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I had three Osborne 1's... Now I only have 2... Ebay cancelled mid-shipping and then upped the shipping price. Where else can I buy old CPM computers?

cj7hawk

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2022
Messages
1,301
Location
Perth, Western Australia.
I am feeling pretty down. Just got a reasonable price on an Osborne 1, newer model, clean, came with manuals and cables, and didn't quite have enough, so the seller discounted... I bought... Was looking forward to seeing it arrive, but as soon as it arrived at the GSP, they refused to ship it, stating they don't export computers...

Yeah, I got my money back, but clearly if I just wanted my money, I would not have bought it. I originally paid around US$130 to ship it too, and now I see similar items, and they show at shipping around $100, but any attempt to buy one jumps the shipping price up to around USD$300 to USD$400... :( So I suspect they are just cancelling orders while hiking the price. Well, there goes my primary source of finding old CP/M computers. :(

I can't afford to pay that much in just shipping for an old computer :( Especially when I'm also taking a big risk on whether an item works or not and without knowing condition, and to be fair, it pretty much doubles or triples the price of most old CP/M machines, though I imagine based on some bargains people get, it's more in the range of 20 to 30 times as much.

I know there's a buy and sell on this site, but it's not well used from what I can see. That makes sense - we're all collectors so we rarely part with things - we just keep collecting.

So what are the options? Are there other places to buy old CP/M computers at a reasonable price? Some online shop that specialises in them without calling every find that smokes on power up a "collectors item"? I live in the most remote city in the world, so there is little to no supply locally. What is recommended? I am outside the US, so need a place that is friendly to people overseas and will go through the extra effort to pack and ship. I don't mind paying reasonable pricing for shipping, but Ebay is just gouging... Or are Ebay the only real source for international second hand items now?

Any suggestions appreciated -

Thanks
David
 
I get that shipping to Australia doubles the price at times... About 15Kg or so ( weight of an Osborne 1, Packing, possibly manuals etc ) should typically cost between USD$100 and USD$150 for the cheaper options through EMS, DHL etc. Faster options are exhorbitant, but the slower methods are fairly reasonable based on online prices. It doesn't kill the deal unless the combined price gets me, which sometimes it does, though ebay often provides good quality Osborne 1's for aorund USD$200 or thereabouts, and it's wearable. I used to get a lot from ebay even before GSP, and the postage hurt, but then everything does ( except Amazon shipping, which is pretty amazing given it comes from the US... I dream that Amazon will one day challenge Ebay and Pitney Bownes - I can actually buy stuff cheaper from Amazon US for less than it costs to buy here many times... )

The other problem with going direct is that a lot of sellers don't like filling in international paperwork - customs declarations, etc. And I completely get this. Ebay takes care of all of that. I'm hoping that there are other sites internationally that do what Ebay do, but a quick search doesn't really find any competitors.

The Osborne 1 I got from Ebay was USD $275 in pristine condition, with peripheral leads, a RS170 video-out, and manuals, etc... Shipping was $115. So shipping doesn't always kill the deal, but it hurt that they now seem to want to charge USD$300+ for shipping. So they just cancelled the order and refunded mid-shipping when it got to the GSP :(
 
Yeah if the item is large or likely to be damaged, GSP won't even attempt to ship internationally. They will just refund your money and resell it. Which sucks if it's a rare item. Not really anything you can do, other than ask the seller if they would be willing to ship it directly without GSP.
 
It may be coincidental, but every time I lose a parcel, it's been a particularly good deal on ebay. I didn't know that others seem to have noticed the patterns also - certainly it's something I've noticed enough that if I get a really good price on anything, I start to worry it's not going to show up :( Thank you for bringing the greater issue to my attention. I was thinking something strange was going on, but it makes sense like this.

For them, it's just an advantageous commercial decision. :( For me, I lose the opportunities that are hard to come by.

Speaking of which, I assume Ebay really is the only place to find good buys for old machines now? :( Where's the US's antitrust heroes when you need them to break down the monopoly Ebay has?
 
The GSP is a boon for sellers, but a total nightmare for overseas buyers.

There is a time I got around it, I asked the seller to simply not ship it via the GSP, I paid the GSP shipping as usual specified on the auction, so the GSP got their $ without having to do anything.

I sent a separate paypal payment to the seller to take the item (like in the old days before the GSP existed) to the Post Office and air post it for me in the usual manner. So I paid I think, over twice the shipping.

The reason I did this is that the GSP uses multiple cheapest carriers and additional shipping steps. I once had an item that went to about 5 countries in a zig-zag pattern around the globe, came close and went away again.

Every stage in the shipping is like throwing the item down a flight of stairs.

The risks with shipping standard USPS is very very low.

But now, many ebay sellers are forced into the GSP for overseas shipping, so it is not their fault either, so don't blame the sellers.

The GSP actuaries have learnt that there are certain items that are "risky to ship" from an analysis of the claims made. They can cancel your transaction at a moments notice. But the refund is of little help, when you have your heart set on a vintage item and have spent months to track it down.

If you want the item shipped to you safely, via USPS, from the USA to another country, be prepared to pay the GSP (or the seller cannot sell you the item), not use it, end up paying at least twice the shipping, and hope you have a helpful seller who will take the item to the post office for you.

