Would you buy a used tool sight unseen?

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Forum topic by distrbd posted 12-23-2013 03:12 PM 984 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2252 posts in 2408 days

12-23-2013 03:12 PM

I have always been wary of ads for used tools that for a picture they use a copy and paste of manufacturer’s pictures of the tool in brand new condition .why would a serious seller put up an ad describing how great the tool’s condition is but not put up the picture of the actual tool?
Doesn’t that feel like the seller has something to hide?

I know it could be all innocent ,may be he/she doesn’t know how to load a picture for the ad,etc,etc ,but still you are taking a gamble buying it sight unseen.

I recently showed interest in a drum sander and asked the seller twice to send me a couple pictures of it so I could justify the high price or the 2 hour drive to the city.
First time I asked ,he totally ignored me,second time I asked point blank: could you send me some photos of the used sander? his reply:the tool looks exactly the same as the manufacture’s photos except it has sawdust on it!.
Would you still consider a deal like this?have you ever considered buying something without seeing a picture? how did it turn out?

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

11 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10341 posts in 3391 days

#1 posted 12-23-2013 03:18 PM

Never buy sight unseen!
That being said, I have bought a few smaller items from LJs and from folks I trust on other boards.
But, never from an unknown party.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2408 days

#2 posted 12-23-2013 03:38 PM

I’m glad I’m not alone ,I felt terrible telling the guy I’m not interested .
You are right about buying from LJs being different ,I would not hesitate to buy from quite a few members here .

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3279 days

#3 posted 12-23-2013 03:45 PM

To see (just see) the sander, the seller is asking you to make an investment of time and money (gas). If it’s a dud, he won’t reimburse you.

Just this morning I emailed a boat dealer, asking for additional pictures of a used boat he lists on his website. There are some angles he neglected to include on his site, and I want to see those angles before making the 2-hour drive to his dealership. If he comes back with something like, “It’s good – just come on up and look at it,” I’ll be staying right here.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15278 posts in 2580 days

#4 posted 12-23-2013 03:49 PM

Ken, the seller gave you a bogus answer. If motivated to sell, pictures of the actual item are not an inconvenience but a requirement. You’re absolutely right in turning down the buy; I wouldn’t drive two hours just to be surprised.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#5 posted 12-23-2013 03:50 PM

In today’s world it’s always best to be cautious about on line anything’s,but some people are attitude cases and feel like what their selling is a great deal so they should not have to do anything extra to sell what they have. I would say this is not a buy sight unseen seen situation of what your buying ,it’s a drive to see purchase. So you have to decied if you want to drive there and back to get the deal and that it’s not a security risk.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View verdesardog's profile


157 posts in 2573 days

#6 posted 12-23-2013 03:51 PM

It depends on how much you want the item…a two hour drive could be seen as an adventure if there are other things you can see or do along the way or at the destinitation…..

-- .. heyoka ..

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2408 days

#7 posted 12-23-2013 05:35 PM

Well,I got an email just now from the seller accusing me of of being a ” dreamer” and that I just like tantalizing myself with the thought of buying it.that I could have got it dirt cheap if I had traveled to see/purchase on the spot.
I asked why he refused to send a couple of pictures,he says and here’s a copy and paste of his reply:

Ken I am not upset, I hate going through the process of selling anything that is why I have so much junk it almost looks like I am hoarding.
This tool is buried in behind other equipment and I don’t feel like taking everything out just to take a lousy picture of a dirty and dusty piece of wood working equipment that I am not using. I don’t want to waste time arranging all this and then taking a photo shoot and afterwards putting everything all back together in proper order.

I just don’t know how to make some one believe that I’m serious about buying A sander and unless I see a pic or 2 of the actual thing,like what Mark Davisson said:I’ll be staying right here.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2389 days

#8 posted 12-23-2013 06:18 PM

Bought a lot of tools on eBay and have only been slightly disappointed once. So to answer your question – Yes!

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2526 days

#9 posted 12-23-2013 06:19 PM

tell him you’d like to come over and ask him to get it ready and then blow him off just as an “FU”.

I wouldn’t buy anything sight unseen, but I am in such a populated area I wouldn’t ever be driving several hours just to look at something. Certainly a long drive like that would make me want to see some actual photos before I head out.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View dpwalker's profile


273 posts in 2793 days

#10 posted 12-23-2013 06:45 PM

I would have passed on the deal just based on the smarta$$ response he gave. But I would never buy sight unseen.

-- You have not really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20268 posts in 3067 days

#11 posted 12-31-2013 04:50 AM

I would never buy a tool I did not see a picture of or in person first. I’d like to trust people but found that I can’t sometimes so I’m cautious that way!.
Also, I like to see it in order to make a good offer for the condition. The price is often negotiable when you go to look at it on anything!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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