Change needed at Audiogon

Dear members,

I don't know how others feel about stupid inquiries from non-members about items for sale but I will no longer even bother to answer them. I take great care to word the ads as accurately as possible and include enough photos to properly show the listed item. I also try to be realistic with pricing.

I certainly don't mind being asked to soften my price or to do something a little special for an interested party. But when I list the item as being sold only in the U.S., including original box and manual, and the price is firm with the buyer paying for shipping and then an UNKNOWN person with a Hotmail account asks if I will ship to Canada, lower my price and inquires if the equipment includes the original box and manual I get angry. Can't these people read??

As a verified member I would like to see the owners of this website make two changes. We sellers should ONLY receive emails from registered users that have a REAL email address. I don't mind a buyer's real identity being hidden from me during the initial correspondence but feel strongly that Audiogon should know who they are. I would also like to see Audiogon institute a verified "buyer" service for a reduced fee. I know, as a seller, if a buyer were verified I would take even the lame inquiries more seriously. A verified buyer fee could be quite low and upgradeable to full verified status for the monetary difference.

The benefits would help everyone have a little more confidence with each other. It would provide an influx of revenue to Audiogon. It would save all the sellers the grief of crank inquiries.

I want to close this rant with expressing how much I value my association with the fine folks that provide this service and the community involved. All of my sales and purchases through this site have left me feeling that I have made friends. It's just a few anonymous jerks that need to be filtered out.

Feel better now,
Patrick, I do not get how non-member can get your e-mail from your a'gon userid? I assume that you also have an ebay account and certainly there the non-audiogon ebay members can get your e-mail.

Audiogon has certainly huge number of "holes" of a different sizes in terms of security management. It does nearly nothing to prevent scums that sell brand-new stolen equipment or illegally acquired equipment with removed or altered serial numbers...
I agree: I also think dealers that post or respond to forums under disguised monickers should be kicked off. I think it is unethical at best. I like Asylums approach where a D will be entered next to a dealers post letting the world know. I think it will add credibility to the site. Too many dealers promoting their products under the guise of consumer yuk. Other than that I love this site. I can't wait to read what's up:)
I basically agree with the core of your post. I do want to bring up the fact that MANY ( more than we think ) people are actually reading / posting / contacting through their computers at work and do not have computer access at home. As such, hotmail and yahoo accounts become a necessity for those that want to keep their jobs and be able to "play" on the puter while at work. Deleting those people due to their email account would severely limit the potential market for products marketed on A-gon and appear "snobby" since we no longer wanted to do business with people who weren't "approved audiophile A-gon members".

To get around this, A-gon might want to impliment something that Audio Asylum has had for quite some time. That is, the option of setting your email preferences as to who can contact you via the A-gon remailer. This would allow you to choose between receiving email from anyone that wanted to contact you or just registered members.

While i think that this might cut down on both legit inquiries and window shoppers, it could be done at the sellers own preference as they chose to do so. This would allow individuals to come across as being "snobby" or "elite" without casting all audiophiles and / or A-gon members into the same group as it would be up to the individual to decide what they wanted to do. Any comments or suggestions ? Sean
My major complaint is that non-registered users can email directly through Audiogon routers. It seems the least Audiogon could do would be to provide a prompt to such people to register prior to the email being forwarded. And what information do you have for these folks as non-members? A Hotmail address. No member lookup, etc. If you reply they have your email address in the response.

Sean, there is always a work-around for the folks using the office computers. It's no big deal to have two member names, i.e. lugnut & lugnut2. Any member doing this shouldn't have a problem identifying themselves and their primary username in an inquiry. In fact, I'm sure that the code writers at Audiogon could make provisions for multiple email accounts in the member account.

I really am not a snob and don't wish to portray myself as one through my affiliation with this site. In fact, I'm the kind of person that would spend a lot of time trying to help someone out regardless of their knowledge base.

I became a verified member because I know how nervous it can be sending money long distance to a total stranger. I think that, at the least, inquiries should be from registered members only and the idea of a verified buyer is just one polite step interested parties can take to make the comfort level rise to the occasion.

