Buying Used On eBay; Go At Your Own Risk!

I am a Palm pilot fanatic; always have been and still am. The problem is that they’ve stopped making them. The new smartphones lack many of the features that the Palm had, and thus I haven’t purchased one because, for me, it’s kind of a waste of time.

I decided to go a different route. Because my wife is an eBay fan, I decided to go to eBay to see if I could get a deal on a used one. There are actually a few people who are selling new ones, but the prices are outrageous and thus I haven’t gone that route yet. I found one at a fairly reasonable price and put a bid in on it. Eventually I won that bid, and within a week I had my “new” Palm.

Five days later is when the trouble first began. The screen gave out. It still lit up, but it looked like it was broken, and you couldn’t see any of the data. I felt cheated. I contacted eBay and they connected me with the guy I bought it from, who said I could send it back and he’d fix it.

I did that, and though it took 5 weeks, I finally got it back and I thought all was right with the world. That is, until two weeks later, when I noticed that the sound had gone and that I’d missed a meeting because the alarm didn’t go off. I had the guy’s address and phone number, called, and he said I could send it back and he’d fix it.

At this point that was 2 1/2 months ago. For about six weeks he ignored my emails and phone numbers. I finally sent one from my business address saying if I didn’t hear from him I was going to escalate it. I finally heard from him, and he said that he couldn’t get it fixed and that it would cost me $75 to repair it. I said no, but I was also incredulous; you sold me a used Palm, you have other used Palms, and you’re not going to just send me one of those other ones? If I’d paid the extra money it would have come to more than what I would have paid for an original; that wasn’t happening.

I asked him to send it back and said I’d see what I could do on my own. That was two weeks ago; suddenly he’s not responding to any of my emails or phone calls again. What the hey? It’s only costing him postage to send it back, and I’m getting no satisfaction.

And get this; because the original transaction took place more than a couple months ago, it seems I can’t complain about it on eBay either. So, the only place I can complain about it is here. Now, I’m not going to “out” the guy here, because unlike a company I’m not sure that’s quite fair. What I will say is that I can’t ever see me buying another used product off eBay, and truthfully buying something used isn’t really in my makeup to begin with, mainly for things like this.

Unless you know the person and trust them I say “buyer beware”. Man, I’m irked!

Classic Botanica Wire-bound Weekly Planner – Jan 11 – Dec 11

  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell;Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

34 thoughts on “Buying Used On eBay; Go At Your Own Risk!”

  1. Poor you – sorry you’re having this experience.

    I’m very VERY wary about buying anything electronic or electrical on ebay, and when I buy anything from there I scrupulously check the seller’s feedback and look at what other people say about them. I’ve had just one problem (so far) with a seller and eventually had my money refunded by the site because this guy’d done the dirty on more people than just me.

    Did you use Paypal? Maybe you can get file a claim via that? If not, and I presume it’s the same in the USA as here, I think you’ll find that one of the distance selling organisations may cover buying from ebay.

    Alternatively… just call it a bad experience and let it go.

    I prefer, if I’m going to buy second hand, to buy from Amazon.

    1. Val, I did use Paypal, but the thing I’m up against is that I bought it in April, and their policy says something about 45 days. Everything bad happened within those 45 days, but I don’t know what I can do now. I do have a phone number finally, so I’m going to try to call them tomorrow.

  2. It depends, some people really sell second-hand products that still run fine and have no problems for years!
    It’s just sad that there are people out here doing this to others, and on top of that, it just gives this second hand sales a bad name. Now you will never buy a used product, and maybe because of this you might lose on some good deals.
    The fact is if you buy a used product, you can never have the guarantee that it will function flawlessly(heck even new ones have problems), btw I am not advocating for that guy I just want to convince you that this might be a fluke, a one time bad luck and maybe in the future you will be smiling because of other great products you bought.
    I hope he won’t be such a douche and not send you your PALM back.

    1. I hope not either, although I have a registered mail ticket so if he tried, I then can file a claim against him with the federal government.

    1. The Palm allows you better customization of your calender and task lists. You aren’t relegated to 5, 10, 30 minute sets; you can do 7 minutes, 3 minutes, 12 minutes, etc. You can set a different sounding alarm for your calendar as opposed to your tasks. You can set the recurring much differently with them than anything else I’ve seen. And the synching is great because the Palm program is great to work with online. All that and being able to have a daily record where I can write what’s going on every day in my life is wonderful as well.

  3. Most of the times I am satisfied buying on eBay and other online auctions or shops. Usually I try to choose reliable sellers with good reputation.

    1. I think there’s the danger in buying used or refurbished stuff because you never know if they’re telling the truth or not.

  4. Hope ebay sort it for you Mitch. I don’t buy second hand electronics for that reason. Never know what you are getting! I have always hesitated about buying on ebay. My gen Y niece buys heaps off there and when I questioned wasn’t she worried that she wouldn’t get the product etc she said you can complain and they will be banned if keep getting complaints. Still not convinced so I stay away from ebay for now.
    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. My wife buys stuff all the time, Pat, but it’s brand new stuff, not used. That’s my worry, justified or not, and now I have a bad history with it.

