Beware EBay "Bargains"...

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A warning for those rummaging around on EBay looking for retro videogame bargains. I happened to see this up for sale:


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A rare limited edition Dreamcast console called the R7. Time for a little history lesson? You bet.

"This version of the console was previously used as a network console in pachinko parlors in Japan. "R7" stands for "Regulation #7" (2nd provision, 1st section, number seven in the Japanese Penal Code), which regulates businesses that are deemed to affect public morals.

Originally the Black R7 Dreamcasts were Ltd Edition Japanese Dreamcasts that were used as prizes in pachinko parlors in Japan, and were previously only avaliable through pachinko parlors. The R7 relates to the ruling in Japanese law (regulation 7) of no legal gambling! Hence they are rare to find even in Japan".

As a collector of hard to find Dreamcast consoles, I found this listing particularly interesting as it shows Belgium as the location of the item (usually, these machines don't pop up in Europe too often) and the price was extremely cheap (though the shipping cost was unusually high, which was my first clue something wasn't quite right here). I wonder how many others would have immediately gone racing for the "Buy it now" button, without bothering to notice that the seller is listed as a seller "since 28-Dec-03 in Japan".

Huh? But it gets worse. Wade through the listing and eventually you see this:

" Sega - Console Dreamcast japonaise Regulation 7 - NOIR

La boite comprend la console sega, 1 manette, et les cables.

Tr?s bon ?tat g?n?ral et complet.

Article collector.

Livraison EMS depuis le jais le japon : 55,00?"

That last part? EMS shipping from Japan. The item location is listed as Belgium, but the item itself is actually located in Japan. In all likelyhood, the seller lives in Belgium but is currently staying in Asia - I actually contacted the seller about this, and amazingly they were quite happy to admit that the item is NOT in Belgium but didn't bother to update any details.

Currently this individual is selling 72 items - how many people in Europe will buy these items not expecting horrendous amounts of Import Tax and handling fees added on to their purchases? I doubt the seller would take any responsibility for paying the fees - if the buyer refuses to pay up, they're then liable for the cost of shipping the item back to Japan.

I myself have bought many items from Japan via people who live elsewhere but ship the items over - in those cases, the listings are correct and you know you're going to pay import fees. This, however, seems faintly deceptive - especially as the seller has been alerted to this problem. I can't help but think they're going to start getting an awful lot of bad feedback about this...

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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on May 22, 2008 8:03 PM.

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