You have probably seen the many listings on ebay for elaborate and seemingly high quality chess sets at an amazingly cheap price. More often than not these sets are in India or China waiting to be posted to you for a fraction of the cost of buying the same set in the UK. There is however a catch, well more than one actually, that you need to be aware of.
Firstly there is the postage fees. It goes without saying that buying your chess set from the far east is going to cost a lot in postage. It’s very common for a seller to advertise the set for pennies or just a few pounds and then make their real profit on the postage costs. This is all well and good until you receive the goods and they were not what you expected. The seller will happily refund your pennies, but will regard the pounds already spent on ‘postage’ as non refundable.
Then there’s the quality. It’s a well known fact that India produces some of the worlds finest chess sets, there is a vast number of chess manufacturers and artisans working there to produce chess sets, in some cases for quite prestigious names in Chess. The market over there is vast and it seems anyone and everyone wants a look in. It’s easy for an ebay trader to buy a few sets from a local chess makers. A few rupees will buy them the pile of rejects that a supplier has weeded out from their stock thats intended for export. It’s all too easy for them to find their way onto ebay at tiny starting prices.
While buying from an Indian ebay seller might seem like a great way to save a few pounds it’s seldom worth it. All the proper producers of chess are too busy dealing with their real export customers to worry about ebaying off a few sets here and there so you can be sure that the set isn’t coming from them. Expect massive shipping times and a level of customer service that’s typical of a company 6000 miles away.
Remember that UK chess suppliers are governed by strict trading standards regulations whereas a small time ebayer in India or China is answerable to no one should your transaction turn sour.