Help fine tune this thought so that the folks at Audiogon will at least consider it. I had a fellow from Brazil keep bugging me until I had to block the sender. He wanted me to provide a ficticous stated value and ship three items with three different carriers. I have an email folder labeled "goofballs" if anyone would like to have some interesting reading forwarded to them.

I don't have an ebay account. These cretins simply email me through an ad. I appreciate the securtity features here which protect my email address.
Lugnut, my point was that people posting from work do not want to use their company's email address for their personal email. This would allow the bosses to keep track of how much actual work was getting done and how much time was spent monkeying around on the internet. As such, they have to make use of some form of personal communications method that does not come through the companies servers or email programs. Hence the wide use of yahoo and hotmail accounts by legit office workers.

Having two log-in names would not be necessary under any conditions as A-gon allows you to log in from ANY computer and use your moniker. The only reason that i can see someone using two monikers would be to act as a "shill" in terms of bidding / feedback or to post rude comments that they don't have the guts to be associated with.

I was not accusing you of being snobbish nor anyone else here of such a trait. I find this forum and group of people to be the most relaxed and pleasurable to talk with out of all of the other audio related websites that i visit. I hope that you nor anyone else took my comments that way, as i was only trying to bring up a point as to how "outsiders" or "non-members" might see things. Sean
Patrick: I would support changes that increase the credibility of members involved in transactions. Personally I think your proposed email filter should offer the option of limiting inquires to verified members only. The cost of verification is minimal especially in comparison to many of the products transacted here and a willingness of a member to become verified shows at least a minimal legitimate interest.

Verification could go a long way to increasing the professionalism and security of this site. I'm rather surprised it isn't a requirement of new member registration and especially surprised it isn't a requirement for posting feedback.

A little criticism of Audiogon/Webmaster: The verification process could use a lot more visibility. It's not clear from the main page that there even is a verification process no less what the procedure is toward abtaining verified status.
I assume my offer of a goat, chicken, and a dollar three eighty was not accepted in exchange for the speakers you have advertised.
In the marketplace buyers and sellers alike are always trying to push the envelope. I've read disclaimers at the bottom of an add stating that only members will recieve a response. I suppose this might reduce those unwanted inquiries. As far as some fee based security (verification)there will always be someone bucking the system. I like it left up to the individual to filter out the serious from the ridiculous.
I agree with your frustration,having sold many Items of late.I think the easiest thing is to just not answer these people.I do think that we are all very fortunate to have Audiogon at such a small fee.I wouldn't want to change the format as to hurt the success that Audiogon enjoys. My 2 cents.
Call me dense but I'm not sure why you can't stand hotmail? I've been using hotmail for a long time now. I'm not sure why someone wouldn't take me seriously because I have that particular mailbox service?

So far I agree with everything Sean has been saying. Personally I don't particularly care to deal with non members though I have had at least one sale to a non member in the past.

I think it's good to post a thread such as this one. All sites need improvment from time to time.

You're right about not needing double monikers. I apologize for not thinking that one through. And no, I don't think anyone misunderstood your comments previously. I sure didn't.


I may have to take you up on your offer. As I recall, I had countered with 2 Nubian goats and six square feet of your living room including the coved ceiling. Maybe we can firm this deal up now. How about doing business and we can eat one of the goats?

For the curious, Joman is a previous customer and lives in Idaho also.

I really don't have a problem with Hotmail, it's just that a non-member is totally invisible when using it. Nearly 100% of such inquiries are beyond lame in my limited experience.
I have a Question to all participating in this discussion members about Verification.

Is the verification process similar to paypal that you have to verify your bank account?

If Yes than I will stay Unverified due to the unsolved security issues on this site.
Lugnut, first of all, this reply is in no way meant to address you personally or directly. You have brought up a point that has been discussed many times here in the past.
So my reply is to all of those discussions, not yours in particular.

The way I see it, if we have something for sale, we'd like lots of people to see the ad and that gives us more of an opportunity to sell it. These discussions have taken place by folks many times before, usually when they have just gotten one too many emails asking the same stupid questions. IMHO, that's part of the deal when we choose to sell our gear on line - I think we just have to deal with it.

I don't believe that this site is here to protect us, it is simply a vehicle for us. It is our own responsibility to know who we are dealing with and make our own choices.

