Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Using eBay's Best Offer feature

I'm still dealing with a non-responsive eBay seller after I've got burned by a non-working 8GB compact flash. I've seen that many people do not like to talk about this type of failures that happen on eBay from time to time. I'm still trying to get my money back from PayPal so maybe not everything is lost.

But now I wanted to buy some cheap control chips for bipolar stepper motors. Nothing fancy with micro stepping or digital current control, just a simple chip that can also be used for other purposes too. I saw this video and I learned about the L293. It is an old chip that several manufacturers mark as deprecated.

Instead of going to a local shop I went online to eBay and I saw several sellers have it available. I tend to favor European sellers if the price is right as I do not particularly enjoy periods longer than two months for delivery (something I've experienced first hand from Hong Kong lately). One of the sellers had a price that seemed ok, but they also did have the Best Offer button. As I was not in a hurry nor in serious need of that part I decided it was good moment to test that feature. Although I'm using eBay since 1999, I have never used the Best Offer feature before.

I've offered something around 60% of the asked price (or a 40% discount if you prefer) for four chips to see what happened. I thought that if the seller was not happy I might get closer to the asking price or I would just use the Pay Now. A few hours later I've got a reply telling me the seller had accepted my offer and the deal was done. I guess I will be paying more attention to this button in the future.

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