Are Audio Dealers Missing the Boat?

I was wondering if dealers could be earing some $$$ acting as the middle-man in audio trades? The seller could bring the item to a participating dealer (listed on, say, Audiogon?) who would test it, grade it, verify its condition with the buyer and ship it for a fee?
I'd be willing to pay 10% for this service. The dealer could earn even more by allowing credit-card payment (sorry pay-pal).
We do exactly as you mention. We charge between 15% to 20% for our services. It the rates differ depending on the services the customer requests.
Hmmm. Where's that list showing which dealers are trustworthy and which are not?

If there were an issue, say between you the seller and me the buyer, and we used your dealer as the intermediary, and the dealer sided with you, should I be shocked? What if your dealer found favor with my side of the story? Would you ever go back to him?

Overall, it sounds like nothing is gained except the dealer's 10% while also having the potential to open up a whole new can of worms.

Not to mention having to carry your 100 lbs. amplifier down to the dealer for him to verify and ship for say $500. When it would be so much easier to have FedEx pick it up at your home for say $75.

I don't see the good ship lollipop leaving port any time soon here.

Nothing is gained? I get nervous sending a total stranger, who may live on the other side of the continent, big bucks for something they "promise" to send me (have you ever asked a seller to send you the item first? Before you pay? -ain't gonna happen!) We can agree there is some paranoia in these transactions. Honest dealers (99%?) could really mellow things out IMO.
I disagree with Stehno, in as that I do see a benefit to having a middle man. I know I was really sweating out sending $8,000 to someone for their speakers. Luckily for my sanity, he had not taken them home from the stereo shop yet, so I was able to contact the stereo shop and they informed me that they were indeed holding them there. When I bought my used amp for $2,000, I had to completely rely on the seller to be honest and send it to me.

We sometimes get used to sending money blindly to people. I sometimes think we are too trusting, buying things without seeing them and sending money to complete strangers across the country, or even out of the country. I think we start off small, buying and selling records, cd's, then moving up to cables, then to amps, and then to speakers (I speak from my experience here), and we never stop to think "What if this person is really dishonest, and has actually sold this same fictional cable/amp/speaker a dozen times in the last week, and will be disappearing like Houdini!"

I personally would be willing to pay a small fee to have an intermediary who would hold the payment until the item was delivered and then shipped out. It would only take one really bad experience for me to be completely turned off by the method we currently use to sell our used merchandise.
I would not be wanting the middle man to be any more than a escrow holder/warehouse actually. (They don't need to be an inspector). Just someone who can connect a face with an email address and to give me a bit of reassurance that the person who is going to send me their used multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment actually will.

My thoughts on the matter, anyway!
Kurt, It may be that you want an escrow service, not a dealer. Has anyone used these services, and did you find sellers receptive to the idea?
While an escrow service might verify that they have the product, would you rather have them inspecting audio gear and saying "it's good to go" or a professional dealer that ( hopefully ) knows the in's and out's of putting a product through its' paces ? Sean
DedicatedAudio: A few questions... 1. Is this activity profitable for you? 2. Has it entwined you in any sticky legal consequences? 3. Have you heard of others doing this? 4. What are your ground rules?
Except for Saturdays, every dealer I've been to is ALWAYS empty which leads me to believe there is time to do this. The beauty of this idea is that sellers would have face-to-face contact with the friendly dealer to discuss product condition, etc. The escrow approach sounds more centralized (sending your merch to a faceless destination) i.e. removing the personal element.
Sounds like a good option. I'm sure some well heeled buyers and sellers would prefer to avoid dealing with the unwashed public altogether. On the other hand, involving a salesperson in your transaction could be like inviting a cat to the mouse picnic: Why get a Belchfire2500 when for a few more bucks you could get the HellRazor5000?

Kurt said:

"I would not be wanting the middle man to be any more than a escrow holder/warehouse actually. (They don't need to be an inspector). "

I just wanted to point out that escrow services already exist and are used by at least some Agoners, though I have no experience with them.

- Eric
Well, it all comes down to the reputation of the dealers and the fees they would charge.They should also be able to pick up the items from sellers, pack them well,ship them and deal with all claims.Most dealers should learn how to earn the money,not collect it. For 20% they should buy me a beer too.
Inna, you bring up some good points. But to take it one step further, if one has found such a dealer, then wouldn't it make sense for the dealer to simply buy the product from the seller or for the buyer, thus removing seller/buyer from any further hassle?

I mean wouldn't this also be a clear indication of the dealer's confidence in the transaction?

For 20%, the dealer should be volunteering this buyout program. Because, ultimately, I believe that is the security the seller and buyer are really looking for. Otherwise, exactly what is the dealer really offering to earn that rather large 20 percent?

I'm all for value-added services for a fee even, if the fee is a bit higher than anticipated. But I kinda' cringe at giving monies just for smoke and mirrors. Or as one political commentator calls it, "Symbolism over substance!"

In addition, I would think that a dealer participating in such endeavors who buys outright from the seller/for the buyer is an excellent demonstration of the dealer's reputation.

Stehno, you make an excellent point regarding the dealer expressing confidence in the equipment/transaction by making the purchase (as an agent, or not). I seriously doubt that very many dealers would be interested in getting involved with this as the liabilities for the dealer may appear to outweigh the amount of $$$ to be made.

Regarding escrow services (I've never used one), I thought they just handled the money. The buyer sends the funds to the escrow service and they certify to the seller that they have the funds. The seller ships the item and when the buyer receives it he inspects/tests it and approves payment, or he can return it and get his funds back from the escrow service. Isn't that how it works?
Another point is that dealing with us,audiophiles,is a real pain.We are such a bunch of arrogant mothers.Pardon my French.
Inna: Your comments remind me of my favorite (unspoken) remark to supermarket workers who butt in front of my cart, rude cashiers, etc. "Life would be much easier without those damned customers!".