Buying and Selling of feedback

Today I saw the second auction where the seller states something to this effect "if you don't come through with payment on a winning bid, you can give me $xx (or a percentage of the bid) and back out without negative feedback posted. otherwise, negative feedback will be posted.

This seems like extortion to me. Also, aren't the rest of us entitled to know about a deadbeat bidder (via negative feedback)? The posting of negative feedback is the correct recourse for a deadbeat bidder - not a bribe or "fine".

I think this behavior undermines the feedback process. What do the rest of you think?

Just curious.
I agree. Although I can understand the reasoning for this position in an auction your point is valid and, IMHO correct.
I being a dealer who does sell a lot of products on Audiogon have on occasion had customers back out. I have been offered funds in the past and refuse to take any money.
My experience has been that usually when a customer backs out it is because they misunderstood something or they have a very good reason. It is more important to me and I hope to most members of Audiogon that everyone have many positive experiences. An occasional mistake should be forgiven.

Personally I never want a consumer to purchase anything that they do not want. I also have not given anybody any negative feedback. I believe negative feedback should be for people who misrepresent a product or are less than honest in a transaction. I have found that to be rare in Audiogon.

If a winning bidder has to on a rare occasion back out the second highest bidder is normally excited to have the opportunity to purchase the item or you can relist it.

We are a very small community and harmonious relationships
will benefit us all.
According to Audiogons guide lines feed back can only be left when money exchanges hands. What about backing out on auctions? To follow the letter of the law the seller may not have the right to leave bad feedback.
Compliments to A Sanctuary Of Sound for a thoughtful and reasoned analysis. I am not clear on one point. Are these auctions here on Audiogon or on Ebay?
A Sanctuary of Sound seems like a class act. This does sound like another Ebay type of thing and I expect it rarely happens here. Negative feedback should be deserved and I agree we should all go the distance to get along.
SOS, it's certainly a professional stance that you take. Your attitute and courtesy should serve you well. You deserve to be successful.
I hadn't thought about this before. I think Dozer is right on. There is a "neutral" feed back. Perhaps this is the proper vehicle when a "negative" feed back may seem harsh due to extenuating circumstances. The use of the "neutral" feedback may keep track of persistent abusers with excuses.
I agree 100% with 'Sanctuary of Sound'. A class act.
I would like to also say, "Bravo!" to A Sanctuary Of Sound.

Members like this are one of the biggest reasons this is the best place to buy, sell, or just plain talk about our hobby.

Thank you for your graciousness, Sanctuary Of Sound!
Here are the rules:

Feedback may be submitted only if one of the following events have occurred:

- Buyer winning a bid at auction, if reserve is met.

(I would add, if backing out, feedback is allowed)

- Seller receiving a bid at auction above reserve price.

- Buyer sending payment to a seller in a verifiable form.

- Seller shipping an item to a buyer in a track-able manner.

Feedback should be left after your transaction has reached some form of finality (delivery, cancellation, attempted settlement, etc). You may submit at most one feedback per transaction, so wait until it is completed.

The word 'attmpted' would be commitment to buy, which is bidding on an auction, per rules of auctions (EBAY OR AUDIOGON for that matter), and in my opinion, is grounds for feedback.

Thanks all of you for your responses. This note is to give props to Audiogon management.

I first mentioned this issue to Audiogon several weeks ago over a commercial ad that was running, and I didn't think Audiogon did anything.

I was wrong. Audiogon had in fact notified the seller of what you might call the "perception of impropriety" and that seller has since changed his policy.

Sanctuary of Sound has the right approach I think. I've never been burned on Audiogon - it's a class community, run by class people I think.

I also don't think anyone is doing this with a bad motive. "Extortion" was a harsh word that wasn't called for.
The ridiculous thing about Audiogon's feedback is that if you leave negative feedback on someone that deserves negative feedback they will make something up and turn right around and leave negative feedback on you. At that point there is little you can do about it which is unfortunate. That's the big problem with Audiogon's feedback system. Also many people on Audiogon have friends and they leave positive feedback for each other to make themselves look good.
Feedback, is a product intended to help the Audiogon community. As such one should not have the right to act as a pimp and prostitute community property for individual profit.
Unsound made a great comment about applying a "neutral" feedback. When I see a neutral feedback, I am a little cautious, but I am also still willing to work with this person. I figure they were willing to work out their differences, even though things obviously did not go smooth, they have redeemed themselves for the most part. After all, nobody is perfect!
Bobgates: touché! I am living a situation like this right now. To add insult to injury, I am being threatened with some kind of legal action if I dare tell it like it is. The whole Feedback thing is well nigh useless for the reasons you indicate. Blackmailers have a field day. Cheats can get friends to post. Cheats can invent an Internet alter ego and post positive feedback to build-up their “reputation”. I have come to the conclusion that anyone who claims to be a private seller but has so many transactions it must almost be full-time occupation or at least a very time intensive side-line is a disaster waiting to happen: that person is bound to buy a dog one day just based on the odds and will likely pawn it off on another member and drape himself in the mantle of positive feedback. More on this later.
A'gon members have more than once expressed their decision to not leave negative feedback on unscrupulous individuals who deserve it, because they have been threatened with false, retaliatory feedback, or they fear that will be the result. I myself decided against leaving negative feedback on sellers who outright lied and sent defective units to me. Why? Because I went through considerable problems & emotional stress in these experiences, and in getting my money back. I simply didn't want to endure the dispute process to accomplish this. Add to this my one experience with the dispute process which was quite frustrating and demeaning. I later found out that the one seller sold defective merchandise to another member here, and he, too, was very hesitant to report it. Add to this that the member has considerable positive feedback, and you feel like you are fighting a losing battle.

