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Old 12-02-2004, 11:47 AM   #1
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E-bay Sales and Purchasing

I know this is long but it is something I have been working on for for about a day now. Enjoy and I hope it is helpful!

Purpose: To inform the Focus community on how to effectively buy from E-bay without losing your mind and getting ripped off. Also included will be some of the more common parts purchased from e-bay that often get trashed and don’t work.

Research: I always research any product before going to e-bay to purchase it. In the case of my wife’s CD player for her car, I researched the model number I was interested in. I then searched the internet and made a listing of the various prices and figured in the shipping into the equation. I then went to e-bay and searched and found the model. The result was that I purchased an Alpine CDA-9820XM CD Player which regularly lists for anywhere from $278.00-$429.00 at local and internet stores for $215.00 Shipped. The same research techniques hold true for the reverse. If you find an AEM, or other model intake on e-bay, go and research the prices to make the best decision. If you have not heard of the company or brand name, come here and ask if anyone has had any experience with that brand or company. We are here to help. That is our function.

Buyers and Seller: Obviously as a buyer, you do not want to be known as a dead beat buyer or someone who bids and then does not pay for the item if won. That is why e-bay has the rating system it has. If you have negative feedback, it may adversely affect your ability to purchase items. Many sellers will deny bids or pull the auction if it appears you are a dead beat buyer.

Again the same holds true in the opposite. Before bidding, make sure you look at the seller’s feedback. If they have a good history and seem to be an honest person them logic should tell you that you can rest assured that the transaction will go smoothly. If they have a lot of neutral feedbacks from issues like lengthy shipping or communication problems, you may want to steer clear or at least brace yourself that it may be some time before you receive your item or that there will be poor communication. I only buy from sellers with positive feedback and will look closely at what their previous buyers said about them

Another issue with the feedback section is that it goes both ways. You should leave feedback for them as well as them for you. This ensures that what I stated before holds true. You also need to be honest. If you won an auction and were not overly happy with how the sale went, but the item is correct and undamaged or matched the seller’s description, then leave them a neutral feed back stating that the item was perfect but there were issues with the sale.

But-It-Now: Whenever possible, unless there are special circumstances, I use the Buy-It-Now Feature. This does away with the whole bidding process and is basically a way for you to get a good deal and be done with the purchase immediately. I consider a few issues under the special circumstances column. First is that the item may be used and the owner has an inflated view on what it is worth. In this case, the owner will often set a reserve right below what they have the Buy-It-Now price set at. Then you have to decide whether the auction is worth it. Do you want to bid and not win because the seller has set too high of a reserve? Is the item going to end up costing what it would if it were new and you bought it elsewhere? Second, is if you really feel you can get the item for less. Case in point. I recently ordered a license plate bracket/holder for the front of my wife’s Escape. Ford wanted $30.00 for it at a dealer. The e-bay seller had it advertised for a Buy-It-Now price of $15.00 plus shipping. I bid with a starting bid of $2.00 and ended up winning the auction for $8.00 shipped.

Dutch Auctions: A Dutch Auction is an auction with multiple amounts of a single item but with multiple winners. This is actually a good auction to bid on. If there are ten Intake systems going for $100.00 a piece as the starting bid and you are one of the top ten bidders on the item, you won. It is easy and is usually held by companies or wholesalers.

Payment: This is absolutely the most critical part of your purchase. You should NEVER send cash or a personal check. The best way to pay is via Paypal. Paypal has a protection system where you can get your money back. You need to file a complaint within 30 days of the day of payment if you have not received the item or there are severe communication problems. Paypal will refund you your money and then go after the seller. If the seller does not accept Paypal but will accept a Money Order, there is only one choice for payment. You should only send Postal Money Order which can be purchased at any post office. If the seller happens to cash the money order and does not send the merchandise, it is considered mail fraud and therefore they can be prosecuted for a Federal Crime.

Now for a few of the most common items purchased that usually leave the buyer unhappy:

1. Cheap Cold Air Intakes or Short Ram Intakes sold for well below the price that you should ever consider paying for the equipment. For example, a CAI for $39.95 is not going to be the same as the $250.00 AEM that it is copied from. They are usually made of cheap metal and painted cheaply, The use of cheap materials makes the unit absorb heat rather that reflecting it. They also rarely fit correctly and often come with a cheap imitation of a K&N for a filter.
2. The infamous $19.95 Strut Bar. These are generic bars that almost never line up as they should. They are made of cheap materials that could never stand up to what a real strut bar could. Additionally, they are not designed for our specific vehicles. This means that unlike the Focus Central or Focus Sport Strut Bars, they don’t actually fit around most intakes and under hood equipment. Anyone who has tried to install one with a stock airbox can confirm this.
3. SS Autochrome Headers. They are crap! They rust. They have cheaply made weak welds that often break. They rarely fit correctly without a lot of persuasion. Stay away from them.
4. Most of you have put aftermarket pedals in your car know that the stock accelerator pedal is curved. You have to either buy Focus specific pedals from Gear Concepts or another reputable company, or you have to buy a whole set-up like the SVT pedals. I purchased my fake Gear Concept Pedals from e-bay. I only did so because the seller answered my e-mail asking if they were truly designed for the Focus like they were advertised. He stated that they would fit the curved accelerator and I took the bait. They worked and are still on the car today.

