As the AIBO is now discontinued you can not buy any new ones. Anywhere. That means that the only chance you have of buying an AIBO is on Ebay or similar auction site. However, there are a number of scams on Ebay so you should be careful, although there aren’t as many as there were when the AIBO was still available to buy new! Take a look at our pointers below and also read this post on the AIBO-Life web site.
To see what AIBO and AIBO related stuff is currently on offer on Ebay click here (there isn’t much).
To determine if the auction you are looking at might be a scam, you should first look at several things on the eBay auction page itself, a seller that is trying to deceive will usually use some or all of the following tricks:
1. The seller will usually have no (or very little) eBay feedback.
2. The seller will usually have a very recent eBay joining date.
3. The auction will usually have no unique content, and will be made up of text and pictures that are easily obtainable online, or have been copied from previous eBay auctions.
4. The auction is likely to be short, perhaps only 2 or 3 days, although this is not always the case.
5. The auction will be a ‘Private Auction’ where bidders are not listed. This is the single biggest giveaway that a scam may be happening. Fraudulent sellers use private auctions so that bidders are unable to be contacted by anyone else trying to warn them that they are potentially being conned.
6. The seller will usually be asking for payment via personal cheque, money order, Bidpay, Western Union, or one of these types of methods because the payments are not traceable. Paypal or one of the other “member payment’ systems is preferred because the seller must at least have some details registered in order to receive payments.
7. The auction usually seems too good to be true. Ask yourself, how many people would really sell a £1800 robot for half that price when they know its true value is able to be obtained via a legitimate sale.
So how do you verify that the Sony AIBO auction you’re looking at on eBay is legitimate? Well, there are several things to do that may help…
Firstly, ask the seller to email you NEW pictures of the AIBO, and they MUST HAVE a handwritten note in the pictures with your eBay username and todays date. This will at least prove that the seller does actually have an AIBO in his possession. While you are getting pictures emailed to you, you may as well get some close up detail shots to see the condition of the AIBO. Tell the seller there will be no way you would bid on an expensive item which you are not able to verify its condition. Any legitimate AIBO seller would oblige, if they do still refuse to send pictures, avoid the auction altogether.
If the auction has already ended and you are the winner, but are suspicious because of the 7 points above, DON’T PAY!! until you are 100% satisfied that the seller is legitimate. ebay allows 3 non-paying ‘strikes’ before it effects your eBay account. There is no point paying for something that you cannot verify. Do not become a victim.
Many AIBO owners are members of forums that discuss various AIBO issues like AIBO-Life.org. Often, AIBOs that are being legitimately sold on eBay belong to forum owners so it is worth going to a forum site and asking if anyone knows about a particular auction on eBay.
If you’re wondering what kind of price you can expect to pay for a secondhand AIBO on Ebay, then it all depends on what model you’re after (220s tend to be quite rare on eBay), it’s condition and what extras you get with it (software, charging station, etc). The best thing to do is to firstly figure out which model you want and then keep a track of a few on Ebay to help get a general idea.
Hopefully, this has informed you of some of the pitfalls of purchasing an AIBO through Ebay. Just remember, be informed, be aware, be careful, and try and accumulate as much proof as you can before buying a second hand AIBO.