Ethics are sliding by members!


My comment here is that member ethics are falling like a stone on audiogon.

I'm sad to say this because I've been an enthusiastic member for over 15 years.
I've met many terrific people on audiogon and the majority of the interactions andsales over the years have been pleasant, few curve balls.

Yet some of the stunts I've encountered in 2018 are extremely disappointingand downright unethical. I'll share JUST ONE here now.

When you list an product, lets say a pair of speakers, it attracts attention.You often get calls discussing the minutia of the product.People will take enormous amounts of your time to glean information aboutthe product you are selling, clearly with no interest in buying from you.
If the person is sincerely interested in buying, spendingsome time with them is kosher. We all know that audiogon sales are invariably atheavy discounts, not at MSRP.
On a recent listing I had half a dozen calls in several days for Magnepans listed at $4300 plus shipping, approx $200.
I fielded the same array of questions that was listed on the ad."What is the color? What condition? Do you have the manual? Do you have the boxes? How much do they weigh? Will you take Pay Pal? Will you take my personal check?"All of this was listed.
It used to be that people actually read your post, and if they called- they called to ask somethingother than what was in the post.
Then we go to-
Why are you selling them? What amp do you have? Which cartridge? Which speaker cables?Etc Etc
Again, for a sincerely interested buyer, you can go a bit down this road. For someone just looking to chat,which is frequently the case these days- no thanks. Chatter on forums. There are hundreds available.

Two of my first six callers did this discussion at significant time and said- I'll get back to you.
One fellow did it and offered $2000 including shipping.Another fellow wanted the opportunity for a home trial with option to return them.Hello!

Finally a doctor called and we went through the same 20 minute discussion.At the end of the 20 minutes he said he would buy them "if you pay the freight, or I don't have to pay taxif I pick them up."Being exhausted at about two hours of chat over several days on these speakers, I said "Uncle" and agreedto eat the sales tax if he visited to pick them up. He gave me his info and we ran the sale on his CC.

Among his questions were:"Are they in good shape?" Absolutely"Do they play fine?" Yes, of course. I wouldn't post defective speakers.My audiogon feedback is 100% over 15+ years.
He said given my feedback and patience with him, he trusted me and I should packthe speakers up, so when he visited (8 hour drive) he could grab them and drive offwithout wasting time- a one day round trip. Makes sense.
He gave me a date a week out where he would drive over to pick them up.
Over the next few days I had several more inquiries about these speakers.I told the callers- sorry- they are sold.Each one wanted to discuss the speakers regardless.
Being a fellow audiophile, I spent time with them to answer some questions.But really guys? The speakers have sold.

About five days after purchase the doc calls and says he might not have time to visit-can I ship them? I said yes. He wanted me to pay for the shipping. No. That's
a bridge too far. It adds not only to my cost, after we had a  DONE DEAL, but ties me into the loop of any shipping problem.
I agreed to make the sale at HIS PRICE, under HIS CONDITIONS, that he was going topick the speakers up in the flesh. He wanted serial numbers which I provided.
Then he calls back the next day and wants to cancel the sale.After an hour of phone chatter and a done deal on the sale- he wants to renege on the sale.The speakers have been boxed up, no small chore on heavy Maggies.Every time you HANDLE heavy speakers you risk another nick or scratch.
When I say I'm not willing to cancel the sale, he gets hostile."Well I would have to audition them anyway." What does that have to do with our sale?HE TOLD ME to box them up!
Then he goes to-
"They aren't safe being shipped."First of all HE made the offer to come pick them up. That's what the sale was based on.This sale was done under his conditions.
Second, how do you think these speakers get around the country? Of course they are shipped.
Obviously picking them up in your van is safer than shipping. That was agreed upon at sale.

