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Thread: Experiences buying used equipment

  1. #1
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Experiences buying used equipment

    Not sure where this goes, but I'll try here. I don't buy very much anymore on flea-bay, for various reasons, many of which are covered on this board in other forums.

    On the buy/sell section of this board, I've had very good luck, in fact, perhaps above average luck - at least so far.

    Where I have had problems is answering local for sale ads in the newspaper or on line - such as Kijijij or Craigslist.

    Now here's the thing - for local ads, I always follow up with a phone call and talk to the person before driving over to see the stuff for sale. Still I get burned - sorta- because I end up leaving and not spending any money.

    Some time ago one guy advertised he was getting out of large format, and told me on the phone he owned several 4x5s, including a couple of nice field cameras I wanted to look at. When I got there, all he had for sale was a beat up, over priced 4x5 monorail. His excuse was he never directly said the other cameras were for sale, only that he had them.

    He looked upset when I started to leave, so I replied back that I told him before coming that I already owned a monorail and was looking for a feild camera, so what did he expect?


    That was a couple years ago, and just this past week, i drove 90 minutes out of town to look at some darkroom equipment after talking to the guy on the phone 3 times. I asked what I thought were a lot of detialed question, but with hindsight, obviously not.

    To make a long story short, the equipment I was interested in was absolutely filthy (dried, caked fixer on a couple of items), and the chemistry he said he had "lots of" were nearly empty jars. I was polite, declined any purchase, thanked him for his time, and left quickly. Then another 90 minute drive back home, so three hours on the road for nothing.

    I've had a couple of other such experiences, not all 90 minute drives thankfully. But it boggles my mind that a person would give you a verbal description over the phone, and then when you arrive, it's something very different. Anything I have boought off this forum in the past - Jobo drums, tripods, 8x10 camera, lenses, etc, have all been either right on target with descriptions or better than described, and the irony is, I've talked to these people too by voice on the phone.

    So I guess I am just blowing off some steam, but is it just me, or anybody else have similar issues?
    joe
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Still beats opening a box and finding that stuff (after paying for it)

  3. #3

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Im always suspicious of any photographer that cannot provide reasonable pictures showing the items for sale and wont waste my time on anything that cant be documented and emailed to me as such. Therefore most of my experiences have been pretty good- and especially good on this forum!

  4. #4
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Still beats opening a box and finding that stuff (after paying for it)
    That's what I found when buying two Speed Graphics sold together as parts to re-build one good one. One pre-Anniversary the other a Pacemaker with no parts what so ever in common

    Luckily I managed to restore both in the end with not to much effort.

    My worst ebay buy was off a prolific poster on another Forum, 3 lens boards none for the cameras described (he's banned now).

    Ian

  5. #5

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by eric black View Post
    Im always suspicious of any photographer that cannot provide reasonable pictures showing the items for sale and wont waste my time on anything that cant be documented and emailed to me as such. Therefore most of my experiences have been pretty good- and especially good on this forum!
    That is the case for me as well.

  6. #6

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Very close to all my equipment is now used; I actually sold off almost all the new stuff I bought when I was silly and bought a lot of used stuff in its place

    I've only had one really bad experience, and it was with the only thing I bought from my local used dealer. It was a super rollex that does not work well at all. I had it in for a CL

  7. #7

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    The vast majority of my gear is used; from foums, eBay, and a couple of on-line dealers. My only bad experience so far was with a local used dealer; his prices are cracked, so normally I don't bother with him, but one of the items went cheap on eBay (he has a storefront but also puts select items on eBay). It was a Linhof Super Rollex. It looked in good condition, but didn't work well at all. I took it to a repair guy to get the counter 'unstuck' and it turns out it was very heavily used and the gearing was extensively worn. The seller knew a lot more about the device then I did, and I trusted him when I should not have. I stick to more remote sails now

    My main .. guidance ... is that I try to deal with people who have a long term stake in the game. For example, you see people saying "they are getting out of LF" or the like; I tend to avoid them, since if you do not get satisfaction they have no interest in future sales or reputation since they'll be gone. People who regularly buy sell or participate are better angles. On eBay, I tend to deal with those who can really describe their items condition well and seem to stand behind their product, and avoid those who are dumping an estate and clearly have no idea if a shutter is working well or not. Of course, the latter can get you the best deal, but it does come at a fair risk.

