Add a Warranty section to Audiogon classified ads?


There has been some recent discussion regarding warranty on used goods sold through Audiogon classified listings.

At present, there is no specified warranty stipulated, and it's left to buyers and sellers to discuss warranty after the fact, unless they negotiate a warranty as part of the terms of a sale.

Should Audiogon add a Warranty section to classified listings which would provide sellers the option of selling with a warranty...with perhaps four pre-selected warranty durations of 5, 14, 30 and 90 days, or selling without a warranty?

This would seem to help clear up any dispute between buyer and seller regarding warranty on used components.
tvad
A very good idea - it would help those folks short on 'net market experience from stepping into too much doo. However, since it is not a seller tool I can't imagine that it will get much traction unless 'it was damaged in transit' is an exception to the warranty. :-)
Hi Tvad, I think in theory it would be a great idea. However, as a retailer of used equipment in other arenas, here's some of the more common complaints we get.
1. But I didn't open it for (name the time frame past the warranty)
2. It took longer to ship, so I didn't have it (name the earranty period)
3. My wife/kids/husband didn't tell me it was here
4. But its 92 days, that's not fair.
5. You asked for UPS ground, and that time counts towards the warranty.
6. weekends shouldn't count

Ad infinitum.


In my industry, the better dealers give a 5 or 10 day right of refusal for any reason, and take digital pix of the instrument in the box, ready for shipping. As long as the unit does not come back damaged, and the customer calls and ships within the ROR, then we take the unit back. However, we occaisionally have customers we are virtually positive are just either getting free rental, or trying out for free, so we are careful as to whom we do this with.

It seems the best deal is to put in writng for each transaction between buyer and seller what the exact terms are, and then honor them. The biggest problem I have had in buying on Audiogon personally, has been liberal ratings of equipment by the seller. If it looks like it came from Fred Sanford's back trailer, it;s probably not an 8 :)
How would that clear up disputes? IMO it would just give them more to dispute about with even less clear issues ie: negligence, abuse, over use, cat hair, return shipping etc... In the discussion you mention it is clear to me that the buyer was too quick to say all was well, and the seller is not honorable enough to take the hit. FWIW.
I agree this would be beneficial. A simple approach similar to ebay's return policy would be fine. You check off whether there is a warranty or not, state the duration (your pre-selects are good), and fill in a policy statement field. The policy statement addresses what is covered or not covered, and conditions for receiving a refund (eg unit must be returned in . . .), and other such specifics.
Here's a scenario...power supply fails in amp..buy same model used amp with this warranty...swap power supplies...file claim. I would be very leery of selling anything with this in place. Heck I'm scaring the crap out of myself, I may never trade again.
Interesting idea.

I think it opens up a whole box of problems. Used gear is sold without warranty the vast majority of the time. Most of us are not dealers and how can I warranty a product not knowing how it will be used, played, tinkered with. etc... on the other end?

Bill
Chrisla makes some very good points. In my experience in a very different industry it seems that there is no definition (substitute warranty) that a person with an ax to grind can't twist to suit their own purpose. I do think that it would be a good idea for there to be some language in the FAQ or in the terms of use that addresses DOA units. However, when dealing semi-anonymously over the 'net, there will always be disputes. In those cases, a person's feedback/reputation is all that remains. Its very difficult to enforce a contract/agreement, if one of the parties does not want to live up to it, w/o a court order, and we know that most of the issues here do not have enough $ at risk to make that a practical solution.
Here's a scenario...power supply fails in amp..buy same model used amp with this warranty...swap power supplies...file claim. I would be very leery of selling anything with this in place.
. . . then you simply say no warranty, as-is sale. I suspect many sellers would choose this option given the nature of online/used sales, as well as the fact that electronics can fails for no reason at all.
The most intersting data point to this thread is that it has been read 112 times, and only seven people have expressed opinions.

