I thought I was the bees knees, darting in and out of "Items ending soonest" and bidding on those MP4 players with only seconds remaining.
Won quite a few of them at a very reasonable price and sat with a big smirk on my face waiting for the items to arrive.
Paid by paypal and three days later whilst reviewing my list of "Items won", noticed that one of the sellers (tarmainc) is no longer an registered ebay user.
Next day, noticed another seller (buy.mall) no longer a registered user.
At this stage I am still bidding on other items from the far east but for the first time, something prompted me to start looking into the sellers history more closely.
I noticed a pattern with most of these sellers. None of them had been trading for a considerable time, probably only 3 to 4 months. Most of their negative feedback had been recieved in the last month or so, this indicated to me that they were in the process of winding up their listings and were probably boosting their bank accounts.
Searched a couple of internet site and came upon xboxo.co.uk guess what, the sellers that I had smugly been dealing with were listed here.
Lots of links from the above site take you to other great sources of information, why didn't I read these before I started flashing my cash around on ebay?
Next day, still thinking I could outwit the quickwitted orientals I decided to contact the sellers I had already paid for items. I asked them to ensure that the 4GB MP4 players I had ordered from them were indeeed 4GB before they were sent. I told them that upon receipt and before leaving feedback, I would format the drives and find out exactly what size they are.
Next day, I get three communications from sellers asking if i would like to mutually withdraw from the transaction. One of the sellers even stated in his email to me that it was actually a 2GB unit and not a 4GB. (I have saved these emails to remind myself of my stupidity)
Natuarally I have withdrawn from the sale, I have recieved 1 refund so far, we will see if the others materialise. I, (being the buyer and obliged to go first) have also left feedback for these people and await with interest exactly what feedback they leave me.
Many buyers recieve their item and marvell at the technology and ingenuity of these MP3/MP4 players and are overawed by them. The first thing that comes into their heads is to leave feedback for such a fantastic technological item. They immediately leave the positive feedback thinking all is well and it's not untill maybe weeks later that things start to go wrong or they realise that after downloading a couple of songs onto the drive, there is no memory left or the damn thing locks up.
Too late. positive feedback has been left. You dont have the opportunity to alter it. The seller is advertising your feedback as proof of his unquestionable reputation and so the next sucker comes along.
Dont be tempted, seconds left on a sale and you havent checked out the seller, but it doesn't matter just this once, it'll be ok wont it?
No, no, no, no, it wont be ok. However much you want that great bargain, no matter what it might be, always check the sellers reputation thoroughly.
Look at past buyers who have left feedback. Contact them (there are ways to do this) ask them if they are still happy with their product or do they wish they had waited before leaving feedback.
There are genuine sellers out there, unfortunately it is very difficult for the buyers to spot them amongst all of the rubbish. The bad sellers are doing there best to destroy the Hong Kong and China ebay sites, the time is coming when so many people have had their fingers burnt, no one will buy anything from these sites.
I have compiled my own list of scam sellers. I keep this for myself and could not publish it here as these people would not hesitate to take action. Look at the fantastic looking listings these people are using. If I list an item, I could not afford to list in the same way with fancy photo's etc. How can they afford to do that when the goods that they are selling are so cheap?
If you check feedback like I did and go back 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, pages then look at the date, you have probably only gone back 2 or 3 days yet there are hundreds and hundreds of sales leaving positive feedback in those 2 or 3 days. That is how these people can afford the fancy adverts. They get their cheap useless goods for next to nothing, advertise them on ebay, we buy them and immediately leave feedback, the next person comes along and reads our feedback and the whole process starts again. If every buyer would only wait before leaving feedback, we would all get a truer picture of the integrity of a seller.
One thing worth mentioning is the storage caoacity in these units.
2gb 4gb 8gb? are they really. you can connect them up to your computer and the computer when looking at the memory of the player will probably tell you that it is exactly what the seller claims it is.
At this point be very careful, many of the MP4's have a programme installed which lies about the size of memory inside.
If you copy the contents of the MP4 player onto your pc hard drive and save it, then format the mp4 player, then place the copied files from the pc back on to the mp4 player, then it will read it's true capacity.
If anyone who is advertising the mp4 players states "Do not format the drive as we will not be responsible for any damage caused" then be very wary of the products they are selling.
You can format the drives and it does the mp4 player no harm whatsoever as long as you have remembered to copy the mp4 operating files to your pc.
As for me, yes I am still looking, but I am a whole lot wiser.
The immortal words from "Hill Street Blues" "Lets be careful out there"