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thimblerig
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Almost placed this under "The Good, the bad and the Garbage..."

Personally I have had an excellent eBay experience buying magic. Have been able to obtain magic items that I would never have been able to find elsewhere - MINT Tayade cups and wand for example. Plus I have learned a lot from postings describing the items for sale. "Flinner's" ad descriptions in particular are an education in themselves.

However "a fool and his money..." certainly applies to eBay. I have seen SO many individuals bid and pay 3-4 times as much as necessary on an item currently for sale elsewhere on the web. Recently a copy of Derren Brown's video sold for over $150.00 plus postage. It is available from his website for $60.00 postpaid! A copy of "Korem Without Limits" went for over $75.00 a while back, but http://www.bookfinder.com listed several copies ranging from $30-45.00 at the same time. Amazing.

On the downside, I myself paid too much for an item early on because although I searched the web I didn't come up with the same item anywhere...later found I overspent. Have purchased one item for $11.00 and never received it - (lesson: pay for insurance if it means a lot to you)but other than those two instances all has gone well. Overall, I have several items unavailable readily anywhere else and have saved money over retail.

What are your experiences with eBay or other auction sites?
tr
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Burt Yaroch
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My take on the insurance recommendation: Don't do it. I have attempted to make 2 claims on items I had insured (one lost one damaged) and have not been paid on either. And this is after exhaustive efforts on the phone, writing letters, going to the post office, "no you have to mail it back to the sender and HE makes the claim", no you have to mail it back to the buyer...", quack quack quack.

Has anyone here ever been paid by the USPS for an insurance claim.

Other than this my ebay experiences have been very good.
Yakworld.
Thoughtreader
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Quote:
On 2002-03-31 00:40, yakandjak wrote:
...Has anyone here ever been paid by the USPS for an insurance claim.
Other than this my ebay experiences have been very good.


I have gone after Canada Post for damage and received compensation although during some searching and fighting I have also deisovered that registered mail in Canada is no longer safe and secure, despite their advertising it is. It is now handled with regular mail, unsecured and the only thing you get for all that extra money is a signature at the end. No tracking, no security, just a bold faced lie from Canada Post about how secure it is for a bunch of extra $$$

As for eBay, never had a bad experience yet.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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http://www.mindguy.com
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Joshua Quinn
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I've had very good experiences on eBay, but I know what you mean about strange bidding habits. I've listed some used tricks at half what I paid for them, and they ended up selling for well over retail price -- and these were not rare, hard-to-find items by any means. So go clean out those junk drawers; no telling what someone might pay for that Tenyo Blue Crystal.
Quinn
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
Rodan
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I must agree ebay is very useful for getting unusual or difficult pieces.
I find it especially good, being located in Australia it offers a freedom to choose different items I would never get with a local deal.
PayPal has been a real boon too. Makes it so easy and I think helps security.
The downside for me is that most US sellers say they only sell to US or Canada, so if I really want something I have to drop them an email saying will you ship to Oz? Most will but it can be a hassle if you find a bargain about to close and have to wait for a reply if seller is not on-line.
Otherwise, no probs. Never been ripped off or lost anything.
I like it.
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"To assert the impossibility of a fact comes to the same thing as saying that it has not as yet been observed; nothing authorises us to decide that it will never be observed." Joseph Maxwell 1858-1938
Michael Peterson
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My name is Ichazod & I am a former Ebay junkie. I would get into late night bidding wars & end up paying way too much for readily available items. I would also get huge lots sometimes for very cheap, luckily the Cafe keeps me too busy to spend all my time there.

There are some great deals to be had, but there is also alot of crap. You have to be aware of pirates selling inferior homemade copies of differen't props & effects as well as poorly photocopied lecture notes.

Buyer beware!


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RangeCowboy
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I think the eBay thing is ideal for someone who wants to turn over their unused props through the magic community. I also agree with Ichazod BEWARE of manuscripts - I have a few that are obvious copies of the original, but what do you do if they are small time sellers. I didnt post any bad feedback in case it blew back on me.

I limit myself to less than $50.00 per item just in case I get stung.


