When searching for MP4 players on eBay, you will be presented with a surprisingly large number of items; a closer look however, shows that most are modelled on Apple's IPod. Furthermore, the vast majority of the sellers are located in Hong Kong.
Thus, before you contemplate buying a Chinese/HK MP4 player, consider the following:
- why is the item selling for less than £30 when you can't get a decent MP3 player for that price?
- does the (generally) high feedback of the seller reflect the quality of the product?
- are the MP4 players as described?
I purchased a 4GB MP4 player from mp3_exp (item 110027049639). It arrived three days later which was impressive considering that it was shipped from Hong Kong. I was initially pleased with the product but as a habit, I do not leave feedback until after several weeks in case any complications arise; in the case of this MP4 player, they were many:
- Firstly, I found (on the second day of receipt) that despite claims by mp3_exp that the item was 4GB, it could only hold 2GB of information. A quick search on the internet revealed that this is not uncommon with Chinese/HK MP4 players.
- Secondly, I found to my disappointment that the voice recording facility did not work properly. I contacted the seller but recieved no response.
- Finally, after one week, the glue holding the MP4 player together (I'm not kidding) was starting to come out. The MP4 player hereafter stopped working all together.
Dispute with Seller
After ignoring my emails, I filed a dispute and mp3_exp agreed to refund after I sent back the faulty MP4 player at a cost of £7. I provided him with a tracking number as requested. I repeatedly asked him if he recieved the item but he avoided answering. After initially agreeing to refund, he heavily hinted that he would only replace the item. I declined and reminded him that he promised to refund; I also agreed to his request to have the dispute closed. The dispute was closed automatically and I waited duly for my refund but as you will have guessed by now, it never came. mp3_exp's contact information was incorrect (probably deliberately) and so I could not get in touch with him.
I contacted eBay but their response was predictable: I'm sorry to hear that despite returning the item, you did not recieve a refund. Unfortunately, we can not do anything.
I probably wasn't the first to complain about the practices of the particular seller and I probably won't be the last, yet this seller can get away with scamming the public which brings me to another point: Due to the general indifference of eBay, one could envisage a situation whereby a seller defrauds hundreds of people of thousands of pounds and faces little if any consequences. As a buyer, I represent much less capital to eBay than a large scale commercial seller and so my concerns may be pushed aside - after all, eBay makes money on all transactions.
Note that I am in no way encouraging illlicit activities but merely pointing out (what is to me) the obvious.
Final Points to Consider
- If you do decide to purchase one of these MP4 players, consider that the memory may be less than stated.
- Does feedback acurately reflect a seller's trustworthiness? Generally yes, but in this case, I would suggest waiting a few weeks before you post feedback, in case your MP4 player decids to stop working.
- A lot of these MP4 players do not support MP4 files but only AMV, DMV, MTV and MPV formats. As such, they are not true MP4 players, but S1 MP3 players that can play limited video files.
- The instruction manual : " please do yes and ok when inset in darking file. Press to sparkle"
- From my experience, the video and audio capacities are lacking. The maximum volume is annoyingly very low.
- Finally, if this guide has had little effect on you and you do decide to procure on of these travesties, consider buying from a UK-based seller but be weary that many foreign sellers (including mp3_exp) falsely claim that the location of the item is in London etc...
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Disclaimer: My opinions of and comments on eBay and the seller are based on my personal experiences and will not hold true for everyone.