Try before you Buy
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4 June 2006
Ebay makes cheaper electronics really accessible, however it is still really important to know what you are buying. Any time you buy electronics on ebay, whether it is a camera, a phone or an mp3 player you need to try it out first to test its useability. Cheaper electronic products that you find on ebay will usually work fine and have all the functions of a Sony or a Panasonic, however useability and quality will often be the price you pay. Not too long ago I decided to buy an mp3 player off eBay. Usually I adhere to the try before you buy rule, however having just lost my nanoPod i decided to take a chance and just buy the first thing that came up. The one gigabyte radio and mP3 player combination did everything it said it would - it stores things in folders, plays mp3s, voice records, plays FM radio etc, and in many ways it offered me more than my original nano. However while it offered all these functions it did it really badly. $170 later and all I use this device for is to play one channel on FM radio simply because its too annoying to change the channel, and hopeless when searching through a gigabyte of music. What made things worse for me was that since the seller never really lied to me I couldn’t complain and leave bad feedback. It was just a bad product that I didn’t research properly. I should have taken my time with this purchase and spent some time in a retail store playing around with a variety of different Mp3 players. It would have only taken 10 or 15 minutes to have fully abused the retail system and gained the know-how to at least identify some appropriate question to ask the seller. For example, by "supports folder format" do you mean you can search folders in a nice, easy to scroll through menu, or is it just possible to drag folders into the memory? After establishing that the product itself is going to live up to your expectations you can then proceed with some of the various other checks in place, like feedback, product and user history. I think the problem usually starts from people being too caught up in the person they are buying from, as opposed to the product that they are actually buying. Both criteria should be satisfied and I think you are better off focusing on the latter one first.
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