I was following a similar thread on Beesource. As with any time you purchase bees, you should inspect for disease. Doesn't do you much good to purchase bees that can't overwinter. The woodenware is used and the price should reflect that. Also, you should be getting a lower price because you will be doing the medicating, feeding, etc to overwinter them. Colonys in the spring would get a higher price, because they have the promise of a crop in front of you. They settled on a fairly wide price range anywhere from 80 to 130 dollars, depending on the condition of the equipment and bees, and the motivation of the seller. I will add that several posters were amazed by the low price, but it was reiterated, you will have to overwinter them successfully to realize their full value. If the seller doesn't agree, you can always advise them that after THEY successfully overwinter the bees, you would be happy to negotiate a higher price. Your winter in Santa Cruz may be fairly mild, so there might not be much feeding to be done. However, if they need medicating, and don't get it, they will be just as dead.