I have found one scoundrel who is cranking out crap but I wont mention names 'cept to say he always offers deals like 10 tricks in a group for about $20.00

On the plus side I have gotten some real bargains by checking the prices and sometimes waiting till close to the end on an item with few bidders.

The Egyptian flute in my picture on the left I got for $10.00 on eBay as a prop.

CAVEAT EMPTOR!
DoctorAmazo
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HI ICHAZOD!!

(Oops...too much information!)

I have bought and sold magic (mostly tapes) on eBay with no probs whatsoever. I had one damaged (no insurance), but I was able to repair the case enough to get it to play. Obviously, I won't be selling that one...

My problem with insurance is I live 6 miles from the post office and must always go there to sign for insured packages. I get them 1 or 2 days later than if uninsured. Glad to hear the insurance doesn't offer much protection, cause I don't buy it anyway.

My bit o' advice: Know your prices and don't get bidding fever. Another one just like it will likely pop up in a week or so. If it doesn't, you can live without it. OH! and sniping works... <blush>
Dennis Michael
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What is sniping?
Dennis Michael
RangeCowboy
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Sniping is a legal method of biding on eBay.
It essentially is waiting almost until the end of the auction and then bidding to outbid the last and current bid made by someone else.

Its good for the sniper, a surprise for the last bidder and bad for the seller.

Here's why,

If two people want an item reasonably strongly then they might bid against each other a few times $1, $2, $4, $10 $12 until either bidder drops out leaving a winner.

But if I see you as the only bidder and your bid was $4 I wait until say 45 seconds before the end of the auction and bid $5

Chances are the system software at eBay won't even send you an email saying you are being outbid. So Buyer #2 gets the item for $5 and the seller is bound to ship it at that price.

Thats the bad side. The way to avoid it is to bid a fair maximum bid of lets say $10 for an item and even though eBay shows it as a current bid of $4 the sniper will need to re-bid to at least $11 to get the item from you.

The seller can always start the bid at a higher minimum. Sniping is very common and when two or more snipers bid independently at the end its a matter of timing and luck.

RangeCowboy
thimblerig
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Sniping isn't all bad, once you understand the system - as a buyer that is. Problem I have is seeing otherwise good to reasonable buys totally spoiled by idiots <to be kind> bidding against one another early on in, say, a 6 day auction. They drive the price ABOVE retail (or above reasonable in the case of items no longer available). After that, the auction is pointless except to other fools or the truly desperate.

If I bid on an item early, I invite interest and counter bidders who can drive that price up unreasonably and not get the item. There is a competitive "buyer fever" that takes over in some people and early bidding seems to bring that out.

Therefore, it is prudent to watch an item of interest until near the end of the auction and THEN bid a reasonable (not minimum) price, including the stated shipping amount, assuming that others have not driven the cost beyond my desired price in the meanwhile. After about 4 years or so of buying magic on eBay (no local shop) I find this works quite well except when I can't be at the computer at the time of auction close - then I just bid as late as possible. I rarely fail to get what I want at the price I am willing to pay using this strategy.

I have stuff to sell, but haven't started yet. Frankly, I'd feel somewhat guilty selling someone a commercially available item at 4 times what it costs elsewhere...but I guess I could do since I would not be deceptive about its availability. That is why I always ask the seller if the item is still commercially available if I have any doubts, and do background search on the web for specific items...

Oh and a high speed modem connection is invaluable...
tr
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RangeCowboy
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Hey all's fair if eBay rules permit. Yes you do need a fast modem and to be in there for the kill to snipe.

Or, do as I said, bid a fair and reasonable amount and go about your business. If you win you win.

But nobody is stupid here. Take a Mikame product for example that has collector value.
It will probably have a reserve price on it anyway, and it will probably sell for the high $60-$100s dollars range. Even if it had no reserve and the final bid was just $10 the seller is going to discover a reason why it cant be shipped - stolen, whatever.

I have learned that magic items sell well for about 50-75% of their Storefront value plus the cost of shipping. Some idiots bid the thing way past the street value and I wonder if that is someone evil getting back at the seller, with no intention of buying it.


