Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

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cmorley
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Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by cmorley » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:36 pm

As many of you know I make a few different upgrades for Acorn machines. I sell them on here, direct through my website and on eBay (frog277824). I really try to give people good service and value for their money.

Recently a customer buy some B stuff as four separate orders so I offered to cancel so they could reorder together and save on postage. This costs me non refundable PayPal fees per order canceled. I get quite a few support questions from the customer and I try to help them as best I can.

Not heard from the customer for a few days so imagine my surprise this morning to find they'd done the nuclear option of leaving negative feedback on eBay! I won't repeat it here you can see my feedback profile for yourself if you are curious.

The eBayer has a lot of feedback (double mine) so they must know that negative feedback is damaging to sellers. Maybe it was an error and they wanted to leave neutral feedback - I don't know because they haven't responded to my query.

Negative feedback without the opportunity to address the customer's complaint. I will lose some sales because of this. Too much negative feedback and you lose the right to sell on eBay altogether.

I like to think that I offer good kit for a reasonable price. Am I wrong?

To put my sales into perspective I sell on average one EEPROM module per week. I make less than minimum wage assembling the B stuff (especially the ones with the ROM sockets on top) - before I spend time stuffing envelopes or responding to customer questions. I make more money on one hour of my day job than I do in 2 months of selling these upgrades. High volume or high profit this enterprise is not. I do it as a hobby. I spend the money on lab kit, prototypes and buying new gear to make new upgrades.

Days like this I wonder why bother?

Is eBay biased too far toward the buyers? Is retro kit value for money?

Discuss.

Chris :(

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vanpeebles
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by vanpeebles » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:55 pm

Could u not have just took all four orders, and then refunded a small amount of postage via paypal?

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:57 pm

Ebay is certainly biased towards the buyer. I guess it is their business model to make sure people can buy with confidence.

I have seen some absolutely ridiculous negative feedback over the years as I always read it before taking a view on whether to buy or not (as a seller I appreciate your position on feedback) but I suspect anybody that just buys stuff will just look at the % rating and not any further.

Looking at that specific bit of feedback it does seem harsh - try and build your own one of these for the price! Some people have unrealistic expectations. Some people are just idiots.

I have a (fairly) expensive computer up for sale at the moment - although it is a fair price for what it is - it is listed in the Uk only. Somebody from Portugal asked if I could ship there and how much so I said yes and found a few prices - which takes time - and sent them through. They said thanks but the computer is too expensive. Why even ask?
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by flaxcottage » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:59 pm

Generally the 'modern' retro kit I buy has been good value for money and very, very useful. I've had loads of your gear (as you know), stuff from Retroclinic, stuff from IFEL, stuff from Retro-Kit, stuff from Retro-Hardware, etc. All of the gear has been good. Whenever I have had any problems an email or phone call has solved them. Retro kit sellers are great - at least the ones I use.

Some people, however, are not great and that will include customers and sellers. Many customers probably do not understand what they are buying and if they have problems they definitely do not understand the answers/advice given and so will complain. Complaining seems to be a national sport these days whenever something does not match expectations even if the problem is self-caused.

I have only ever left negative feed back once and that was for a seller who advertised a buy-it-now price for an item. I bought the item and then received an email from eBay stating that the buyer had canceled the transaction because they felt they were selling the item too cheaply and wanted to sell via an auction at a higher price. Discussing this with eBay revealed that this was illegal but eBay could do nothing about it but strike the seller's account, which they did. The item appeared a day or two later offered by a different seller - so much for that then!

It seems that the expressions caveat emptor and caveat vendor apply to eBay. :?
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cmorley
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by cmorley » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:03 pm

vanpeebles wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:55 pm
Could u not have just took all four orders, and then refunded a small amount of postage via paypal?
Technically you'd have to post 4 separate packages as per PayPal T&Cs. Not doing so opens you to a slam dunk item not arrived scam :(

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by Lardo Boffin » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:23 pm

Value for money is very subjective! Everything I have bought I consider to be good value for money. Looking at the boobip stuff it looks good for the money (and I will order some at some point).

For example I bought a Turbo MMC when I first got back into retro stuff - I considered it to be very good value for money (and still do) even though it was way more expensive than building your own. At the time I did not even have a soldering iron or know about stardot (dark days) - it came complete, tested and working, with comprehensive instructions and a CDROM of software. For a beginner it was ideal. I would still recommend it to someone who is new to the beeb. It has however been considered too expensive in various comments in this site as you can build your own for pennies.

I hope all makers of retro kit add ons continue to do so! [-o<
Atom, issue 5
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by flaxcottage » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:06 pm

Lardo Boffin wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:23 pm
Value for money is very subjective!
That is so true.