The proposal to close off emails, bidding, communication to ONLY members feels WAY too snobby and too isolated for me and I for one, don't wish the site to go that route.
There are people everywhere that are either having a bad day or just don't read all the detail, but that's just the way it is. If we can't deal with it, then we probably should get out of selling gear on line.

just my two cents,

I respect your position. Perhaps I should have done a search before posting this thread. In any event, it's hearing peoples opinions that help me wade through the many variables. I don't agree with your characterization that Audiogon is not here to protect us. They have my credit card number, email address and home address which is protected. They also have some sort of resolution process for disputes which offers a certain amount of protection. It's just a matter of how much protection that is offered. I agree that if one can't stand the heat to simply get out of the kitchen but the owners of this site have implemented features that were discussed here in the forums. At least nobody is getting bent out of shape on this particular topic.


The verification process is one in which the billing address of your credit card matches your physical address. It at least shows that a person isn't doing business out of a P.O. Box.

I'm going to drop out of this and absorb the input. I thank everyone for their views.

Glen and Angela, is it possible that we were triplets separated at birth ??? We seem to be sharing the same thoughts. One way to tell might be to find out if we all have something in common genetically. Let's try this: I don't have a hairy back. How about you Glen and Angela ? : )

Marakanetz, verification involves a credit card. They charge you a small amount and run it through. This verifies your billing address. I can't remember if there is something posted about this somewhere or not to list alternative means of verification. Sean
I never realized that non-members could bid at an auction. Is this true? I've never had one at any of my auctions that I can remember anyway.

One negative thing I can say about non members is they can't leave feedback on a transaction. DANG!!!

As far as the verified member thing goes, I like it. True, a good scam artist could minipulate it but for the most part it's a nice feature.
Sean, no hairy back here and I LOVE margaritas! Ring any bells?
Lugnut, thanks for your reply and thoughts and thanks for being open to other ideas and ESPECIALLY letting me know where we intersect and don't.

Bottom line, here's how I see it for moi
At the end of the day, I am the ONLY one that really cares about my a$$ and I keep that in mind every day in every way. No co-dependency here (or at least I really try to keep it that way).
I have remained a non-verified member. I have a hotmail account and I've bought and sold well over 50 peices. If my money and my transaction history is not good enough for you, then I'd just as soon not do business with you anyway. There will always be those who are kicking tires and those who are ready to jump. Being a verified member will not change that. If your having that much trouble perhaps there are other issues creating the problem. Your expectation may be too high or the stuff your selling is drawing the clients it is. I've not experienced your problems to date.
Jade MacRae (Non-verified)
I find that if the feedback system is used EVERY time a trasaction is made it is really easy to tell how a customer is going to be like by their feedback. If they have no feedback then you are playing with fire and better talk to the guy on the phone to see what kind of person you are dealing with.
I'm not verified. I'm just not comfortable giving up so much acess via internet, yet. I had my whole system taken over and ruined by a rogue foriegn site within the last 8 months. Once burned, twice shy. I consider myself honorable, I hope others do too.
Hey JD, yer verified in my book any day ;-}
I really haven't noticed that the lame questions come from non-members moreso than members, though I probably never thought about it. I know that every time I post something for sale, within the first 12 hours I'll get at least a couple and maybe several lame emails asking me if I'll take 1/2 the price and accomodate a couple other oddities. I don't sell enough to worry about the time it takes to reply, "no thanks", but I can imagine if you sell a lot you get irritated by such emails. In any case, if all you do is delete them (an etiquette choice), all that is left is the irritation, a small price to pay for all that this venue brings for us. As always, this type of buying and selling maximizes cost savings, so there is bound to be at least some modest amount of hassle involved. -Kirk
I say let anyone play that wants to. When I first started buying here, I had no feedback, no verification, no nothin'. I joined when I saw that there was a lot offered here on Audiogon, not just tons of equipment, but great people with a common interest. I tried to conduct myself as a honorable and trustworthy gentleman and hoped that the way I spoke and communicated and was willing to go the extra mile to prove my sincerity would tell the real story about me. I chose later on to become verified, mostly because I felt it would give my membership more validity and possibly make other members consider me to be more fully committed. That was my choice! I've sold to non-members, but honestly, I get a better feeling initially from a member, and even more with one that's verified. That doesn't mean that you can't get jacked around by a verified member. You just might not feel so bad about it. I'll try to do business with anyone; member or not, verified or not. I'm just not smart enough to always know who the bad guys are...Skip
Right on, Angela100! When I'm selling something on this site, I want as much exposure of my equipment (uhm...that doesn't sound quite right!) as possible. If the person is not a member, he or she might be new to the site, new to the internet, new to high end, or just might be a reluctant joiner. WHO CARES!!! Sure, most are just low balling tire kickers. But aren't many sales closed that begin with just a casual interest? As for stupid and irritating questions, haven't we all been guilty of these when we were first getting our feet wet in high end? Stupid questions may eventually lead to a rather educated individual! Happy Tunes!
I consider Audiogon to be the ultimate website for those of us unfortunate enough to choose high end audio as our hobby/lifestyle. It is a blessing. Do you remember when you had to advertise your components in the back of Stereophile? All the wacko calls? The two months it took for your advertisement to appear?