Finally, if you have a really nice unique item that is valuable you can hold a Secret Identity Auction where there are no bids revealed and the bidders names are withheld, Then it is up to the buyers to Sealed-Bid what they think it is worth.
Mitch
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My experiences on ebay have been extremely positive - there was only one transaction that was bad and that's cause the guy was a jerk.

But, its funny cause most of the on-line magic friends I have made I met via ebay. That is where I met yakanjak and many others and then he introduced me to this board and broadened my contacts as well. It has really delivered more than I ever could have expected.

On buying and selling. There are probably two key reasons I can see why some folks pay more than retail for items on ebay. First, these folks do not have any local shops and therefore buy on-line. But why pay more than retail? Well, they simply may not know of any on-line dealers. There are LOTS of buyers who buy almost everthing (magic, watches, toys, etc) on ebay vs on-line stores cause it is all at one place. Ebay is their ultimate site for all their shopping. It is easy to find what they want. So they may not know what the true retail price of many items are cause they never check out the retail sites. And then they "over pay" but for them, it is not overpaying cause, without ebay, they never would have found this stuff anyway.

The second reason is paypal. Many users of ebay are buyers AND sellers. Most sellers offer paypal as a payment option. Folks buy and their paypal balance goes up. They then in turn use this balance to pay for the auctions they win. And so, the "money" in their balance never reaches their pockets. And as such, it is more like a barter/trading system. For me, I live in Canada and the conversion from $Cdn to $US kills me when I buy but it is great when I sell. So, I just sell a bunch of stuff and accumulate $US in paypal then spend that on other items. At the end of the day I am really just trading my items for others - and I am out of pocked nothing. ..............So, how does this lead to overpaying. For me, somtimes I will pay over retail cause it is cheaper for me to pay for it from my paypal balance then go and ding my credit card which is going to zap me with a 1.62 exchange rate. I am happy to pay $100 for an item on ebay via my paypal balance than $90 from my credit card. Man..I hope you guys can follow this. If more on-line stores took paypal then I would spend more of my money there. But the paypal balance is one of the best ebay loyalty programs out there and keeps you buying from ebay.

Anyhow...just some insights into why some folks may over pay. I have to say however, that I almost exclusively buy old/used items and never over pay.

And finally, on sniping. Unfortunately I have found that this is almost the only way to win an auction for me. Put in your max bid before the end of the auction and you can be sure that someone will always bid more than you. Unless of course you put in an outrageously high bid...in which case you are gonna overpay! I have sniped and won and sniped and lost and sometimes just waited there to go in for the snipe and saw the price jump up above my max and just watched it end. That is the "magic" of ebay - it is unpredictable because there are so many human elements involved.

Mitch
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David Todd
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I've had mostly good experiences on eBay. I just ask lots of specific questions of the seller before I bid . If they don't e-mail me back to answer the questions on the condition of the prop, etc. then I don't bid.
The honest sellers will get back to you and give honest information on what they are selling (if it is not clear from the photos and description already posted on eBay).

My big problem with eBay is the individuals and dealers (Pasta Magic, in particular) who post photos and descriptions clearly exposing the method of the trick. WHY is this necessary !? This is the internet equivalent of the thoughtless magic shop owner who displays the linking rings in the front window with the key clearly shown or displays the "Vanishing Silk" trick with a little piece of red silk protruding from a TT . Why do it ? The item can just as well be displayed and described without revealing the method to the casual window shopper . eBay is full of that sort of thoughtless, crass exposure. One time a guy had a Super-X suspension for sale on eBay. His photos showed the whole rig, the whole set-up revealed. Again, I have to ask WHY ? A photo of the trick being performed (classic pose with the girl suspended and the hoop passing around her) and a description of the prop being sold: "Super-X suspension. Excellent condition, comes with enclosed base and hoop, etc." would have sufficed. Anyone who knows enough about magic to know what they are bidding on (in the case of Super-X) does not need any further revealing photographs and the lack of revealing photos would keep the illusion from being exposed to the casual eBay browser.
(my example with the Super-X is just one of many).
RangeCowboy
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Dai,
I saw that too the zombie wire etc etc. But I did not email him. Did you?