He was getting exceedingly more hostile.He even pulled the old, "My wife isn't on board with this."Sir, that is not my problem. I told him this isn't fair. I agreed to his price and conditions.I'm not happy about this. I need to think about it and will call you back.
Within a short time I realized I did not care to do business with an unethical jerk like this.I needed to cut this negative energy out of my life, so I credited his CC back and emailed him the credit.
I went to my notes and called two of the fellows who had called asking about the speakers- over a week ago now.
The first fellow said he had bought the same speakers from someone else on audiogon for $4800 because mine were gone.The second fellow said he would have bought them from me, but opted to buy some other speakers instead.
Thanks a lot doc. I get to start all over.
 Another stunt I've seen this year- that I've never seen before- are peopleclicking the PURCHASE box- but never calling to follow up to make the purchase.
What they are doing is- clicking to TAKE YOUR PRODUCT OFF AUDIOGON- giving them a
better chance to sell theirs- by eliminating competition. This buys them close to a week as you try toconnect IN GOOD FAITH with them to finalize the sale- which will never happen.
In 15+ years of dealing through audiogon, I've never had experiences like the ones I've listed here.
It used to be that we were like avid members of a club. Now it's turning into Craig's List.





audioemporium
I would never post my phone number, all comunication would have to be done via email.
Weed out the tire kickers via email, then if you must talk to them on the phone, only at a last resort. Your descriptions of the gear you have on now is nil. If you make more of an effort to describe the gear, condition, shipping and payment options it would go along way to solve your phone problems.

audioemporium

Sorry to hear about your experience with the doctor.  Some of my best friends are doctors and I'd say that, in the scenario that you describe, they sometimes seem to lack common sense.

What steps did you take to qualify the doctor for the purchase?

dill

My understanding from reading the OP is that audioemporium did describe the gear, the condition, etc. in the listing.  And, that part of his venting was that potential buyers would call him and ask him for the same information that is contained in the ad --

"I fielded the same array of questions that was listed on the ad."

I had assumed, looking at the ad, that it was a store and wanted you to call, as no information was given except phone number...
Just looked at the bare bone ad with stock picture....regardless of item/price, all of the following queries are pretty reasonable, IMHO.

What is the color? What condition? Do you have the manual? Do you have the boxes? How much do they weigh? Will you take Pay Pal? Will you take my personal check? Why are you selling them?

Following queries are usually comes from folks who are unsure (in this instance) if speakers are going to be compatible with their existing gear,

What amp do you have? Which cartridge? Which speaker cables?

It’s was unfortunate that sale with the Doc didn’t work out as planned and I commend the seller to cut the ties with a buyer who clearly doesn’t feel obligated to honor his end of the commitment.

Rather simple solution to this folderol, unless you are lonely, don’t talk with potential buyers on the phone.
Questions being asked that are already stated I find are people just wanting to get a sense of the person selling . They need to start a dialog and thats the easiest way to start a conversation . In my experience this is not new to current dealings on agon , but I had these issues a decade ago as well. Sucks and hope you get your sale asap .

@audioemporium, this was nearly a duplicate experience I had with a fellow from an Ebay purchase. AFTER he paid with PayPal he said his wife wasn’t on board with the purchase and could I return his money. The next step was great rudeness on his part and he began to hound me by texting and calling. Then he said these COULDN’T be shipped across country without being damaged and he could almost "guarantee" they would arrived damaged. Ugh. I gave him his money back. Did he by any chance have an english accent? He was very strange from the beginning to the end.

Greg
Audioemporium. After 15 years you must have learned something?? Selling over the Internet is always risky. That's why I never do it especially when it comes to speakers. Sometimes, the buyer is satisfied and all goes well. But, if the buyer is not satisfied, you are going down a path that is never ending. Beside shipping costs and other things it becomes a war between 2 people that can't end well.
No matter how well you describe your speakers and how they perform with various electronics the buyer will never know how they will perform with his system and ROOM.
That's why...always sell locally and have the buyer audition them in his environment. Buyers will frequently know the product they are buying whether having pre auditioning it or replacing it know will fit the bill. Most buyers will not.
So, use your 15 years and knowledge and common sense.

The other problem with communicating on the phone is that there is no record of anything. This can be a problem for either the seller, or the buyer. A clear, written, trail of the transaction, the claims being made, and the commitments, is the only thing that we have to fall back on when misunderstandings occur.

