99 cent remote control a scam?
February 2, 2012 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Why am I seeing electronics such as an XBOX 360 remote control on eBay for only 99 cents with no shipping charges? Is this a scam?
posted by DMelanogaster to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
taking a really quick look at e-bay.. is because those are knock offs. Not the real one sold by Microsoft.

Most of them seem to be selling this version. It doesn't have the number pad and the packaging has no Microsoft or Xbox360 logos.
posted by royalsong at 1:12 PM on February 2, 2012

The auction is either for a knock-off of dubious quality or a box.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on February 2, 2012

Another option, if it's an auction, is that it's got a "secret minimum" -- they've posted the opening bid at 0.99, but they have a REAL opening price that's a secret; if your opening bid is actually lower than that REAL opening price, your bid won't count.

Or, if it's an auction, they're just hoping to get a gabillion people falling all over themselves in an effort to get the way-cheap X-box and the bidders will all fight it out amongst themselves, driving the price further and further up in their frenzy, until the actual price gets up to where it ordinarily will be.

ebay's weird.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:18 PM on February 2, 2012

Also they can make a lot of money via shipping and handling.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:37 PM on February 2, 2012

I said no shipping charges. However I didn't get far enough into buying to see if there's a handling charge.

So I need an authentic Microsoft one to be assured it'll work? I've used knock-off power adapters with no problems for years (for Toshiba laptops). But they cost e.g. $12, not 99 CENTS for god's sake.
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:42 PM on February 2, 2012

well, it's $1.. Not much lost if it turns out not to work for you.

I'd take the chance if you're OK with them being duds.
posted by royalsong at 1:45 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

You'll want one that's actually licensed by Microsoft, not necessarily made by them. What you don't want is something with a price too good to be true and/or claiming to be made by a company it isn't actually made by.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on February 2, 2012

I would not buy things that seem too good to be true from random people or companies.

The only internet "seems too good to be true" thing that I wholeheartedly buy into is how ridiculously cheap and amazing monoprice cables are.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:49 PM on February 2, 2012

well I just bought this one impulsively. So we'll see if they'll somehow extract all the money in the checking account that I have connected to Paypal.

posted by DMelanogaster at 1:56 PM on February 2, 2012

Well, I would've suggested you buy a video game controller but a manicure is just as nice, I guess.
posted by griphus at 1:58 PM on February 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

oh my god I am being impulsive today. That link is to How To Give Yourself A Manicure on YouTube, which is amazing in itself.

Here is the remote control I bought.
posted by DMelanogaster at 1:59 PM on February 2, 2012

There are a lot of small electronics items being sold by Chinese sellers, either in China, Hong Kong, or California, that are going for $.99 or $1.99 with no shipping charges. Stuff like wires, adaptors, that sort of thing. I don't understand the business model either, but there has to be some way they're making money.
posted by Slinga at 2:41 PM on February 2, 2012

As Slinga writes, this is pretty common. I don't know anything about this particular item, but there are plenty of cables, etc. to be had for $1 or so on eBay, shipping included. I've ordered some from time to time and there doesn't seem to be any scam involved.

Basically, in a very hand-wavy way, it boils down to some super-cheap electronic piece, which costs the seller 10 cents or so, $0.30-$0.50 for shipping (China Post is cheap), a little bit for Paypal and eBay and then maybe 10 cents profit for the seller. Multiply that by significant volume and the seller can make thousands in a year, which is still a significant amount of money in China.

We live in a strange world.
posted by ssg at 4:00 PM on February 2, 2012

Well maybe my question is in part a function of my naivete about what's inside a remote control. I can see a cable for a dollar, but a remote looks more complicated. However probably it's not. I come out of this question with my presumptions slightly bruised yet a bit wiser for the experience.

Thank you.
posted by DMelanogaster at 5:17 PM on February 2, 2012

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