I hope this helps a little with finding quality parts on e-bay. Remember to buy parts from manufacturers that you know and trust and that e-bay does not make parts. Often times I here the remark of, “I bought some e-bay lights.”, or “I bought an e-bay bumper.” This is simply not true. Also remember that some things may have to be persuaded a little to fit your car.

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Old 12-02-2004, 12:06 PM   #2
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Other things to watch out:

Some Sellers do not advertise or will not email the shipping cost even if you ask.
They do this on purpose so if their item doesn't go for a decent price, they can inflate the shipping cost to make it a profitible item.

If you can't get a shipping quote, I would steer clear of the item or be prepared to pay a heafty shipping cost.

Now, if I'm the buyer, I usually leave feedback after I receive and inspect the item. This is fair.
Now, if I'm the seller, as soon as payment has been made, I post good feedback IMMEDIATELY so people know that this buyer is good.
What I hate is Sellers who DO NOT leave feedback even after PROMPT payment has been made. They wait for the BUYER to leave feedback first. They do this incase the BUYER doesn't feel the item was what they bought and leave a neutral or negative feedback.
This allows the Seller to retaliate and leave neutral or negative feedback even though the BUYER paid promptly.

I always send an email 1 day after I pay requesting feedback.
Just reading.....
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:09 PM   #3
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Thanks^^ Even more good info. I hate to see people miss out on awesome deals. Like my Alpine CDA-9833 I just bought for my car for $267.00 + Shipping when it is almost $500.00 everywhere else. And this is brand new.
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:10 PM   #4
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Great Post!! Something that was definitely needed! Great work!

Should be a sticky.....
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:15 PM   #5
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this comes really handy since I'm just about to start looking for somenthing on e-bay
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Old 12-02-2004, 01:46 PM   #6
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Great Job A+++. Couldnt be said any better!!!
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:20 PM   #7
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Ebay is a waste of time, and often not cheaper, especially to Canada. The big ripoff on Ebay is the shipping charges.

Also-any problems, you're screwed.

In the long run, you are much better off with reputable on-line shops.
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Old 12-02-2004, 04:21 PM   #8
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If you want to save, go with ebay!! no risk no gain man!!

Word of Advise to Canadian buyer on ebay!
When you buy stuff from US(which many are from), you will have to pay duty fee for anything above $20cad in value!!

That's why i try to search out stuff from canada first, than USA!
Example of stuff i brought and save!
Billabong Jacket, Local cost $300CAD(Havik, Regina), ebay i brought it for $161CAD!! new! sample

Compaq R3210CA, local cost $1410CAD(futureshop), ebay cost $860CAD!! new with warranty till aug 05

Labtec wireless mouse for laptop, local cost$44.07cad(staples), ebay cost $25cad new!

All local price include 13% tax, and ebay price including shipping/duty fee! And for stuff like clothing/jacket, I would usually go to a local store, try it on and find the right size and than search it on ebay, hehe!
Vintage 2000 Focus SE Sport Wagon (Canadian Version)
Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred P195/60R15

Last edited by 2000FordFocus; 12-02-2004 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:08 PM   #9
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Thanks 200FordFocus, at least you are a sensible Canadian unlike DrRay which is the overbearing jackass breed.
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:00 PM   #10
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I love eBay for certain things but like Jason said, just be smart about what you're looking for and do your homework- just like you should with a purchase from any form of storefront.

No doubt I've gotten some killer deals over the years on all sorts of stuff, but remember if it looks too good to be true... there's still a chance it just may be.

Excellent post, well stated and I think it will be helpful to those who might be wary or confused about how to go about eBay browsing/shopping!

Also, I usually won't even bid on something that won't let me use Paypal to purchase it... I'm far too lazy to buy a MO when Paypal is so quick and secure... I've spent way more money than I can think of through their service and never gotten burned or ripped off in any way (if you directly draw out of your bank account you don't get it on your CC bill and Paypal doesn't charge the seller- both ways are good though)!
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