ebay

Can I really buy a Windows serial key from eBay?

Windows Serial Key Prompt

Episode 1613

Bruce from Carlsbad, California

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.

Is buying something online with eBay gift cards safe?

Episode 1561

Naomi from Denver, CO

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

What should I know before buying a used phone?

Smartphone and laptop

Episode 1557

Mark from Tampa, FL

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.

How can I unlock a used iPhone?

Episode 1556

Jake from Jacksonville, FL

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.

Can I sell an old computer?

Apple I

Episode 1501

Randy from Temecula, CA

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.

Is buying a laptop from eBay safe?

Laptop

Episode 1377

George from Maine

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.

Is buying a mobile phone on eBay a good idea?

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Episode 1363

Karen from Diamond Bar, CA

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.

Are old versions of software collectable?

Episode 1266

Steve from New Jersey

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.

Why is my used Android phone overheating?

Episode 1205

Stephanie from Venice, CA

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.