HP-32Sii purchased from Ebay not working


I know, I know, caveat emptor. I just assumed that if one is going to list a calculator, it would be pretty obvious to state that it doesn't work, if in fact it doesn't work! The box that I received the calculator in was in good shape and I don't hear any lose parts rattling around inside the calculator. That being said, I tried powering it up with good batteries, tried pressing "C" and "LN" to reset, tried pressing "C" and square root and e to the x to clear memory, tried shorting the terminals to drain the caps... All with no luck in powering it up. Any suggestions? I emailed the seller yesterday and haven't yet got a response. What is the best way to go about getting this resolved? Any suggestions from experienced Ebay folks would be appreciated.

Best regards,


Did you pay with PayPal? I don't know if it matters, or not. The eBay Standard Purchase Protection Program went inactive in January, and has been replaced with PayPal "protection" (didn't work for me). See item "c" below:

13.11 Significantly Not As Described. To the extent that we provide reimbursement for losses for items that are Significantly Not as Described when received by the buyer ... Here are some of the reasons that an item may be considered Significantly Not as Described:

(c)The item is unusable and was not disclosed as such. For example, if there are missing major parts or components, will not function or turn on or is spoiled or past a relevant date. This applies to the item in its received state, no matter what the condition when it was shipped.

Here's the page: PayPal


Did you have it pay for it or have it delivered through USPS? If so there may also be some protection that way.

Make sure that you keep copies of everything that you send. Also if you don't recieve a response in a week or so send a letter with tracking through the USPS.

Settle down and expect this to be a long haul. I had something similar happen and it took nearly four months to sort out.

Good luck,



Did the seller state that it was working, or show an active display? Maybe a link to the auction would help determine if you have any recourse.


IMO, unless the seller stated that it was in "working condition" or showed a picture where the display was on and working, you probably have no recourse.

Saying that something is "in good condition" does not imply anything about whether it works or not, unfortunately.

If you buy something on ebay and the seller does not specifically say "this works! See the picture?" then you're taking your chances, as Steve says.

Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes not.

Now, whether paypal will help you is hard to tell. Sellers have had their money taken from them by paypal when a bidder claims to have received a brick instead of the advertised good. Since the seller cannot prove what the buyer actually received, sellers can often be at a loss, since you cannot prove a negative. No matter what pictures you have, documentation you have, you cannot prove before the box was sealed that you did not put a brick into it rather than that never opened red-dot HP 35.

Search the web and you find many people who have been ripped off by buyers this way. Sure, it may not have happened to anyone here. Doesn't mean it hasn't happened to more people than you might think.

Primary reason I don't take paypal. Avoid the risk, even if it means lower sale prices. Oh well.

Good luck!


Well if you describe something as a 'calculator' it should calculate something, otherwise it is not as described - if it doesn't work it is really a collection of plastic and metal in the shape of a calculator and should be sold as "spares or repairs". Need to see the ebay listing to see the details.

Best of luck with resolving the issue.

In the UK if you sell a 'car' it must do things a car is expected to do unless you expressly say it will not.


Hello all,
Thanks for all of the good suggestions. Gene is correct and I should have been more careful. Unfortunately, the seller never explicitly stated that the calculator works. I have yet to hear from the seller, so I think my only recourse is through PayPal. Yikes! I did try the other suggestions regarding the contrast and jump starting the calculator - with no luck. I have a very nice looking electronic brick.

Thanks again,


Sorry about that. I have bought things before that didn't say one way or the other whether they worked ... just took my chances. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't.



13.11 Here are some of the reasons that an item may be considered Significantly Not as Described:

(c)The item is unusable and was not disclosed as such.


I've purchased a few 32Sii's like this but have worked after squeezing the front and back halves together, just below the screen. The pressure required varied on each but in my cases it seems the contacts to the display had lightly disconnected. My 'permanent' fix was to split the cases and add some filler to hold the connection tighter. Still working today, as always though your mileage may vary.


On some 32sii models, the contrast is dynamic enough to make the calculator appear OFF when at the lowest setting. Don't forget to press the [ON] key and [+] several times to be sure it is not a contrast issue.

You could also measure the current while you believe the unit is working. The current spikes on key-press will indicate that the CPU and keys are working (at least marginally). The easiest way to to this in situ is to put Copper Tape on
both sides of a small piece of index card. Isolate the two sides of tape, Then connect/solder the tape ends to your two
ammeter leads. Stick the small card-stock or business card anywhere in the battery train to break the circuit with the ammeter lines. You should get around 100 uA in standby and around 2.5 mA during Key Press.

Edited: 12 June 2007, 7:15 p.m.


Mine was also not working on arrival, after pressing resets etc. and removing the batteries for some time my only solution was to insert them in reverse (only for a second) - and voila, it is still working till today. I know this is risky and I wouldn't recommend it, but if you have tried everything and you think you have a brick already, what do you loose? (Mine was sold as "in working condition", so something happened to it during sending, and it was not insured...)


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