Friday, January 25, 2008

Quote of the Day: C.S. Lewis

The Christian does not think that God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.

C.S. Lewis

Monday, January 21, 2008

Intro to China and South Korea Trip

Lord willing, I will be traveling to China in February 2008 with a group called Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program ( The program is over two years, beginning in 2006, and will end after the international trip. The purpose of the trip is to learn about agricultural trade opportunities in China and South Korea while networking and learning about agricultural technologies and practices in other countries. It is my intention to blog from China when computers and network connections are available as my own personal journal of the trip, and for family and friends who are interested in checking up on me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

phones and eBay part 2

Okay, I didn't get ripped off this time on eBay. Yesterday I received a phone from the seller that didn't appear to be fake, and the screen didn't fall out. Either way, I will try to avoid similar circumstances in the future.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ebay and "Hostage Feedback"

Well, it looks like I got ripped off on eBay last month. I foolishly ordered a motorolla V3 RAZR cell phone from some people selling knock-offs. I should have known it was a fake. Either way, against my best judgment, I sent the $85. Here are the signs that should have caused me to look elsewhere:
  • They had a high positive feedback rating due to hostage feedback (I will explain that later)
  • They don't accept paypal, but process credit cards through another system
  • They sell a high quantity of these phones in many colors
  • The phone comes in bubble wrap without standard accessories
  • They didn't advertise the phone as being a "Motorolla" phone.
  • The non-refundable shipping was $20 when it should have been less than $10
  • There is a 15% restocking fee for all refunds
  • some of the feedback comments were suggestive of a less-than-honest seller
When I received the phone, I opened it and the screen fell out. I sent a nasty email to them and then sent the phone back for an exchange (I will lose $25 up front if I ask for a refund according to their policy). Now they won't reply to my emails for the status (two weeks later). Anyway, I say I made a foolish decision because I knew all of that before I placed the bid, but I took the gamble anyway. My tips for buying a cell phone on ebay are to buy a used one from an individual (not a store) that is branded with your carrier's logo. Try to find someone who upgraded phones and just needs to get rid of an older, slightly used one. It is best if you find out the minutes on the life timer, but y0u usually will have to email the seller to get that info.

Hostage feedback is when a seller refuses to leave the buyer positive feedback until after the buyer has left positive feedback first. This is against ebay policy, but most sellers practice it anyway, many even disclose their policy in the auction listing. It is unethical and is artificially inflates a seller's positive feedback. If a buyer leaves a negative, the seller will reciprocate by leaving a negative to the buyer, and then offer to mutually withdraw. This is unfair to the buyer, who has paid for the item and doesn't deserve the negative. After all, what more can a person do to be a good buyer besides pay? You can check the seller's feedback before buying and if they have left other buyers feedback on the same day or later as the buyer left them feedback, you know they practice hostage feedback.