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Ships and Stars

Buy cheap, buy twice - the pitfalls of second-hand accessories online

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A brief rant and a 'buyer-beware' for other novice astronomers such as myself, or those that generally find a good bargain irresistible.

Other than my telescope (thank the gods!), my last three used purchases online lately seem to be total duds or poorly looked-after.

The first was barlow that appeared to be stored next to the kitchen hob of a busy chip shop. I did manage to disassemble and clean the grease to an acceptable level of use!

Next was the binoviewer. Below is a photo of the internals described as used but 'optically fine'. Maybe the mirror breakage happened in transit (though it was very well wrapped in a protective case) but that doesn't explain the greasy black fingerprints on internal glass...??

Last was a used O-III filter that apparently de-laminated sometime in the Thatcher era, leaving an artistically-attractive off-centre crazed pattern, though probably not very effective as an O-III filter on a scope any longer.

Fortunately the binoviewer and filter sellers have instantly accepted a refund, so it's hardly the end of the world, but I seem to spend half my time hanging around the post office queue lately sending stuff back.

I think I will be slowly saving up for new items instead, as time is in short supply these days...

Mini-rant over and buyer-beware - at least sometimes. Good luck all! ?

 

 

 

OIII-1-2.jpg

OIII-1-3.jpg

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17 minutes ago, banjaxed said:

I think you have had more of your share of bad luck.

I did get a used star atlas in as new condition for the princely sum of £3! ? I'm hooked on bargains, but sometimes buying new is ultimately less hassle of course.

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Hopefully your run of bad luck is over. I have never had a problem buying used items. Come to think of it, I have bought them all from members of this site. That’s probably why.

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Gosh that is a bad run of luck. Are these from the bay of fleas by any chance?

Touch wood I've only every had one problem which was a pair of binos from eBay described as in excellent optical condition but which had fungus on the prisms. That ended up with a PayPal dispute and my money refunded so all ok in the end.

I tend to buy astro kit from here or AstroBuySell and don't think I've ever had a problem in large number of transactions even overseas.

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That’s a bummer, Robert. So my ‘offline’ suggestion regarding the BVs is redundant. ?

Above advice all sound: SGL first, ABS second ... and beware the rest! ?

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E.Bay can be a minefield, unfortunately. "all that glitters" and all that. Using ABS I've had many excellent buys though and also met and communicated with some great people so very positive.

Hope you have better experiences in the future. It pays to ask questions and see as many photos as you can wherever you are buying though.

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Posted (edited)

'break a match/cocktail stick!' ...that should put an end to the bad luck you have been having.

The image of your de-laminated O-lll filter reminded me of a new in box filter I had purchased from Venturescopes many moons ago. Upon receipt and a phone call to Nininan Boyle, a replacement was sent out the same day and the faulty filter returned. Two days later I received the replacement filter.

Edited by Philip R
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Bought an O-III filter off ABS with mottling, the guy I bought it off was happy to give me a refund but I’ve kept it and it seems to work ok

5D7EBC15-AE4F-416E-A19E-0B3EB0E9DD38.png

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Yes same here, got to keep the O-III. For laughs, I'll have to try out now and see if it really is as bad as it looks, or if there's some use in it! I'll stick to SGL and ABS - just used to dealing with ebay. I also like FLO of course, can't beat new! ?

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The title of this thread sounded interesting, and I was quite shocked when I read the OP's comments about the Binoviewer.

Because I'm the author of the 'optically fine' comment regarding the Binoviewer's internals in the ebay listing.

I've been a non-business user of Ebay for 17 years now and have made over 2000 transactions, (of which 107 were as a seller), and I have maintained a 100% positive feedback score. I take great pains to describe my items honestly with detailed photos to avoid misleading anyone.  My weakness for trying out "stuff" has extended over bikes, boats, photography and  computers as well as Astronomy, and the ability to sell on afterwards with minimal loss helps greatly with SWMBO, so I would not risk losing positive feedback to sell rubbish or trick anyone.

The purchaser contacted me about his disappointment, I therefore agreed immediately to an Ebay return with a full refund, even though I was completely at a loss to understand how they had been actually broken inside, and I've certainly never opened them.  I had been using them right up to the point I bought an upgraded pair, which is why I then listed them.  ( In fact there's an old thread here on SGL where I had been asking about low power Barlows to use with them).

 

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Caution if buying a used Celestron SkyPortal external WiFi accessory. It is odds on that it is an inferior first or second generation SkyPortal dongle..

Similar caution with a Starsense camera. If the previous owner unscrewed the lens it might need factory recalibration.

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