Horror stories abound of online transactions made over long distances that turn sour, either because the goods are never received, or because goods received are damaged or in some cases bear no resemblance to what they were described as. Sometimes these problems are worked out, and occasionally people wind up in court over disagreements related to such services. This has turned some people off from making any online transactions, ever.
Personally I have never had a deal turn bad. I also buy online fairly regularly, for friends, family, and myself. For birthdays, for Christmas gifts, for miscellaneous goods that I either can’t get in stores in this area, or that would cost substantially more for.
One such thing I haven’t found a store for in the area (closest I’ve found via online tools is in Staunton – around 45 minutes to an hour away, depending on traffic and who is driving, etc) is model railroading supplies. Track, rolling stock, and other things required seem hard to come by, in this area at least. And that is where eBay comes in. Sure, a lot of things aren’t new, some are incredibly well used, but in the last month or so I have found some incredibly good deals that I couldn’t have even dreamed of until I received the “You won …” emails.
One such deal was for a large box of used HO scale track, mixed brands (primarily Atlas). Now, a lot of pieces have been cut off, and some of the rails aren’t attached at the ends, but nothing that can’t be put to good use in one way or another.
If I were to buy this in a store, brand new, I would expect to pay upwards of $200. There are around 10 turnouts, which, brand new, would have been worth around $20 each. Then there are several sets of 22″ Radius curves, I’d guess around 30 or 40. If I say there were 6 sets of 6, at $10 each per set, that would be around $60. Another 30 or 40 9″ straight sections as well and we’re looking at $300+ retail value when bought new. Considering all the damage done and the fact that it’s used, I might expect someone to pay maybe $100 minimum? No, with eBay I bought this for less than $30 USD. And this isn’t just a photo that the seller posted on the auction, that is the box sitting in the next room. I received it, it’s here, I’ve checked it all out. I’m excited to start laying it down in some kind of permanent setting.
Just to list off the things I’ve picked up cheaply in the last month or so, all from eBay:
– Various other rail tracks, including switches/points, rerailers, straight sections, etc.
– A flat car with two containers.
– Box car
– 3 40′ container models, to join my other containers that go with the container well cars I bought in New Zealand.
– 2 covered hoppers – one Southern and one Southern Pacific (the latter identical to one I already have) – the continuations of a unit train forming.
– 3 boxcar bodies for use in a storage setting.
– 10/100/1000Mbps network card (for my server, when I get around to rebuilding it).
Also, yet to receive:
– MiniDV camera (expected tomorrow)
– PAL=>NTSC Video Format converter, for my NZ DVD player and my NZ Xbox coming soon, so I can watch on the TV here.