Check List When Buying A Pinball
I have been fixing machines in people's homes since 2004. It is frustrating to see the condition that a machine has been sold to the customer from a "retail" establishment. Parts are missing that at first are not noticeable but major portions of the game will not work correctly. You would not notice this until well after you purchased a machine. Other times, parts are broken that should have been fixed before the machine was sold.
We previously provided a six month warranty on all pinballs. We lowered our prices to be more competitive when we sell so no longer offer a warranty but ensure that the game is in working condition when delivered and soon afterwards. We believe in the work we have performed and stand behind our machines. Machines are mechanical and have moving parts. Occasionally they will break. However, we will be there to ensure that they are correctly fixed and working 100%.
Our Pledge to You
Our machines will be working 100%. There will be no missing parts or electrical components not working. If parts are missing or not working, they will be disclosed to the customer usually in the pictures on our web site and on the receipt. We will go over the machine with you and show you that all parts of the machine are operational. We will show you how to use the menu selections to set options and test the machine. Since these machines are used, we will fix up the cosmetics as well as we can. We will disclose all scratches, dents and blemishes on the playfield, plastics, cabinet and backglass.
We sell locally so we can stand behind our pinball machines and fix them. If we sell out of the area, we usually sell to knowledgeable collectors who know how to fix them or have a trusted repair person. Just because you can get a "deal" on eBay does not mean you are getting the best value for your money. If the machine is delivered to your garage, do you have the resources to get it to your basement? Do you know how to set it up? If it comes damaged, can you get it fixed? Remember a "deal" isn't always a deal.
- All machines should come with a manual. You should review the manual after you purchase the machine to understand how to change the menu settings (free play, number of balls, etc) as well as how to test the machine. You can also check that major components are available and working on the machine.
- You should ask for a guarantee that the machine is working 100%. If it is not, the warranty should cover all fixes at no cost to you. If the game is in very bad condition, you should have the right to a refund or exchange at no cost to you. (Since I have lowered my prices, I offer a warranty for $500 additional. Or you can pay as you go, which usually is not needed.)
- If the machine does not come with a warranty, find out how much it will cost to repair. Will the company that sold you the machine fix it? Will they stand behind the machine after the sale? If not, find a contact who will fix it. Call them before you purchase the machine to ensure they will come out to your location and what the cost is. Otherwise, please look else where.
- Before the people that deliver the machine leave, insist that they check out all of the lights, solenoids and major components. You want and deserve a working machine when you first get it. Find out what the "Credit Dot" (on Williams/Bally machines) means and make sure you know what to do.
- Try to find out the history on a machine. We do not always know but can provide some information.
- Download the rule list from the internet if the game has one. Most of the rule lists can be found at www.ipdb.org. Search for the name of the machine (which is a great resource anyway to find out about any machine) and download the rule list. Then make sure that everything that is stated in the rule list can be done.
- Ask for references. Are people happy with the machine? Would they buy again from the place? Are people happy with the service performed?
- Place your machine on a surge protector.
- When looking at a pinball, especially in a dark area, bring a flashlight to really look at all parts of the game including the playfield, plastics, rubbers, game-specific parts, etc to ensure that they are not broken or missing. Carefully look at the cabinet for scratches, holes, etc.
- As I write in my 6/8/2010 posting on my What's New page, ensure that the backglass translite is a translite and not a paper copy.
- Ensure all wires are securely fastened to the coil lugs, lights, switches, motors, etc.
- Ensure that the pop bumper metal part that pushes the ball is securely fastened to the underside with 2 nuts.
- Check out the computer boards. Are there any burnt connectors? Wires soldered directly to the board rather than using a connector? Are the batteries corroded?
- Ensure all computer boards are securely attached to the backbox (or could cause grounding/reset issues).
- Ensure all switches are securely connected to the playfield.
- Ensure pressing on top of WPC-S (Security CPU) does not cause the game to reset.
- Check all fuses and ensure that some bozo did not solder a wire on the outside of the fuse if they didn't have a replacement.
- Now that Stern is making "Standard" versions of their regular games (they call them "Pro"), ensure that you are getting the game you expect. The first game to do this is a sad example of Batman. So far 48 "Standard" Batman's have been sold through Costco. These games are cheaper and have less toys, less challenges, and overall will be less fun to play. 12/6/2015 Of course, now Stern does a Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition (LE) version of the game.
You can sometimes get an incredible deal buying a pinball direct from another person. If you need help moving the machine, we can assist at our repair rates. If the game needs a major overhaul, we can work on a contract to take the machine into our shop and prepare it for a fixed-rate for labor plus parts.
If you have any questions, please call us at (703) 431-5470 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.