Ebay: Then and Now

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Ebay: Then and Now

Postby VideoGameCritic » May 30th, 2019, 8:59 pm

I was just thinking about how much Ebay has changed since I started using it in the late 1990's. I have to admit it's 100% better now.

First off, in the early days there were a lot of swindlers that would try to send you junk that wasn't consistent with the description. And I remember some of the systems I got arrived filthy. Back then most listings did not have pics. Today most have pics from every angle - with zoom! And the stuff usually arrives in pristine condition.

I remember once I order a front-loader Sega CD from a listing with a photo. It was about $118 which was a lot more in 1990's dollars. I got a very junky top-loader instead. When I tried to get a refund the guy was so rude. "You asked for a Sega CD and that's what you got!" Fortunately Ebay took my side and the guy was banned after I got my refund.

I remember before paypal most buyers would only accept money orders. So every few weeks I'd go to the bank and get a bunch of money orders, usually $5-$10 each. And they cost money! Today with paypal everything is just a click away.

I also used to hate when sellers would bug you about not leaving feedback right away. Like you have nothing better to do! Apparently Ebay put the kabash on that because it never happens. I do something get "how do you like your [game name]?" to which I feel like saying "none of your [expletive] business. I left positive feedback and that should be the end of the transaction.

Also, the deliver times has REALLY gotten faster. In the 90's it was common to wait two or three weeks. Now it seems like I usually get stuff within three days, and occasionally the NEXT DAY. Even stuff from Japan arrives within a week. And of course I get email notifications during every step of the process.

So while the prices have gone way way up, I have to admit at least you know you're getting what you paid for.

Anybody else want to share their thoughts on this topic?

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Stalvern » May 30th, 2019, 9:49 pm

I'm a little surprised that, unless I have a serious blind spot, eBay is still the primary Internet marketplace for game collectors. If I want to buy an out-of-print book or album, I go to AbeBooks or Discogs first and eBay if what I'm looking for doesn't turn up there, but eBay remains the first place to look for a Turbografx-16 card or Saturn disk. Game collectors are some of the most dedicated collectors around – and have some of the most ludicrously trivial details to watch out for when buying – so it's weird to me that nobody's set up a marketplace specifically tailored to them (or, if they have, that it hasn't caught on).

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Buttermancan » May 31st, 2019, 2:36 am

I'm 36 years old and I've only ever used e-bay a few times for work. I know I'm in the minority but I've always been suspicious of it and not trusted the random person at the other end (Silly I know)!
When buying retro items I've tended to do so from CEX but to be fair I've had issues with that at times. Though they were good value for a second hand Sega Saturn controller for £15 ( This is probably the point that someone will tell me that you can get one on e-bay for £3)

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Retro STrife » May 31st, 2019, 1:43 pm

As much as people like to rag on eBay, I think it's a great service and I'm not sure where I'd be without. Or for that matter, where would our entire hobby be... Think about it, would retro gaming be the hobby it is today without ebay? Would the VGC website exist without it? Sure, nothing beats finding games in the wild, but ultimately most collections would be nothing without ebay.

I like your points there, thinking back to the 90s / early 2000s version of ebay. I remember back then, using my mom's ebay account to sell games for extra money. It was the only place to get market value for your games, instead of getting ripped off trading them in. I remember only taking checks and money orders... and then waiting 7 days for a check to clear before mailing the item. When Paypal came along, I didn't understand it and I hated it - I refused to use it as payment for awhile. Eventually I started buying a lot more than selling, and built up much of my collection using ebay during the mid 2000s.

I agree with you that it's much better now. Yes, ebay's protections favor the buyer, but I've never been ripped off as a seller. One time a buyer claimed that they didn't receive a $70 item that I sent -- even though the tracking info showed that it arrived at their house. Ebay took the hit -- refunding them and letting me keep the $70. The very few times a seller tried to pull a fast one, ebay backed me up. And most sellers are good about addressing issues these days - I think they realize that that option is better than getting ebay involved. The only time I ever got swindled was like 15 years ago, when a seller never delivered an expensive set of Master System games that I bought. The only game I remember from the set was Alex Kidd in Shinobi World.. and I still haven't gotten over not receiving it!

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Paul Campbell » June 2nd, 2019, 8:14 am

I had the EXACT same thing happen with a subwoofer in the early days of Ebay. Picture was of a high-end, expensive car sub (no model number), yet I received the absolute base model from the same brand (probably a $200 difference) and the guy was like "Dude, nobody ACTUALLY uses the photo to know what they're getting! What's wrong with you?". He was subsequently booted, at least for a time...

