Can a buyer back out with no penalty?

Hi members,

Last week I got an offer for a preamp on Audiogon which I am selling. The buyer offer cash local pickup and he required an audition before taking the preamp. It seems fair to me so I accepted his offer.

Yesterday he came to my house with another guy. They spent almost an hour to play through my system. Then finally they said they don't want to buy it with the reason "I don't like the sound". I tried to explain to him that after the buyers' offer is accepted that is a commitment to buy. Unless the product was not as described in the ads, he has to take it. They just left without saying anything.

My question is: what do we do with that kind of buyer, how to deal with this situation correctly?



If you accepted the "offer" through the Audiogon system, (which you should always do), then you can leave negative feedback on the buyer.

Could be that your place was the only place to "audition" your McIntosh C-2200 preamp and that was the only thing the dude wanted to do was to hear it.

I’ve had this happen a couple of times on more esoteric type gear. I now require a $100 NON-REFUNDABLE deposit. If the buyer backs out, he’s out the $100. Seems to work.
I would never allow audition in my house and would never take cash.
Buyer should know what he is buying. If the received item is not in an advertised condition then it is a reason for a dispute.
We are not dealers.

Thanks Mofimadness,

I will leave the appropriate feed back to him (Neg.). I will ask for deposit as you said next time.


You are right Inna, we are not dealer.

Its just sometimes we want to share our passion in audio with someone else. I have always treated buyer as audiophile. Myself as an example. When I buy some audio equipment, I really want to have it as soon as possible. That is the reason I accepted local pickup. And also "hot cash" was very attractive, haha..



why would you refuse cash?
Dangcaonguyen, I understand and could probably make an exception for some people, but very few. I bought all my equipment unheard, got lucky, most of it was bought on Audiogon.
Why refusing cash? First, I would want to get paid before delivery or even pick-up to avoid a potential 'shoot-out'. And second, there are fake banknotes. In any case, I suggest accepting cash only in $20 not $50 or $100 bills. Again, I might make exceptions, but as a general rule - no way. If the banknotes are fake and you take them to the bank and the bank figures it out, you may have problems or at least a very unpleasant day, not to mention you will have no money.
Another Audiogon turkey!!! I had a guy came over to hear my Magico Mini 2 after 5 min i knew the JERK was kicking tires i finally had to ship them to another buyer.
Two times over the years I've done this for a local audio nut, and both times it turned into clear "tire kicking", treating my house like it is an audio salon.  I will only do cash pick up for convenience, but not offer an audition.  Whether it is local or distant, we all take a chance to try out different used gear in our systems to find the right matches.  Someone seeking a "audition/approval" because of the local advantage is just a big red flag to me now.
Agree with mofi, collect a non-refundable deposit before the audition. It is a must to be careful and not let "tire kickers" abuse you. I would give a close friend the audition, but with everyone else, it's strictly business.
+1 mofi. Leave negative feedback so others are aware of this "tire-kicker".
I also like the $100 deposit to audition philosophy.

As for accepting cash, I have always accepted cash. However, if it is from an untrustworthy source, I recommend having a Dri-Mark Smart Money Counterfeit Bill Detector Pen handy.
When I started back in this 'hobby'. I was surprised that some people would allow me to come to their home and listen to equipment.
I did so only to confirm that the equipment was functioning properly, not as an audition.
I, too, would be put out if someone did that to me.
Though, I have met some really nice people and gotten some really nice equipment.
Another, +1 for the $100 deposit.
There are fakes that only very good equipment can detect. Why take chances?
I don't like deposit approach, that's too business-like and unfriendly.
As for leaving negative or not, I decide on case by case basis. Even one negative feedback carries a lot of weight on Audiogon. In the OP's case I would not leave any feedback but would not deal with this person again. He did nothing terribly wrong.
I have always used Paypal with no problems
Once I bought something that turned out to be a scam and Paypal got my money back. Everything I have sold That I was payed with Paypal has worked with no problems. I would never let a stranger in my house to audition equipment.
"He did nothing terribly wrong."

That may or may not be true. Buyer made an offer and seller accepted. That's a contract. Breaking a contract is terribly wrong, however, if the buyer's offer was contingent on the audition, then he did nothing wrong. The only way to determine who is at fault for the unfortunate situation is to know the exact details of their initial conversation.