I, too, fear that some individuals may have friends that perhaps even sign up on Audiogon just to provide feedback for them. I will look at who left the feedback - if they have lots of feedback, or are a name I frequently see on Audiogon, I feel somewhat more secure. I know that all my dealings are honest, but I have found there are some bad apples out there.
Nice, you had a horrific experience, so you decide not to warn others due to your own fears. Just let the cycle continue. Did you ever consider that if another member had not been selfish and left negative feedback for the bounder then you would've been warned? What a productive member of the community; you should be proud.
Who are you addressing this to? In my case, I have to wait to see what the dealer who will proceed with repairs after Christmas will tell me and, more to the point, what the cost of repairs will be. The other thing I have to look at is the ins and outs of the dispute resolution process, assuming no proper agreement can be reached with the other party. "and don't be talking too soon for the wheel is still in spin..." with all due excuses to Bob Dylan.
[I know the following doesn't respond to the exact question asked, but it's tangentially germane...]

The feedback system as presently implemented, both here and on ebay, is too intrinsically susceptible to pressure and manipulation to be of much use. Negatives will always be underreported, due both to a justified fear of retaliation (I know, it happened to me on ebay) and to the prevailing informal quid pro quo concerning the trading of generic positives.

I have fantasized about a possible technological fix (not that I would have the faintest idea as to whether, or how, it could be practically implemented): It seems to me that if a feedback system could be designed so that neither party (and maybe no one else either) could see one of the feedbacks before the other was posted (in other words, neither party would have to 'go first'), then each feedback could be written more honestly without fear of reprisal. This would also be a somewhat 'followup-proof' system, in that one party would look pretty foolish if they initially posted positive feedback when they were unaware of the other party's complaint, and then went back and followed-up with secondary negative feedback in obvious retaliation. The inconsistency would hang them by their own petard.

As an analogy, think about a properly functioning electoral democracy: You must implement the all-important secret ballot for it to work as intended. My 'double-blind' feedback system idea is the equivalent of the secret ballot. Like I say, I don't really know how or if this could be accomplished, but to me it doesn't seem very far-fetched in concept. Any opinions?
No PBB; I was not referring to you. You do bring up a great point. The Audiogon dispute resolution process is the next step after a reasoned and dispassionate discourse with the problem seller. Feedback, which can only be left once, is often left too quickly and sometimes in anger before the situation has had a chance to resolve itself. Many problems get out of hand simply by the way that the interchanges between seller and buyer escalate. Most of our trading partners are quite reasonable and often unaware of defects in the goods that they sell. Most are also all too eager to correct the wrong when they are made aware of it politely. In those cases where they are not Audiogon is the fall back. But here too, the facts should be presented without prejudice and personal attack.
Viridian, making such a personal & vitriolic attack upon me is uncalled for. You don't know the details; who are you to judge? You apparently have no concept that there are people out there, even on this site, who are difficult to expose because they have thought their deceptions through quite thoroughly to deter someone they have tried to scam from reporting them. Audiogon is not perfect; nothing is. The one dispute I initiated on this site was a bit more in the "grey" area, although I strongly feel my dispute was valid. However, a number of responders seemed almost to delight in cutting me down.

If you read the disputes section with discernment, you can decipher that in some cases, one party is being honest, but the other is not -- the problem is that sometimes you cannot tell which is the honest party. If anyone wants to email me personally regarding the unreported problem, I will be glad to carry on a dialogue with them.
I pay no attention to feedback. I find it totally unenlightening. Then again I won't buy any expensive items without actually meeting the seller. I once drove from Chicago to eastern Tennessee to buy a $3,000 amp. For me the time and effort were well worth the piece of mind from knowing that the transaction would go smoothly and to my liking.
I like Zaikesman's idea but forsee one design flaw- what if the other party does not leave feedback? Perhaps there could be a time limit, so that if only one feedback is posted, it would eventually be "published" after the other party has "waived" their right to submit feedback.
Good addendum, SW - this sort of provision had occurred to me when pondering the idea before, but I forgot to include something about it my post. Anyone perusing a member's feedback, who cared to crosscheck the feedback that member had left for others, would be able to infer from its absence that the member was not timely in posting theirs, or just didn't care. And a member posting negative feedback honestly would remain protected from arbitrary tit-for-tat reciprocation, since any lack of corresponding feedback would imply that the non-posting member had nothing critical to report (otherwise we could assume they would have felt motivated enough to do so), and that could be taken as a 'virtual positive'. I think 30 days from the submission of the initial feedback ought to be a more than sufficient 'quarantine' period.
Agreed. I have not posted negative feedback on one transaction because I believe that it was probably a "one-off" sale and did not want to start a feedback war. If this feature was available, I could have posted an honest statement in case I was wrong in my assumption.