[OT] A simple question on trading


Hi all:

I've been involved in a large number of e-seller/buyer transactions, where the commonly accepted practice is for the buyer to first send the money, wait for the seller to receive and cash it, and then wait more (with fingers crossed) for the seller to actually ship the item. The buyer has to forcefully accept a large risk, namely that the seller might not ship the item after getting the money, while the seller incurs in no such risk. It's a clearly asymmetric situation, but widely accepted and unless resorting to escrow or other such risk-free (but often expensive and/or inconvenient) methods, that's the way it is, take it or leave it, period.

However, my question is: what about trading ? I mean, if you are trading an item with another person, what are the widely accepted standards of practice ? Should both persons send their items out more or less at the same time ? How can you be sure that the other person actually sent the agreed item, after you've sent yours ? Are there any common rules to decide who sends first or how to verify that the other person did comply ? What to do if the item was misrepresented, doesn't work, or you're dissatisfied with it for any reason ?

Simple as it is, I've never been involved in such a trading, and would welcome some useful advice before getting into one.

Thanks in advance for your help and best regards from V.


Should both persons send their items out more or less at the same time ?

Yes... more or less. That is what I have done in my trades. Fortunately, I have never got problems.


Hi Valentin,

Very good question. I think there are no "rules" other than just being decent and honest. I think it really is all a matter of trust.

In e-bay, trust is artificially developed through the "feedback" system. A system which, despite its flaws, is astoundingly effective. I have only been burned outright once on ebay, in about 25 or 30 transactions. (I have received less than as-expected items more than that (only calculators--other stuff is always perfect so far), but have in all instances in which I noticed issues early enough, I have had a satisfactory adjustment made.

Most e-bayers seem to work pretty hard to maintain good feedback.

For outside e-bay, what to do? If you trust a person, then whatever. But it is all a matter of trust.

I wonder if there is a "trading forum" or some sort of "trading clearinghouse" out there which facilitates trading between strangers? It is a good question. I'll bet it exists.

Best regards,




I would like to add that trading could really add to our enjoyment of ancient calculators. For instance, I really want to see what a 27s is like, but I have a 17bii (or whatever) and I could trade it for a period, so that both of us could enjoy for a period of time. A hobby at its finest--spending a little postage, and getting to enjoy many different designs.


Hi Bill,

>> For instance, I really want to see what a 27s is like, but I have a 17bii (or whatever) and I could trade it for a period

What a great Idea!! The HP Calculator Loan Program.

Recently, a nice gentleman loaned me a HP-97 to play with. I'd never actually seen one, and it was great to play around with the actual calculator.

I'm just thinking... we might not want to risk actually mailing our precious calculators around the country for loaning, but..... We could form small groups by region, get together ever so ofen, bring calculators we'll willing to loan. These wouldn't have to be great condion calculators, just working ones so someone else could have some fun playing around with one they may never have used before.

If we don't want to loan them, at least we could bring them to the meeting and let others see and enjoy them there.

I'll get the ball rolling.

I'm in the Phildelphia, PA, USA area - anyone else that might want to get together ever so often???



Hi Bill,

I used to be in Philadelphia, but now in Connecticut. (I visit Phila often, though.)

A year or so ago, a number of forum regulars met at a book shop out west--I think Wlodek, and Paul Brogger were there.

Best regards,

Bill N3LPX


Hi Bill,

Connecticut's not too far away. Maybe we could get a East Coast get together. Let me know next time you're in Philly and maybe we could meet up.



Hi Valentin,

>> Should both persons send their items out more or less at the same time ?

I have done quite a few trades, and that's how it was done each time. All my trades have worked out okay. I only got worried on one trade. This was a trade with a gentleman in Holland. I had shipped my item using air mail so that he received it in one week. Then I waited and waited.. Turned out he had shipped by surface and it took 6 weeks to arrive. But all worked out in the end and I was pleased that I had made the trade.

On all trades, I do the following:

1. Have multiple correspondence with the person to try to determine if I have a "warm fuzzy feeling" about the integrity of the person. This is similar to having a long conversation with a perspective seller at a Ham Radio Ham Fest (Flea market). If I don't have a "good" feeling from the correspondence, then I probally will not do the trade.

2. I always do a Web search. Has the person posted to the HPMuseum site? Has he posted to other forumns? From the postings, I can get a better feeling about the person.

3. Does he offer his phone number with out being prompted for it?

4. I always use the Web to try to verify the shipping address matches the person and that the phone number matches.

Above being said, I have had many excellent trades. In addition, I have had many many nice suprises.

In one case, I traded a HP-45 for a HP-25. The gentleman e-mailed that he had accidently damaged the HP-25 he was planning to send and offered to send a different one, which I accepted. Then after I had received the HP-25, he sent a second, better quality HP-25, and told me to compare them and just return the one I didn't want to keep. That was very trusting on his part. I made my selection and shipped the second HP-25 back to him with a nice thank you.

Of couse, if I do enough trades, sooner or later, one will go bad. As long as I do my research before the trade, it's a risk I'm willing to take. With proper research, the risk is probally no higher than buying something on e-bay or elsewhere on the web.



Best regards from V.

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