I welcome any bothersome question or unreasonable offer on the equipment that I advertise for sale or auction on this website. Many of those initial "unacceptable offers" have become mutually agreed upon transactions and many of those "stupid questions" were important to the good person who needed clarification. I appreciate the opportunity to reach as many of us as I do for the tiny sum that is asked when I list a component. To me all of the responses to my advertisement is the whole idea behind listing an item, to create interest.

I do completely agree, however, with the expansion of the verification process. I believe that it lends credibility to both buyers and sellers alike. There are always going to be people on the Internet who will look to take advantage of someone else through dishonesty. The verification process may not stop that from happening, but it can certainly help to limit it from happening. I know that for myself I often speak to the person that I working with on purchases over $500. I think that it makes us both feel more comfortable. I also generally prefer to work with people who live within 100 miles so that I can physically see what I am paying for and that those who are purchasing from me have the same opportunity.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

I'll also take all the inquiries that I can get; you really never know. But I completely agree that members make better traders than nonmembers - likely from experience.
The funniest one I ever got was a nonmember who wanted to base his offering price not upon fair-market, but upon what *I* paid for the cables I was selling. I said what I had to say to close the deal, but he was getting them at about 25% of retail which was actually somewhat below fair market, so I didn't lose any sleep over that one. Of course I lost $ on the deal; I sold at about 50% of my purchase cost. At least they're finally outta here & they found a reasonably good home.
Personally, I don't understand why you would get offended or upset at someone sending you a simple email, pressenting some other options or asking some questions that you may or may not have considered originally!'s all communication and negotiation really. I can't tell you how many hundreds, yes hundres of times I've told someone I was selling something to(or buying from), that I would only take/pay this much for an item, or only fullfill specific guidelines or options, only to later change my mind due to circumstances changing, or me/them changing our minds!!! ...that's life, and it's all negotiable!
If people are so EASILY offended at simple inquiries, may I suggest there are some deep personal issues that need to be adressed!...and they really shouldn't be dealing with people, or selling in the first place!...or they simply dislike or all of the above.
can't we just all lighten up a little?
Hey if one simply doesn't like someone's email, they can simply delete it! emotional outrage necessary.
Oh, BTW, I have a hot mail account I use here. And I've sold hundreds of audio items over the net in the last 7 years!..and have only possitive feedbacks on any and all the forums I deal on...
Cross-referencing this thread to the various rants about dealers being, well shall we say, high-minded or insensitive, I can't help but wonder if what we have here is the amateur seller's equivalent. Sure you have to answer obvious questions, if there was a qualifying test for purchasers many a sale would not see the light of day. Insofar as shipping to Canada, many times purchasing model railroad items on ebay I had to inquire about how serious a seller was in indicating shipping to the US only. Many a time the seller replied that, on second thought, it wasn't a problem. Maybe model railroaders are naïve, who knows. Mr. Lugnut, are you more averse to changing your mind than your audio equipment? Sure it's easier to not sell any piece of equipment declared surplus in one's system, but once you enter the marketplace you should expect to sweat a little sometime. How about the other fellow who posts ads for good equipment at ridiculously low prices and feels that he has no obligation to sell at that price if someone accepts his offer? Would we accept a dealer doing this? If you start in the buying and selling game, you should expect that every prospect will not turn out to be a buyer and that all prospects may not be as savvy as you. You should adopt an attitude similar to that you would want displayed by the type of dealer you would patronize. If all else fails, you could always sell to a dealer and let him/her field unwanted inquiries and pay the price to avoid dealing with the riffraff.
Interesting reading. A few things come to mind... I recently sold a CDP to a non-member. He was referred to my ad by a member, and he then contacted me. We traded emails and spoke on the phone several times. Terrific guy to do biz with and all went very smoothly; I did suggest the gent sign up here and buy/sell here regularly. Sell to a non-member? Why not.