The silence speaks volumes.
Most of the deals are because nothing is promised, if you want a warranty buy new or from brick and mortar stores.
Otherwise, do your homework, ask questions, deal with established sellers or folks you feel comfortable with and hope for the best....you can always strike an individual term of warranty with a seller, why do we need anything else?
Tvad, this is a really interesting subject. I believe that there is already an implied warranty in acceptance of the use of this site. That is that the product must conform to the description in the ad upon being delivered to the buyer. If you search the disputes section, the inscrutable Audiogon management has opined numerous times that this is the standard. After arrival in conforming condition, the onus is on the buyer, and that is as it should be, in that we are not businesses, but hobbyists, that make a risk/reward decision to purchase at a greatly reduced price.
In selling used equipment, as a private party, I warrant that the item is as described and will be so delivered. If damaged in transit I will deal with the claim and insure the buyer is kept whole. I think any warranty beyond this is unrealistic for people doing this for the fun of it. We don't have a manufacturer to fall back on in case the piece fails. I expect the same when I buy something from a private party and will agree to nothing less or more.

Wendell
The most intersting data point to this thread is that it has been read 112 times, and only seven people have expressed opinions.

The silence speaks volumes.
Tvad

It could be that the posts are being screened. I posted twice only one was allowed. The other post which isn't showing at the time was about starting a thread for collecting suggested guidelines for buyers and sellers.
I agree with Narrod. . . 'nuff said.
I too agree with Narrod.
FWIW, I agree with Narrod, Viridian and Ncarv.

Still, I'm wondering if the option of offering a warranty, or selling "as is" is worthwhile for those who choose to have it as part of the agreement, and if so, if having the option in a classified makes the process easier?

IMO, the "as is" option would imply the advertised item would be delivered as described in the ad, and any damage that occurred in transport would be handled through a shipping company insurance claim.
If you want to offer a warranty, then offer a warranty. You should be able to charge a little more because of it.
If the buyer expects a warranty, they should be buying new.

If the seller says or implies (by incomplete disclosure) that it works properly, it should on arrival. That's all. The buyer should take no more than a few days from delivery to contact the seller and report any problems. I'm sure there's a million excuses but it's a reasonable expectation that the buyer is prepared.

I should have been a lawyer.
If you're selling your car, are you going to personally warranty the drive train for 90 days? Another twenty thousand miles? Unless your a crack mechanic or you are on crack would you even consider this. Same thing, folks. Who among us knows enough about each piece of gear we have to know when trouble is ahead?

It's one thing if your equipment has an issue and you keep it quiet from a buyer (there's a special listening chair in hell, hopefully). But to expect the average schlub to guarantee something he owns is asking too much, especially if he's not the original owner. Why do you think the pros only offer warrantees to first-person buyers from a dealer - because the custody chain from factory to buyer is a known and can be attributed to the manufacturer.
The intention of this thread was not to debate the pros and cons of warranties, but to ask whether a warranty option should be added in the Audiogon listings.

An option. For those who choose to offer one...or not.

Thus far, almost no one has offered an opinion specific to the question.
If a question it is natural to induce debate and opinions and many just dont see a need for a policy or practice on Audiogon's part, it should be left to the two parties in the transaction. Further what's the use in trying to clear up a dispute when no negative feedback can be posted in the first place?
I don't care.
No, if the seller wants to offer one then do so in the ad. If the buyer wants to try to negotiate one then by all means go ahead. IMO do not create a special section for one in the ad.

Chuck
Here's a direct opinion . . . No.
If you want to offer one, that's your prerogative . . . no problem.
As for me, I've always made sure the buyer receives the equipment in the condition I have described. I have even reimbursed for damage when the shipper denied the claim.
I've reimbursed over $1000 for a piece of equipment that was damaged in shipping. I've hunted down parts to repair an item that was damaged in shipping. So long as both parties treat each other fairly, everything should work out. I try to treat every buyer as if they were my friend. How would you treat a good friend? I hope I never have an encounter with someone who doesn't act accordingly, though I imagine it might happen. I don't look forward to that day, I just keep on doing what I'm doing.
Sorry, but I'm not in favour. If you want a warranty, buy new. It's part of the reason you pay a higher price.

If the buyer doesn't trust me to sell what I describe, then I don't trust the buyer not to deliberately damage the goods if he regrets his decision and wants an out.

As for shipping damage, there's insurance for that.

Sorry, but I'm feeling kind of cranky at the moment. My internet hasn't been working properly for a month so I haven't been able to get my Audiogon fix recently.
I'll warrant this will not be resolved here.
The intention of this thread was not to debate the pros and cons of warranties, but to ask whether a warranty option should be added in the Audiogon listings. -Tvad

No
Sure, and if someone wants a warranty like I am a dealer then they should have no problem paying a dealer price. And selling their stuff to me like I am a dealer giving them a low trade in. Sounds great. Sure hope it catches on soon.
Absolutely NOT.
Chadnliz, brings up a valid point, about the inability to leave "negative feedback". What is the point about asking a
buyer to approve the negative feedback?