I would no sooner speak with a potential buyer on the phone than purchase a car without paperwork.
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To Greg,
"My" doc was clearly American, from S Dakota.

As in original post, I'm happy to talk for a while to true 
prospective buyers. That's reasonable.

I have encountered MANY people who are pretending to 
shop- but just want to chat. They start by feigning interest in buying,
but as the conversation goes on, you realize- they're not really
interested in a purchase.

My major beef, is that after someone chews your ear, often
in multiple calls of copious time, then orders, complete with payment, isn't that sale a DONE DEAL? 

It's not fair that they want to cancel the sale and get a refund.
I'll go so far to say, it's unethical. These are not retail sales!

To hide behind your wife not being on board is severely lame.
If you need her OK, then get her approval before placing the order and making payment.

I've had three such cancellations this calendar year.

Sellers don't make sales based on the option to cancel the sale if your wife decides to veto the sale several days later- or you read a review
of something else you'd rather have. When you make the order with payment, that is a completed sale.
agree that it was seemingly a done deal
What about dealers who way over inflate the retail price of an item they are selling ?  One of the  dealers who posts items for sale quite frequently had misstated the retail price of an item by over 2K.  I sent them a very polite  PM telling them what the real retail price was and the response was "what are you, the price police?"  Because of this, I will never purchase from them.  I expect that from a private seller, not from a retail business.
At first, I was outraged by the account on the 'doctor' you were describing. However, looking at your ad, I have to say that there isn't any more sloppy ad I've ever seen on Audiogon. There is no original photo, no description, none of the details you claim to be present in your rant. As a buyer, this would make me extremely nervous, especially given the price level of the product. If you don't put in the time to advertise the product properly that you are trying to sell, you shouldn't be surprised by the response from the prospective clientele that you are trying to attract.

No input yields no output.
+1 chenthom1. You claim you repeatedly fielded questions that were stated in your ad, yet you have no information at all in your ad. Is that the correct ad dill is pointing out? If so, not at all sure what your gripe is, or why you're claiming something on a false premise.
Something about Maggies attracts tire kickers. 
Just a thought for all concerned/interested:
It’s difficult to not want to talk or communicate directly to prospective buyers, as I myself enjoy and welcome inquiries.   But care must be taken as there are those who can initiate a scam just by obtaining your phone number and or email address. I realize it is a rarity, but still a distinct possibility. I am by no means an expert on this phishing business but it is real, just be aware and use your judgment on all prospective “buyers”.  Just my 2c.
cheers
The fact that someone is a doctor should not make that person better than anyone else or more reliable. There are many unreliable and unethical doctors out there. The fact that someone can go to school for x amount of years and become a doctor means he has the ability to learn a certain subject but it doesn't make them honest, or just plain good or ethical people outside of their profession, assuming they are in their profession. If you went to see this person and did not agree with his diagnosis, will you get your money back? No (insert curse word) chance!!!
People regard doctors as "special" people, just as they do millionaires and billionaires ("they made a lot of money, they must be smart"). That's how we ended here anyhow.
+1 for  chenthom1
I just saw the ad - it's the plainest ad I've seen in a while...
A posting whether detailed or vague is not an entitlement to buy. 

If your selling something, you open yourself to everyone, no different than someone walking in a store. 

I will say most transactions go decent, there are always exceptions. 
Sad these flakes are changing your impression of members and this platform.  Take action, flag and report these flakes.  Everything has a shelf life ...even a great platform like Audiogon.  eBay took proactive actions and have gotten better over the years.

