For the first time in 15 years I walked away from a machine that I agreed to buy. I was actually picking up 2 machines in Chicago. A NGG in Woodridge and a RNB in Carol Stream. The NGG was listed on Pinside by a known seller and the RNB was on eBay.
First, I will talk about the NGG. Brian represented it perfectly. He said it was probably HUO due to the condition. The pics looked good and after coming to his home I agreed. I looked at it for 3 minutes and we loaded it in my van. It wasn't perfect, but was very nice and that is how he represented it.
Now, the RNB not not go so well. The seller accepted my offer of $3800 for a "Mint" machine that was near perfect other than some very slight blemishes on the edges. Claimed HUO from an original home where it as supposedly bought new and never moved until he bought it. The pictures on eBay (the ones he provided) appeared to support his claim. I asked him multiple times if it really was "mint" and his reply was "If you know anything about pinball you will be impressed." I told him I have been in the hobby for 15 years which should have given him the clue that it was time to tell me if it was not mint. I arrived at his place of business which ended up being an entertainment rental store (bounce houses, video games, etc). This concerned me a bit since they rented out pinball machines for parties. The seller was not there, so his operations manager helped me.
It did not take me long to figure out that this machine was either abused in the home or had been routed. Here is why:
1. The coin door lock was drilled and a rigged insert was put in it's place. The coin door had also shown signs of being pried open as it's inside edges were bent and paint scraped off.
2. The back box had multiple scrapes and dings with not even an attempt to touch it up. It it was in the home only it was either moved often with no concern for damage or they made a point to intentionally scrape the back box.
3. The right top corner of the back box was planking (separating) due to being damaged when being moved I would assume. The pictures that were listed did not show the damage or the worst scrapes - only the slight ones.
4. The side art had been written on with a sharpie pen adding a beard and mustache to Natasha and missing teeth to Boris.
The real problem was the fact that the seller not only said it was "Mint" but also claim all boards were checked with emphasis on the fact that there was no acid damage, etc. After seeing the machine in person I was already disappointed in the condition, but was still willing to buy it for full price; however, the manager could not find the back box key so I could verify the condition. I waited around for 40 minutes while he talked to the owner. After he jacked around trying to insert all kinds of keys into the lock I made the suggestion that he discount it $100 to me and I will take the risk of what was behind the glass and replace the lock myself. The owner (over the phone) rejected my offer and told me I had a binding contract on eBay and that I had to pay him. I explained to him nicely that the machine definitely was not mint and my offer of $100 less was fair considering that he had to have the key to prove to me that the boards were clean and "mint." He then told me he would find the key tomorrow and I could drive back to get it then. At this point I was pretty irritated as it was a 8 hour round trip drive (Chicago is the worst) and there was no way I was making the trip again. I reminded him that he had a week to have the machine ready knowing I was driving 8 hours. Not having the keys for the back box and a drilled out coin door would have been nice information to have. I offered one more time to take the machine with a $100 discount. He declined and got pretty rude with me.
That is when I decided it was time to shut up and walk away. I thanked the manager for his time and told him I did not like the seller and wanted to leave without a problem developing. He agreed that it was not going well and said it was for the best.
So, I get home and receive a non-paying bidder strike warning on my eBay account. It just amazes me that someone would misrepresent a machine like that, not apologize for the condition and not being ready, and then be rude to me for my $100 less offer AND then have the audacity to ask eBay to step in.
At least I got a nice NGG out of the trip. Life is good