Considering the MMC-type interfaces I have 3 different types, the turboMMC, a Retroclinic SPI microSD interface and a FlaxCottage special. All work very well but the turboMMC version is a 'more complete' system as it allows easy copying from floppy to SD card in the host machine and is slightly faster. It is much more expensive, though. However, if I were in the market for another system, I should opt for the turboMMC version despite the FlaxCottage special costing me less than £1.
Last edited by flaxcottage on Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by lurkio » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:16 pm

cmorley wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:36 pm
I like to think that I offer good kit for a reasonable price. Am I wrong?
FWIW, I think you offer a great service at a reasonable price. And your products aren't half bad either! :)

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by tricky » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:24 pm

Don't loose heart Chris, I love your designs and appreciate the effort you put in.
I think the beeb has some of the cheapest retro kit with a couple of exceptions.
EBay feedback is too biased.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by danielj » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:29 pm

You've decided what you want to buy, you've decided to pay the money for it, you're allowed to return it if you don't like it... Why on earth would you leave negative feedback saying you don't think it's good value? Negative feedback is surely for poor service, or items not as described, or scammy sellers... Not because you've decided (completely unfairly, I should add) that something (which you probably couldn't make yourself) isn't good value.

Bizarre frankly...

d.
Last edited by danielj on Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by 1024MAK » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:18 pm

To be fair, the eBay feedback system is not fit for purpose.

How are buyers supposed to work out which sellers give excellent service vs. acceptable service, if you are constantly told to leave five stars?

And for the overall feedback, you only have positive, neutral and negative.

With overseas trades, due to the time delivery/ shipping takes, if you have a problem, while waiting for the seller to sort things out, often the time for feedback comes and then disappears into the distance.

And eBay does not make it clear if the feedback is for the service from the seller, the quality of the product (if a new item) or everything.

I would like eBay to have a received item click button and a enter date received box so that buyers can let the seller know that they have got the item, and so that other buyers can see a representative average for delivery / shipping time.

Value for money / acceptable cost as said above, are very subjective.

The feedback may hurt your sales on eBay for a while, and apart from continuing to offer a good service, and the passage of time, I’m not sure what you can do.

Of course, your eBay feedback rating is unlikely to affect direct sales via the forum or via your website.

I wish you good luck in the future.

Mark

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by paulv » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:34 pm

I've read the thread, checked out your items for sale, read the negative feedback and looked at the item the feedback is attached to.

Given the chip count, number of components and apparent quality of the item and taking into account ebay fees the price you're charging is nothing if not fair and given what it provides without needing any soldering to be performed I'd say its excellent value for money.

I've been mentioned in this thread as a seller and I've always tried to give a good product and service when I've had things to sell. Up to now I've been lucky in that all of my customers have been reasonable people and even when they've had problems, I've worked through them with them to get a satisfactory result. All for no profit. I'm pretty sure if I factored in a fair rate for time I'd be selling at a loss.

It seems some people don't appreciate the cost of manufacture of PCB's, sourcing components that are increasingly hard to come by, the time it takes to hand build and test each device etc.

The negative feedback you've received is IMO a rarity in the retro community and the reason why we do what we do is partly to "scratch our own itch" wrt using our retro machines but also to help others do the same. When you receive feedback that is from a place of ignorance there's little you can do but move on and let your products and service speak for itself.

Just looking at your items for sale I can see they're built with a level of professionalism and care and that they're of a grade of quality that is in fact superior to many of the original commercial peripheral devices that could be bought BITD.

Don't let one I'll judged negative feedback kill off the significant contribution to our retro community you give.

Paul
Last edited by paulv on Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by VectorEyes » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:49 pm

People can be entitled asses on eBay. Well, in real life as well, I suppose, but something about buying online from somebody you've never met in person seems to bring out the worst in people.

Chris, your stuff is clearly great. Don't let unpleasant people put you off keeping the retro scene alive!

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by myelin » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:31 pm

Adding my voice to the chorus: Chris, your products are great, and well priced! Please hang in there... it's inspiring to see folks continuing to offer quality products and support for the machines we love (despite the lack of profit to be made!)
SW/EE from New Zealand, now in Mountain View, CA, making BBC/Electron hardware projects for fun.
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by leenew » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:02 pm

Just a note to say that if you feel the negative feedback is unfair you CAN get it removed.
I once bent over backwards to please a terrible buyer who then went on to leave negative feedback.
I contacted eBay and as there was a chain of correspondence between me and the buyer, they could clearly see he was being an idiot and they removed his feedback.

Lee.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by jonb » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:28 am

Chris, I've just read the feedback you are talking about. Completely subjective and unfair to leave negative feedback as he obviously received it and it is working fine. It's not like he didn't know what its capabilities are and didn't know what the price was before he bought it!

There's a word for people like that, but I won't repeat it on a family friendly forum.

I'd do as Lee suggests.
Last edited by jonb on Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by cmorley » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:41 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence everyone.

On the wider topic I don't think we do badly in the Acorn camp with variety and price of kit/upgrades. Yes the lolprice thread does still keep getting longer... but generally.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by richardtoohey » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:38 am

VectorEyes wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:49 pm
Chris, your stuff is clearly great. Don't let unpleasant people put you off keeping the retro scene alive!
Hear, hear!

You see the same sort of silliness on Amazon. People give a book a one star review because it got damaged in the post or they didn't like the cover or something UTTERLY unrelated to what the author had written. So the poor old author gets a poor review because of the postman or whatever.

