Modelling is a divided camp of people Collectors Investors and Resellers vs Enthusiasts and Gifters
MINT or NEW
This is a serious subject for some collectors who expect a complete and high grade service from their suppliers. They will ideally only purchase completely MINT examples of stock with original outer cards and packaging. Specialist sellers who provide a completely rounded service for these buyers and charge accordingly in line with the time effort and packaging costs. People who buy Gifts for others probably always fall into this section however gifters wont always realise that in most cases discounted goods means Non New Shelfworn Stock.
As always its important to remember that “You only get what you pay for” and in many cases sellers who think they can cater for this section fall short in service and descriptions of New Items. Always question a cheap price on an expensive item and pass on it if you have any doubts unless a lot of description and photographs in high detail are provided. If any purchase sacrifices on condition are made then the purchase falls into the other section. Buyers in most cases when spending large amounts of money may well best be served by the Specialist Sellers or a Model Shop in the high street and shopping malls where a preinspection can take place with an ‘on the spot rejection’ option. Always Remember the Packaging condition on your model can affect the resale value. Stock Photos wont provide a guarantee of newness.
If buying from abroad or large wholesale operations the NEW quality will vary on their batched stock. On certain models factory flaws may be present and unavoidable. Be sure you know your seller and who pays for return postage of flawed items which were sold as new. Postage abroad is so expensive many buyers end up keeping a flawed model rather than returning it where more time taken investigating and asking questions would have resulted in a slightly more expensive purchase but a better final result.
Ask a seller whether they check their stocks and perform quality control If they dont then try another seller that does. It seems ridiculous to ship an item from China to Europe unchecked to a business and then the seller lean on transit damage from Europe to Uk when its clear the damage isnt related to transit but poor manufacture or worse a cheap batch of seconds being described as new.
Again Ask who pays for returns get it in writing an email will do and find out whether the language will be a barrier to service.
New isnt new on most retail and web systems, model may be mint condition and packaging flawed always look into the fine detail OPENED SEALED or SCUFFED BRUISED.
USED and FLAWED
Enthusiasts will accept varying grades of models from new and mint down to broken and incomplete items. Most buyers will fall into this section having a more easy going view and willing to accept imperfections. Sellers are much easier to identify and cost savings and budgets can be met and satisfied. Gifters in most cases will have to accept imperfect condition models unless they are prepared to pay towards full list price or more for various rare models. The best advice here is to ask questions and see the pictures of the item best view at all angles including the underside for manufacturers markings and codes. If answers arent honest or seller seems restrictive in replies then this is a red flag something could be wrong or hard to spot faults are being overlooked.
Flaws range from colour bleaching to paintwork heavy chipping, broken hinges, broken or missing parts. Common items mostly stick out on a model and these get clipped and knocked off. Common pitfalls such as a photo at such an angle unless your a highly experienced buyer you wouldnt notice, then leaving an omission on the description. If a missing wiper or mirror which would be spotted immediately by a buyer then always write to seller and ask them for a list of missing or broken parts. Ask the seller about the action of doors and bonnet are hinges firm or loose is there any wobble?
Packaging can vary enormously from a bagged polyeurathane bag meant for documents to hardened or teated cardboard boxes. The internal packaging could be paper shreds or plastic beads and bubblewrap in various grades. Transit damage can happen and there is no foolproof method for protecting an item from crushing by machine or weight of parcels in a cage from overloading. If you have any doubts then again make enquiries with the seller most large or wholesale companies will have a good supply of boxes and packaging which are expensive to purchase.
When buying off (non business) private individuals the results can be profoundly good to hysterically bad. Always look at the realities of the item and the commitment level of the seller and always try to pay for service. Many of these sellers may be sentimentally attached to their items and will compete on price versus the larger model businesses. Unexpected results may occur and you should always anticipate the hassle factor in your calculation of item worth, including last minute cancellations, unreplied emails, delays in dispatch and excuses too poor to write about here.
These sellers wont have overheads or employees and may find it harder to accept the real value. Pictures and description may not be to a professional standard, providing the items are good value and you’ve touched base on the descriptions and packaging methods then fine bargains can be made.
Private sellers may not honour your rights under Sale of Goods legislation and you may not be able to pursue a course of action so easily.
Private sellers wont pay tax on sales in your jurisdiction.
Finally where a seller isnt legally bound to provide a quality of service you may suffer from abuse when things go wrong, in all cases report the message to ebay!