Any horror stories from buying used astro gear? I ask because I'm looking to save a few bucks on stuff that I plan to buy soon and I'm wondering whether it's worth going down the used route. So far the only used equipment I bought was a modded canon 600D, but that was cheap enough that I didn't mind the risk as much and the seller seemed legitimate based on their eBay reviews.
Other than that, any advice for weeding out good deals vs. scams, how to best test stuff out and inspect for issues and what to look for as red flags? Any common problems checklists out there for certain types of gear? (For example: making sure the shutter count on a DSLR is not too high, making sure the mount/base isn't completely shot, obvious dents and scratches on materials, etc...)
Best advice? Story...my dad was a real estate and insurance man who didn't earn eough for our large family and so my family years we're filled with used cars, used furnishings and hand-me-down clothing and I learned early-on from him that the best deals are when both parties are happy.
To that end, as a buyer, if I feel my seller is not being forthcoming or eager and willing to share about whatever it is they are selling, it's time to just walk away. I do not want or need anything so bad that I will purchase any item just for the fake sense that I might be saving a few bucks. If I can't find one used I'll just save a few bucks more and buy new or not and get on with my life.
I go by the 20% rule...if "it's been driven off the lot" it's now worth 20% less (at minimum) than new. And that goes for premium brands, especially...so if that has meant no used supposed "investor-grade" top-end gear for me over the years, "so it was" or I brought new or did without, my life for the past 60-some-odd years has been the better for that!
Pics or no sale, if the seller can't be bothered to provide informative pictures, I can't be bothered to part with my hard-earned money...in fact, I won't even click through to the ad.
If a seller makes one "fish for answers", I walk...i.e. if a few good-faith shopper's questions can't be answered and it's turning into "having to pull some teeth", I politely decline, wish 'em luck and move along.
The "I'm away for a few weeks", "I'll respond when I get back from vacation", "it's a thousand miles away at my cabin" ads are all summarily ignored, when a seller is truly ready to sell with pictures and answers I'll be ready with my cash.
Any ad regurgitating cut-and-pasted manufacturer's advertisement nonsense rather than describing the actual used item that is for sale...is simply ignored.
Inquire as to the sellers comfort-zone out-the-door pricing, because, believe it or not, I truly like my seller's to be happy with the price they're getting! Now, if that number is not in matching with your sense of valuation either suck-it-up because it's your best path forward or politely withdraw from the transaction and wish them luck and move along...life is ticking and there's no sense in being disappointed or getting mad.
When it comes to telescopes, specifically...it's most important to me to understand if a given telescope is well-suited to my skill set (to either use, or to repair or get up and running)...I've passed on several telescopes here when it became clear that I was "not the right person for that scope" to either repair, modify or use those instruments. Figure that out early and don't waste a seller's time...all the wishing and hoping in the world will not turn a bubba'ed fixer-upper into a shining ready-to-drive model by the time it gets to one's home, if the latter (or former, for that matter) is what you're looking for, know what market you're in and shop for that and not the other...again, don't waste folk's time.
Finally, the golden rule always applies...treat folk's with the utmost of respect and seek out and encourage the happiest of deals for both parties. "Got it, dad!"
It's a big ask to make buyers join to see and use the full functionality of the site. It seems like a seller pays business model would work a lot better.
OT (I know)...There's a photography site that's been around for years and which is extremely active for buying and selling photography equipment that uses the "seller pays to list" model, and I've yet to have any problems (not that some haven't occurred on their Buy & Sell board, nothing is perfect or perfectly safe) in purchasing tens-of-thousands of dollars in gear over the years there, caveat emptor (read above advises). And nothing but great sellers and experiences here at CN...the only exception being one inadequately-packed-against-the-potential-horrors-of-UPS/Fedex-transport item arriving dented and misshapened.
That either CN or the "other" site went that route, I'd be more than happy and willing to pay an annual service fee for those times I was actively looking to sell some gear, however >cough< that other site would first need to change ownership hands as certain dishonest dealings with me years ago sent them packing out of my life (Re: tick,tick,tick, oh my look at the time!), haw! Too bad more folks posting there don't cross-post their ads here, my money has been as green as the next person's ...ah well, their loss I suppose.
My 2¢ this morning,
Edited by Jimmy462, 14 August 2020 - 07:46 AM.