Let's talk calculator condition


Let's talk about what is excellent, good, poor, etc.

I recently purchased an HP-41CV that was supposed to be in excellent cosmetic condition. I specifically asked the seller to check the contacts. It was advertized as "Excellent condition" and more importantly, "almost completely free of blemishes". Remember... the seller did check the battery contacts.

Here is what arrived: Click image to enlarge

I'm curious if you would see this as an "excellent condition" and "almost completely free of blemishes". Remember, the seller specifically checked the contacts and still says it's that condition. Do you agree? Comments?

Would you consider this exaggerating the "cosmetic" condition? To what degree?

Edited: 29 May 2004, 1:14 a.m.


IMO, the seller's comments are fraudulent in the extreme.


A) Ask once for return of your money including shipment the calc back + some for your trouble.
B) Sue him for fraud
We don't need people like this in the e-bay or in any calc group either!

How was this sellers feedback? How long had they been a member? How good were the pictures? Regardless of what a seller may say... these three factors set my price more than anything. If it is a new seller, and the price is worth the risk, I may bid, otherwise I pass. Ask for your money back.
Mike 1111


I'm not trying to discuss this as an ebay issue or how to deal with ebay bidders. It is simply a discussion about calculators and what any reasonable person would see about the condition of this particular calculator.

The seller still maintains that the broken battery cover and contacts still falls under "almost completely free of blemishes". He is trying to claim that these defects are insignificant and still claims that the calculator is "almost completely free of blemishes.", including these blemishes.

My point was simply to see if others would classify a calculator in this condition, "almost completely free of blemishes."

Edited: 29 May 2004, 11:12 a.m.


I've had a few sellers who were no-good liars over the years. They will try to sell ANY bit of junk, no matter how broken. They will say ANYTHING to try to brush you off. They count on people not thinking it's worth fighting. This guy is a prime example.

If there is a defect, it is a defect. Defect, defect, defect. No amount of denial can change that.

Demand a full refund, including shipping both ways, or give him a big, fat negative. Don't worry about retalitory feedback - everybody gets some of that. Just write your feedback comment clearly and people who read it will know you were in the right.


Regarding your broad question of "how should condition be assessed?" there are many examples of systems that can be readily (and rationally) applied by anyone other than a complete idiot. The one that springs to my mind is the approach applied to used audio equipment at such sites as AudiogoN.com. In these systems, a number assignment (9/10, or "9 out of 10") is used to denote conditions. NIB is 10/10, 7/10 might be "shows signs of use and may have minor cosmetic dings." You can visit the site and view the definitions for yourself.

More generally, there is the "Mint / Excellent / Very Good / Good / Fair / Poor" type of system which seems more common on sites like eBay. There are definitions for this system, too, but most eBay (and other sellers) seem to have a more arbitary approach to applying them. Like you, I have bought "Mint! NIB!" items that were really only deserving of a "good," or "very good," rating. As (I think) Patrick said, I look at feedback, but I also explicitly ask: "Does this item have any dings, dents, or scratches?" Generally, I'm not disappointed too often, and I have stopped bidding in midstride if I develop the feeling that the Seller may not be too honest.

Now we come to your experience. Your Seller is an IDIOT! Demand your money back and / or leave negative feedback. The issue is simple; the item has been misrepresented, and I can't imagine that many ordinary people would disagree...!


Yes, it is "almost completely free of blemishes" but it does have a few. That deception is bad enough. But, a very destroyed battery connector that was specifically asked about, well, that's inexcusable.

Condition? Ask anybody here and I think you know what the answer would be. It's trashed. Cost more to repair it than you probably paid for it. Ask somebody that has no idea what an HP calculator should look like and you might get a different answer, but I know you ask questions, good, clear questions before bidding.

You asked "Would you consider this exaggerating the cosmetic condition?" My response: Absolutely.

To what degree? To the extreme. I would stop short of calling it a lie since that always invokes a bad response from anyone but here's a case that I really think it deserves to be called that.

I know you don't want to make this an eBay issue but I just have to add my two cents worth:

I think I know why the previous auction of the same unit had "fallen through". Deceptive seller you got there. A very good example of why the eBay feedback system does not work.


You say:
"I think I know why the previous auction of the same unit had "fallen through". Deceptive seller you got there. A very good example of why the eBay feedback system does not work."

Actually... I did contact the previous seller to find out why it fell through. He said he never saw the calculator and by mutual agreement, both decided to call the auction off. He said it had nothing to do with the condition of the calculator. I have sold to the previous buyer and have no reason to doubt his statement.

Edited: 29 May 2004, 12:26 p.m.


I would not call this "excellent" with no reservations.
If the rest of the calc is excellent then it would be fair if the seller called it "excellent except for poor and corroded battery contacts and damaged cover".
There is no substitute for more detail in the description if there is damage.



No way would I call that excellent condition or almost completely free from blemishes.

If a calculator was described to me as almost completely free of blemishes I would expect it to be in almost perfect condition and to look the same, certainly no major damage like the melted battery compartment; missing corners off the battery holder and damaged battery contacts, with light signs of wear/use like the odd scratch, slight dings in the plastic where it might have been knocked against sharp edges, etc and the odd worn patch on keyboard lettering, etc.

I agree 100% with the other posters that the descriptions quoted applied to the 41 you bought are fraudulent. My commiserations. (It pains me to think someone can treat a 41 that way, I've seen military surplus 41s in far better condition than that!!)


Yes, it is ALMOST completely free of blemishes...

Except for the M-80 full of battery acid that was apparently detonated inside it.

I believe I'd be asking for/demanding a refund on this one. I'm pretty easy-going about minor defects on the calculators I purchase off of ebay; but you specifically ASKED about this sort of defect.

Take care.



I think what is really being asked is how can we, as a group of persons interested in HP calcs, define conditions of calcs. I would like to propose we examine a standard. Please note, this proposal is a sketch, not a blueprint.

OK, so an opinion:

NIB - aka the holy grail
New in box. Unused, plastic wrap, complete - 'nuff said.

As NIB except has been opened/used albeit briefly. No visible defects, blemishes or grime.

---- this is where a certain amount of subjectivity comes in

Has been opened and used lightly. May have minor visible defects, blemishes, but should not have keyboard grime, nor scratches on the screen.

Has been used, and will show normal wear and tear of calculator commensurate with its age. For example, a used 21 might be in worse condition than a used 48GX. May have grime, scratches but is working and could continue as a working calculator.

Used, may or may not be working. Scratches, grime are expected.

Non working or partial operation, visible damage.

Parts only or non-working
Enough said.

There can be some crossover if describing components e.g., excellent overall condition, with a poor battery compartment. This might be how I would describe the above mentioned unit.

What might be a good idea might be to create a table or spreadsheet of important componentry (keyboard / screen / battery compartment / manuals) and use this as a general guideline to determine value.

anyways, I'd be interested in hearing from other more knowledgeable persons on this subject, but I think it is an excellent topic.



I generaly expect things I get used to have some exageration of the condition. However, I would consider it a stretch to say this calculator is even in fair condition.

Chris W


You asked a clear question. He did not just exagerate.
His answer was a lie.

Can we start a list of lying bastards so we can all be careful of the known rip off sellers?

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