Ok - first up always check that the price includes VAT. Loads of Companies add VAT on at checkout and you may not notice VAT is not included in the sale because :
A) You're caught up in a heat of the moment bidding war with someone else !
B) The person/company selling either puts the VAT notice in tiny little letters at the end of a long boring string of sales information or nestles it in amongst a list of other stuff.
Adding 17.5% onto what you thought was a bargain can really hurt.
Check whether an Operating system (eg Windows XP or Visa or whatever) is included in the price - if it is you should also get a Legitimate Certificate of Authenticity from the seller. This is usually in the form of a holographic sticker physically attached to the computer. If its not a legit copy it might work fine for now but you will not be able to install critical Windows updates and service packs as they are released (making you more prone to viruses etc).
Stock Photos - Just be aware that many sellers are too lazy (they would say busy) to photograph their products and rely on professionally produced stock photos. these show the laptop in the best possible light and may bear little resemblance to the actual item you will receive.
Feedback - A general rule for Ebaying. Always check relevant feedback. Just because a company has 99.7% positive feedback does not mean that they are good guys ! They might sell huge volumes of small cost things like leads or rewriteable cds and rely on the feedback from them to generate a false impression. If they sell a hundred cheap pieces of crap and get 100 positive feedbacks from it then it will hardly affect their reputation to sell one dodgy laptop a week and get one negative.
Carriage- Can be a lot for laptops and pcs. Some companies charge well over the odds though as a way of generating extra profits. If they sell 100 items a week and con customers into paying 5 quid over the actual cost to post (notwithsatnding packaging time etc) then that's 500 quid extra profit for NOTHING
Words to watch for !
"Untested" - Read "knackered". Very few IT companies are going to sell potentially valuable assets for less than their worth. If they have time to photograph them and list them on Ebay then they have time to test it and then list it for what its really worth. Untested is often used to describe the laptop battery - what they usually mean is old and knackered. batteries can only be used and recharged a certain number of times before they start to play up - they only hold a charge for a few minutes. You might want to check on the price of a replacement battery for the model you are about to bid on before you buy.
"Stunning" - I hate people who list items as "stunning". It means absolutely nothing and is just added to a title to make an item look potentially more interesting. It is meaningless "fluff" - and in my experience some of the worst crap I see on Ebay has the prefix "stunning".
"New" "BNIB" etc - If its being sold as new it should be new. Obvious really but that should mean never used - as in pristine, shiny and new not "nearly new and then I realised I didn't like it so I packed it back up and stuck it on Ebay new".
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