I tend to be suspicious of Hotmail and Yahoo email addresses but as Sean points out, many folks use this as their only way to send/receive email. Approach with caution in the event someone is trying to hide their identity to pull a scam.

Verified memebership...well, if you live in the United States of America then you can be verified. This policy has irked me for a long time and caused me grief when I quoted Elvis Costello in an initial thread on the subject. Should you choose to live in any other country you have no chance becoming an AudioGon verified member. I've made the grave error of remaining a Canadian citizen and living in Canada so I cannot be verified. I suppose it doesn't matter to Lugnut cuz he wouldn't sell to me anyway but I'm sure other members think twice and wonder why I'm not verified? My take on things...when I'm selling something I don't care where in the world a buyer lives so long as he pays me in U.S. funds and is willing to pick up the shipping. Same with buying stuff, if it's an item I want and I consider the cost of shipping reasonable I don't much care where the seller lives. Removing the blinders provides for many more opportunities. Sincerely, Unverified Jeff
This thread will soon drop off the "New Today" page. I would like to thank everyone for their thoughtful replies. I believe that a few of the readers didn't quite "get" my first sentence regarding NON-MEMBERS & HOTMAIL. That is my complaint. The verified status I spoke of was simply an attempt to raise the comfort level of everyone involved.

That being said, it comes as a surprise the ability to become verified is a U.S.-only opportunity. The only reason I would not sell to Jeffloistarca is that I don't have a clue about the trappings of taxes, duties, extra shipping fees and the like. Other threads posted here detailing packages held for customs inspection only make me more nervous of international business. If Audiogon wishes to become an international site a method of verification world-wide will need to be implimented. With only a few pieces of personal gear to sell I have decided that the possible grief is not worth the risk of selling international.

I got slammed (in a polite way) by several Hotmail users who are members. Once again, it is the NON-MEMBERS that I was complaining about.

It was just last fall when I made my first purchase here at Audiogon. Prior to contacting the owner of the items I purchased I first registered and in my email I explained that this was my first attempt here at Audiogon to purchase goods and assured the seller of my genuine interest in the products. Perhaps it's just me and my sense of being polite but I figured that this fellow didn't solicite directly to me and since I was, in a sense, invading his email inbox that I ought to take care with my correspondence.

This world is made up of folks that over-communicate, under-communicate and everthing in between. Personally, I tend to favor the over-communicate method. I recently got an email from a life long friend with this being the email text in it's entirety:
I bought a Jag today.
Well, being a car guy I assumed it was a Jaguar and wrote back asking what model and year it was. He replies that it's a Cataraft. How was I to know? I'm not a mind reader.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that (leaving the malicious people out) without the privelidge of face to face negotiations we, as buyers, have a moral obligation to provide a minimum ammount of information to the seller. I sense that some of the posters here wouldn't agree with me on that one and would counter that it's the sellers lot in life to deal with it. That's true. Once it's (an email) in your inbox you must deal with it in some fashion. I don't believe it's unreasonable for users of this site to register. That's Audiogon's call, not mine. It's my choice to use this site or not and I will continue to do so because it's the finest site of its' kind on the planet.

Thanks again to EVERYONE that posted. This is a wonderful group of people with opinions as varied as our systems. It's interesting to note that every poster here IS a member...........