I know this is "insane", and not cost effective, but it can work.

It might be the only way somebody in Australia can now buy a vintage computer on ebay from America and be fairly certain to receive it in reasonable order.

A seller, will more likely agree if you leave them unconditional + feedback and and you assume all shipping risks yourself, promising never to make any claims of any sort, and pay them an additional fee to take it to the post office for you.

Luckily I bought most of my vintage computers from the USA before the GSP came into full force and they were sent by the sellers via USPS.
 
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I recently got a quote for $1600 for shipping a small Osborne 1 parcel to Australia via Ebay...

What is going on with the postal systems internationally lately?

It's like the US Government is hell-bent on making sure China has the most powerful economy in the world because they are the only country in the world with reasonable shipping prices. :confused:

Unfortunately, AliExpress don't sell Osborne 1 computers :(

I wish Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk would take on Ebay... That would be cool. Parcels delivered by rocket anywhere in the world in 3 hours... Some scorching on re-entry possible.
 
Use another third party shipping company, there are a whole bunch now. eBays GSP just went under major changes.... expect it to be much much worse..
 
I wish Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk would take on Ebay... That would be cool. Parcels delivered by rocket anywhere in the world in 3 hours... Some scorching on re-entry possible.
Not sure that would be much better... but I have been waiting years for someone, anyone with the stones to take them on. They have over stayed thier welcome and with free enterprise we should have alternative choices 25 years later.
 
Use another third party shipping company, there are a whole bunch now. eBays GSP just went under major changes.... expect it to be much much worse..

That might work if you live in the USA. The thing is though, you still have to pay the GSP shipping and accept the GSP terms and conditions, if you are an overseas buyer, or the transaction is not allowed. So it does mean, even if you have a cooperative seller and choose another service, you pay about double what it should be.

Much of the time now, if the seller is hooked in with the GSP, I avoid the transaction because of these problems, not always.

It makes it very easy for the seller just to send the item to the GSP shipping center and they can "forget about it after that" because that is as far as their shipping responsibility extends, they are losing business from overseas buyers because they have no idea how bad it is for those buyers and many are avoiding auctions that force them into the GSP system.
 
I have it in writing from Ebay to be allowed to ask the seller to cancel the GSP and ship outside of the GSP. Even going as far as having them cancel the sale, and then re-establish a new item with a ridiculous price and offers, then to make a very low offer and have them get paid that way, with whatever shipping requirements I have - and this is certainly permitted and fits within Ebay's rules ( as I said, they provided me this in writing when I had a recent issue).

The problem is that it is really inconvenient to the seller, might cost them any discounts they had on the original listing (eg, their 80% off fees offer to sellers) and the seller has to be aware of this, and likewise support the transaction.

Ebay also don't have any issues with conducting a trade including payment outside of Ebay, as long as you pay them the transaction fee, which they then consider "An Introduction Fee" for introducing the buyer and seller - this fee is something they apply if you do this and don't tell them and they find out. It's all in their T&Cs.

However this removes many of the protections around a transaction for both the buyer and seller, so it's not something you can do unless you trust a seller and as you say, sellers don't realize how much this limits the ability for the market to buy their product and ultimately results in a very much reduced price for the seller.

It's a bad situation for both buyer and seller. Only Ebay wins.
 
That might work if you live in the USA. The thing is though, you still have to pay the GSP shipping and accept the GSP terms and conditions, if you are an overseas buyer, or the transaction is not allowed. So it does mean, even if you have a cooperative seller and choose another service, you pay about double what it should be.

Much of the time now, if the seller is hooked in with the GSP, I avoid the transaction because of these problems, not always.

It makes it very easy for the seller just to send the item to the GSP shipping center and they can "forget about it after that" because that is as far as their shipping responsibility extends, they are losing business from overseas buyers because they have no idea how bad it is for those buyers and many are avoiding auctions that force them into the GSP system.
i have plenty of buyers from japan buy from reshippers(the reshippers seem to have the ebay acount and you tell them what you want them pay them to ship it to your country). Those typically need to get shipped to California. There is also a reshipper I have sent to in Florida.. As i said there are many now. And im not talking about ones Americans would use but to the contrary.
 
How dirty is Ebay's GSP? Now they automatically delist any product that they cannot gouge....

I was watching and one seller still had reasonable prices for both O1s and GSP was only around US$130, so he's been getting good bids and all from International buyers who noticed. I was hopeful to get an item then suddenly his listings.

Then suddenly he's not available through GSP any longer, so I asked him... His reply...

New message from: (seller name suppressed)
I hit relist, changed the pictures, description and price, and hit send.
I just spent 10 minutes trying to change the listing. The system is not reacting the way the video shows.
I'm sorry, I don't know what to say.
I have had a couple of other requests like yours. I have referred them to the Ebay's global distribution program. They charge me for the freight to their center in Kentucky and work out all other details with the buyer. I noticed one of them had a winning bid.
I hope this info helps.

So if something happens and Ebay can't gouge, now they automatically delist from GSP...

Ebay seriously needs an anti-trust investigation... :(
 
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