  8. #8

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    I get burned more when trying to sell than when buying.

    Recently I paid a 35 rail fare to meet someone who was desperately interested in buying one of my cameras. I'd gone up especially, considering that his purchase would offset the cost of travel. He bought me a coffee, spent 15 minutes looking over the camera getting more and more enthusiastic. Right at the end he got cold feet and made an excuse then literally ran out the door of the coffee shop.

    Almost every other buyer has been really keen until it gets to the crunch, then backs out. The same for another person saying they will be in the UK soon and will even travel to me to get the camera. Last email I got, after agreeing to hold the item for him for a couple weeks til he arrives, was a list of more questions that were basically amounting to "if i don't like it can I have my money back?"


    I recently bought a CL. It's perfect except for a dent, and a bit of black paint fleck in the rangefinder swing mirror. I got it at a good price because of the tiny dent... but I only found out about the paint fleck when I got home. The worst thing is it appears in the centre of the bright spot at 1m setting, so distracts my eye when focusing. Felt a bit cheated it wasn't noted, but it's still usable so I get on with it.

  9. #9

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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    I've only gotten frustration on Craigslst. Not 2 months ago I responded to an ad for an old Canon F-1. The picture look good, the email fine, the phonecall fine. Got it from his grandfather he said. So I drove over. When I got there, there were TWO Canon F-1s on the kitchen counter. One minty, with a fast F1.4 lens.

    The other was just a body, broken, no lens. Guess which one was for sale? "My wife decided she wanted to get back into 35mm, so she wants to use this F-1 (minty one) that granddad had....you can buy this other one....oh...it doesn't seem to be working...."

  10. #10
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Re: Experiences buying used equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    I've only gotten frustration on Craigslst. Not 2 months ago I responded to an ad for an old Canon F-1. The picture look good, the email fine, the phonecall fine. Got it from his grandfather he said. So I drove over. When I got there, there were TWO Canon F-1s on the kitchen counter. One minty, with a fast F1.4 lens.

    The other was just a body, broken, no lens. Guess which one was for sale? "My wife decided she wanted to get back into 35mm, so she wants to use this F-1 (minty one) that granddad had....you can buy this other one....oh...it doesn't seem to be working...."
    For what it is worth, your message makes me feel better.

    I've been reading the comments and thinking yeah, I should of gotten some more pictures ahead of time through e-mail, especially in the case of the guy out of town.

    But there's a part of me that thinks it's kinda odd to ask for e-mailed photos ahead of time when the guy selling the used gear is less than a 5 minute drive away. Your message that you did have photos and even that didn't help makes me think if I had asked for more photos ahead of time from that guy out of town I would of got burned anyhow. I did have a couple of photographs to begin with, but I forgot to add in my original message that the gear didn't look like it did in person as with the photos.

    I just don't get some people though. I can understand some guy trying to burn you over the internet, because you are a million miles away and anonymous. In fact, my mastercard got shut down today because it was compromised, and the only place I can think off is a $20 purchase off flea-bay for a computer cable that hasn't arrived yet. Could be anywhere though nowadays. So while I avoided any fraudulent bills on my MC (they caught it in time), between that and my wasted trip out of town, I'm in a crappy mood - or at least my wife says so.

    But in person, pulling a bait and switch or some other garbage in person? Maybe people do fall for that sort of thing more than we know. But on the other hand, if you are pulling this kind of garbage, how do you for certain that the guy showing up to buy your junk isn't going to be 250 pounds of muscle, 6 foot tall, and wearing a "Hells Angels" jacket?

    Perhaps we should all get together put in a bulk order for "Hells Photographers" biker jackets for occasions like this. At the very least, people might not bother you as much when setting up your tripod & camera.
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

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