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Buying calculators in internet sites

Some comments when buying calculators off eBay or other second hand sites. I have seen several times a seller with a lot experience and good rating selling calculators for parts. When I started in this business I bought from them a couple of times. In general:

  • When they say that the calculator is for parts, refrain from buying: they have tried to make it work in all possible ways, and didn’t work; and all the parts that could be easily used (port covers, LCD, battery contacts, back side of the calculator, circuit, etc.) have already been stripped down or they are not functional. They are professionals, and if they say “not working”, there is nothing that can be done.
  • When they say that the calculator works well, you can trust them (if the rating is good). In many cases it has been expertly repaired by them, using the parts from several calculators (and the rest that cannot be used is sold as above)

A different thing is when you buy a non-working calculator from someone in eBay that doesn’t appear to be an expert. I am mostly focused on HP41cl, and I have had my fair share of mistakes, having aprox. 5 calculator bodies that cannot work or are in poor condition - not good enough for my customers. But the inexpert sellers may have a calculator that is easy to fix (when you talk about the HP41C). In any case, it is a fair bet, provided you don’t spend a lot on it, and the cosmetic appearance is good enough. Please remember to get a picture of the battery bay, to see the situation of its contacts!

A final comment: seen from Europe, buying from the US is so expensive when you factor in all the import costs, that it doesn’t make sense anymore. Either you use the standard post, and then it takes ages to come; or you use one of the main courier companies, and then it is extremely expensive. There are many european providers, with extremely cheap transport costs compared with the US.

Comments: 1
More about: calculators, ebay

Comments: 1

Frédéric BEUDAERT |
RE: Buying calculators in internet sites
Hi :)

Or you have the case of the seller marking the calculator as "used" and when you receive it (a Casio fx5800P if I remember) you see it doesn't work and then he says "Oh, but I didn't say it was working !"... Silly me, of course...

So now, when I watch pictures of calculators auctions, calculator not [ON] ==> doesn't work. If he says "I don't have batteries therefore I cannot test it" ==> doesn't work AND seller don't even care.

Thanks again for your blog. Have a nice day :)
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