If the buyer backs out after an official offer has been accepted contact Agon support and they will undo the deal and charge them a $19 back out fee. 
I thank all of you who have replied. I hope the buyer have a chance to read this to see what others think of his act. I dont give him neg feed back. I just hope he will respect other people's time and do some research before sending an offer. I had to skip work and drive back 40miles from work to meet him at home because of his available time slot. I have learnt a big lesson and will be very careful for home audition next time. 
Thanks to all, after reading your comments I feel much better.
Now is my time to enjoy my new Shindo system which i was lucky to buy from audiogon members.

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Breaking contract on a small scale is wrong but not terribly wrong. I believe, negative feedback would violate the principle of adequate reaction in this case.
I've had many very nice knowledgable people visit my home to complete the purchase, listen to the equipment and pay with no problems or worries.

i can understand some people may be nervous having perfect strangers visit tho.

I'm not one of those people. I've been thinking about the previous responses related to a non refundable deposit, and for nervous people that may be a good idea. 

For me, when they accept the offer after we communicate via audiogon, phone or email, I have a pretty good idea about the person I'm dealing with. 

I would thonk honk it very strange that a person would not want me to see or hear the item after accepting my offer for many reasons. 1) it may be a scam. 2) it may not actually work. 3) it may not work or look as advertised and 3) it may be stolen and the seller's home has nothing in it that indicates that the seller knows the first thing about high end audio equipment.

i don't care about the price if it is stolen. I'm walking away. 
Lastly, some equipment is extremely heavy and will cost much to ship. If I'm nearby I would prefer to pick it up myself. 

If if the buyer is nearby, why ship it?  Anyway, just my thoughts. 


Also, I'm fairly confident that I can sell the item in question to someone else. I always price my items to sell so I'm really not worried.  If someone changes their mind after accepting the listed price and then coming by to hear it, so be it. Someone else will buy it. 

"Breaking contract on a small scale is wrong but not terribly wrong. I believe, negative feedback would violate the principle of adequate reaction in this case."

Sorry, I didn't get the impression from the post that the transaction was small scale. A small scale to you may be huge to someone else and what is huge to you may be small to the next guy. It doesn't matter what words you use or don't use with the word wrong, there's no varying degree of being wrong. When someone breaks a contract, this is total disrespect to the other person. IMHO, they deserve a negative feedback.
He offered and listened and didn't like it. Did you lose anything more than your time? If not, just move on.

Back in the day when you responded to ads in the newspaper you might work out a price before going over and viewing the item. When you arrived to view, test drive or whatever, you could change your mind if you were not satisfied. That was all part of trying to sell your item and understood.

Now, I have no problem with the offer system on Audiogon but when I am looking for a particular piece and the seller has two days to respond, for which I'm stuck waiting the 2 days to hear back and in some cases the seller never responds, thus wasting my time, that irks me. Also, if the same piece comes up elsewhere for a good price I am stuck waiting for the first seller to respond and can not move on the second piece, which more often than not I end up losing. 

I really think that if the seller doesn't respond in 8 hours the bidder should be released from any commitment to buy.  Sellers play games and often wait for the last hour to respond and at times just let the clock run out.

Sorry to slightly high jack this thread but the system here is not perfect on a number of levels.
Tls49, your prosecutor's presentation is overruled. There are and should be the degrees of wrong. The tricky part is who decides. In this case, it is obvious - the one who started the thread.
I agree with Raymonda's tone - take life easy. People are too uptight these days and demand guarantee. There are no guarantees.
"There are and should be the degrees of wrong."

Thanks for the laugh. That’s funny, like being a little bit pregnant. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the varying part is the end result of the action. Sure there is a greater loss breaking a $100,000 contract as opposed to a $1000 contract, but one is just as wrong as the other. The varying degree is the amount of loss that is the result of the wrong action. There is no difference in the action, only difference is the end result.

And I totally agree to take life easy, but that doesn't mean to let people abuse and take advantage of you.

... when they accept the offer after we communicate via audiogon, phone or email, I have a pretty good idea about the person I'm dealing with."

I agree with you on this, and I make it clear that they are there to confirm the equipment works and appears as represented, not for a test drive to see if they like it. I insist on a phone call before I allow them to pick up an item in person. If the buyer start to balk at that in the least I find another buyer. Also, you should only accept cash if they pick up the item. 
ebm, after talking incessantly about Magico what speakers did you buy? Should we presume another set of Magico? Or, is the magic gone? :)

The best thing to do is walk away and get on with your life.  Aside from giving the prospect a neg. rating (which no one cares about)....that's life