More eBay Headaches

Is it worth it?

Two weeks ago, I put my old dual G5 computer, 20″ Sony monitor, and a bunch of other odds and ends on eBay. The idea was to get rid of them and make a few bucks in the process. As I whined in my post, “The High Cost of Writing Tech Books,” it’s costly for me to buy the up-to-date computer hardware and software I need to work. I was hoping to get some of that hard-earned money returned by selling some equipment that was still in good shape.

The headaches started almost as soon as the auctions ended:

  • The Sony monitor was listed with free pickup in Wickenburg (where I live) or Tempe (where my husband works) or $62.50 UPS Ground Shipping. Well, the moron who bought it, who lives in Indiana, didn’t read about the UPS ground shipping. He read “free shipping” and thought I was going to send a 50-pound monitor to Indiana for free. What a deal for only $20.50, which is what he paid. He won’t pay shipping and now he won’t answer my e-mails. So I’m stuck in the middle of a transaction with no end in immediate sight.
  • The dual G5 sold for a surprising $700. Retail on this used machine is around $1,000, but I would have taken half of that, so I’m very pleased. The problem here is that the buyer didn’t pay for it. He had someone else pay for it on PayPal with a check. Then he demanded immediate shipment. PayPal clearly instructed me not to ship anything until the check cleared. It’s been 5 days and the check has not cleared. I’m wondering how this transaction will go sour. I figure that either the check won’t clear at all or the buyer will get POed when I ship to the person who paid, which is the only way I can be protected by PayPal.
  • I sold a used 7-port Iogear hub. It has 4 USB 2.0 ports and 3 Firewire ports. I sold it because I wanted it to use with my iSight camera and the damn thing never worked right. I figured it was the camera, but since I never tried it with any other Firewire device, I didn’t know for sure. The USB hubs seemed to work fine. I summarized all this in the listing. I sold it for pretty darn close to the cost of a brand new identical hub. (See my post, “Is eBay for Suckers?“) The buyer paid, I shipped it out. Yesterday, I get an e-mail message from the buyer saying that the USB ports won’t run at 2.0 speeds and that the Firewire ports won’t work at all. Hello? Didn’t I say I was having problems with the Firewire ports? And how the hell am I supposed to know what speeds the USB ports actually run at? If the buyer wanted a brand new device with a warranty, he should have bought it from a computer dealer, not someone unloading junk on eBay. And here’s a word of advice to anyone reading this: Don’t buy anything made by Iogear. It’s crap.

So now I have a bunch of other items here I’d like to unload. But I’m starting to think that eBay is bigger hassle than the few dollars I get back for my efforts. (The computer being the exception; if that transaction doesn’t go bad, it will be worth the trouble.) The only ones making real money on this are eBay and PayPal. So I’m wondering if I should just throw out this stuff and be done with it.

Any experiences with ebay that you’d like to share? Use the comments link or form for this post to speak your mind.

4 thoughts on “More eBay Headaches

  1. its often surprising what eBay buyers do.. we sold something (lower value) a while back, and got no paypal payment for days.. we chased.. no answer from buyer.. then.. suddenly they answered.. stating that they had SENT the payment by cheque (keeping in mind me only accept paypal!!) we asked how they had, given that we had not given them our address.. they had literally addressed it with our name, and the town, and sent the cheque!!!!??! weirdly it had actually got to a person up the road with a similar name, and she had contacted us via email (from the ebay printout with the cheque).. people often assume things with ebay, admittedly not all stuff is junk, and I’ve sold many used but good as new laptops and machines on there.. I do always clean, check and list any defects, and touch wood, never had any compaints.. but your cases do make me wonder about listing the Mac G5, cinema displays and other mac items on ebay this time round…

    naquada’s last blog post: Fixing Stacks on Leopard

  2. Personally, I am done with listing anything on e-bay, and ‘almost’ done with buying anything there. It was a gradual process, starting with giving up on jumping through the many hoops that multiplied over time as ebay kept ‘improving’ their process, then having a ‘knowledgeable’ person do it for me and paying a set fee per transaction (lost items and a few hundred dollars in the process), and then going to a ‘brick and mortar’ business that does much the same but is more organized and ethical, and then quit ebay alltogether.

    These days I donate things to a charity and get a write-off or give thing directly to people at no cost. It’s a matter of sorting priorities, and there is only so much pain I am willing to take per Dollar generated.

  3. Well said!

    The only problem with giving away computers is that you become the computer support person. I’m going through that right now with my neighbor; I gave her my old iBook (clamshell) for her homeschooled kids. She keeps trying to run software on it that just won’t run on Mac OS 9 and I don’t want to get involved with an upgrade.

    I think I need to just throw out the junk — like the $300 worth of SCSI cables I tried to give to an Apple store. I wound up tossing the bag into the trash at the mall. Ouch!

  4. I think it’s a question of deciding what to aim for, money, time or space as having all three in equal measure doesn’t seem ever possible. I go for time and space as the most certain and least hassle prone – give things away or trade them in but never bother trying to sell. Every time I trade in a stack of CDs or books for a much smaller stack, I feel a sense of virtuous achievement, and also pleasure in the new stuff that I actually want and which takes up less room than the stuff I didn’t; that’s progress.

    I do use E-bay, for buying rapidly dated laptops that are still perfectly usable. In three years the used price is one tenth of the original price so that has to be a bargain. Of course, I do loads of research before deciding on ‘the bargain’ and I only ‘buy it now’ as I’m not interested in the whole E-bay trip. I also don’t buy from sellers where a lot of space is devoted to dire warnings about non payment or refusal to sell to Africa; all that energetic suspicion makes me feel suspicious. After all, can it be that complicated? (I know, of course it can.)

What do you think?