  5. Hey Mitch, that sucks that happened to you. A lot of times that crap happens after the 45 days. I have bought a cell phone off Ebay but it was brand new otherwise I just stick to buying my obsolete Playstation video games, books and dvds from there. I did however buy a dvd 2 months ago for the low low of 2.99 which included shipping, brand new sealed. I got it and what do you know, it was a HD dvd! They stopped making HD dvd players when they brought out the blu-ray dvd. Maybe I ought to buy one from Ebay? ah hell no. The movie I know you are wondering, is Out of Sight with George Clooney and J. Lo. Just sitting here unwatched. I just refused to pay full price at the store for a movie that’s been out for how many years now…Still waiting for it to show up in the $5 bin at Walmart.

    1. One of my major gripes with buying a new Palm T/X is that when I originally bought the sucker, it was $135, and now that it’s discontinued but new ones are still out there the prices range from $250 to $550! I mean, one would think the price would have gone down because it’s discontinued but it went in reverse. Weasels.

  6. Hi Mitch, that was really annoying experience. It happens all the time and usually with used items. That is why, its really nice to buy a new one although it can cost you a bit more.

  7. I once asked my aunt why she never remarried after her husband passed away. She said: “At my age, marrying a man who has been married before is like buying a used car ~ you never know why the first owner got rid of it!” Could my aunts wisdom apply to your Palm device? 🙂

    1. Pretty good advice, Althea, although sometimes the original “owner” didn’t know a diamond in the rough when they had them. lol

  8. Mitch- I may have one for sale-cheap! I just have to find where I just put it. It worked last time I used it…

    Let me know if you’re interested- I can find it and make sure it still works……

    My son bought a cell phone off ebay once- the seller failed to tell him that it didn’t work in most areas!

    1. You’re scaring me, Carolee; you “think” you have one? lol If it’s a Palm T/X, we can talk.

  9. I once had a Mac laptop for sale on eBay. The day before the auction was scheduled to end, the thing stopped working. I had to cancel the auction and notify the bidders. But the thing is, if it had happened a few days later, the buyer would have contacted me, wanting a refund. Then I would have been in a position of wondering if I could trust this buyer, or if he was trying to pull something. So it really does work both ways.

    The problem is that the whole system is based on mutual trust, and we both know that sooner or later — like the electronic gadgets themselves — that’s going to break down. I agree with your decision and the consensus here. Buying new is usually worth the extra cost. Peace of mind and less stress — how much is that worth?

    1. Absolutely Charles. And I never asked for a refund, I just asked him to fix it, so no fraud could be seen on my part.

  10. Mitch, what was the warranty the seller offered on the device? Often, used electronics sold on eBay are as-is, mostly because it is often impossible to guarantee a used device. I can repair a defect I’m aware of, but who knows what will fail tomorrow. That’s why it’s called used.

    Usually I’ll allow someone to return a used electronic device within 7-10 days after they’ve had enough time to validate the condition of it. I accept the return and refund their money. But I’ve never extended a warranty beyond that.

    1. You know, I have no clue what his warranty was. eBay says you have 45 days, and that’s all I went by.

  11. Dennis, if I don’t get my original Palm or something back in the next two weeks, I am going to “out” him, and also file something with the Postal Service, since I do have the proof that he’s got it.

    1. Dennis, the update is the phone number gives you a runaround. It said there’s a tab you can click to get live support. Oh yeah? I’ve been all over the eBay site and I can’t find it. So, that was a major bust. 🙁

  12. I’m glad I didn’t buy my mobile phone on eBay. I had a second thought of buying there because of the possibility for me to get a defective item. I don’t know but it seems like the seller intentionally longer his time to avoid any possible refund if there’s a policy stating that fact. Just want to ask something about the flow of transaction on eBay. Using your experience, can you finally leave negative feedback to him while he’s still fixing the product you’ve bought? I mean, it’s been a long time now right? There might be other buyers after you.

    1. Mike, I can’t leave a comment any longer, which is irritating as sin. And I had the same thought as you, that he made sure to stretch things out to get around the time period, because the first time he responded really quickly.

      1. It’s very disappointing on your part as a buyer. What you’ve experienced is something that make us be aware of buying online than buying in nearby places. So did you able to settle this matter now?

      2. Mike, I still haven’t been able to solve this issue. The guy’s not answering anything from me, phone or email, and I just can’t seem to get through to eBay for assistance. Major league frustrated.

      3. Looks like almost a month passed by and there’s any positive development on your concern. I hope you could still get the necessary reimbursement that you must get from him.

      4. No Mike, I’ve gotten no satisfaction yet. Later today I’ll be talking with a lawyer about my next option.

  13. As long as you have all the proofs, ebay will help you back things up. last year a woman jerked me around until it was approximately 10 days after the time frame in which I had to report her. She neglected to mail me the item I purchased. I contacted her several times outside of ebay, where she wrote me and I had several contacts within ebay as well…

    I contacted them, they got on her and it was resolved, I got a refund of my money and she was spanked. 🙂 And that was after the time ran out.

    So it can’t hurt you to try, you have all the paperwork and he’ll get a black mark on his name and site. Made me happy…

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