Is there any reason why used sells for more than new?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Ian Rance, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. I have been selling off some surplus items on ebay, however to my real surprise, the fairly well used items that I have sold went under the hammer for more than the cost of a new one with full warranty. The buyers are not fools - they are keen photographers, but I am left feeling rather dissapointed that they are not getting the best out of buying used gear.
    Used is supposed to save you at least 20% on new price, and hopefully a little more. Why then pay MORE than new? I cannot fathom it out.
    Have you seen this too?
  2. You're not mentioning what sort of equipment it is, or whether new versions of it are readily available. Some people have a few more dollars (or other currency) than they have weeks to wait for something.
  3. This is not unusual. It has been happening with selected products for years. Leica products are famous for this, but as a simpler current example, A Nikon SB-800 flash will sell at a premium over Nikon's original list price because it is very much in demand and Nikon no longer makes it. I remember not too long ago buying a brand new, highly regarded MF Prime lens from B&H (as an imported item) at 20% less that what the used market was asking, simply because the manufacturer didn't distribute them directly to the US market at that time.
    On the other hand, if you see people buying a still-available-new product at a premium over the maker's price, well... you do have to wonder. It can be simple naivete, impatience with a shortage of the new item in the distribution chain, lack of market knowledge, or the well-known auction frenzy behavior that existed long before the 'bay came along.
    Caveat Emptor.
  4. Generally speaking - and totally apart from scams and fraud - the market pretty well resolves its own problems. People who overpay out of ignorance will learn the hard way and become smarter shoppers.
    People who pay higher prices knowingly and willingly do so for valid reasons, usually simple supply and demand. The Nikon SB-800 is a very good example. Right now the used values seem inflated but the unit is in high demand because it was very good and filled a specific niche. If and when Nikon replaces it with a unit that fills the niche between the SB-600 and SB-900 the used values of the SB-800 will drop back to levels that some might consider more appropriate.
    For several years the market values of some film equipment have shown rather dramatic differences between items that are truly "like new" - including original packaging and documents - and those that are anything less than like new, including excellent with an infinite number of + marks. Some folks who are just now getting to the stage in life where they have adequate disposable income are willing to pay a premium for the toys they couldn't afford when those items were brand new.
    Some folks simply don't enjoy shopping in stores, or don't live anywhere near the usual discount stores. My grandparents grew up in an era and in a rural area where catalog shopping was the norm. When they got old enough that driving 30 minutes to the city and walking around malls wasn't enjoyable, they returned to catalog shopping and bought most of their non-essentials that way throughout the 1990s. My grandmother later become an avid TV shopper for the same reason. I thought she overpaid, but perhaps she was thinking not only in terms of how much it cost for gas and aggravation, but also in terms of the medical risks if she had an accident, or the aches and pains back at home after a day's shopping in town. Also, I think she secretly loved getting "surprise" packages in the mail or via UPS and FedEx every week or so.
  5. "There's a sucker born every minute" - usually (and incorrectly) attributed to P.T. Barnum
    That pretty much explains everything unless you are buying some sort of "classic" or "collectors" item (and new ones are no longer available).
  6. Interesting - thanks for the comments. What I was selling was some Nikkor AF primes and a couple of MF zooms - nothing special. I just noted that some of what I sold is available on ebay for less money and brand new. I know that given the chance I would have new over used any day - especially on current stock items.
  7. I recall a few years ago, watching idiots outbid each other for a used Sunpak 383 flash. They ended up paying about $6 more for a used unit, than B&H or Adorama sold them for new.
  8. I remember getting a "want" on for a bicycle part on ebay - had to have it. Got into a bidding war with some other eejit, and the price climbed to $180 - too rich for me, and the other guy got it. A few weeks later I saw the identical item - new - in the local bike shop for $99. I can imagine how it would have went if I'd actually won the auction. The dudes in the bike shop would be wondering why some random guy had started cursing and swearing in the middle of the shop. Anyway - valuable lesson learned without costing me anything. In the end, I didn't even buy the $99 thing in the shop, because I didn't really need it - I just saw it and wanted it.
    Impulse browsing on ebay = "Danger, Will Robinson!".
    I just discovered that will not let you post a comment containing more than one consecutive exclamation point...who knew?
  9. Could be, Ian, that your reputation is worth the extra $$ to some buyers.
  10. "one consecutive"? As a non-native speaker the possibilities of the english language continue to astonish me.
