With members being in different time zones,work schedules, etc... maybe phone conversations arent possible, where emails can be answered at anytime.
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I find your thread to be one of the most interesting ever. Had around 65 transactions here and only conversed by phone 2 or 3 times. However, there are other philes that I've spoken to by phone that were not involved in a transaction with me. If your feedback is good and the other member has good feedback it really isn't a necessity to converse by phone during a transaction or even on a fact-finding mission. Frankly, I prefer not to speak to the other person and thereby keep personalities out of it. Personality can get in the way of business in my opinion. In other words let's keep it "just business."
I do agree that not speaking by phone is rather impersonal. But for me the most important aspect of this is a successful purchase or sale. And by successful I mean, you get what you paid for and it works as advertised, or you sell what you set out to sell and have a satisfied buyer. If you accomplish these goals, it's a win/win. Now I'll admit that one of the only fellows I ever spoke with during a transaction turned out to be a great guy and actually called me up long after our transaction to discuss audio. He was very likable. In fact we may have become friends if he had lived closer to my city.
So by keeping transactions here impersonal and not conversing on the phone, it's possible for someone to miss out on a good relationship with another person that has common interests. I will acknowledge that.
On the flip side, there are some quirky, and odd people in this hobby that I've spoken to by phone (that did not turn into a transaction) who I'd never want to meet in person.
I did break out of the mold just recently however. I not only spoke to a buyer by phone, but actually went to his home to deliver speakers. He seemed to be a good guy too.
Phone calls make the transaction more satisfying on an emotional level. I do prefer it but don't go out of my way to make it happen.
My last couple of transactions have had personal interaction. I made a trade with a local Agon member and he came over to pick up an amp. We sat and listened for a while, very pleasant. With the most recent transaction I called the seller but he was out. I had a nice conversation with his wife. She was gracious and although I never spoke to the seller, I was even more reassured after speaking to his wife.
When I first starting trading here, I liked to talk to the other party, but not so much any more. If the ad is thorough in its description of the item and has good photos, and assuming the seller has a good feedback history, I generally don't have any need to speak to the other party in most cases. Certainly, if a buyer/seller wants to speak to me, I'm happy to accomodate.
Great thread. Can we make this a sticky? [Member of other forums!]
This is my first post. Didn't read all the posts in this thread, but I'll give my 2cents. For high-ticket items, phone calls are essential, short of a plane ticket!
As others have posted, e-mail is great for basic q&a type stuff, also to send pictures, links of reviews and other empherma.
You wont hardly catch mr buying or selling without a phone call. If somebody refuses that small gesture (on my dime and at their time) thats a huge red flag for me.
Sure an album, cable and such doesnt warrant it but for most any component a call is required or I bolt. There is never a valid reason for a buyer or seller to flat out refuse to even entertain a quick phone call at minimum.
I once had a seller call me; he'd never sold on Augiogon before, and since I was planning to pay via PayPal, he was a bit concerned about potential chargebacks from dishonest buyers. I think speaking with the seller helped to reassure him that I'm a reasonable person, rather than someone looking to run a CC scam.