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Used gear, horror stories?

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#26 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 07:25 AM

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.

 

Astromart is club, a service.  Everyone can be a buyer, everyone can be a seller.  You can see what's for sale, what people want without being a member, you can window shop. That should be enough. The two things you can't see:  The price and the person.  You cannot conduct business without being a member. 

 

The important thing to understand about Astromart is that it is all about security.  Everyone on Astromart uses their real names, the website owner has your contact information and has done a identity check based on a credit card to verify you are who you say you are.  This is a critical part of Astromart that sets it apart from other online resources.  This what you are paying for with your $15/year.

 

Obviously, if non-members could see identities and contact information, those security measures that are currently in place would be defeated, members could no longer trust that a potential buyer was indeed who he/she claimed to be. Astromart would no longer be Astromart. That is a big reason why one sees stuff on Astromart that is not posted in the CN classifieds.  

 

I wouldn't pay my $15 to be able to buy and sell on Astromart non-members could conduct business,  The security measures are very important and a big part of what differentiates Astromart from Cloudy Nights.  

 

If you are looking for high-end equipment, Astromart is definitely worthwhile.  You can browse Astromart and see if you things you would be interested in. But you can't conduct business until your identity has been verified and that costs you $15 and then you are a member. 

 

Jon



#27 SloMoe

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 09:17 AM

I was a member of Astromart for about a year, there are a lot of good deals there just like the CN classified's, I also noticed that quite a few of them were offering the same piece here on CN, don't know that in that year I saved enough to offset the cost of joining but it's another source for used gear, now that I'm not buying near as much I let my membership lapse.

 

The forum activity there isn't near as active as CN, like I never got any replies nor did I see the thread progress so if you want to talk astronomy this is the place to do it.  waytogo.gif


Edited by SloMoe, 08 August 2020 - 09:18 AM.

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#28 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 10:58 AM

I was a member of Astromart for about a year, there are a lot of good deals there just like the CN classified's, I also noticed that quite a few of them were offering the same piece here on CN, don't know that in that year I saved enough to offset the cost of joining but it's another source for used gear, now that I'm not buying near as much I let my membership lapse.

 

The forum activity there isn't near as active as CN, like I never got any replies nor did I see the thread progress so if you want to talk astronomy this is the place to do it.  waytogo.gif

 

The Astromart forums were, at one time, more active than those here. But that was 15 years ago. I have tens of thousands of posts on Astromart but haven't posted in years. The policies that foster secure transactions are counterproductive in terms of fostering active forums. The forums are dead. Cloudy Nights has the forum thing figured out.

 

And these days, with PayPal helping cover scam risks, much of what's on Astromart is also on Cloudy Nights. 

 

I bought my 22 inch about 3 years ago on Astromart. It wasn't listed on Cloudy Nights..

 

Jon



#29 Chesterguy1

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 12:50 PM

I have bought 6 telescopes and three of them were used. Probably half of my EPs were purchased used. I have also sold a fair amount of gear on CN classifieds. My only negative experience was with one scope bought on CN classifieds. The prior (first) owner had, unbeknownst to me, removed the lens cell and then mis-threaded it when he put it back. Why he felt the need to do that is anyone's guess. I sent it to SW-USA on my own dime, they analyzed the problem, cleaned the lens, certified the scope and sent it back within two or three days. Even more amazing they did it for free and I am the second owner! Scope has worked as designed and intended since. The seller did not package the scope well either. That can be an issue when buying something larger and/or expensive. A lot of people have no clue how to ship stuff and unless they have held onto the original packaging/containers bad things can happe. Obviously, buying in person is the way to go when possible.

 

Moral of the story is that it pays to ask questions. It's not that much more expensive to ship something well insulated from the jostling that takes place with the main US shippers. Or, you can pay for high-base freight and get the white glove treatment. I've only taken advantage of that when others are footing the bill.lol.gif

 

Chesterguy



#30 Jimmy462

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 07:41 AM

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.

>snip<

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!" wink.gif

 

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 wink.gif ...ah well, their loss I suppose.

 

My 2ยข this morning, smile.gif

Jimmy G


Edited by Jimmy462, 14 August 2020 - 07:46 AM.

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