The Buggrit Online Computer and Electronics SHITLIST

posted 11/01/02, updated 03/19/06

I don't buy a lot of computer or electronics equipment on eBay, yet have been screwed twice. I bought two sticks of EDO RAM memory from a person in New York doing business as '128mbedoram' on eBay, who ripped a whole bunch of other people off and is no longer a member... at least, under that name. Postage was $7.00 USD, and was not stated in the auction. That would be fine. In 2002, $7 is enough to get a small package sent Priority Mail with insurance and delivery confirmation, which would sort of make sense. Nope. I got my two pieces of memory wrapped in a piece of cardboard cut from a soda twelve-pack and stapled together, inside a #11 business envelope, with two 32 cent stamps on it... and it was postage due 24 cents. I complained, and was told "you just dont understand the expence (sic) of doing business". Needless to say, I won't be doing business with him again, and suggest you don't, either.

I recently broke with my habit of not buying computer parts on eBay again, and got screwed... again. I usually avoid buying computer bits on the 'bay, because there are so very many utterly unscrupulous sellers. A popular current scam is the selling of 2.5", 9mm laptop hard drives in simple little external enclosures, as bus-powered portable USB drives.

Some people are selling new drives, but most aren't, and that's where the problem arises. Laptop drives - laptop parts in general - are crap. They're not designed to last a long time - laptops become obsolete so very quickly, and it's pretty much impossible to upgrade them in any meaningful fashion. The poor build quality is compounded by the less-than-ideal conditions inside a laptop; where electronics are concerned, heat kills.

Used laptop drives are pretty much worthless - you never know how many hours they were on, how hot they got, or how badly they got bounced around. They're close to being disposable, and are definately expendable, just like a laptop battery.

Hence, as you can imagine, I'd never buy an used laptop drive. I wanted one of these little external drives for portable storage, though, and after careful perusal of auctions, picked one that specifically included a "brand new" Toshiba drive. The seller was a guy in guy in North Carolina, user ID "djw1104". His other items for sale included a rifle stock and a big pile of ethernet cables. Yeah, that should have been a warning sign... if I'd searched Google, as I ought to have done, I'd have found that he's a member - with negative feedback - on, too.

I won and,a few days later I got, via Priority Mail, with postage being half of what he'd charged me, the drive and it's enclosure. Brand-new Toshiba drive, I though, woo hoo.

Um, no.

Try a half-dead, worn-out, five-year-old IBM drive with dozens of bad sectors and thousands and thousands of both seek and read errors. There were hundreds of megabytes of reallocated sectors. Brand new my ass! It died - completely and utterly - after about an hour.

Emails to his PayPal address bounce. Surprise, surprise. I've filed a complaint with PayPal, but I'm not holding my breath. A little bit of searching suggests that "djw1104" is the son of the assistant chief of his area's volunteer fire department, who when not being a hose jockey works in a transmission shop. Damned slug-handling hose-jockeys and their spawn...


All Contents of BUGGRIT.COM are (C) 2002 - 2006 M. Gilday. All Rights Reserved. No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the owner.