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Any horror stories from buying online? (esp. Ebay)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by thor16, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. thor16


    Jun 16, 2004
    I've seen the bass I want on many different sites, some cheaper than others, but I've also seen it on ebay (obviously used) for a whole hell of alot cheaper than other sites, and it appeared to be in good condition. I wonder if someone might be scamming me though. Has anyone found or used good online sites for buying used (auctions, etc.)?
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    Great guys to deal with. I bought a bass and had it shipped across the ocean. It arrived very soon after the purchase. Did another purchase for an SABDDI and that went as smooth as well.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - you seem to be missing two points here - firstly eBay is an online auction conducted between private individuals - it is not a retail outlet!! Secondly - anybody who has suffered on eBay is going to be too embarassed to admit it and will probably have convinced themselves that they "won" something, rather than got ripped off by getting caught up in the whole process! :meh:

    This phenomenon was outlined in a study by MIT which was entirely financed by buying webcams at retail and selling them for over the odds, on - you guessed it - eBay !! :D
  4. cgworkman


    May 14, 2004
    I've done business on a lot of things on eBay. The only problems I've ever run into was slow shipping. Once I bought a GK 800RB off of eBay that was shot (I didn't know it was shot, nor did the auction say it was...). The amp retails new for $750@musiciansfriend.com - I got it off of eBay for $300. I dropped it off at my local GK authorized rapair facility - They fixed it for $50. So in the end it cost me $350. It was a hassle - but it worked out. I ended up selling it for $500. :)
  5. Don't buy any instrument on ebay, don't buy any instrument online.

    Existentially yours,
    um... yeah
  6. mark beem

    mark beem I'm alive and well. Where am I? Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    I've consistently had good luck buying online.. All you have to do is be careful..

    On Ebay make sure that the seller is reputable.
    If they have excessive negative feedback avoid them.
    Read and understand all details of the auction..
    If you have any questions email the seller BEFORE placing a bid.

    Remember once you bid you're entering into a contract with the seller to buy the article if you win the auction.. Also remember that if an auction sounds to good to be true it probably is..
  7. I have bought a Hamer CruiseBass and a neck using e-Bay and 2 other basses, one off Harmony-Central's want ads (Reverend Rumblefish) and one from a seller on Bassgear (P-Bass clone). All were exactly as represented and I have been very pleased with all of them. You just have to be careful, deal only with reputable sellers, ask questions before pulling the trigger and know what you want and how much you should pay for it. If you're careful and smart, you can save yourself a lot of money; if you're not, you can get screwed.
  8. I've had some pretty good experiences on ebay. I bought an Ibanez Musican bass, an Aria pro II, a hardcase and a 10 watt practice amp for $162. The Musician is ugly as sin, but it plays good, and thats all that really matters. I've bought a lot of insterments on ebay and am yet to run into a bad one.
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
  10. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    as an online dealer , i can testify that any of the dealers on this forum will treat you fairly and you will be safe.. some of our very own people are:
    Gard at Bass Central
    JPJ at Blueberryhill
    Brian at the Lowend
    Randy at Bass Atlanta
    Joel at the Groove Shoppe
    me. at Access Bass
    I am sure I am forgetting a couple, but these guys will treat you well and ou will certainly not be ripped off. Also , read the sticky by Jugghaid in " Basses for Sale" for some great pointers about buying online-
    as far as Ebay, if the seller has a positive feedback with several sales under his/her belt- you are probably safe to buy...
    I would not say NOT to buy online ( obviously) because this gives you acces to many brands that may not be in your area- most of us will give you a period of time to make sure the bass is a keeper...
  11. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    A couple things to keep in mind:

    1. Very few people actually sell things for their friends (I.E. "I don't know much about this item but I'm selling if for a friend...) Check the description, it usually has "in the know" details like Passive or Active electronics, Bartollinis or other things people who know at least a little about instruments are aware of. When they say this they are just trying to discourage people from asking questions and hope they are going to get a deal from someone who doesn't know what they have. NOBODY sells a Vintage Fender / Fodera / Alembic / MTD / Modulus etc. or other bass that retails well over $1000 new without knowing what it is and what it's worth.

    2.NEVER BUY ANY ITEM THAT DOES NOT HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ACTUAL ITEM unless it is BRAND NEW and from an online or EBAY retailer with good feedback. If someone wants to sell something online they are savy enough, or know someone who is, to get a photo posted with the auction. NO PHOTO=TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING!!!

    2.5 Poor photos are good indicators that they are hiding something. I am a pro Photographer (Medical/Corporate) and I check out a lot of instruments on e-bay just out of morbid curiosity and many of them look like they tried VERY hard to shake the camera while taking the photo. I would guess that there are major problems with the appearance (like it may be a Fender P body with a cheap knock off neck)

    3.Look for people selling things near you. The one bass I bought on E-bay (Peavy Cirrus 4 Bubinga) was being sold by a guy about 40 miles away from me. I asked if he would let me pick it up rather than have him ship it if I won (and offered $10 for the privlege since most people plan on making profit on shipping). He accepted and declined the extra $ but it showed that he was willing to stand there with me and look at it for what it is against what he put in the ad. If he refused I would have assumed his description wouldn't hold up (it did!!!).

