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Rich Z's Blatherings Since Connie and I have retired the SerpenCo business, topics here will focus on topics of a more personal and general nature.

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Old 08-31-2017, 08:51 PM   #1
Rich Z
Angry Ebay

I've bought a LOT of stuff off of Ebay over the years, but I swear that now they might just as well rename the site as "Chinabay". The place has been literally overrun with Chinese sellers. Most of then will fake their location by stating they are shipping out of some place in California, but it seems to me that there is just a single warehouse in a location there that they are all selling out of. And I have a real strong suspicion that most of their positive feedback is just one person using MANY accounts passing feedback among the accounts.

I've been looking at a magnetic lifting device for my shop crane, and I happened to ask a couple of the sellers about the physical dimensions of the magnet. Every one of the ads are exactly the same, but heck, I didn't even think that ALL of them might be trying to sell one single lonely item sitting at a warehouse that showed up on some sort of inventory listing. So, all of a sudden, they are all sold out. Every one of them who responded. Now what are the chances? And a couple who "responded" it was obvious they could not understand English and just pressed a button, ANY button, as a response. And DON'T call me "Dear"!

I recently bought some hole saw bits I needed for a job I want to do, and I ordered it specifically from an account that stated they were located in Bushell, FL. I figured I would get it pretty quick, since they aren't more than a 3 hour drive from my house. But it took over a week to show up, and the tracking info stated that it had been shipped out of, you guessed it, California. When I asked them why it was taking so long to get the item to me from Bushnell, they suddenly changed their location info on their Chinabay account to California.

I've got nothing against Chinese, but liars and shifty acting companies, yeah, I don't like them much at all.

I've already stopped dealing with Amazon a while back, because they pissed me off, so I guess I'm going to run out of places to buy from at this rate.
Old 09-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
I tried buying a high pressure air compressor to fill my PCP air rifles on Chinabay. The Chinese compressors average around $340 shipped. The USA brands run from $2,000 to $10,000, and nobody is going pay that to pump up an air rifle. To make matters worse the USA brands sometimes state " built in the USA," but when I asked if they were made with American parts I don't get a reply. I guess I'll continue filling the guns with a scuba tank for now.
Old 09-01-2017, 08:04 PM   #3
Rich Z
Yeah, that's another thing that USA "manufacturer's" and retailers have shot themselves in the head over. You can't get me to believe that a Chinese made product that YOU import and resell with your label on it is going to be any better than the same item I buy directly from Chinese outlets. Take tools for instance. I used to buy Craftsman tools almost exclusively. But once I started seeing "Made in China" on them, well heck why should I pay a premium price on something that is going to be pretty much identical to what Harbor Freight is selling? And no, the excuse "they are using an American made design", made to USA specs", or "inspected by USA inspectors" really doesn't mean a hill of beans to me. All they are doing is buying the same exact thing, slapping their own label or engraving their business name on the product, and pocketing the larger profits they are making by laying off their own workforce and just importing the stuff to flip to consumers. And a dollar to a donut says I am just being lied to anyway by some salesman trying to convince me that a Craftsman hammer made in China is going to be any better than one I buy at Harbor Freight. You want my money? Well EARN it!

If they want to charge "Made in America" prices, well dammit, MAKE them in America!

I completely stopped buying motorized Craftsman products after having too many of them just burn up or otherwise fail on me. And then K-mart bought them, and well, that pretty much told the rest of the story for me.

Honestly, I am EXTREMELY surprised that China hasn't created a manufacturing facility that is an entire town, province, state, or whatever, that they simply name "America". Then they really could market their products as "Made in America", and it would be our problem that we couldn't tell the difference.

But to give you another perspective, or maybe the same, a while back I was looking at a rather expensive electric buffer to work on my vehicles with. It was something like $500, if I remember correctly. But I'll be honest, can it REALLY be that much better than a $40 buffer from Harbor Freight? I could buy 12 of them for what the expensive one would have cost me and still be ahead of the game, so even if the Harbor Freight one only lasted a year, what was the smart choice there?

So it appears that China is poised to just knock out the middle men in their dealings with the American buying public. On Ebay, that is already happening pretty bluntly. Heck I once ordered something I wanted that cost $2.50 from China with shipping included in that price. I wound up buying 5 of them because I felt bad that they couldn't be making any profit on that sale.

