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Buying through the Internet

By Mario Covalski  

Perhaps, one of the most exciting moments of every modeling project, is the purchasing time. Searching for the kit the modeler is eager to get, sometimes discontinued, he turns into an actual hunter, developing a special and good instinct to find that item he’s looking for and at low price. Some modelers, either owing to lack of time or any other reason, don’t go beyond this stage which turns into a hobby in itself.

Undoubtedly, the Internet is an extraordinary resource for these hunters, who were before limited to purchase at the few local stores…or to a short list of mail order business companies.

I started purchasing to foreign sellers 25 years ago, just what I could not get at local shops. First, ordering by phone call or fax and, in after years, through Internet.

But Internet, has given modelers even further possibilities, like buying and selling among us, through the auction sites.

Purchasing a kit should be stress free, I mean the beginning of fun, so there are some advices I wish to give newcomers to buying through this way.

Basically, purchasing is to get all you want, I can’t imagine anybody buying a model just cause “it’s being offered really cheap”, in fact, the modeler has the rare ability of “needing” the most expensive subjects of his/her speciality. So, here’s my first advice: buy at local stores, since if you consider the shipping cost, the tax fee you’ll have to pay at most of the customs around the world, etc, etc. it will not be worth.

Nevertheless, buying within the Internet is nearly always cheaper, in spite of all the involved expenses, and most of the times you will have a wide offer of kits

If you’re looking for a discontinued item or even for a used kit to be restored or rebuilt, such the case of the RC, then, auction sites would be ideal.

At the time of buying at auction sites, it’s indispensable to know some rules which will let you operate there, but there are several things to consider:

1) Ask the seller everything you need to know, don’t rely on some bad pictures that are sometimes published. If the responses are not friendly or the information required is scarce or poor, stop and try another way, it’s probable that this “business” will not end successfully for you. If you don’t receive a kind answer before paying, imagine the worst.

2) DISTRUST of bargains, there’s something fishy going on them, they might be a fraud, there are irresponsible sellers and, if something goes wrong, nobody will take charge of the problem.

3) Remember that the “SELLER” is the owner of the parcel ordered and coming by post, and is he, the only responsible for it, until it reaches your hands. So, from my own experience, my advice is to ask the seller if he would refund the money, in case the thing got damaged or didn’t arrive.

Trustworthy companies, such as HobbyLink Japan ( www.hlj.com ) , etc do the same all the time.

4) Check the seller’s feedback and, though you find just one negative, try to verify what has happened, YOU might be the next.

If you have doubts consult other experienced people in buying through auction sites or to other modelers.

5) If you have to face a reasonable doubt, look for a recognized Internet mail order company to purchase the items you want; Modeler Site’s supporter HLJ.com is reliable and will give you all necessary guarantees, however, there are many others that will do the same of course, consult among your friends.

6) Purchase at auction sites just what you can’t get from either trustworthy local stores or through Internet.

As I said at the beginning, I’ve been buying kits to foreign sellers for over 25 years and I had never lost one…until last January.

You see, I infringed my own rules purchasing cheap, I didn’t receive the kit and the seller refused to make me the refund.

There are certain countries around the world that don’t seem reliable to get things from; So, don’t get excited when finding incredible cheap subjects, unless you chose a recognized shop or one supported by the modelling community… BEWARE!! the kit you wish, might cost you twice in the end.

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