eCommerce arbitrage

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No one calls it e-commerce anymore because it is just commerce.  These things are popping-up.

Amazon started it with their marketplace.  They’ve changed, because now they are in the warehouse business, but they were always a marketplace in a slightly obscured way.

Electronics items are the products I am most familiar with.  (EDIT:  It doesn’t matter.)  Sometimes you see particular items and they are available several places.  Sometimes the seller (e.g., Green PC) tries to sell them themselves.  Very often they will sell on eBay too.  You can’t blame someone for wanting to copy eBay but that is hard…*  There are all kinds of creative attempts and efforts.

Wayfair seems to do nothing but act as a hub.  Try it sometime–take one of their items and see if you can find it elsewhere.  You will enter the land of the copycats.

Tanga apparently started with an expertise in, and garage full of, board games.

Selling used, refurbished, or NEW computers…  I have several large spaces full of them.  You could maybe spend a day refurbishing a Windows 7 computer and it might be worth $50.  Of course there are lots of variations and upgrades.  Suffice it to say that there really isn’t any money in reselling or wholeselling either.  Add in shipping, packaging, eBay fees, etc. too.

It is interesting because you really have to cross your t’s and dot your i’s, first of all from an ad, picture, and description perspective.  Then, any number of SNAFUs can turn the sale from a low-margin win to a loss.  Your business is now doing what it does and losing money.  And then there is that giant, every-present bugaboo of consumer expectation; technical example here, but if you say display port, what exactly does that mean?  Finally, there are credit cards.

Credit cards are huge.  They’ve built the category by saying trust us.  Recently I made a purchase similar to this without a credit card and it is very different.  I did it for the story!  ($100)

Ebay has revolutionized this process.  Revolutionized is a cliche’ and a bad word (okay, Castro); they have changed it.  Expectations, followers, match the competition…  Basically, if it is not as described it very likely could be free.  Same goes for shipping, payment, etc. too.

How far, really, do you push?  Or, to be really nasty, when does it become free?  At what point does it cost more in shipping, service, refunds, and associated costs?

This one, a desktop computer, was $80.  It was a good deal.  I bought it for my household.

Tanga–I really don’t know anything about them; I find their ‘we’re so great and growing’ mantra off-putting–has taken this a step further.  Their business model appears to be ‘we’re so great at finding bargains we’re going to build a large business out of it.’

So, back to the transaction.

* There are many, many reasons.  The one I was really thinking about here is they have support staff and sometimes they are really good and will step in.

Yikes.  Doesn’t matter, I’m protected.  I wonder what an actual email address is for Tanga?  Google knows better.  I was not looking to call.  I am covered in writing and without it.  But this isn’t a good look.  You’re going to get blasted on the internet and that is enough.  There’s a bit of a trend toward no phones but it isn’t going to work for a legit business.  Trying to hide is really bad.  (The complete opposite, the owner/ceo’s name and email would be much better.  Really want to position yourself?  Much better.)


Sorry, just in the mood.  This sent today to Tanga.


I don’t know what I am going to do here, but I feel I am going to wind up with a refund.  The computer, after a few days of use, is starting to make considerable noise.  Moving it or tapping gently helps.  Also, the cabinet is severely scratched (unlike images and “grade”).  Also, the thing with processing, creating shipping label, delaying–until my inquiry–and changing the delivery date (Tanga website) was just bad.  A reply to my concern took 2 1/2 days.

I called Green PC (sorry, not their name).  The purchase comes with a year warranty.  I was just curious about the whole thing.  And I was honest with them too–I told them the computer I received actually has a pretty significant upgrade.  That was a bad experience too–the person I spoke with lied to me about the DisplayPort (that is a poorly promoted/misleading feature too) and connected me with an unanswered-by service department.

Now I notice more Targa fine print–an item “damaged in shipping,” restocking fees, buyer pays shipping, and nowhere did I see detail on not working properly, not as described, poor service, etc.  It doesn’t matter, I’m protected by my credit card.