ebay laptop experiences.
November 30, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Thinking of selling/taking back my current laptop and buying a laptop off ebay. Opinions/experiences requested.

I recently purchased a laptop on Black Friday (the Acer Aspire 5002, Turion 64 1.6GHZ, 1GB Ram, 100GB HD, Dual Layer DVD+_RW, XP Home, integrated graphics, 1280x800 native resolution, 800 dollars after rebate). Having never owned a laptop before, but having some experience using a high end laptop (my Ex's was a 2500 dollar laptop purchased last fall), this new laptop doesn't really satisfy me.

The screen is somewhat grainy with what appears to be 16bit colors although it says 32bit, it looks kind of funny during DVDs. It is incredibly reflective, even in a dimly lit room. The scroll button doesn't functionally work (its not that its broken, it just doesn't do anything useful, I can't use it to middle click in Firefox or anything). Furthermore with integrated graphics, I can't really game at all. Had I gotten this for a present or something, I wouldn't complain in the slightest, but since I'm a college student(CS Major) paying out of pocket for this thing, I really want something that will fulfill all of my needs.

All that said, I was told my one of my friends that I should try to sell it on ebay for a profit, that he had a few friends who sold Black Friday stuff on ebay. I hop on and check and I see that my laptop is going for 700-900 bucks. I can't really make a profit off of it if its only 100 bucks over, that just barely covers tax.

I noticed in my browsing that there are Acer Ferrari laptops for sale for around 900-1200 bucks. These things are perfect. Matte screen, higher resolution(1680 x 1050 vs 1280x800), better screen type (WSXGA+ instead of WXGA), Radeon X700 GPU. Most are factory sealed, come with a mouse, and case, everything I need. So I'm pondering ditching my system, either taking it back to Circuit City or ebaying it, and then buying one of these Ferraris. How can these be so cheap? Are they stolen? Quite a few are shipping from the EU and China (I know they were probably made in China, my current Acer was shipped from Shanghai). Will Acer warranty these laptops? If the seller has awesome feedback, should there be any cause for concern? Has anyone had any experience with the Ferraris (I have read reviews and they seem to be mostly good)? Thanks in advance.
posted by mhuckaba to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
I think everything you need to know about buying a laptop on eBay is in this Ask Metafilter thread.
posted by yarmond at 4:53 PM on November 30, 2005

Did you mean this thread instead? ^_^
posted by Tuwa at 4:56 PM on November 30, 2005

Yarmond's thread is lengthy scaremongering.

is a reasonable thread on the ins and outs of buying a laptop on eBay, I posted some advice it in.
posted by fire&wings at 5:10 PM on November 30, 2005

It's just dumb. A used computer is a foolish thing to buy online, site unseen; and since it's well-known that (1) huge amounts of fraud take place on eBay, and (2) most of that fraud centers on laptops and electronic equipment (as opposed to, say, antiques or rare books)...well, you're choosing to talk into a hornet's nest, and I think that's pretty dumb.

If you want to sell your laptop, eBay is probably a good bet. There are a lot of people, particularly this time of year, who abandon prudence in search of a bargain, and you're likely to get a decent price for it. But would I describe those people as "smart" or "wise"? Would I advise anyone, ever, to join that way of thinking and buy a laptop on eBay? Nope. No way. Never.

I'm sure this thread will get a bunch of replies from people with anecdotes, "Oh, well, I bought a brand new laptop from a grandmother on eBay and it was the best deal in my life." That's fantastic. Lots of people walk past hornet's nests without getting stung. Doesn't mean I'd recommend it.
posted by cribcage at 5:14 PM on November 30, 2005

I got ripped off to the tune of $600 on eBay through a laptop scam. I don't think the risk is worth it at all.

If you do insist on doing it, make sure you pay with a credit card.

And I think that computers that come from China or EU sometimes fall into the "grey market" category where their warranties are not honored in the US.
posted by jasonlatshaw at 5:20 PM on November 30, 2005

Just realize that you probably aren't the only person trying to sell a clunker laptop for more than you paid for it....

I'd say return the thing, and get your money back.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:58 PM on November 30, 2005

Oh come on! I've bought any number of desktops, laptops, expensive watches and electronics, and even a BMW R1100S motorcycle on eBay and had very few problems and most of those easily resolved. This fearmongering is just way overstated.