Is it a bad thing to be buying from China? Well, I guess it depends. If you are expecting quality merchandise, then I suspect you might be disappointed more times than not. But if it would be items that are being made in China anyway, just the USA retailers are tacking on their own profit by being middle men, then why should I buy from them instead of going to China direct? I would LIKE to buy American, but it's getting tougher and tougher to not only come up with a good reason for doing so, but to even FIND something that is really and truly MADE IN AMERICA.
Old 09-02-2017, 11:44 AM   #5
I saw an ad for a bicycle with a "pedal forward" design on Ebay. I noticed the ad stated "proudly built in the USA," so I bought one. I liked the bike and was showing it to my friends, saying it was almost as nice as Sue's Fuji. I told them the best part was that it was built right in the USA. Then one of my friends asked why there was a sticker on the frame that said made in China. Oops, so much for advertising. I emailed the company twice but they don't respond. Here again, it looks like built in the USA doesn't mean all the parts were made here.
Old 09-15-2017, 05:24 PM   #6
Rich Z
So I was looking through Ebay looking for some lifting magnets to use with my shop crane, and the ads there are just flooded with Chinese sellers. Some stating they are shipping from China, and others saying they are shipping all from the same city in California, but they registered their Ebay accounts out of China. Most of them had a notable slew of awful ratings from previous customers, so I just kept looking. Finally found a company in Miami, that talked about how their magnets were tested and certified and were their own brand name, and their Ebay rating was a solid 100%. Yes, they were significantly more expensive than the Chinese products (which looked identical, btw), but I felt this would likely be the best choice to make. Hey, it WAS possible they weren't lying to me, WASN'T it?

Well, they came in, and best I can tell, they are the same identical things the Chinese are selling on Ebay. They did come with a certificate, however, so I guess I paid extra for them to open the wood shipping box and insert that piece of paper. Not sure if I actually got anything substantially better than the cheaper selling Chinese products I was looking at. Matter of fact, I rather doubt I did. But not worth the hassle and expense of sending them back for a refund.

Not really a lesson "learned" as it is a lesson "reinforced", I suppose. If it quacks like a duck.........
Old 09-15-2017, 11:25 PM   #7
I guess I don't understand the EBay concept. When I bought things on EBay years back they were items individuals were selling at auction. When I won an auction I paid for the item and it was shipped to me. Now there are companies basically offering new items with a stated price. Sometimes it says you can make an offer, but very little is auctioned anymore.
Old 09-16-2017, 02:57 AM   #8
Rich Z
Honestly, I rarely even look at actual auctions on Ebay any longer. Pretty much people would start the auction at what they really wanted anyway, and the auction was nothing less than a hope by them that someone will be willing to pay more than they would be willing to sell it for.

Plus I just don't have the patience for auctions for a lot of purchases I want to make. Generally when I am looking for something specific, and find what I want, I am ready to buy NOW. Not three days from now, not tomorrow, right now. So I set the filters to BUY IT NOW, and sort the entries by the lowest price first. Then I check feedback on the sellers, and weed them out of the running. Sometimes I don't care how long it will take to get to me if the price is good enough. Other times I want to find a seller as close to me as possible so it will get to me as quickly as possible. Depends on what I am buying and what I want it for.

About the only time I play the actual auction game is if there is something kind of frivolous I want (quartz crystal clusters, for instance), and I know I can likely get it for a much better price if I try my luck with an auction. I do use a sniping program, so I just set it to the maximum I am willing to pay, and then forget about it till the auction ends and I either won or I didn't.

One technique I have used with auctions is by searching on an item that has been spelled incorrectly, and therefor will likely not have very much in the way of competitors. Not so much with Ebay, but back when I was in the gun buying time in my life, I was collecting Colt Pythons, and got some REALLY good deals by searching for "Ptyhon" or similar misspellings.
Old 09-16-2017, 10:27 AM   #9
First, I totally agree that most start their auctions at what they want anyway. The other way they do it is to start low and have a reserve, but you don't see that as much these days. I also hate where they set a low price and then charge outrageous shipping, though some of what I buy is heavy and glass, which justifies higher shipping charges within reason.

In antiques and collectibles there are still a lot of auctions and I pretty much use the same strategy as Rich. Most of what I buy on eBay are glass antiques and I actually like the auctions where when I find something I like at a fair price I can buy now without going through the bidding process. Sometimes what I want is only on auction. Often times I put in a bid just a little over the starting bid and I win. If I don't win, I let it go and keep looking. Most of the time there are no real bargains, but there can be fair prices.

I also only buy things under $100. I figure I can afford to lose that if something is a scam.

As to new merchandise, I limit what I buy there to things I either can't get elsewhere, or can't get elsewhere at as good a price. Even in the china-bay items, many are available elsewhere at better prices. Also why buy anything on eBay used or gray market when often literally for a few dollars more you can get it new with a manufacturers warranty?

My favorite china-bay item is the aquarium thermometers on suction cups with probes that I use for my snakes. I'll usually buy them ahead of time in bulk and get them for less than $2 each including shipping as opposed to over $5 apiece through any other source I've found.

I'm still skeptical of some of the other china-bay reptile products, not knowing that the materials they are made from are necessarily safe. I will pay more for brand names from reputable sources that I know have to stand behind their product's safety like ExoTerra, ZooMed, Zilla and Flukers to name a few.

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