What to watch out for when buying a lense on ebay ?

MonikaO

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Hi all, I am looking for a cheapy Olly 12-50mm to go with my Olympus camera so I will have a weather sealed set.
Point is I never shopped on ebay and not sure what to watch out for not to get scammed :)
Maybe you fine people have some tips for me please ?
I can only shop within the EU.
Would be much appreciated :)
 

jimr.pdx

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Look for photos of the actual item, not generic company photos of the lens. Also check the seller's status - how many items they have sold and the feedback rating. Those who have not sold much before usually know to ask less since people look for established sellers. Also check for return policy; most shops will allow you a week or two of evaluation time, many private owners say no returns. If it says no returns, your nation may have buyer protection rules that will provide some recourse.

My only bad ebay experience was as a seller, when claim was filed that item was not received and I wasn't paid. As a buyer I've no complaints, even when the item isn't perfect or right for me in the end.
 
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My advice: find a seller in the Netherlands (as you live in the Netherlands, like me), and always go and pick up the lens (rather than having it sent to you). That way the chances of being scammed dramatically decrease, and you will be able to check the actual condition of the lens and try it out on your camera. I also find it enjoyable to meet other photographers this way and have a little chat with them. :)

I have bought all my lenses (except the kit lens) on Marktplaats (which has been owned by eBay since 2004). Almost every experience was good, but I did decide not to buy the 20mm lens that I checked out (because its condition was quite bad; this wasn't visible on the listing). There was also one case where I placed a very low bid on a 15mm lens, which the seller accepted. That, in combination with the way the conversation with the seller went, made me feel suspicious, so I held off on buying the lens. A few days later, that seller's account was blocked. But all other experiences were very nice. Most lenses I bought were like new, and were sold at about 50% of the retail price.
 

twigboy

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I look for pics that show the lens glass surfaces and through the glass. I have been known to ask sellers for such pics. None or out of focus? I skip.
 

gnarlydog australia

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Most of my lenses were bought on evilBay (more than 60 so far) and only one that came from Russia was not as described (fake Helios 44-7).
It took one message from me to the seller and one to eBay and in a couple of days I got my money back, and kept the lens.
I now have a hard time understanding how one can be short-handed ("scammed") if buying on that site since the buyers' protection is so strong.
YMMV
 
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All of the above.

Be especially careful of condition grading.

MINT should mean 'completely indistinguishable from new' - it rarely does.

Then there is EXC+, EXC, EXC++, VG, EXC- - these terms can be used to describe (in no specific order) anything from a lens which has a bent filter thread, sticky zoom, sluggish aperture, a scratch, fungus or is 'like new'.

UNTESTED often means broken.

SPARES / REPAIRS or PARTS ONLY means definitely broken.
 

phigmov

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I've had pretty good luck with EvilBay but I've noticed a lot of sellers seem to have terrible rating systems - you will see 'Excellent' in the item title but when you click through that relates to the cosmetic condition and not the optics which often have haze, oil or fungus mentioned. I care *way* more about the optics and overall functionality than the cosmetics. Definitely read through all the text & description - be sure to ask the seller about the usual things if it isn't explicitely mentioned in the description (or the photos are poor) - smooth focus, non-sticky aperture, optical condition, cleaning marks, scratches etc etc. Also double-check stuff that can often be vague or just plain wrong - eg you see 'AI' or 'AI converted' but see the old rabbit ears, no inner aperture markings or no notch.
 
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All of the above are good advice. I have purchased several lenses from eBay and not had issues. Look for authorized dealers (e.g., in the USA, OlympusGal, ACDmart, Roberts Camera etc.) that are selling officially refurbished products that include a 90 day Olympus warranty. Also look for camera stores that are selling used inventory (e.g., trade-in) and may offer a 6 month warranty (e.g., in the USA, KEG, Roberts Camera etc.). Look over the posted photos very closely as this will give you an idea of the condition of the item. Pay using a credit card so that you can dispute the charge if it is a scam. Check and see if the seller has sold other items on eBay and look at the comments from other buyers. Don't buy from anyone with less than a history of at least a few transactions (e.g., don't buy if it is a new account and there is no history).
 
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The buyer is always right at ebay. If the item isn't as described you are guaranteed a refund. It's easy for sellers to be ripped off, buyers really take no risk.
That is because in the early days of eBay, sellers had the upper hand. Sellers would threaten to leave negative feedback for a buyer if the buyer gave negative feedback, even if the buyer encountered issues. In the early days, buyers could easily get ripped off and didn't have much in the way of recourse through eBay. Enough people complained that they changed it to the current system.
 

Walter

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I bought both Oly primes (1.8/75 and 2.8/12-40) via ebay.
And saw offers like "small scratch on the front lense which does not influence quality". How dumb do some people expect us to be? I'd probably never buy a lens from a private person. The 75mm was from a professional photographer (with top photos on his website) who realized that it was too long for wedding portraits inside. The zoom was from a small-town photo studio (a window display). Both were roughly half price and included rest guarantee.
Saved half the money with no risk included.
 

drknaim

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Additionally to the advice mentioned above it helps to buy via paypal payment on eBay. They usually side with the buyer whenever a case is opened.
 
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