Happy listening,
I too have been frustrated by non-member inquiries, but I also have sold some things to non-members. I have had members ask questions that are already answered in the ad, so I don't think closing the site to non-members is a solution, unless you want to limit your customer base. I know it's frustrating, but that's all part of selling. I'm also sure that, on occasion, I've asked a dumb question or two myself, or missed something already stated in an ad. I do like the "verified buyer" idea, but be cautious of a labeling process that is accomplished by the use of a credit card and the submission of the personal information of the card holder. The amount of stolen credit card numbers out there is overwhelming. Imagine, if you would, an e-tailer's files being hacked, and all of the personal and credit card information for card holders stored in their computers now accessible to criminals. The card holder doesn't know his card is being used because it's still in his or her wallet. If the purchases are small (such as ad purchases), the card holder may not notice these charges for some time. This isn't a fantasy. It's already happened to several internet businesses that I know of.

The use of feedback has always been my guide to a seller's or buyer's integrity. But now there has been a number of stolen identity cases where a username with excellent feedback is high-jacked and used to post a fraudulent auction. There is an article about it on Cnet, if you're curious. Education is the best protection for judging buyer and seller integrity. There is a wealth of information at,,, and Read and be familiar with all of the warning signs for internet fraud, and the tactics used by criminals to accomplish it.

Lately I've seen a couple of threads bashing Audiogon for one thing or another. I don't mean to imply that this was the purpose of this thread. Quite the contrary, this seems like constructive criticism (and ranting:)). But I would just like to say this about Audiogon: Having recently been involved in investigating internet auction fraud, I have found that Audiogon is a site where your safety from these characters is a primary concern of theirs. They are very supportive and communicative. I haven't had the same response from other audio or auction sites. There was a time not long ago when the entire first two pages of one audio site was nothing but bogus ads. It took weeks for them to pull these ads after being notified. In the meantime, someone was victimized. It seeems like some of these sites won't pull ads or remove members until an actual fraud has occured, regardless of the evidence of the ad being fraudulent beforehand. Audiogon is the ONLY site I have worked with that is proactive with this type of fraud. As far as settling non-fraud related problems, they also initiated a dispute resolution process soliciting member feedback that no other site has. Even though everything can be improved upon, I think Audiogon is the best sales site for audio equipment, and is the only one I will now use.

Sorry if I got off the track a bit. I had to rant some as well. By the way, I have a Hotmail email address. Where do I turn myself in:)?
Okay, I'm going to swallow hard and appologize to the Hotmail users. It's the anonymous non-members that get my Nubian Goat. I'm sorry. Any Hotmail users want to accept my apology?
AJ is right on! We as consumers can get ripped off by any person; via the internet, classifieds in periodicals, or shopping in any store. The same is true for selling items. I believe if someone is intending to rip someone off, eventually they'll find their pigeon. Each of us should take precautions when conducting any transactions. Audiogon does a good job at taking responsibility on their end. We as individuals need to do the same. If a person doesn't want to do business with non-members or non-verified members, they should state that in their ad! I've tried numerous times to get verified, but audiogon says there's a glitch whenever they try to confirm with my bank. And I pay off my credit card in full each month. So I'm not verified. Does that make me untrustworthy? I also use a hotmail account specifically for audiophile purposes. Both my wife and I are professionals who receive far too many emails a day. Having a separate hotmail account allows me to keep all my audiophile correspondence in one email account, and if needed, I can refer back to it to verify or disclaim the nature of a transaction. As far as receiving many bogus inquiries, that's just the nature of retail sales; regardless of what you're selling, where you're selling it, and how you're selling it.

I think Audiogon already has a "verified buyer" program. I'm sorry to hear about your negative experiences. I have not personally had experiences like this.

I also "verify" buyers by discussing audio with them. It's fun and clarifies their real level of involvement with the hobby.

Do you realize that a member can post a negative feedback against you without any transaction occuring between you and that member on Audiogon? Read Audiogon rules. This should never happen as it violates the rules of Audiogon membership.
I accept it, but no need to apologize. I read your previous post, and just mentioned it for fun. Didn't mean to rub it in.

A *search functionality* for this 'Discussion Forums', so I can quickly find the topics/key words i am interested in.