Schools buying from Ebay
I'm getting increasing amount of schools looking to source hardware/parts from eBay - mostly for cost saving reasons and especially parts for older hardware. Laptop power supplies are the most numerous, although some places like notebookrepairs.co.uk (who appear to be quite useful) are charging upwards of 35 quid for a replacement, you can get the same from Ebay business sellers for around 15 quid.
Now, it's not ideal - having to sort out an ebay account, paypal account, and then being able to reclaim things like VAT if applicable, and obviously not being able to invoice for goods which is a big thing for schools. In just about all cases, the head teacher or someone otherwise responsible for purchasing often ends up using their own accounts to source these parts.
If that's "right" or not, I don't know, however I fully understand the budgetry constraints of these institutions and would love to be able to suggest trustable sources. Ebay's feedback is good but the recent (last 12 months) changes render it just about useless as it doesn't provide feedback about the full transaction. Ebay feedback is nothing more than how quick payment was received, which isn't entirely important.
So, point being, maybe its worth mentioning in here the seller IDs of anyone you've had a good (or possibly bad?) experience with on Ebay for useful educational items and harder to source spares. If we can get a good few names together, it could be a good little resource and saves looking at hundreds of identical parts from hundreds of different sellers, all with feedback in the high multi-thousands and no idea who's in China, who's just a conartist or who's ruddy good.
Obviously I'd never suggest getting consumables for anything from Ebay (batteries, backup media etc) but it could save folks a lot of money.
Laptop chargers, screens and keyboards will be very popular for obvious reasons, heatsink assemblies for owners of Fujitsu Lifebooks (e8010 and 8020 owners will know what I'm on about) - and anything else.
I would becareful - just because the laptop power supplies are cheap, I wouldn't want them being shipped from Hong Kong or somewhere similar. In this life, you get what you pay for quite often.
Very true, and that's always the first thing I put to these people when they're shopping for bits. There are lots of IT recycling folks on ebay however who sell the real things rather than the cheap knockoffs (but let's not mock the Chinese too much, their Apple phone clones are better than the real things!)
And of course, when its something that gets as toasty as a power supply it's best to remain safe. However there are some third party products that are very good indeed - Delta and Liteon both make supplies for manufacturers and also as 3rd party products.
Our departments were given credit cards last year and they are great, we buy loads of kit from ebay, no problem with vat finance just reclaim it via the LEA or the LEA reclaims it for them. Once a month we tally the credit cards and submit invoices for each purchase. It has made our life much easier.