ADVICE: Buying Parts from eBay... - Nissan 350Z Forum, Nissan 370Z Tech Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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ADVICE: Buying Parts from eBay...

Fairly frequently on this forum we get posts from members looking for advice on a particular part they found for sale on eBay. I decided to offer my opinion on the matter in a thread, and maybe others can chime in with their own experiences. There a many resources on the net about navigating the pitfalls of eBay, and spotting scams and sketchy sellers. This article is specifically about finding parts on eBay. And remember... free advice is usually worth about what your paid for it.

Background
Over the last few years I've purchased a fair number of parts from eBay for my Datsun 510 restoration/modification project, since you can't exactly roll over to Pep Boys or Autozone to pick up a door panel for a 1971 Datsun 510. So for better or worse I have become well versed in the ins and outs of the eBay marketplace.

Be Discriminating in Your Parts Selection

Let's say you're looking to outfit your Z with a new cat back exhaust system. Before going to eBay you should be researching what brands of exhaust you're looking at buying. Once you've narrowed down your selection, then go to eBay and search for that specific brand. Don't just do a random search for "350Z exhaust" you'll just get a bunch of random generic knock-off parts. So again, pick out the part you want before hitting up eBay.

Avoid eBay Only Parts
OK, so you've completely ignored the advice above and you've found some super cool part for cheap and want to know if it's any good. First question you should be asking is what brand is this? A surprising number of eBay parts list all sorts of specs on the part, a dizzying onslaught of marketing jargon and flashy sounding buzzwords... but in the end, the ad never lists who actually makes it. Run, don't walk away from these parts.

Alright now you have found a part that has an actual brand name, say... Sukyu Super Performance. So your next step would be to leave eBay, and Google the brand and part in question. Can't find that part for sale anywhere but eBay? Walk away from that crap too.

eBay only parts are almost always cheap knock-offs, lacking in any sort of warranty. Buying these parts leaves you at the mercy of whatever return policy the seller has (which is typically pathetically limited).

In short, if it's only available on eBay, you're typically better off leaving it on eBay.

Avoid Drop Shipments
What's a drop shipment? A drop shipped order is when the seller does not actually have the item in their possesion. Once you purchase the item, the seller then places an order with the original manufactuer, who then delivers the package directly to you. Normally there's nothing wrong with the practice, and most shops that sell aftermarket parts work in this manor. It all works fine, unless there's a back order...

On eBay, once an auction closes, it will expire after a set amount of time. You only have a limited window to file any sort of claim you may have with eBay. So what if you're waiting months for a back ordered item, and it shows up wrong, broken, or otherwise defective? You may find it difficult to nearly impossible to contact the original seller, and now that the auction has been closed in eBay's system, you have no easy way to file a formal grievance through eBay. So take the few extra minutes to ask the seller if they have the part in hand.


Well, that's all I have for now. I'll add more as I new things pop up. Feel free to weigh in.

Good Luck,
Ronin Z


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 08:08 PM
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Awesome advice Ronin Z!





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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 08:42 PM
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Ask questions, talk to the seller first. It helps if they speak English...


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 10:42 PM
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I've had much success buying stuff on ebay. There have been a few times when I wasn't happy with the product or wondered what I was thinking, but you have to do the research and ask questions.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SmoothZ View Post
I've had much success buying stuff on ebay. There have been a few times when I wasn't happy with the product or wondered what I was thinking, but you have to do the research and ask questions.
As a buyer I've had a lot of good luck outfitting my 510 off of eBay. But I haven't gotten anything for my Z from eBay though. Mostly because I'm never seeing these fantastic deals that everybody else seems to find.

On the flip side, I've had terrible luck as a seller. I've tried to sell 4 things on eBay, and gotten ripped off twice. So having the odds of getting ripped off being a 50/50 proposition for me... I haven't been too eager to sell anything lately.

-RZ


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronin Z View Post
As a buyer I've had a lot of good luck outfitting my 510 off of eBay. But I haven't gotten anything for my Z from eBay though. Mostly because I'm never seeing these fantastic deals that everybody else seems to find.

On the flip side, I've had terrible luck as a seller. I've tried to sell 4 things on eBay, and gotten ripped off twice. So having the odds of getting ripped off being a 50/50 proposition for me... I haven't been too eager to sell anything lately.

-RZ
you definitely have to be looking for something and looking everyday to find the deals.. I got my hotchkis springs for $40 shipped.. but they were listed as 350Z coils haha... it helps to look up oddball stuff sometimes

That was a great 5 years with the Z. Moved on to better mpg and regular unleaded.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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you definitely have to be looking for something and looking everyday to find the deals.. I got my hotchkis springs for $40 shipped.. but they were listed as 350Z coils haha... it helps to look up oddball stuff sometimes
It's true, you have to be diligent. I've never ran across a smoking deal like you, but I did avoid getting ripped off by doing about 30 seconds of research.

The Datsun 510 has latch mechanisms that hold the rear quarter windows shut. They have little leather straps on them that wear out. So one day I'm surfing on eBay and I see this guy selling a couple sets of them. There was frenzied bidding on them, with one set up to $275. I had no clue if this was a good price or not, since I hadn't been in the market for them at that time. So I surf around and find a store selling them for $65. Then after a brief bit of clicking I realize that it's the same store selling them on eBay! So I give the guy a call and just order them straight from him for $65 + free shipping. He told me he had a bunch of them in stock and they hadn't been moving on his store's website so he put them on eBay with a starting bid of $50. Fools just started going crazy and drove the price up. And if any of those bidders had done even the barest amount of research, it never would have happened.

-Ronin Z


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 07-01-2010, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin Z View Post
It's true, you have to be diligent. I've never ran across a smoking deal like you, but I did avoid getting ripped off by doing about 30 seconds of research.

The Datsun 510 has latch mechanisms that hold the rear quarter windows shut. They have little leather straps on them that wear out. So one day I'm surfing on eBay and I see this guy selling a couple sets of them. There was frenzied bidding on them, with one set up to $275. I had no clue if this was a good price or not, since I hadn't been in the market for them at that time. So I surf around and find a store selling them for $65. Then after a brief bit of clicking I realize that it's the same store selling them on eBay! So I give the guy a call and just order them straight from him for $65 + free shipping. He told me he had a bunch of them in stock and they hadn't been moving on his store's website so he put them on eBay with a starting bid of $50. Fools just started going crazy and drove the price up. And if any of those bidders had done even the barest amount of research, it never would have happened.

-Ronin Z
LMAO.. very niiiiiice

That was a great 5 years with the Z. Moved on to better mpg and regular unleaded.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-25-2011, 09:28 AM
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I've had a few bad experiences too - I can't reiterate the previous comments about doing your research / knowing your product inside and out and sticking with major, well know brands. Brands that other (major retail-websites and actual manufacture) people will sell.

I also avoid anything with a non-original picture. If it has a stock or file image I usually turn away these.

Ronin, you should include Craigslist in this post too -

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