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"Free" Lego Instruction CD's On Ebay: What's The Catch?

FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
edited March 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
There is a seller on Ebay who has been listing instructions on cd for many different sets with a $.99 BIN price and free shipping. It seems to me he would be losing money on every item he sells between the cost of the cd and shipping. Something just doesn't seem right. Anyone else noticed?

Comments

  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,258
    Regardless of whether it's a scam or not, there's no need for this service anyway - instructions are available free online for current and most older sets with just a couple of mouse clicks.
  • FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
    ^Right, I had the same thoughts, but I imagine not everyone is aware of that. It would appear that way since he is selling a lot of them.
  • The_Brick_BuilderThe_Brick_Builder Member Posts: 658
    edited March 2012
    The seller might be able to put a CD in a $0.44 stamp envelope. After eBay and PayPal charges, he would make about $0.50 plus the good feedback score. Maybe the CD quality is very cheap so he can buy them in bulk. Just my thoughts :P
  • FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
    edited March 2012
    ^ Don't forget the listing fee for BIN. Who knows, maybe this seller is just helping people out and is merely breaking even and getting his kicks at the same time.
  • FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
    To be more precise, here is his listing description:

    "All Lego Instructions are in pdf format (not actual paper instructions) and are all FREE! Free as in FREE! Yes, you pay nothing! Just make an offer, above .01 cent, and we'll get them to you. Get as many as you want.


    Please see our other complete Lego Instructions in the store.


    Every bidder wins! Please do not pay, we will invoice you.

    We will contact you regarding delivery for the PDF version of the instructions for the Lego set. We mail them in USA only. "

    So they actually aren't even getting paid.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    spyware?
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    edited March 2012
    ^^ Now that rings a bell. I think a member here said they were listing instructions for $0.01 on eBay, to stop people paying the scalpers, and they sent them a link to LEGO and said not to worry about the cent. I can't find the post now though, it might have been in one of the dropshipping threads...
  • JenniJenni JapanMember Posts: 1,382
    I haven't been on eBay for a while but I saw one that explained at length that it was a statistics project of some sort. He was doing it for his 10 favorite sets and using how many of each were bought as his results. Sounded odd and if it's still going on without that explanation I'd think spyware too.
  • FatMattFatMatt USMember Posts: 502
    ^ I am frequently on ebay, and have noticed these listings at least for a few weeks, mostly all for larger or more sought after sets, and definitely more than 10 different.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,909
    I haven't been on eBay for a while but I saw one that explained at length that it was a statistics project of some sort. He was doing it for his 10 favorite sets and using how many of each were bought as his results. Sounded odd and if it's still going on without that explanation I'd think spyware too.
    That is exactly what I saw. I think this specific eBay seller was selling instructions for a school statistics project.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,767
    @Matthew i think it is the ebay fraud section but it sounds like the same guy. I dont think this is a scam or spyware. From what i remember from the post he is trying to put those who sell them for money out of buisness
  • parkerwilsonparkerwilson Member Posts: 142
    Yes I remember a member here stating he was doing some kind of statistics and trying to keep people from getting burned by people trying to make money on PDF instructions
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    ^ I remember that also.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,349
    I saw this as well, not sure what his angle is here.
    If he is really a 'good samaritan' or if he is up to something. Unless he is trying to build up his dashboard numbers for something like a powerseller status by listing a bunch of auctions for people to 'win' but then again Im pretty sure you have to sell 'x' dollars worth of stuff for that...

    Because if you notice his latest auctions do not have the school 'reason'.
  • phantom78phantom78 Member Posts: 23
    pump up his feedback score, list a heap of high end sets in the one week, take the money and run???
  • NeopterygiiNeopterygii Member Posts: 12
    I asked him, this is his response:

    Hi,

    good question. Mainly to stop other from actually charging people here on ebay for them. It does not really cost me anything since I have a store. WE accept no monies for them and refund whenever someone does pay us. A lot of folks do not know they are out there for free. Thanks, Jason
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,349
    pump up his feedback score, list a heap of high end sets in the one week, take the money and run???
    He is not selling any high end items, only the free instructions

    The seller, if he is being honest, raises a good point.
    I saw a user getting 90 dollars for PRINTED, not original, Cafe Corner books.
  • jadeirenejadeirene US, CaliforniaMember Posts: 475
    I wonder why he doesn't just make one listing with the link to the instructions, or is that against Ebay policy? If he isn't trying to pad his feedback score, then isn't he losing money by having to pay listing fees for every listing?
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002
    Yep. eBay won't let you place any links in your listing that lead to anything outside of eBay. The policy is in place because they don't want people using eBay's traffic to draw people to a real store, but it would also prohibit linking directly to the instructions.
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