The wonderful world of eBay bidding

Since branching off into Microsoft Windows Phone 7 app development, I needed to purchase a handset device for testing purposes. The supplied software emulator works fine, but you always need to test on a handset before app deployment (especially if you’re using hardware-specific features such as GPS).

Buying a WP7 handset off-contract is pretty pricey, costing around $600 or more. Normally I’d buy a handset to be used as my personal cell phone, but since Sprint doesn’t carry any WP7 phones that isn’t an option for me. So my only really option at the moment is to buy a used WP7 handset off eBay at a reduced rate. So I began searching the eBay listings for WP7 phones and was surprised to find most of them going for over $320 US (which I guess isn’t too bad if new ones cost $600 US). Because I plan to use the handset only for testing purposes (no cell activation) I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible.

So as I watched what was available and began bidding on items, I’ve learned a few basic lessons:

  1. When bidding on an item, make sure you read the entire description of the product. You can’t assume that it will come with accessories unless it is written in the description. For example, I noticed that one phone did not come with a battery charger so that would have been an added expense.
  2. Don’t bid too early on an item. If you do so, you could drive the price up with a “bidding frenzy”.
  3. Wait until the very last few seconds to make your bid. I lost a bid on an item by someone who waited until the last 10 seconds before the auction ended to make his final bid. I learned from this lesson on my next bid attempt, waiting until the last few seconds before pressing the “bid” button.
  4. After you “win” an auction, you’ll need to pay using a PayPal account. So make sure you have one already established with a valid credit card already verified by PayPal. Otherwise, your purchase can be delayed which will results in you getting your “prize” later than you expected.
  5. Also, some buyers expect payment immediately after the auction is over, so be prepared ahead of time.

I was able to “win” a HTC 7 Pro WP7 handset for a price of around $200 US so that should suffice for my testing needs. Now I just have to wait for the seller to ship off my won product and hope that it works as advertised.

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