Sometimes we intend to do ourselves a favor and be frugal. Looking for a good deal seems to be common nature that is instilled into the mind of man.
Recently I was in need of a variable frequency drive for one of our test benches. I normally use Hitachi VFD’s, I am familiar with them and they just work like they should. This time however I thought I would try a Chinese version from Ebay. I considered the risk, and since the item was located within the United States, I thought that would somehow abate the risk of a costly return to China, in the event it failed within the warranty period. The drive was actually shipped to me from Kentucky, my neighboring state. So with all this considered, I felt I had made a good decision. I felt further acknowledgement of my good decision, when it was put into use. Now for the bad…at 61 days in, it let go of all its capacitor internals, with a loud pop and and some pretty flames! I selected a drive with double the capacity of the required use, and it still went POP!

I contacted the seller, and they wanted me to see what fried, then they would send parts for the repair. Well the listing stated the item would be replaced, so I bucked on that. I requested a return, and was told to send it back to China. It is now under a Paypal dispute.

What have I learned, well if it sounds too good to be true, it generally is, and I should have known better. Secondly, just because the listing states the item is located in the good ‘ol USA, returns may still be an issue. Third, if you use Paypal don’t use Paypal credit or your Paypal balance for these potentially risky purchases. Use a debit or credit card, then you may have some leverage with the cardholder, in the event you get ripped off. I am praying for a good resolution to all this.

UPDATE, well here it is a few weeks later, still no joy in this situation. What I have learned so far…

Paypal, must be limited in their dealings with a Chinese supplier, apparently no leverage. This seemed to a strike a nerve with the Paypal rep whom I spoke to, who was quite rude as well. Ebay seems sympathetic but does nothing. The vendor who sold the item is a liar and tells you one thing then wants me to perform all kinds of checks and “re-weld” the solder connections that have melted. GOOD WARRANTY and guarantee there isn’t it, for an item with a 1 year warranty that fails in 60 days. Although the item is listed as located within the United States, Los Angeles to be exact and shipped from a location nearest the customer. If you need to return it, or need service, it MUST be returned to China, even though the listing violates Ebay’s item location policy.

If you are like me, you start smelling something a bit foul. In conclusion, buy american when at all possible, and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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