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Advice For Buyers Of Vintage Computers, Retro Games Consoles & Handhelds (when using ebay)

Be wary of any item that does not include a photo. Photos showing the machine working are best.

Be cautious with items where the photo is not of the exact machine being sold. By this, I mean where there is a photo from an old advert, or one lifted from a website like oldcomputers.com.
There may be a legitimate reason for the seller to not have a photo of their machine... but they could just as easily be scamming you, or their machine may be a mess.

Be careful with any item where the seller says "It was working last time I tried it, 20 years ago."
It may have worked then, but condensation can ruin electronics, and after that length of time, there's a very good chance it doesn't work now.
Ask the seller to test it, and if they refuse, avoid the item.

Be wary of any item where the seller says "Untested, but it should work".
There's a very good chance it won't work.
You could ask them to test it, and if they refuse, the item is best avoided.

Avoid any item that doesn't include the power supply, regardless of whether the seller says it works or not.
This is a common ploy to hide the fact that the machine doesn't work.

Avoid any item where the seller says the item has a minor fault that "should be easy to fix", unless you know exactly how to fix such things.
If the seller can't fix it, unless you're an expert, chances are you can't either.

Be very wary of buying from Eastern Europe, Russia or China.
Any western computer or console being advertised from a country that did not receive stocks of such machines, should be looked upon with great suspicion.
The only exception I can think of would be the Enterprise 64, where all unsold stock was shipped to Hungary.

Do not be fooled into paying a high price just because a seller puts *RARE* in their ad.
There are only a very few machines that are truly rare, so either the seller is trying to fool potential buyers, or simply doesn't know what he/she is talking about.

Don't assume that the prices you see on "buy it now" deals are normal prices that you would see at the end of an auction. It is normal practice for these to be set quite high, to attract those who are prepared to pay a bit more, rather than go through the auction process.

My final piece of advice for buyers is, if you want a bargain, buy in winter. For reasons that I could really only speculate on, prices are always lower in winter.
 
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