How Not to Buy a Knitting Machine On EBay

The Saga of the Not-So-Wonderful LK 150 Purchase.

A couple of years ago, I decided to buy a used LK 150 on eBay. I had a bad experience in the late ’90s (Seller didn’t pack correctly, the machine arrived broken, and the post office wouldn’t pay out the insurance, claiming the fault was the seller’s.) So for the next fifteen years I would not buy another one; not that I needed another, anyway; I swear they multiply like rabbits while stored in my closet 🙂

Over the years people have told me they bought a machine on eBay; sometimes the purchase went well, and sometimes it didn’t. As with my bad experience, one of the most common issues is poor packing. Also, missing parts happen more often than you would expect.

OK. I decided to try again, just to see what would happen. When I buy other things on eBay, I always check the seller’s rating, and how long they have been a member. Also whether they have sold something similar to this product. This is a pretty good indication that they know what they are doing, and care about their rating. But for this purchase, I decided to throw these rules out the window. Why? Because many of the people who have asked for help after buying a machine on eBay didn’t follow these rules. I wanted to have a similar experience, and see what happened.

I was trying to shop like an inexperienced buyer, so just looked for the best price. Only for the best price. It took a couple of weeks, but I found a great-sounding listing. I wrote to the seller, and asked if it had all the parts, and if it was in the original box, with the original packing. She wrote back, and said it was all there, and in the original box. ( Didn’t mention the original packing, though. But since she had the box, all the rest of if should be there, too, right?) Since that was probably all many buyers would ask, I went ahead and used the Buy It Now option. Hey, I sure couldn’t take a chance on someone else snatching it up, could I 😉

The lady didn’t have any feedback. That was a tip off that things were going to get interesting. I paid immediately. Next day she wrote back and said PayPal wouldn’t give her the money, and wanted me to pay her directly. So I checked, and the funds were already taken out of my bank account; I contacted her and let her know that it was probably because she was a new eBayer, with a brand new PayPal account, and that it might take a couple of days. The next day she answered and said even though she couldn’t access the funds yet, PayPal said it was OK to ship the machine, but she couldn’t do that until her daughter came next weekend and packed it up. She refused to put insurance on it, so I sent her another $50 to put on extra wrapping and padding, and add the insurance. So now this brings up the price; still less than a brand new machine, though, so we’re OK.

paper packingThe machine arrived several days later. How it survived the trip I’ll never know. It was in the original box, all right.

inside the boxThe bed was in the flimsy printed cover, wrapped in a layer of brown kraft paper on the outside. No styrofoam inner tray, no packing peanuts, just crumpled up paper (most of it old newspapers) filling up the spaces inside, with the plastic bed flat on the cardboard bottom. Hmmm. For an extra $50, that was pretty expensive newspaper!

accessory boxThe carriage and tools were in a separate beat-up and re-used cardboard box, split open on the corners, and held together with tape. However, the machine itself was intact. At this point a new knitter would usually be asking for advice on one of the lists, and be told to report her to eBay, or ask for a refund, yadda, yadda. But we aren’t going there; this was a test purchase.

Evidently the daughter didn’t know much about her mom’s machine. A needle pusher, and two transfer tools from a bulky knitter were enclosed, as was a P carriage from a metal bed ribber. One of the fold up claw weights has teeth broken off on both ends. And of course, the sponge strip was completely worn out.

accessories   carriage

So what is the moral of this story? Buyer beware! I would have been soooooooooo frustrated and angry if I had truly expected to receive a well packed, working machine. And if I had been a new knitter, I wouldn’t even have known to check the sponge strip. (We’ll talk about changing it in another post.)

You often find knitting machines for sale on eBay, obviously listed by children or grandchildren of the previous owner. Or someone who found a machine at an estate sale and is trying to sell it for a profit. They usually don’t know whether the machine is in working condition, or if all the parts are there. They also often don’t have any idea how to safely pack the machine for shipping. They just want that dang thing gone; and preferably for cash.

If you do find a great deal on eBay, be sure to check things out very carefully. There are some great purchases there, but also the potential for problems. And at the very least, expect to replace the sponge bar/strip. These just don’t last too long under the best conditions.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!
Irene