    4. Try to think of all the things that could be wrong with an instrument which aren't usually mentioned and SPECIFICALLY ask the seller about it, and don't let them hide behind the "friend" (see point #1)

    Things to think about: (compiled from horror stories I've heard)

    Is the neck/headstock warped/cracked/Broken?
    Has it been repaired? By Who? (if you're still interested...)
    Any Cracks? Anywhere? Body, Nut, Control Cavity?
    Have any parts been replaced"
    Are the Bolt holes for the bolt-on neck stripped?
    Are they in the original locations? (If not they were moved because the original spots were stripped or broken or it's a mis-matched neck/body)
    Is the Truss Rod broken or stripped? (more common than you would think...)
    Do the Electronics/Pickups work? Are they noisy? Are they original? Are all the knobs/Pots there?
    Are any laminated woods separating? (Like the frettboard from the neck, I've even seen where the body sides were separating from the Thru-Neck of a Warwick that looked perfect from about 3 feet away. I think we could have just snapped it off with a little effort. (NOT a slam on Warwick, their stuff is great but this one was poorly cared for.)
    Was it repainted? By a 3 year old with a toothbrush?
    Do the tuners hold or do they unwind by themselves if too tight?
    Is the back covered with Pokemon Stickers? Why? (on SOOO many levels!!!)

    I'm srue there are many more but those are the ones I can remember right now...
  12. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    I have had good luck on Ebay. Always make sure the seller has a good history, and always check the contact info. Then dont get caught up in winning. Set your price and stick to it.
    I bought a Warwick Thumb Bolt On for $880, an Eden World Tour RoadRunner 600 amp for a $731 and my Spector Euro for $831.
    All pretty good deals I think. The Warwick was my first Ebay purchase, and I got a little caught up in the bidding. If I was smart, I would have stayed at 800 and not won that bid, but waited for another. Oh well, 880 still wasnt bad, and I have no problems with any of the items I have bought.
  13. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    I've purcahsed a couple of instruments through ebay and have had good experiences. However, some words of caution:

    In general, I would advise against making any quick purchases on ebay. If what you are looking for is pretty commonly sold on ebay (e.g. Peavey Foundation Bass, Fender Jazz Bass, etc.) the best thing to do is spend a few weeks watching auctions. You can store the auctions in your account and see the final proces when the auctions end. This will allow you to gauge the market price of these items. Don't worry about missing a great opportunity-- you are almost guaranteed to find everal new listings per week if what you are after is pretty ordinary.

    I have found that popular/common/high-demand items like fender j's and Stingrays all end up selling at about the same price, and getting them on ebay often brings you no bargain at all by the time you are finished paying shipping, etc. However, you can sometimes get great deals on unusual, less sought after items (I just got a Pevay Axcelerator fretless, brand new with gig bag for $202.50 plus $20 shipping).

    The other thing to consider is the seller at the other end of the transaction. ALWAYS READ FEEDBACK before bidding and I would also encourage emailing the seller a question or two before bidding. Both will give you an idea of the individual you are dealing with. Also, when you email, you usually get back a real name from the person selling you the item whereas ebay only lists a screen name.

    Finally, you should be aware of various tricks people play to bid up their merchandise. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon for sellers to collude and help eachother by bidding up each other's mercahndise. Also, there is software and freeware readily available on the internet which bids for you, on auctions when they have only minutes or seconds remaining. This is aptly called "sniper" software and it explains why an item's bid price can increase exponentially in the final minutes of an auction.

    Ebay is a great place to find lots of great instruments, but like any other online transaction, it's buyer beware!

    Good luck.
  14. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I bought an NS Design CRM4 and a Marcus Miller V and had had no problems whatsoever. Both were sellers with a long and positive history. The only problem is the duty when shipping from the States to Canada.
  15. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    So far I've never had a problem dealing online. The only "unwise" purchase I made was when I bought my first Warwick Corvette. There was just the stock picture listed, so I could've gotten it in any condition. The guy seemed to know what he was talking about though, and it went pretty cheap so I got it and there were no problems.

    The main thing for ebay is to check the feedback. Make sure they have at least a high 95+ percent positive feedback. I also make sure to read all the negative feedbacks (because as many bad sellers there are, there are infinitely more bad buyers. Anonyminity and no true legal contract to pay makes it easy to back out) So give the negatives a read to see if they are legitimate complaints or just some fool who didn't get his way.

    Also I make sure that the seller has sold more than just one instrument in the past. Check all their recently won auctions. If they've sold numberous other instruments and have gotten positive feedback, you can feel a little better about knowing you'll get the instrument in good condition and it will be packed up and shipped well.
  16. This should be a sticky on the for sale forum. I've got a list almost identical to it that I use when I've bought online. So far, I haven't had a single problem buying through online stores or Ebay. Caveat emptor is the phrase to keep in mind- the more info you have, the better off you'll be. Know something about the product before you ask questions or plunk down your credit card.

    For the most part, the people you'll deal with will be honest folks looking to make a buck just like their brick-and-mortar counterparts. nothing more, nothing less.

  17. JimS

    JimS Supporting Member

    No problems buying or selling on-line.

    Knock on wood.
  18. Thumper


    Mar 22, 2000
    Syracuse Ut
    Also, if you're weight sensitive (as I am), don't rely on the bathroom scale method, ask them to weigh it using an accurate scale or just assume it's at least one lb. heavier than represented.
  19. LA


    Oct 17, 2001
    I did win a Fender Jazz bass on eBay, but I didn't do my homework. I ended up with a bass with the serial # removed--whether it was stolen or the previous owner didn't want to own up to having a MIM Jazz Bass, I don't know. I've still got it.
  20. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    Either that or have them stand on the scale with the bass, write it down, then stand on the scale without the bass, write that down, and then subtract the two :D

    Thank you high school science class :p