Ebay buyers beware. Not all sellers are as honest as they say!

Earlier today I contacted an Ebay seller about a Kodak Easyshare compact camera they had for sale. It was cheap, from memory about £5 plus a small postage fee, a total of perhaps £8 or £9 in total. The “trusted seller” listed it as untested because “he didn’t have any batteries”. It was also being sold as “absolutely no returns”. Fair enough you might think.

Ebay buyers beware. Not all sellers are as honest as they say!
Ebay buyers beware. Not all sellers are as honest as they say!

Now, I have been pretty successful buying “untested cameras” but I only target cameras where the battery is expensive, difficult to find or it needs another piece of kit such as a charger or a docking station. Here, all this particular camera  needed was 2x AA batteries which TBH are available to anyone and everyone in the world. Because of this unusual situation I contacted the seller. My messsage was simply “Hi. Love to buy this for my little grandson but you say you don’t have AA batteries to check it works. That’s curious as everyone has AA batteries. I just need to know if it works or not? Best, David”

This was not a wind up on my part, I really was looking for an easy to use, child friendly compact camera for my 8 year old grandson and this one looked to fit the bill. I was just a bit concerned about the lack of testing for want of a couple of AA batteries! Anyway, within half an hour or so I received a message back saying simply “Sorry I cannot find this camera”. This to me was even stranger than not having AA batteries knocking around. Clearly I’d rattled, this “Trusted Seller” and he felt the need to backtrack on the sale rather than have to come clean about it’s true status. I fired back a simple “Disappointing!!” message and left it at that. No point wasting time on this guy!

Now I can hear you say, why bother to make a fuss, it was only a couple of quid so why worry if it didn’t work out. Well firstly, I am tired of seeing high volume sellers on Ebay hide behind the fact that they are personal sellers. This means that they avoid their responsibilities under the Distance Selling laws even though in many cases, and as here, Ebay specifically states on the listing that returns are accepted. Who is right here, the seller or Ebay?

With regards the money, think about it. If you want to sell junk and make a few quid without a comeback, one strategy might be to price it so low that no one would bother to send it back even if they could, the return postage would basically make it too expensive. So if you sell 100 pieces of junk a year, for maybe up to a tenner each you’ll probably make between £500 –  £1000 in profit. Not bad for a side hustle!

And yes, it’s really easy to do. Just buy job lots of cameras, the more the merrier and sell these individually for £10 each or so irrespective of whether they work or not under the guise “untested, I don’t have a battery / charger / cables etc”. It’s easy really.

All of this being said, how do I know in this case that this was a dodgy item? What sellers don’t know is that I scan Ebay for opportunities to buy cheap so I use non-specific search terms and save the search. My search term here was “Kodak Easyshare”.  Now, whenever a new Kodak Easyshare item of any type is posted for sale, I get an email letting me know. And believe me, there are hundreds posted each week!

So later in the day I received a notification from Ebay telling me that 11 new Kodak Easyshare cameras had been listed and lo and behold, there was the very same Kodak EASYSHARE CX7530 5.0MP Digital Camera listed again being sold as SPARES/REPAIR/PARTS. However this time the description said “I have tested it but no response”. Miraculously not only had the seller found the missing camera, he had also found a couple of AA batteries so that he could test it. And surprise surprise, it didn’t work!

Had I bought it on spec, I would not only have wasted my money, I would also have wasted my time and that is just as precious! As it was,it prompted me to write this short article on the pros and cons of buying sight unseen on Ebay.

Now I’m pretty sure that this type of selling is rampent on Ebay. This particular seller hides behind being a “Trusted Seller” which is clearly somewhat of an exageration. I’m not going to mention names here, I don’t need to, I am purely using my story as an example of buyer beware!

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