* * * * * * A Promise made on Magic Cafe * * * * *

If I see a gaffe exposed on eBay I will email the seller and demand he removes the offending picture. And say if he, the seller does not change or remove the pic then we have ways of wrecking his auctions and/or his feedback, or status with eBay.

* * * * Who is with me on this? ? * * * *
David Todd
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Quote:
On 2002-04-22 13:04, RangeCowboy wrote:
If I see a gaffe exposed on eBay I will email the seller and demand he removes the offending picture. And say if he, the seller does not change or remove the pic then we have ways of wrecking his auctions and/or his feedback, or status with eBay.

* * * * Who is with me on this? ? * * * *


I'm with you! Excellent idea. Talk about negative feedback.

I have on occasion e-mailed people on eBay advertising stuff that is a total rip-off (such as an obviously pirated version of an exclusive item) requesting that they withdraw it (of course, they never do), but I've never e-mailed Frank at Pasta Magic and some of the other offenders who expose effects with descriptions or photos (names escape me right now......it's others besides Pasta Magic, but that name sticks with me because he is one of the most frequent sellers on eBay. )

If anyone else knows of eBay dealers who expose magic with unnecessary photos of the gimmicks please post the names here and let's all boycott those sellers until they stop exposing methods on eBay.


There is just absolutely no justification for crudely exposing the workings of an effect . The effect can be advertised and described without tipping the method .
Mack Magic
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I have most of the time great and positive times on Ebay as a seller of collectibles and a buyer.
I lost alot of items because of sniping but I admit if my computer was fast(which it is not) I would probably do it too. Smile That's the only way sometimes though I can win an item.
PastaMagic, or Frank is the only magic seller that I always like to buy off of and that I can trust. I do buy off others of course when it comes to magic, but preferably Frank. I don't think Frank really exposes the secret to magic in his pictures.
I DO know what your talking about though and those people that do need to be informed.
I have seen so many times sellers exposing the secrets to magic in their pictures to levitations, linking rings, stage props, ect. it's not even funny. Thats a easy way for people to learn the secret to such great tricks that we perform and it wastes our time and money.
I think that those who expose need to be informed. I think though in my opinion, Frank, PastaMagic is not one of the ones that need to be informed. He really doesn't expose the secrets in my opinion and just shows alot of pictures of the item.
We do need to take a stand on this, I'm with you guys too!! If I see someone clearly exposing the secret to the trick, I will probably write them. I'm glad that we're actually going to do something about this and hope others do as well.
Smile Smile Smile
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David Todd
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Ok, true, not to pick on Pasta Magic, he is not always the worst offender, but just a random check of his current auctions finds this sort of thing :

"These are folding Gold Dollar coins! Can be used in many magic effects like the "Coin in Bottle" routine. These are precisely cut which makes these coins more deceptive."

Why reveal to anyone browsing eBay that there is such a thing as a folding coin to accomplish the "Coin in Bottle" effect ?

Couldn't the same item be advertised like this :

"Classic 'Coin in Bottle' effect. Precision made gimmick. Very deceptive Appear to pass a Gold Dollar coin thru a glass bottle then out again. Amazing! Other effects may be accomplished with this precision gimmick."

See the difference ? The second description provides all the information any buyer needs (experienced magicians already know what this sort of item is).
The first description (the one on eBay right now) actually gives the method of the effect, for no good reason.

Why do they do that on a web site frequented by the public?
RangeCowboy
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Well there is one way to find out ...

I will email this discussion page to Pasta Magic and report any reply...
davisjr
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I've bought lots of stuff on e-bay. I seem to have the most luck for "non popular" items. I too amazed at how much some people are willing to pay for items they can find for less elsewhere on the web. If a person has a computer and knows how to use a search engine, they can find items for sale elsewhere for comparison. I never buy an item on e-bay without doing two things: checking the price the item has gone for in the past in order to understand about how much I can expect to pay and then checking that price against the cost for a new one at multiple retail sites. Why pay more for used from an unknown party when I can get it new from a trusted retailer?

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