I'm done buying used vinyl online

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by cds23, Dec 19, 2018.

  1. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
    I don't live in the city - actually, the record store I go to most probably has some of the most "wtf" finds I've gotten so far.
    zphage likes this.
  2. flaxton

    flaxton Forum Resident

    I have sold a lot of records on eBay. Only had one complaint. Sent one to South Africa. Arrived there in two pieces.
    Joti Cover likes this.
  3. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    I don't buy used online unless it's advertised as NM or M. M is non-subjective and NM has a low degree of subjectivity. I also don't buy a lot

    This has worked out fairly well, but yes - I do get burned occasionally.

    I empathize with sellers in the sense that those with a large stock that is not their own collection may not have played every item. If they have thousands of titles, how could they? It's not like you can play an album any faster than it takes to play it because you're in a hurry. Also, it's not always possible to ascertain the source of excess surface noise. Some records, especially those made in the 1970s, had surface noise/distortion right out of the packaging. So, it's not always groove wear or some kind of damage to the record that a closer visual inspection might reveal. Does a seller have an obligation to downgrade a visually perfect record to a VG because the pressing was crappy? Or, if the title is one to be known by fans to often not play particularly well, does the burden then shift to the buyer to be acutely aware of what he is buying?

    Physical stores aren't always great situations, either. Have seen many times at some of my favorite stores used records being very overpriced for their condition. But, more often than not, they know their own business - if a particular title comes in that they know will sell at 2 or 3x what it should (because the buyer either won't notice the problems or won't care) then they're going to price it accordingly. Places like Discogs - where there are often many sellers often selling the same item - help normalize the prices. True, you have to guard against being sold a lemon, but there are things a person can do to at least minimize the chances of that.

    This is the life I chose (sigh).
  4. StateOfTheArt

    StateOfTheArt Beatle Know-it-all

    Greenville, SC
    VG+ is the keyword to stay the heck away from at all costs. That, my friends, is worth at least half of all future transactions. I take checks. :)
  5. classicrocker

    classicrocker Life is good!

    Worcester, MA, USA
    I am in the same boat as you. My first turntable, from the mid 60's until I got a proper TT in the fall of 1973, was a crappy Radio Shack with no adjustments or counterweights. The tonearm weighed a ton and stylus was the snap in T-type that you flipped over to get a different needle.

    Now I took great care handling my vinyl I played on that RS TT and used one of those tacky clothes to keep them clean before playing. I still have some great old LP's that were played on that RS TT and while the vinyl looks good to the naked eye there is a constant background sizzle due to groove wear.

    A few years ago I dug my old vinyl, 5-600 LP's out of the closet, tuned up my Technics SL1700MK II I bought new in 1980, and started cleaning those old LP's with an RCM. I can instantly tell which were played on the old RS TT compared to the low-end belt drive Dual TT I bought as part of a catalog system fall of 1973.

    Buying used vinyl on line is a crap shoot but I may have been lucky as the majority of used LP's I have bought actually cleaned up nicely and played very well. Any that were not up to grade the seller has usually given me a break or taken them back so far I have found buying off of eBay and Discogs to be pretty reliable. I agree with the poster to be wary of anything graded less than EX and I rarely ever buy anything used graded lower.
  6. I always pay with paypal, and if it's over graded, it goes straight back for a full refund.
    Buying online is a pain in the wotsit, but there are things I want that I will never find here in the UK, so I persevere.
    The Sage likes this.
  7. Horse Majeure

    Horse Majeure Forum Resident

    I don't buy new vinyl records any more.Too much defects.I'll probably buy them again sometime,maybe next year.
  8. fenderesq

    fenderesq In Brooklyn It's The Blues / Heavy Bass 7-7

    Brooklyn - NY
    I do blame the dealer when the situation arises; when the description is inaccurate. It is the dealers responsibility to accurately determine and relate the actual condition of an item. If acurate condition can not be determined and garenteed... don’t sell it or acknowledge it as such. List it as Sold As Is. Condition NOT ABLE TO BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED. Not excepting responsibility has become an epidemic in today’s society.
    vudicus likes this.
  9. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    I’m in general agreement here. Pops and clicks I can live with if it’s graded accordingly, but groove damage is a crime. No one should ever sell records like this.

    I’ve never had a used vinyl online purchase that had groove damage, but I have with ones I’ve bought at a store. On one occasion, I was told that they don’t do refunds. I explained that I wasn’t looking for a refund, I was looking for an annulment of the purchase, because it never should have happened...and shame on you for knowingly selling an unplayable record.

    I got the annulment.
  10. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    The heavy tonearms, ceramic carts and portable suitcase players were hell on records. I'm surprised as many of them survived in playable condition as did.

    I will say, if a record looks ok but sounds terrible, try a glue peel before you give up on it. Some of it is nicotine and dust buildup contaminating the grooves. Also, are you using a mono cart? Very important on older mono records, IME.
    zphage likes this.
  11. 93curr

    93curr Senior Member

    That would be 950 plays on a decent turntable with a properly aligned cartridge properly set up with a correct tracking force. How many plays on a Crosley with a cheap cartridge with a worn out stylus and a quarter taped to the headshell do you think it would take?

