay, and it is rarely a steal. It often looks good right up until the last five minutes when the real bidding wars start.

My best "buy" off craigslist was a broken Vivitar 285 flash. I bought mine in the early 90s, but lost the off flash cable, and the battery holder had not survived a leak, and I couldn't get the contacts clean of battery acide despite an hour of trying.

Someone was selling one of theirs for $30 because the hotshoe was broken. So I got the cable, which goes for $70 +, if you can find it, the battery holder ($10 on ebay), diffuser and color filters ($20 on ebay), plus the body for spare parts.

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It's kind of sad how cheap film cameras are selling for

by robo_dev In reply to I've never had a steal

On there are always really nice cameras (Olympus OM1, Canon AE1, Nikon FM) which are now selling soooo $40 for the OM1 with lenses.

I know that the lenses can often be re-used on a digital body, but it seems like a waste that such well engineered technology is pretty much scrap these days.

These cameras are too new to be antiques, and part of me wants to just buy a crate full of them and put them in the attic for future generations to enjoy.

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