Good luck and hopefully you can get the negative feedback rescinded.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by Andy1979 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:37 am

That sounds absolutely outrageous. You get "problem customers" in all areas of life, it's just unfortunate that the internet makes it so easy for them to display such nonsense as your review.

I suspect that retro kit attracts a few different kinds of buyer. At one end you have those who've owned the computers since new, remember how expensive (and sometimes unreliable) upgrades were back in the day (and the ridiculous rate of obsolescence), are amazed by the new capabilities being added, and are simply grateful that someone such as yourself has gone to the trouble to cater to a relatively small audience. I suspect that describes the majority of regulars on this forum.

At the other end you've got hipster-types who don't know much about the original kit and are used to paying Amazon prices for mass produced stuff from China. They have little to no idea what it costs or how long it takes to develop and assemble the products, they just think it seems expensive when you can buy an Amazon fire tablet for £39 and expect it all to be 'plug and play'.

I've only ever left negative feedback on eBay where something was entirely not as described. As someone who buys infrequently from eBay I'm actually wary of doing so, as negative feedback from a 'power seller' will hurt my feedback score a lot more than theirs and I've suffered retaliation many years ago when the seller was clearly in the wrong (item failed to arrive and they refused to engage with me - ended up with a refund from paypal). There really should be some kind of feedback moderation process which looks at the communication between buyer and seller to prevent these kind of disputes from escalating publically.
Last edited by Andy1979 on Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by jonb » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:37 am

eBay have shown that they aren't really interested in moderation, or indeed, engaging with their customers.

This is demonstrated easily when you try to get a phone number for them. you just end up going in circles on their help pages. It's just too expensive to moderate or set up call centres, apparently. :evil:

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by gidandridge » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:10 pm

Chris,

Don't loose heart. I think all the Retro Hardware sellers here, yourself included do an amazing job and the kit you sell is easily worth the money. =D>

I've had my eye on your 64kB sideways EEPROM kit for a while, have just been waiting to get my BBC in the right shape ready for it. To be honest I think for the time and effort it takes you're selling to low. I'd pay you more and still be satisfied that it was good value. :)

I really appreciate what goes into putting these together and the time it takes to manage an eBay account.

Please don't let one bad feedback get you down. :D

Gavin.
Last edited by gidandridge on Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by Coeus » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:35 pm

Andy1979 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:37 am
At the other end you've got hipster-types who don't know much about the original kit and are used to paying Amazon prices for mass produced stuff from China. They have little to no idea what it costs or how long it takes to develop and assemble the products, they just think it seems expensive when you can buy an Amazon fire tablet for £39 and expect it all to be 'plug and play'.
Other than the buyer simply being generally unreasonable, the above is the only other plausible explanation. I can't think what extra bells and whistles he would want. I have one of the modules and it does exactly what it says it does. It is also very neat and is pretty easy to install with decent instructions.

I think Chris's products are excellent value for money but then I know that they are niche products he assembles in the UK and cheap stuff from China is cheap because of manufacturing automation only possible on a decent length production run and a favourable exchange rate.

Yes, of course you can get a lot more memory for the same money if it was for a PC but then you could get a lot more processor power than you have in a BBC micro. If your dally driver car for which you have no great love starts to cost more in maintenance than buying a newer one then you buy a newer one. For retro computing you have to have more of the classic car attitude - maintaining something old for the pleasure of it, the nostalgia, and maybe for the next generation and accept that it will cost you money the same as any hobby would.

So, Chris, and everyone else making retro upgrades, keep up the good work.
Last edited by Coeus on Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by danielj » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:07 pm

Too right.

The thing many people forget is time... The components are relatively cheap, but if boards are being built by hand I'd argue less than 50 quid an hour is selling yourself way short... Add in the testing and interest on the initial outlay, I'm surprised you can get anything hand built for under £30...

d.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by dp11 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:15 pm

Just to add to time , there is much planning and thinking that go into projects and even just buying and selling bits all takes time. Debugging projects takes time and sometimes extra equipment that cost money.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by cmorley » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:21 pm

dp11 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:15 pm
Debugging projects takes time and sometimes extra equipment that cost money.
Don't I know it. A3000 RAM :( I spent days getting to the bottom of that.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by cmorley » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:08 am

Follow up.

I did as leenew suggested and contacted eBay customer services at the weekend (webform). I got a response from eBay this morning and they have deleted the negative feedback.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by richardtoohey » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:23 am

=D> That's a good result! Thanks for the update, too.

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by daveejhitchins » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:48 am

cmorley wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:08 am
Follow up.

I did as leenew suggested and contacted eBay customer services at the weekend (webform). I got a response from eBay this morning and they have deleted the negative feedback.
=D> =D>

Dave H :D
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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by 1024MAK » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:46 am

Back to 100% :D
=D>

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Re: Retro upgrades, value for money, eBay & why bother?

Post by Coeus » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:10 am

cmorley wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:08 am
Follow up.

I did as leenew suggested and contacted eBay customer services at the weekend (webform). I got a response from eBay this morning and they have deleted the negative feedback.
That's great news, Chris, and well-deserved.

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