    The core problem seem to be that the kind of people who take care of their records are the very people who are more interested in buying them than in selling them.
    johnnyyen likes this.
  12. cds23

    cds23 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Germany, Aachen
    I use a vacuum RCM and yield great results when it comes to dust, dirt and other residues. I won't contest the advantages of a glue peel, but I doubt the differences are "night and day" such that you still have a worn out sound with one method and a clean sound with the other.
  13. cds23

    cds23 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Germany, Aachen
    Of course, 950 plays with proper playback only. And even if it were just 500 plays or let's say just 300 plays before it wears out - that means a record is more or less resistant to wear for at least one owner's lifetime (with all necessary precautions considered). How many records does the average collector own that he has listened to more than 50 times? I'm sure not that many.
    bekayne likes this.
  14. thxphotog

    thxphotog Camera Nerd

    Los Angeles, CA
    Agreed. I go to discogs, find a title I want and filter to only show M + NM. Then I look at the sellers ratings and only then click 'buy'. Only had one issue where a record was less than advertised.
    johnnybrum and StateOfTheArt like this.
  15. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    Overall, my used LP purchases from ebay have been VG+ or better cuz i only buy from Sellers who have a long History @ 100% satisfaction.
    Hi Lizard likes this.
  16. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    The night and day difference, when it occurs, is in the noise floor rather than groove distortion, true. I've peeled records that looked grey before and were black afterward. And I also have a VPI. It just doesn't cut it for that kind of grime.
    RobNeil likes this.
  17. Pennywise

    Pennywise Forum Resident

    Have you tried the Classified section of the Hoffman forum? I've never had a bad experience buying vinyl there.
    Stone Turntable likes this.
  18. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    These are periodic threads and I do get it that buying used records is like buying used anything where you can't take it for a test beforehand. A poster above said avoid VG+ and I think that's a good rule if you want a silent record. I also don't buy records where I can't see a closeup of the label and spindle area. A record rated Ex or NM with obvious wear around the spindle hole is a warning sign. That's why I stopped with Discogs.

    Inner groove wear I think is mainly an issue with 50s and 60s records. I don't think I have encountered it with later records. One thing to note though is that current pop records often have longer side lengths and you may hear some distortion on inner groove from loud pressings with side length over 22 minutes or so. This is not necessarily from prior wear but from tracking difficulties as you play them.
  19. negative1

    negative1 80s retro fan

    I think I buy about 80% used vinyl - 20% new online.

    To me the item has to fill these criteria:
    1) Have music on it that I haven't heard before or always wanted to hear - then i rip it digitally and clean it up

    2) Fill in a Gap in collection - could be something I already have, then i never play it

    3) Have a cool cover or is some special pressing like a picture disc or import - then i never play it

    4) Getting it for a friend who wants some tracks off it - then i rip it digitally and clean it up.

    5) must be priced at a reasonable* rate (*which means i can afford it, and it's about what
    other copies i have seen are priced - which in some cases could be a lot of money).

    in most cases i never actually play the record, or just play it once.

    so its the availability of the item that is more important to me, than the sound or even
    the look of it.

    some of the records i get are near mint, even though they've never said so, but the only thing
    i prefer is if they have a picture cover, that its still there. although if its the only record of its
    kind and a generic cover, i'll still get it.

    as you can tell, i'm not picky about sound quality. i just tend to be more of a collector.

  20. negative1

    negative1 80s retro fan

    that hasn't helped me, in that i've had a string of good sellers sending me the
    wrong items on a semi-regular basis.

    but that's another issue.

  21. Ned Bode

    Ned Bode All you love is need

    I'm convinced some people just aren't good at this. This applies to buyers as well as sellers.
  22. mooseman

    mooseman Forum Resident

    I have more problems with the new reissues then I do with used records, I buy more used records from my local record stores then online but even online it's not to bad for me. I've had a few returns but the new reissues have been a real headache for me. Wild Life by Paul McCartney is my recent return.
    The new one is staying sealed for resale, not taking anymore chances only to make another return.
  23. Dante Fontana

    Dante Fontana Forum Resident

    Opposite here, I actually prefer buying records online. Not all stores have players and even if they do, the carts they use are often not very revealing over the headphones. If there’s no player, you are buying on sight, and most stores or record fair dealers don’t grade the records even though they may have been priced with grade in mind, so when you think you’re getting a bargain after inspecting a record in poor visibilty, you get it home to find groove wear, clicks and pops etc. On discogs at least the grading conventions are spelled out even if they are not adhered to, and you know what you should be getting. That said, as mentioned by someone above, forget about anything Vg+ and lower, and you should have a playable record and if it’s not, very solid grounds for a refund.
    negative1 likes this.
  24. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident

    Stockport, UK
    I have no used record stores near me, certainly not any that stock what I want, so have to resort to ebay or discogs.

    My experience with both has been poor.

    I've not bought anything of discogs for a year, but in the last couple of weeks I thought I will give it a go again and bought about 15 LPs from 5 different sellers. They were all described as NM. In my opinion (and objectively, come to that), not one of them comes anywhere near that description. Half of them are in my view unlistenable, even with my Sweet Vinyl engaged. A complete waste of money. Why don't I learn.

    And here's the thing - all those sellers had at least 99.5% positive feedback. What a joke. The problem is that buyers let sellers get away with this nonsense by not calling them out.
  25. Greg Carrier

    Greg Carrier Forum Resident

    Iowa City
    When I buy used vinyl on eBay, I expect at least a grade lower than advertised, and I return a lot of what I buy because it isn't even close to the advertised condition. That means I'm almost always looking for EX or NM condition discs. On the other hand, what I've purchased on this forum is almost always better than advertised, or at least better than what I'm expecting.

    My biggest hangup is audible scratches. I can accept some surface noise, but not an audible scratch. Some eBay sellers downplay or miss the scratches, especially when they only grade visually.

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