what do you guys think about eBay?

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Rayan Alyousef
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what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Rayan Alyousef »

Hey guys, I have been on the forum for nearly a year and am working on finishing up my fusor.

Early on in building my fusor, I used eBay a lot because I was building on a budget. I'm really curious about what that experience is like now for you guys because I want to build a better search tool for everyone on this forum.

What did you guys think about the eBay part-hunting experience? If you could magically make the experience way better what would that look like?

Thank you guys - looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this!
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Richard Hull
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Richard Hull »

The last time I use Ebay was 3 years ago. I have used it on and off since the early 1990's. It has gotten better, but it is always a "buyer beware site" if you absolutely must have a working, clean, or non-damaged item.

Unfortunately, we are looking for fully working, clean material. Double unfortunately, the materials we need, especially electronic instruments, or disemboweled electronic attachments without cables, (controller,etc.) are highly technical. These are often offered by people who don't know what they are or have no ability to test or check out. Such sellers often note this. In this case, you are on your own. Can you fix it? Are you OK with returning it at your own expense in order to get a refund? In the honest case of the seller where they state, (sold as is, no returns), are you ready to lose all your money?

Every now and then, (RARE!), you will have a very knowledgeable seller, intimately familiar with the item where he states, "fully tested, fully functional". As such, he knows the value and puts a necessarily higher price on his item. You still save, but is it within your purse.

This is Ebay! Live and learn at the dice tables. Will you win or lose? Cast the dies.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Liam David
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Liam David »

The best deals are usually found where sellers don't know what they have, and thus the usual key words like "conflat" or "vacuum gauge" are missing. Compiling a list of "alternate" search terms would be helpful.
Rayan Alyousef
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Rayan Alyousef »

Liam David - agreed! There's surely an interesting opportunity for advanced searching to find better deals or even to find what you want more quickly to decrease the hassle of manual hunting.
Rayan Alyousef
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Real name: Rayan Alyousef

Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Rayan Alyousef »

Hey Richard Hull! - I really appreciate you taking the time to offer such in-depth insights.

I've noticed a similarly among those building larger fusor where they deal with lots of damaged components they can't return

What is the best way you've found to mitigate this problem?
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Liam David
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Liam David »

Honestly, the only way to mitigate the DOA problem for Ebay equipment, other than to perform a successful repair, is to buy only items that are returnable. Items that are non-returnable but are described as working, yet upon arrival are clearly broken, can still be returned per Ebay's policies. It's the seller's responsibility to accurately describe the item, even if they have no experience (and should hence list it as in unknown functional condition). I have on several occasions forced a return or partial refund for items that were not as described. This all takes patience and restraint, of course. Just because something that you need shows up for cheap does not mean it's a good deal, and sometimes it takes a long time (months or years, even) for a "golden item" to show up.
Alexander Ziemecki
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Alexander Ziemecki »

the biggest problem with ebay is when they don't have pictures of the inside of the equipment, and the tagline says something like:

"I do not have the equipment to test this device. However, it works."

And then you buy it, and for some reason it doesn't work. And they're no help, because they don't know either.
How many times I've bought something and the interior is just straight-up broken, or utterly filthy and neglected... there's no way to tell until you get it, especially if they only have pictures of the outside.

The second biggest problem with ebay is when they name the part wrong.
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Taylor Romain
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Taylor Romain »

My experience has been very positive. Although I purchased an Edwards mechanical pump, but unfortunately it arrived damaged with a cracked base plate. Additionally, the oil mist filter was completely damaged. Thankfully, the seller was understanding and allowed me to keep the pump while issuing a refund. I've had success finding reasonably priced used KF25 parts, and even came across a brand new sight glass at a discounted rate. Gauges are a hit or miss on whether they function and how accurate they are, haven't had any issues as of late. I may have spent $2000 over a two-year period acquiring various pieces/parts and can agree with previous replies. As long as there is a 'returns accepted' policy on the equipment, you're only risking paying for shipping when returning an item, thus reducing your budget.
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Richard Hull
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Richard Hull »

As above, you will see both positive and negative comments. Again, even with good filtering and fore knowledge now, do you feel lucky?
I doubt if I have have more than 15 buying experiences on e-bay over the years and two were bad ones, one, I "made do with" and the rest went well.

Admittedly, I am great at scrounging, (since about 10 years of age), and have massive contacts all on a personal basis. With these talents and friends plus hamfesting year round, I manage to successfully and blessedly avoid e-bay. Age and experience has some advantages.

There are all sorts out there selling all sorts of things.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Bob Reite
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Re: what do you guys think about eBay?

Post by Bob Reite »

I have had good luck on Ebay. Unless I knew that I could get schematics for an electronic item and it did not use custom parts that were no longer available, I would take chances on "as is no return" items. Otherwise I would look for sellers with excellent feedback ratings that offered refunds.
The more reactive the materials, the more spectacular the failures.
The testing isn't over until the prototype is destroyed.
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