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby DrLitch » June 3rd, 2019, 3:34 pm

I remember the bad old days of eBay. Back then there were a plethora of sellers that would gladly leave negative feedback to buyers if they left neutral or negative feedback. Got ripped off by a seller and left a neg? Surprise surprise your 100% feedback rating has been trashed by the seller that ripped you off! Back then, many sellers would wait until buyer feedback before leaving their feedback. I remember I once got a negative feedback from the seller citing that I harassed him because, 3 weeks since auction ended and payment submitted, I dared to ask the question "where is my stuff, please let me know tracking number". Back then though, it was easier for sellers, but being easier meant much more wiggle room for rip offs. Conversely, with protections in place today, I have been hit by one too many claims on international postage - item in customs, buyer impatient, files claim, funds withheld on my account, one week later clears customs, buyer gets, then leaves neutral claiming it took too long to arrive..... I now only post US only.

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby jon » June 3rd, 2019, 4:01 pm

I totally agree when I get full games they come in amazing condition. I actually don’t mind the rising prices for old games. I mean, you’re still most likely getting it for less than it originally sold for when the game actually came out. I don’t think it’s unreaasonavle to have to pay 49 for an old game. But yea, the derive is better than ever

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Matchstick » June 3rd, 2019, 7:45 pm

As someone who's been buying and selling on eBay for 20 years now (!) I can safely say that my favorite feature of the "new" eBay is the printable shipping label option. As shipping rates have skyrocketed in that 20-year time, eBay's ability to let you buy and print your own postage, at a discounted rate, has been a lifesaver. Many items I've sold over the years have slim-to-none profit margins, and every little bit I can save adds up in the long run.

Plus, all eBay labels come with tracking info, and those tracking numbers are automatically sent to your buyer once you purchase the label. No more asking where an item is - they can just click a link and check it, themselves!

Admittedly, the tracking info is the main reason why I decided to start printing my own labels. Back in the day, it was so easy for a buyer to claim they never got an item, and if you shipped it without tracking, it was entirely your fault as a seller. A few years ago USPS began including tracking with nearly all of their services, but for the longest time, even items sent by First Class Mail did not have tracking included. I can recall several items (an iPod Shuffle, an N64 copy of Mystical Ninja, a French-language version of Moulin Rouge on DVD) which I sent via First Class Mail, but without tracking, causing the buyer to complain they never got it.

The buyer for the DVD seemed legit, but the buyer for Mystical Ninja? I will never forget the message he sent me. Quote: "hey i never got game u didnt use tracking number shold have used fedex jajajajajajajaja." This was around 2004 or so, friends, so you can't blame his iPhone for the bad grammar and punctuation. What's interesting is, he sent that message three days after I mailed out the game, he never contacted me asking for a tracking number, and only sent me that one message before complaining to eBay. I got the feeling that he received the game, noticed there was no tracking, and went straight to eBay to complain he "never received the item," knowing they would take his side. And, sure enough, they did. BOOOOOOOO!!

Investing in a small digital kitchen scale to mail my packages was one of the smartest moves I ever made. The money I've saved printing postage through eBay has paid for that scale time and time again. And, hey, now everyone has tracking, so if they don't get their item, they can blame USPS, too. Works for me.

On another note, it's also much easier and faster to list items than it ever has been before. Used to be I would set aside an entire day to devote to eBay listings, knowing I would have to spend ages uploading photos over a 56k connection and typing out my listings using HTML. What used to take all day now takes about 45 minutes. While I don't agree with all of their changes over the years, ease of use and a sped-up listing process are two things I will never, ever complain about.

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Re: Ebay: Then and Now

Postby Retro STrife » June 4th, 2019, 4:23 pm

Matchstick wrote:Investing in a small digital kitchen scale to mail my packages was one of the smartest moves I ever made. The money I've saved printing postage through eBay has paid for that scale time and time again. And, hey, now everyone has tracking, so if they don't get their item, they can blame USPS, too. Works for me.

Really good points about the printable labels - what a lifesaver those have been. My favorite part? No more trips to the post office. Small packages can go right in my mailbox. For bigger ones (or a bunch of packages in one day), I'll just drop them off real quick at a post office without having to wait in line. Think back to 1999, when your local neighborhood cat lady was standing in line in front of you with 20 ebay packages that she had to send out... you knew you'd be waiting there for an hour.

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