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Thread: Tips for buying used gear

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    Tips for buying used gear

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    I've been doing some shopping on the used market lately (especially for a tape deck) and have been surprised at how dishonest and unprincipled many sellers are. For every good one, there's at least two or three trying to take advantage of naive, inexperienced, or overeager buyers.

    The following are a set of rules and warning signs I've come to rely on when shopping for used gear. I learned most of this stuff the hard way over many years and hope someone can benefit from my experiences.

    If anyone has any tips of their own or horror stories they'd like to share, I'd like to hear them.

    ***

    The two cardinal rules of buying:

    * Never try to negotiate a deal that you're not prepared to walk away from if you aren't satisfied with the terms being offered.

    * Never pay more for an item than what you would be able to sell it for.

    Signs you're being hustled:

    * Seller tries to pressure you into buying by telling you that "someone else is coming to see it" (this is seldom true, especially when the price is high and he's been trying to sell it for a while).

    * Seller claims a machine has been professionally serviced but is unable or unwilling to provide a receipt or to even tell you who serviced it.

    * Seller is unwilling to let you fully examine and test the machine.

    * Seller won't answer simple, reasonable questions.

    * Seller makes contradictory claims.

    * Seller says he is unable to verify that the machine works and is thus selling it as-is but is nevertheless asking as much as a working machine in good condition would cost.

    "Deals" to avoid:

    * Don't buy anything off eBay on an "as-is" basis, unless you're buying it dirt cheap as a parts machine or as a fix-it project.

    * Don't even bother responding to classified ads or online auctions in which the asking price is grossly exaggerated. In my experience, the person who places such an ad has an unrealistic idea of how much the item is worth and nothing you can say will persuade him to offer you a fair price. You want to be dealing with people who actually want to sell their items, not with opportunistic punks who found some "vintage" gear with "famous" names in their grandmothers' garages and think they've hit the jackpot.
    Last edited by Igor Alexander; 11-11-2009 at 14:37.

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    Nice job. +1 to all the above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor Alexander View Post
    .....the person who places such an ad has an unrealistic idea of how much the item is worth and nothing you can say will persuade him to offer you a fair price. You want to be dealing with people who actually want to sell their items, not with opportunistic punks who found some "vintage" gear with "famous" names in their grandmothers' garages and think they've hit the jackpot.
    There's no way I could ever afford the whole lot of "used gear" if sellers were offering ONLY fair price.
    Thankfully, it's not so
    And, hey! I must be one of those "opportunistic punks " who's always looking to get more for less, or better say - something for nothing

    Huh, also, I buy exclusively items that are being sold "AS IS" (including the items that are advertised otherwise ). If there anything in the description such as: "guarantee to work", "satisfaction guarantee", "works great as new", "nothing is wrong with device" etc etc - I simply ignore all that "stuff"
    Also, if I ever happen to sell a used (or vintage) piece of electronics - I only sell it strictly "AS IS!", no guarantee, no return, no nonsensens. And I put "AS IS!" in bald and in red.
    **********

    P.S.
    Rules are for slaves.
    Knowledge is calculable, Ignorance has no limits.
    Dr ZEE
    MZE | Dr ZEE WORKSHOP

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    Just an additional note: Always check the fuse (if possible) and make sure it is the correct size.
    Cavetone Records is a vinyl-only record label that records and mixes only to open reel through a series of tube devices and magic to release mono records. http://www.cavetone.com

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    I've had a few bad experiences buying used, so I think for me the bottom line is I understand a certain element of risk and is the risk/reward ratio acceptable.

    BTW,

    Do you really cut mono 45's???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Jinn View Post
    BTW,

    Do you really cut mono 45's???
    Yup. And as an analog nerd, they actually do the recording justice as opposed to that awful feeling I used to get after transferring it to CD. Mmmmm, vinyl.
    Cavetone Records is a vinyl-only record label that records and mixes only to open reel through a series of tube devices and magic to release mono records. http://www.cavetone.com

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    Hm...

    Looking back it appears that gear has to either be located far, far from me and pickup only, be missing the power supply, or be of completely unknown condition for me to buy...seems dirt cheap is pretty much my only prerequisite...it seems to be a plus if it is missing key components...sick. Sick, sick, sick.

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    I noticed about a week or so ago a seller on junkbay was parting with his Tascam 32 and gave a general description of the machine and said he had no way to test it. The funny part was he wanted people to look at the pics, but the deck had a full 10 1/2" reel of tape on it. Either the pics were not of his machine or something. It just struck me as odd.

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    For me there is one simple rule I all ways follow... Try it before you buy it. I've got a room full of junk that I got before I started to apply this simple idea.
    The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. [url]http://www.soundclick.com/sixfeetover[/url]

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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgeaspen View Post
    I noticed about a week or so ago a seller on junkbay was parting with his Tascam 32 and gave a general description of the machine and said he had no way to test it. The funny part was he wanted people to look at the pics, but the deck had a full 10 1/2" reel of tape on it. Either the pics were not of his machine or something. It just struck me as odd.
    I think I saw that one! Or I saw one very similar. He said he had no way to test it, and it also said "Comes with everything you see in the picture." And in the picture was the deck loaded up with tape.

    I sent him a question about that, but I never heard anything back. Funny.
    famous beagle

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