I have recently become very very cautious about transactions on Audiogon, because of bad transactions friends have recently had, and suspicious buyers of my goods.

I am personally glad my buying and selling days are pretty much done. The market place here has really
changed for the worse. However, it is not to late, I think
we need to be able to leave negative feedback without approval. This would help so much IMHO.

I think this policy only protects the "guild" not the members. This sight could end up turning into Ebay if changes are not made. It is getting closer every day.
Audiogon is a victim of its own success, but it needs to focus on keeping the little guy safe, or the "guild" will have no one to sell to.

NOW ON TOPIC:

I think warranty should be negotiated prior to sale. Which in most cases I would not offer. You can't have it both ways 45% off retail and expect a warranty. But the item should be 100% as advertised on arrival.

Nonetheless, I have paid for a repair after that sale for the sake of harmony, despite knowing the buyer or shipper damaged the item, not me.
Chadnliz
"Further what's the use in trying to clear up a dispute when no negative feedback can be posted in the first place?"

Exactly, give us a feedback system so that I can determine who I need a written warranty from and then I'll avoid buying from them.

I'll be surprised if this makes it past the censors but I sure enjoyed saying it.

>This is Fresh from Audiogon staff, I sent a email about "Negative Feedback" here is the response. It is good to know, I stand corrected on my prior post.
>

> When you submit Negative Feedback, it does not need to be "approved" by the receiving member. That wouldn't make any sense at all! There's simply a 72 hour waiting period to allow the recipient time to submit their side of the story to Audiogon. We also review the feedback to ensure it doesn't contain any inaccuracies, personal attacks, or offensive language. Once we've established it meets these and other criteria for leaving Feedback in general, the feedback is posted. We DO post Negative Feedback, it may not be easy enough to see because it does take time and the majority of our members are willing to work things out to avoid potential head butting. But we encourage you to search our member database and you will see there are Negative Feedbacks, the system DOES work. But we need our members to work with us to ensure it's accurate.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Audiogon Staff
>
If the Audiogon policy truely lets you leave negative feedback then how did this misinformation spin so far out of control? I have never had to leave or recieve negative feedback so I assume many just excepted what was being told by others, but who is right?
As to Grant's thread; my position is best stated by Ncarv, and my answer is a definitive 'no' to the question. I don't really need another box to check yes or no when creating a listing. In a market of used items, part of the reason the seller is taking a loss and the buyer is paying so much less than retail, is that the risk exists that things do eventually wear out or fail. That risk is implied and understood by most folks looking to buy a used component. If you want to add a warranty you can always do so in writing in the ad and state your terms specifically.

In light of the response from A'gon on feedback, I'm going to have to check with an acquaintance who had recently got burned on a transaction and was doubly upset because A'gon had not posted the feedback he'd left since the seller obviously did not approve it. I don't know how it resolved, but now am curious because of recent criticism of the system. I do hope that it is as A'gon says. I sure would like to read a full accounting of a sellers feedback before purchasing something from them.

Marco
There is no need for a warranty "option," as Audiogon policy already makes this an implicit part of every deal. In every sale, the Seller warrants that the item will arrive as advertised and, if it does not, it is the Seller's responsibility to make the Buyer whole. Items are not sold on an "as-is" basis; rather, they are sold on an "as-advertised" basis. So, if an ad (or subsequent communication between Buyer and Seller) advertises the item as being in "good working order," then Audiogon policy already forces the Seller to warrant that it will arrive as such. To that extent, no further warranty is necessary.

If, on the other hand, you are suggesting an option to sell with an "extended" warranty, I would say that is a recipe for disaster. A warranty is a contract and, in my opinion, it would be impractical and unwise for people on audiogon to work out the terms of such a contract: how much extra it should cost; under what circumstances the Seller would have to honor the warranty; what is the process for submitting and resolving a claim.

The final possibility would be to allow Sellers to offer a something beyond a warranty -- i.e., a return policy. I suppose that, if a Seller wished to distinguish himself that way, more power to them. But that seems at odds with the spirit of the concept of Audiogon. Notably, on ebay, there is an option for sellers to specify a return policy -- and given the risks inherent in the ebay community, that may be appropriate there.

