There are a lot of good razors, blades and other shaving products for sale on eBay and there are a lot of fine reputable sellers to choose from. There are also some items that are not in all that great of condition and which are often dirty and in need of extensive reconditioning. Here are some tips to buying a good razor and/or blades that you can be satisfied with.
1. Look at the description carefully and ask the seller questions prior to making a purchase.
2. Ask a seller if they specialize in razors and blades. Many sellers may be very honest, reputable and have high customer satisfaction ratings but they may not know much about razors or blades. A seller who specializes in razors and blades can be of particular value to a customer because they can often answer your questions thoroughly, have an extensive inventory of products with an eye for what are in the highest demand. Finally, because they generally purchase a lot of razors for resale they hopefully have paid special attention to the quality of razors they have put up for sale and will have filtered out the lesser quality ones for wholesale auciton.
3. Pictures can be over rated. I read other sellers that give buying advice who put a lot of emphasis on pictures. This is one area where I disagree. It is often hard to judge the true condition of a razor even if several pictures are provided. I have purchased razors that looked great in pictures but were dirty and not all that nice when they arrived at my door step. Conversly I have bought some excellent clean razors that did not have many pictures posted when listed for sale. As a buyer you must keep in mind that a seller may not post a lot of pictures either because eBay charges the seller on a per picture basis or because they do not have the best camera or equipment for taking a lot of great photos. This does not mean the razors they sell are of poor quality! They may believe the picture or two they have posted adequately shows the item and rely on their description to give details. I tend to fall into the group of eBay sellers who do not post a lot of photos but the items I sell are of very good or better quality. While pictures are nice and they can be important I would not put as much weight in favor of them as some apparently do.
4. Cleanliness and sanitation. These are very important factors. You should look for razors that both look clean in the photos AND which the seller describes as being clean and sanitized. I buy a lot of razors and I often buy them in large lots. I am always astonished at the condition some people sell and ship razors in. Some razors are very dirty and in need of extensive cleaning. Some come with extremely rusty blades still inside the razor. These are not only unsafe but the corrosion from the blades can cause damage to a razor's finish. Some have so much dirt and scum caked on the razor that the finish is permanently damaged with serious brassing (a term used to describe the loss of metal plating) as a result. I have spent hours cleaning and sanitizing razors. Some come to me that are in such bad condition that I just have to throw them out. Some of these razors actually looked good in photos so again, do not put too much faith in pictures. Be careful, take extra time and ask the seller specific questions before you bid. Even if the razor looks nice in the photos, ask questions such as whether the seller has cleaned or sanitized the razors, whether or not the razors are in good working order, etc...
5. Does the razor work? I have purchased razors that no longer function as intended. Often these razors just become throw aways. Sometimes these were expensive razors and I have lost some money on them. Take time to ask a seller if they have checked the razors they are selling to insure they are working properly. If they do not know then ask them to check. If they cannot tell you, you should think twice before buying the item in question.
6. Seller's reputation. Do look at a seller's reputation and also look at the items they have listed for sale. Do they appear to have satisfied customers? Do they appear to sell a lot of razors and shaving items? If you answer yes to both of these questions there is a good chance that they are a reputable and good eBay merchant to purchase a razor or razor blades from.
7. Match an item's description with the picture posted. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen "Gillette Fat Boy" or "Fat Boy?" listed on the title of an item only to find that the razor pictured is not a "Fat Boy" at all. Some times they are not even close. I often contact the seller of mislabelled items to inform them of their errors. Sometimes the listings are revised as a result of my efforts and other times they aren't. If you are unsure what a highly sought after razor such as a "Fat Boy" is or looks like then take some time and research it on line before making a purchase. There are a number of shaving and razor sites that will furnish information and pictures.
8. Razor blades - BEWARE!!! There are a number of counterfit razor blades that have been surfacing. You are generally pretty safe buying vintage old stock razor blades made in the USA. The best bets are the new old stock vintage blades that are still in a sealed retail package. Some razor blades that are up for auction may be authentic but can sometimes be in poor condition. I have purchased dispensers in which many of the blades were rusty or, worse, used! YUK!!! Take a look at the picutre of the blade dispenser. Do they show signs of use or rust? Are the blades new in a sealed package or at least in their individual wrapper? This can be very important. New old stock razor blades made in USA in a sealed retail packages are your safest bet. They may cost more but you often get what you pay for! Note: some old razor dispensers are not in a sealed package but may in fact be new. Often the cellophane that had wrapped the package can come off because of age or handling. I have some very nice new old stock dispensers that no longer have their original cellophane wrappers. It is imporant to ask a seller the condition of the blades and dispensers they are selling. Some are really nice while others are only suitable for dispaly purposes - you probably would not want to use the blades inside some of them.
9. My promise to you. I only sell razors that have been cleaned, sanitized, and polished prior to sale. I strive to buy and sell the highest quality razors and blades. Keep in mind that the razors I sell are vintage and most have been used. I label them as such in my auctions. But I have taken time to clean the razors and inspect them to make sure they are working properly. I also take pains to identify and label the products I sell accurately. I also take pains to insure that the razor blades I sell along with the razors are of good and genuine quality. I almost always sell razors along with the blades suitable for the razor type together. I also take pains to describe any faults with the razors or cases they might come in. I believe honesty is the best policy. I want satisfied customers who will leave positive feedback for me, refer me to friends, and come back to buy more when they are ready to. I always ship promptly after payment is received!
Thank you for reading this. I hope it has been useful and informative!