Conduct on Audiogon

I am relatively new to Audiogon and have a question about how business is conducted on this site. This morning I made an offer to purchase an interconnect at a certain price and if the seller responded within the day. I received an e-mail from the seller indicating "I'll accept your offer" and notifying me that he would accept paypal or a money order as payment. At this point I have made an offer, he has accepted, and I am thinking we have a deal. 42 minutes later he sends me an e-mail saying he needs me to reconfirm within 10 minutes or he is going to sell to someone else. Of course I am not monitoring e-mail on a minute by minute basis since I have to keep my day job in order to support this expensive habit, and the guy turns around and sells this thing to someone else. In the regular, non-internet, world where I operate this type of conduct would be total b.s. But when I ask this guy how he can agree than simply back out he tells me this happens all the time on Audiogon. Is this really the case? Does this type of conduct merit negative feedback or am I overreacting?
Mac, i have to applaud your response. While i agree with you in principle, Audiogon has to draw the line somewhere as to what constitutes a "deal" or "transaction". Otherwise, i could post negative feedback about you for literally ANYTHING and it would be my word against yours. For example, if you did not cut me a "better deal" on an item that you were trying to sell, i could post that you are "uncooperative, hard to get along with, someone to avoid", etc... See what i mean ??? So long as everyone follows the basic guidelines and leaves feedback by the same agreed upon standards, everyone knows EXACTLY ( or as close as possible ) as to what took place.

Like any other "rules" or "guidelines", there are always loopholes and those that find ways to exploit them. Audiogon is working to "fill in the gaps" in terms of transactions and feedback, but it will not be an overnight thing. As always, Audiogon is ALWAYS open to good ideas and member feedback, so if you or anybody else has something positive to ad to the website, feel free to start a CONSTRUCTIVE thread on the subject or email them directly.

I have suggested previously, and still believe, that each item listed should receive an "item number". Transactional feedback could only be made with that item number used as a reference. Right now, there is REALLY no way to know who is leaving honest feedback and who is stacking the deck. With the "reference number method",the seller would have at least had to pay to post an ad in order to get an item number and there would be some way to cross-reference the feedback to the specific item that was listed. Make sense ??? Sean
Boy thanks for all the responses in such a short period of time. With a couple of exceptions (unfortunately including the one from Audiogon) that fact that others were equally as troubled sure makes me feel better about using this site - it's just going to take time to find the straight shooters. I think Macm nailed it, and I am pretty troubled by the Audiogon response in that it indicates a "verifiable agreement had not been reached" as either no payment had been sent or the product had not been shipped. I am no lawyer, but I have spent enough time with lawyers to be confident that an agreement can be reached (both written and verbally) prior to payment for or shipment of of the product. Under the proposed Audiogon guidelines an individual could agree to purchase something via money order, then spend the next several days looking for a better deal before sending payment. If they find a better deal take it, drop the first deal, and have no risk of bad feedback. There are obviously a multitude of scenarios that can create problems under these existing criteria. I can assure you I have a sequence of time-stamped e-mails that would constitute a "verifiable agreement" by almost any standard. I came to this site assuming the feedback system was an effective form of self-policeing (policing?). Seems like there is still some work left to turn this into a reliable system. The good news is they are focused on it. I thought I was doing the users of this site a favor by giving this guy negative feedback to alert others to be careful when dealing with him. Question now is whether under the current rules of the game I am obligated to go back to Audiogon and request that they remove this negative feedback - I think this is the case based on the Audiogon commentary above.
The problem with your "offer" Bink was that it apparently did not include your proposal for acceptable methods of payment (or if it did propose a method of payment - the Seller "countered" your proposal by specifying very limited acceptable methods to either pay pal or a money order. Accordingly, the Seller did not accept your offer - he modified it by introducing additional material terms to your proposal. Although you may have been agreed on price - you had no binding contract with the Seller unless and until you confirmed that you were willing to accept his proposed payment terms. Granted the time limit he put you under to reply seems a bit harsh - if he has an acceptable deal pending I am sure he wants to close it ASAP. I would suggest to you that in the future - you be very cetain to include ALL material terms in a proposed offer, including shipping and method of payment. I have done many deals on audiogon and payment terms are extremely important to me. I have and well continue to reject offers that have unacceptable payment terms - even if the price is OK.

For all intents and purposes an e-mail response stating: "YES I will accept your offer" is analogous to a deal closing handshake. …In this sense a cyber-handshake, as it were. The response confirms agreement that a deal has been struck in principle and that details and particulars to be worked out later. …How much later is a good question, but 10 minutes seems ridiculous. I have bought and sold several items and NEVER have I ran into this type of constraint.

In this particular situation it would appear that the seller in question “shook on it”, and then regretted the decision. It then appears that the seller (realizing that he had two good offers, and rather than being honest) created a 10-minute “confirmation time limit”; in order to extricate himself from the first deal. It might also be argued that THIS was also an attempt by the seller to create a bidding-war environment - providing the original buyer responded quickly enough. …Or we could just call it a moving target.

While one is certainly entitled to getting the most $ one can for their gear and selling it to whomever one chooses; it would only seem prudent that these considerations be made prior accepting an offer from a prospective buyer. Not afterward.

It only seems reasonable that this seller (and those members who would act similarly) be held accountable to the Audiogon community. This type of behavior demonstrates a general lack of foresight, patience, good judgment, and questionable ethics. …In the end this member is simply a person who would just as soon waste the time of others as not.

Shoddy dealings such as these are the exact kind of information I want to know about when I reference a member's feedback. …So I can avoid them! …Who knows what else might be awry.

Assuming that the originator of this thread is giving an accurate representation of the transaction or “non-transaction” as it were, a negative rating for the offender would seem more than justified. While every successful transaction via Audiogon constitutes acts of good faith for the parties involved this particular seller could hardly be described as “acting in good faith.”

The members responding to this post appear find Audiogon’s current stipulations regarding negative feedback lacking. What, if anything will you do to address this apparent concern/desire to post negative feedback under circumstances such as those in this post - in which there appears a consensus that it IS warranted?

It sounds to me as though you kinda got screwed, more mentally than monetarily. It's pretty pathetic when a guy who is selling something can't wait more than ten minutes for a reply, particularly when we're all trying to work in between normal business hours. I've bought and sold many times over the last year or so, but I can't ever remember being so "pricky" about people responding. Sure everyone would like a response within a reasonable time frame and many times that's possible. It's not as though cables are perishable so some flexibility in response time would be the courteous thing to do. You know the nice thing about all this is that without being a frequent trader here, you already know what the protocol is, and the seller obviously didn't follow it as he should have. The only right thing the seller did was to email you back. Maybe that's the only thing we can give him credit for. If you follow this sight for any time, I'm sure you'll find that most members are honest, fair and usually more patient.