There's really just one trick, no, two tricks to successful eBaying. First and foremost, 'buy' the seller before you fall in love with his product. The few times I've had problems, without exception I made that mistake. For example, Do Not Buy an R75/6 from a guy with 1 feedback no matter how much you wanted one back in your twenties.

Check out the feedback (for a high-ticket item I'd want to see hundreds of positive FB), look at recent auctions, ask (thru the Message center) recent buyers questions, etc.

Second, you need to have a sense of the market. eBay sometimes is not the cheapest source. For example, I don't know these Acers you think so highly of, but I've gotten some incredible deals on outstanding laptops from Dell in the past six months. Or if Acer it must be, have you run it thru the product search engines to see if you can do better thru a retailer?
posted by mojohand at 7:02 PM on November 30, 2005

Response by poster: Mojo, they retail for about 2000 dollars. I'm kind of set on one of those because I know they come pre-packaged from Acer, and in order to have the warranty honored all I have to do is put in the individual serial for the laptop on their website. This is why I worry about them being stolen laptops (because if it is stolen, they may not honor the warranty, or worse just take it and keep it if I have to send it in). I think most manufacturers disolve their warranty if you're not the original buyer (so buying an Alienware or Dell may be problematic). I'm definitely open to other manufacturers, if I can purchase a factory sealed laptop and ensure that I have a warranty with it.

Also, its not necessarily a "clunker laptop", it is overall a better deal than I've seen come out of Dell in the past 6 months for that price, even with the coupon codes and rebates.
posted by mhuckaba at 7:36 PM on November 30, 2005


It doesn't matter what you are buying, if it is over $500 you must use escrow.

There is virtually no risk whatsoever if you use an escrow.
posted by Chuckles at 7:45 PM on November 30, 2005

Beware laptops priced significantly lower than the retail price - there's a high chance that they're scams. Ask yourself why a $2k laptop would be selling for $900? That was Aaron's MO. If you post a link to the laptop here, I'm sure kind people would help you to work out if it looks legit.
posted by blag at 9:07 PM on November 30, 2005

Response by poster: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6826572599

It looks like alot of the underpriced ones are disappearing now, I'm not sure if that is due to ebay shutting them down or time expiring on the last batches...
posted by mhuckaba at 9:25 PM on November 30, 2005

I'm a retail manager in the consumer electronics sector mhuckaba, albeit in Canada. The margins in computer hardware sales are notoriously slim. Earning a profit on hardware sales alone is almost impossible. In Consumer Electronic Sales the audio and video departments generally subsidize the 5-7 % margins commonly earned on computers. What this means is that there is no legitimate way that a computer which retails for $2000 can then sell elsewhere for $1000. Something is seriously wrong with that picture.

As for warranty, in Canada at least, warranty support is only available to the original purchaser. I'd be very very leery of buying something from a complete stranger who miraculously seems to have better negotiation skills and purchasing power than Best Buy or Staples.

Dell is likely your best bet for an online computer bargain, but never underestimate the value of having a reputable local merchant to assist you should things go awry. I'd examine their offerings and compare them to what's available locally from reputable retailers. Now ask yourself this. Is it worth it to you to save perhaps $100, but then have no after-market support, should you later have problems with your purchase?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:57 PM on November 30, 2005

Response by poster: I get what you're saying PareidoliaticBoy. Essentially all of these are either stolen or a scam. Figures. I wish I'd gotten one that had "fallen off the truck" while I was over there (in China last May).
posted by mhuckaba at 12:30 AM on December 1, 2005

Response by poster: Turns out at least two different accounts were hijacked (I contacted them via ebay, they told me their account had been comprimised). :-\
posted by mhuckaba at 9:17 AM on December 1, 2005

Then, although it may not seem like it now, this is a happy ending. You didn't get scammed!

I'd follow the other advice here - in terms of bang for your buck, Dell laptops are pretty much top. You may have to wait until Jan to get a bargain, though - few computer retailers *lower* prices before Xmas...
posted by blag at 9:43 AM on December 1, 2005

« Older Homemade Roasted Peas?   |   Need a headset and/or adapter to work on both... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.