Buying and bidding on audio on eBay and anything else

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Buying on eBay can be a pleasurable experience, it can also be a nightmare. One thing is for certain purchasing and selling items will never be the same again thanks to eBay.
Buyer beware: When purchasing used audio equipment be very careful. There are many reputable sellers but there are also fly by night cowboys and scammers.
Check the feedback rating. Obvious I know but easily overlooked when drooling over a coveted piece of audio equipment. A  96% rating means 1 in 25 was not happy with a transaction with that seller. It is up to you to decide what rating you are happy dealing with.
Check why a negative was left, sometimes a little detective work can reveal that the situation was not the sellers fault but they may have been dealing dealing with a nightmare buyer.
Read the ad carefully from top to bottom as the seller may answer your questions in the ad. Let me tell you there is not much more annoying as a seller than people asking questions the ad has already answered.
Ask intelligent questions and evaluate the reply. Like what is the reason for sale, are you the original owner if it is local, can I audition? Are their any issues or faults with the item? Has the item been restored and or repaired and do you have receipts? If new or second hand, how long have you owned the item? Were they courteous, informative friendly, quick to respond, did they address your question adequately. If they do not respond I strongly suggest you walk away no matter how much you desire the item.
Has the seller provided large clear  multiple images of the item? If they do it is a good sign that they care about what you see and are more likely to care about your satisfaction with the item.
Know your product. Please do yourself a favor and don't simply purchase because some magazine article raved about it. Check web forums. speak to owners if you can or better still if you can get to listen to one. Ask reputable audio workshops if the item of your desire has any reliability issues and what if any are they
Avoid herd mentality. There are some items getting huge money on eBay and not naming names but look in turntables as the name rhymes with Harrad 301. Unless you want to own one for reasons other than their performance. Your money would be better spent on a modern turntable Like Acoustic Signature, Mitchell, or Origin Live, any of these with a decent modern tonearm will outperform the vintage model by a significant margin and you will have warranty protection. This is just one example but there are many others.
Use PayPal if available as a purchaser it offers the best protection and instant payment to the seller
Never get drawn into a transaction outside of eBay unless you trust the seller 100%
Never answer emails from anyone outside of eBay unless you trust them 100%
In bidding bide your time unless the buy it now if offered is a genuine bargain. All my bidding is done in the last 45seconds of any auction. Bid with your head and not your heart unless purchase is is an absolute must. Bidding wars are expensive. I set a fair price in my head and do not bid above it. Finally if an item is late in arriving or there is any other problem after purchase keep your cool and try and resolve the matter through communication and negotiation. Keep your communication polite even if the reply is not as this will serve you well should you have to take the matter further.  I can only offer advice and this is useless if unheeded. These guidelines can be applied to most other items out there. Lastly keep it fun and use your most valuable buying tool. Your mind. Cheers Theaudiopath.
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