Bruce updated his old Dell Inspiron to Windows 7 after buying a DVD on eBay for it. But after a month or so it stops working. So he bought another one with Windows 10 and it worked fine. Leo says that Bruce got lucky, most of the time, those serial keys are being resold over and over and often doesn't work with Microsoft's authentication servers. And with Windows 10, the serial number is assigned to the computer, fingerprinting it. Also, you don't have to buy the media, you can just download it from Microsoft directly.
Naomi says they are wanting to buy something online and the seller wants "eBay gift cards." Leo says that's a common scam because gift cards aren't really traceable, and you can't stop payment on them once rendered. Credit cards, or an online payment service like PayPal, offer buyer protection.Check out the book - The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It . . . Every Time by Maria Konnikova
Mark bought a phone on eBay and wants to know if it will work with his carrier. Leo says that it may, but it depends on the radio frequencies it supports and whether or not the phone has been locked to the carrier or not. You can get the carrier unlock it, and they should do it as long as it is in good standing. He'll also need to make sure the phone isn't carrier locked.
Jake bought a new phone on eBay, but he can't activate it because it says he owes money to AT&T — but he's never used it with AT&T. Leo says it's probably the carrier that has flagged the IMEI of that phone and locked it out. Leo advises contacting eBay and getting his money back. He should give the seller a bad review as well. Of course, he could pay the bill. But who wants to do that? This is why you don't buy phones on eBay.
Joe is selling his mobile phone to a friend. How much should he sell it for? Rich says to check under eBay and see how much his model phone has sold for under "completed items." Then look on Gazelle and get a quote there. The right price is somewhere in the middle.
Randy has an old handheld computer and wants to know if he can sell it. Leo says that most old computers eventually become worthless as far as the market goes, but if it's a unique item, like one of the first computers sealed in a box, then it becomes kind of a museum piece. That could make it worth something. The original Apple 1, for instance, is worthless form a computing point of view, but from a nostalgic, historical point of view, it's worth about $300,000 right now.
Check eBay under the completed listings. That will tell him what he can get for it.
George bought a laptop from someone online and there's a problem with it, and he can't set it up. He bought it on eBay. Leo says it's likely that George doesn't have much recourse here. He simply can't trust that the laptop is safe.
Leo recommends immediately wiping the hard drive and reinstalling Windows. He can't even trust the recovery partition, either. Chances are, reinstalling from the recovery partition will be fine, but he'll never really know for sure. He should completely wipe the drive. eBay should protect him though, and Leo would advise returning it.
Karen has a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and she broke the screen. She bought an unlocked Note 4 from eBay to replace it, but it came in Korean. Leo says that's not unusual. Samsung is global and it sounds like she got one for the Korean market instead. That's why it's always best to buy the phone from the carrier. She'll get a better deal on eBay, but it may not come unlocked. Amazon is another good option.
Steve has been cleaning out an old storage unit and found a ton of old boxes of vintage software. Will they be worth anything? Leo says that probably not. It may be worth it to the computer history museum in Boston or the Smithsonian. But they may already have copies. Those were so common that all of that old software is probably more common than he'd think. On the other hand, a few minutes on eBay will tell him if it's worth anything.
Stephanie has a pair of Samsung Galaxy S3 phones she got from eBay. Leo says that the very first thing she'll want to do is wipe the phone. She should restore it back to its factory configuration. The bottom line is that she doesn't know what's on that phone since it's from a stranger. Also, if it's overheating, that means that there could be spyware on it that's constantly phoning home and overworking the chip. Remember, when buying something used, especially from eBay, you're inheriting someone else's problems. So always do a reset when you get it.