eBay and all that glitters………
Buyer AND seller beware
eBay has taken over the market when it comes to the sale and purchase of used audio equipment (as well as practically everything else). It is also pretty much the way that the market values used equipment. When we’re offered equipment in trade in we have to use previous listings as a way of placing a value of the equipment you own.
From a sellers point of view eBay is a nightmare. For a start the charges are ridiculous and are compounded by being forced to accept paypal as the means of payment. So there are eBay charges and then there are paypal charges.
The feedback system is now totally rigged in favour of the buyer too. A buyer who has made unreasonable demands can now leave dreadful feedback to a seller who has done everything within their power to assist and provide a good service. But even if the buyer has acted fraudulently the seller can’t leave him bad feedback.
Even worse for the buyer are the rising number of people who do not list equipment accurately. Because we have an in-store service department, we see a lot of high end Linn and Naim Audio equipment that has been tampered with and doesn’t work properly. Even worse we have seen equipment that does indeed work but sounds extremely poor in comparison to how it should sound.
Not only do we see Naim equipment that has been repaired badly but we also see it modified by a third party companies who are claiming to make substantial improvements. That is all well and good for the person who paid to have that work done but often the listings fail to mention that fact. In reality someone is buying a Naim component that doesn’t sound like a Naim component.
I think it is well worth pointing out that Naim Audio (like most manufacturers) are always looking to improve their equipment in meaningful ways. If these third party modifications were particularly good Naim themselves would be investigating them.
Even worse is LP12’s and tone-arms. Very often they have been damaged by over-zealous retailers who have overtightened the bearings, used the wrong oil or worse.
The other thing to watch out for is shipping. Equipment sent in the wrong packaging (or incomplete packaging) can arrive useless. Even worse is turntables – they have to be packed in a certain way to ensure they arrive undamaged.
We sell ourselves on eBay and we try to be painstakingly accurate in our listings. We also try to give the same levels of service that we offer our in-store and on-line customers. I also buy and sell electric guitars and can tell you some horror stories about those that would make your hair turn white.
There are a lot of decent buyers and sellers on eBay but there are a lot of crooks. If you are sold a pup eBay will generally sort it out but the process can be long and painful and you’ve still not got the product you wanted.
To conclude; if you’re in any doubt about the equipment you have bought or are planning to buy, please contact us so we can advise you. We appreciate that everybody wants a bargain but it is worth doing a lot of checking up on the seller and it is also worth bearing in mind that they can’t be left bad feedback. To us that makes the feedback mechanism worthless.
Alternatively let us know what you are after and we can look out for it for you. Since we use the eBay market to value it you’ll probably only pay a slight premium and for this you’ll receive a warranty.
I wrote this post out of genuine concern but also because I believe that many people have lost sight of the need for good retailers and the help/advice they can offer. I am sure you’d expect me to say that but we have a lot of experience to place at your disposal. And we value you enough to want to look after you so that you come back and so that you’ll recommend us to your friends. If your own retailer doesn’t offer you enough convincing reasons to be loyal then my advice would be to find another one!! This is likely to be far better for you that spending ten percent less on the things you want from an auction site.
If in doubt try us out