eBay Warning on Unicycle Purchases

Several of our club members have recently been less than satisfied with their unicycle purchases through eBay.

I encourage all of those interested in purchasing unicycles to be very careful. I know that there might be a few great deals out there but from my experience if you buy something new on that site you are paying at least what you could get it from at an established dealer. Should you have a problem after the purchase the established dealers (local or on-line) are so much more accommodating.

Also, from my experience if I set-out to buy something used I generally end up paying just a tad under what I could have purchased the item new. Thus, I’ve generally been less than satisfied with the outcome.

For me, rare is it when the “great deal” is had on eBay. I’m sure that many of us have, indeed, scored big on eBay but let the buyer beware! Twice this week we’ve had club members left very frustrated and disappointed through their eBay experience.

Tommy

Were the bad experiences with new unicycles or used?

I’ve bought a couple used but both were local sales so I could pick them up. Both were also less than 50% of new for a similar uni. If I would have had to pay shipping the sale wouldn’t have been worth it.

I am always surprised/disgusted on some of the descriptions. Like one selling the 2003 Black Torker with the “2004 seat”.

I agree, if you’re only saving less than $20 over going to a reputable local shop or internet dealer it doesn’t seem worth the hastle.

Yes one woman from our club bought a trials uni on EBay which looked good to both of us. The axle threads were stripped so I had to rebuild the wheel with new hub and spokes. I also had to replace the seat cover, handle grip and a few other parts. The overall result was good but we would have done almost as well to buy all new parts and build from scratch the way I usually do.

what is this?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3637114260 claims to be a “NEW Summit Unicycle 20"” but I am suspicious for these reasons.

  1. The picture shows a seat that looks like a Torker Kiddie Seat (should be a KH seat).

  2. In the picture the word “Summit” on the frame is much closer to the crown than it is in the unicycle.com pictures. (Anyone know if this detail of the picture corresponds to a real summit? Or is this a summit knockoff?)

  3. The seller has only one prior sale.

my opinion: The fact that the seller swapped the original KH seat for a torker-kiddie seat is: rather dishonest; and makes the price effectively no better than unicycle.com’s price. Actually, including shipping and a decent seat, the starting bid is probably more than buying it new from unicycle.com.

.duaner.

This is a Viscount saddle shown. If you want on I’ve got one that I’ll sell you for $3. This eBay seller is the same guy who tried to sell this new unicycle to a guy in the Memphis Unicycle Club. The seller made good on the deal - at last report - and was refunding the money and the unicycle was returned. But this is what I’m talking about! Look at the price. I just looked and the auction is at $197. Some poor shmuck is going to pay too much for a less valuable unicycle. I would not be surprised - at all - if the thing sells for more than you could buy a KH equipped Summit from Uni.Com.

I don’t even bother looking any more at eBay. Only if I’m looking for something so unique that it is no longer available new do I venture over to that site. Unicycling brings me refuge and pleasure and dealing with eBay creates anxiety and apprehension. When I “need” something I generally quick-dial Uni.Com and know that within 3 days it will be waiting for me when I get home from work. Should it not be right, another quick call is all that is needed to make it right. I’m not trying to pump-up this internet suppier but , darn, they make it easy and I am lucky to have such a service.

Tommy

At least it says “0 bids” for now. Wish no one will buy it. It might be just a crappy camera but even the colors seem to be strange. It’s not bright enough.

Ebay.ca, Ok Ebay.com, bad

I have purchased a few things on Ebay in the past, but not Unicycle stuff yet or ever for the very reasons we are all mentioning, as well as the fact that if I order anything from the States most people send it to me via UPS or Purolator. These companies charge about $55.00 dollars CDN$ for brokerage to get the package threw customs. This sucks because most of the stuff I’ve bought is only worth what I have payed for the Item. Ebay.ca is OK because everyone is in Canada so theres no brokergae.

You have a summit you’ll sell for three bucks?

Or a viscount saddle you’ll sell for three bucks?

Either way I’ll take it. Three bucks for anything is good.

Or were you joking?

For online auction purchases I have discovered some very useful principles for buying unicycles and other gear.

  1. Only ever buy products you are very familiar with the features and pricing of. This ensures you know whether you are getting a good deal. A $50 unicycle is only a good deal if it is worth $100, some unicycles I wouldn’t even pay $50 for.

  2. Before buying do some quick research online / by phone to find out what it costs to buy one new. I’ve learnt the hard way you can often end up paying an identical price to get something new instead of second hand. Even if new it costs a little more you get a warranty and support.

  3. Don’t impulse buy, plan your purchases before looking, decide what you want and then wait till you find it for a reasonable price.

For a quick reference, just look at uni.com. Quite often, you can find the exact unicycle and see a good base price reference. Plus, if the uni doesn’t seem to be what it’s cracked up to be, go check the beginner unicycle section on uni.com. Often, you’ll find the same unicycles there.

If I may be so bold as to add to Peter Bier’s handy list:

  1. If you can’t get a good look at it, don’t buy it. If the picture is bad, blurry, or dark, ask for a better one if you can’t make out the details. Inability on the seller’s part to take decent pictures may be an indicator of their attention to detail in other areas.

Often the seller will help you out if you have questions. My dealings with eBay sellers have been almost all positive. My least satisfying eBay purchase was a cartridge for my HP Laserjet 4 printer. I got toner all over myself just opening the shrinkwrap. Something tells me it was a refill-job…

For new merchandise, there seems little to no reason to buy from eBay. By the time you pay the shipping, that cost plus the risk of dealing with an unknown seller is often not worth it. Plus, is that seller doing anything for the unicycling community? I would much rather buy from Unicycle.com, Bedford, Tom Miller or others who do much more than just sell product.

eBay is good for the stuff that’s not available elsewhere. I have added to my unicycle collection with a Loyd, 2 Univegas, an NPK (or similar 3 letters) Japanese uni with built-in stand, and others.