    But nevertheless, someone at pnet probably reads Pratchett: 'Multiple exclamation marks,' he went on, shaking his head, 'are a sure sign of a diseased mind.' (in "Eric")
    As on the topic: I can actually imagine products where I would well prefer to buy stuff that has worked over stuff that has to show yet it will work.
  11. In my experience with Nikon equipment, it usually sells used for more than new, when in top condition, if you wait several years after buying it. This is an interesting, unusual and probably unjustified phenomenon. It does not happen with other brands, except in the case of desirable discontinued equipment. It is the most convincing argument for getting Nikon cameras, the purchase of which is not really justified based on quality or results. It is a testament to the power of name brands and advertising.
  12. Steve, sometimes it's international sales where even inflated US prices + shipping and import duties are lower than what it'd cost locally.
    I have often paid such inflated prices for this reason (in Canada) though not necessarily for photo equipment. It's also more convenient; bid at home and wait for it to show up, no days of driving and hunting for local (difficult to find) items.
  13. Ian,
    I am not sure whether you are referring to existing and available equipment or equipment in short supply or discontinued.
    I bought a Plauble Makina 670 in the late 80s or early 90s when it was selling in NY for about 850$, used it intensively and happily for about 5 - 6 years, then sold it in less than mint conditon for its market value of $1500. It had then been discontinued for a number of years, but the demand for it was high.
    Sometimes a product is existing, in-production but in short supply and the price can be somewhat inflated as a result of the market condition. A recently discontinued model may have some features that its replacement doesn't have. More likely, as someone has said, the North American price is often a lot lower than the European prices (taxes, whatever) and it can go for a higher price. Also, as Les said, there are differences in prices between mass sellers (mail order) and other sources.
    I sold a mint Konica Hexar RF system to a gentleman in Czechoslovakia via Photo.Net three or four years ago, to finance a digital system. I had purchased the Konica at a slightly lower price in NY, but the market price had increased and the used camera price was still a bargain for the European buyer.
  14. A while ago I was watching eBay auctions for a Canon 70-300mm IS lens, which sold locally in Canada for $799.00 plus our 13 % tax, or around $903.00. Way more than I was interested in paying. Since there always seemed to be copies for auction, I watched for several months. They were available from B&H for around $575.00 I believe. I was really astonished to see many go for a whole lot more than their price. The biggest? Around $950.00! Still can't figure that out.

    I ended up winning an auction for the earlier 75-300mm IS for $405.00 from someone in Canada, and it included a Canon lens hood. So I got the earlier lens for less than half what I would have paid for a new one.
    (Don't have any idea why my first paragraph is in larger bold type!)
  15. Bruce, Canon's L optics command similar premiums on the used market. Very strange.
    The strangest thing of all is BROKEN equipment that sells for nearly what new, US-warranted equipment does. Even stranger still is the HOPELESSLY RUINED. I've seen a number of upper-end Canon gear -- later model 1-series cameras and L lenses -- up for auction that had been dropped in sea water. I've also seen a 1-series camera that had some beer spilt on it and then was used as an ashtray (i.e. ashes in the mirror box) for the remainder of the evening. All of these items brought maybe 80% of new value -- even the items soaked in salt water that were corroded to the point they probably couldn't be disassembled.
    If I ever hopelessly destroy a piece of higher-end camera gear, I know where I'm selling it!
  16. People get caught up in auctions. They hate to lose, so sometimes they they overpay - humans can be irrational.
  17. Robert hit a reason on the nose, emotional involvement. Sometimes people get emotionally attached to winning an auction and pay more the item would be new. The rare few times I've ever bid on anything that was available as new I have made darn certain I knew just how much the new cost and shipping would be and made darn sure I didn't pay a cent more then that would be. If I didn't I can guarantee it would have happened to me at least once or twice when I got my emotions involved.
    Of course it is much more dangerous for me since most of what I buy is used gear that hasn't been made new in a decade or more, so there is no option to buy new. If I want it, I am forced to pay at least as much as the 2nd most demanding person is willing to pay.
  18. I see this all the time on eBay, which is the reason I only now occasionally buy on eBay. I bought a couple of books this morning on Amazon. On eBay, these books were selling for more than Amazon had it.
    My view is that many people are idiots and will buy from these eBay sellers.

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