Cheers mate and better luck as we move forward.
The ad I have listed now isn't the same one I originally posted. I'm happy to talk to music lovers who have serious interest in what I'm selling.
Aside from the fact that maybe it's time to hang up your Audiogon spurs, there are ways to easily prescreen some of these folks. Only communicate through email initially. A few exchanges can go a long way toward getting a feel as to whether a prospect is worthy of pursuit. I employ a little used cell phone to collect calls that I can screen and follow up with at a convenient time. Let's face it, if you use online selling platforms, you are committing to expending some time and effort in moving, or purchasing goods. There are bound to be disappointments along the way, and if they become too onerous, then change your methods of selling. And yes, I agree with you that folks are not as ethical or honest as they used to be. Audiogon is not special in that regard.
...a Doctor you say....
I'm guessing in this scenario, a proctologist ?
This is a direct result of the qualty of the leadership of this country. History documented it many times. It's time we woke up and admitted it.
stevecham, wake up!  This is an audio forum.  If you want to ruin it, introduce politics.
Good laughs all around...
Good laughs all around? Not for Audio Emporium.

Maybe because I know this dealer personally, I have to believe he was willing to answer any question, spend a more than reasonable amount of time, and not pressure anyone to make a decision. I would recommend him to anyone looking for the brands that he sells.This is a shop that would let me listen to whatever they had that was the best system in the store. Hand me the remote, and this was knowing that I would not be purchasing. When I was buying he let me take home components, with no deposit. I think they have been in business over 40 years, and still are, while we lost almost all of our brick and mortar stores.

When doing deals on higher price items I always preferred to talk to the seller or the buyer, if they lacked any helpful feedback.
Ethics is the topic. Of course audio is the focus here. Ethical behavior is the issue. I’m not going to play let’s pretend and put my head in the sand. Time to call things as they are. To pretend that politics isn’t practiced in the microcosm of audio commentary does a disservice to all members. One cannot deny the external influences on such behaviors from outside this little play world we call Audiophilia.
Hey Stevecham,
 Nothing will ruin any forum faster than entering politics into it. Completely inappropriate. By you even implying that already indicates volumes about political leanings... 
It is irrelevant whether you’re a ‘dog lover’or a ‘cat lover’,  when it comes to this site we ‘re all music lovers and the equipment that helps us appreciate it the best. 
No need to know what kind of pet you have. Please refrain from such dialogue here... thank you in advance, from all of us. 
Happy Lissn’n
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First impressions are everything, what no more audiokarma ... why are you so angry?
I smell it already, pigboat sounds like a troublemaker.
pigboat, We don’t talk politics here. stevecham was a rare instance of poor judgement. Remain calm, be polite and if someone brings up politics, don’t reply, just report it to the moderators and you’ll be fine here.
pigboat,
Learn the difference in usage between there and their.
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Post removed 
Yep...ethics are sliding.
Yesterday Tom called regarding a used amp I have.
We agreed at a price of $1750 including UPS.
He said he would call back in 30 min with a CC.
He's busy at work.

This morning there is a note on audiogon from Tom asking
if I would sell for $1650.

This is the kind of low ball behavior I'm seeing more and more of.
The fellow calls to twist my arm on a price.
We agree on the number.
He says he'll call back in 30 min to order.

And the next day he has no shame whatsoever in offering $1650.
Like we never spoke? 
Just insulting behavior.
Tom is not a man of his word, I'd say.
I used to sell a lot of vintage stereo gear through the recycler newspaper. I got so sick of "certain people" asking "what's your bottom line?" and then when I gave the bottom line, that's where they wanted to start negotiating. I quickly learned that when asked "what's your bottom line," to say ... "make me your best offer." If they balked at that, I'd just show them the door. Freakin' idiots.

Frank
The real hobbyist are still great people to deal with, they are the minority now days. Dealers and those buyers who buy as cheap as possible then turnaround and sell for a profit, this running there own little business. I've sold to many great buyers and I have purchased also and in many cases had great exchanges on our system, advise etc. If you price it fair then hold to your guns, low ballers either cannot afford it or they trying to buy it cheap to sell at a higher price. I see many adds i am the 2nd or 3rd owner and they are selling it as high as say a 1st owner, and you know they being a 2nd or 3rd owner did not pay retail as the 1st owner did get the list the ad at full retail price, be more fair for them to use the price they paid and what they are asking.