Bottom line is that a Buyer and Seller on Audigon can haggle whatever terms they like, but it would be irresponsible for Audiogon to tempt them to haggle over a warranty beyond what is already implicit in every audiogon transaction.
If the buyer expects a warranty, they should be buying new.
I should have been a lawyer.
Ngjockey (Threads | Answers)

Good statement.

11-30-07: Jeffreybowman2k
There is no need for a warranty "option," as Audiogon policy already makes this an implicit part of every deal...if an ad (or subsequent communication between Buyer and Seller) advertises the item as being in "good working order," then Audiogon policy already forces the Seller to warrant that it will arrive as such.

I've been searching the Audiogon Policy pages and I have not found any language to this effect. Would you kindly provide a link to the page on which the policy is found?

Thanks.
Here's what I was referring to. It appears in the Audiogon Site FAQs, under Seller's Shipping Policy:


[I]t will ALWAYS be the responsibility of the seller to guarantee that items shipped will be as described and fully functional upon arrival.

Here's the link:

Shipping Policy

As I read it, this policy seems to imply a seller's warranty (albeit limited) in every audiogon transaction -- unless the parties have expressly agreed otherwise.
Thanks, Jefffreybowman2K. As I read it, the statement applies specifically to items damaged during shipping. Is that your interpretation as well?
Tvad, that's not how I read it. A seller is expected to deliver the item as described and fully functional. It's broader than just shipping damage.
actually, i read it more broadly. i believe it allocates responsibility to the Seller if an item arrives in non-working order even if shipping did not cause the problem. the statement "it will ALWAYS be the responsibility of the seller to guarantee..." leads me to that conclusion. i interpret this as a statement that audiogon's policy is that, unless the parties agree otherwise, the seller broadly warrants good working order on delivery. i concede, however, that such a broad statement seems somewhat out of place in a FAQ regarding shipping.

in practice, it would rarely make a difference. if an item showed up in less than working order, the buyer would likely blame shipping even if there was no obvious evidence that shipping had caused the damage -- and it would be hard for the seller to disagree (as this might seem like a concession that the seller was actually at fault for sending damaged goods). as a result, the audigon policy would apply and the seller would have to take the item back, provide a refund, and attempt to collect an insurance claim.

11-30-07: Narrod
Tvad, that's not how I read it. A seller is expected to deliver the item as described and fully functional. It's broader than just shipping damage.

Because the language is under the heading of "Shipping Policy", I do not read it as being more inclusive than shipping damage.

I suppose the small claims courts can decide the finer points of the language in those instances where reasonable buyers and sellers cannot work out equitable solutions among themselves.

I have to admit some of the responses in this thread make me question ever entering into another transaction generated by an Audiogon classified, my own listings included.
And how would a non-professional vendor actually honour the warranty? Unless all thse sales were rescinded, which is not what a purchaser would want in many cases, it means getting the unit repaired by a competent facility. In all likelihood the purchaser would be the one doing the leg work to get the component repaired. What exactly would be covered? The cost of the estimate, the cost of the repairs, shipping both ways, down-time, loss of enjoyment, phone calls, time wasted, etc ?

The best that can be hoped for is that the people selling through Audiogon will be totally honest.

I also expect a warm and balmy winter up here in Montreal with temperatures hovering around 70 farenheit and teh Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup!
11-30-07: Jax2
"In light of the response from A'gon on feedback, I'm going to have to check with an acquaintance who had recently got burned on a transaction and was doubly upset because A'gon had not posted the feedback he'd left since the seller obviously did not approve it. I don't know how it resolved, but now am curious because of recent criticism of the system. I do hope that it is as A'gon says."

Please keep us informed as to what you find. And if anyone has reliable information about the handling of negative feedback please share it. I've made statements about the A'gon feedback system which were, in hindsight, gossip. If I've erred I apologize to all.

Audiogon has in place a dispute resolution process for resolving contested negative feedback. I would like to know if the process is open or closed, if it is a closed process I would be very concerned that the resolution would be dictated by the bottom line. I would suggest to anyone buying or selling to document ALL details relevant to the transaction for future reference in the event of a feedback dispute or, even worse, a legal dispute. Needless to say, your success or failure will undoubtedly hinge on how well your case is presented.
I don't think there should be a section to offer warranties. It will only create more disputes. Lets keep it simple.