Fair to change ad from sale to auction?

I am asking for input to know whether an ad placed in the for sale section at a too low offering price, which gets a dozen rapid offers to buy, could be changed to an auction, to best allow the interested parties to resolve the issue of whom to let have it?
Why is the first responder the one you HAVE to sell something to?
And if indeed you get a large number of offers to buy, why not make it an auction?
I know the 'standard' here IS to have to sell to the first request to buy that fulfills the sellers conditions, but why? If I LIKE someone elses offer, and their style, why am I 'supposed' to sell it to someone I get the impression of as a jerk?
Not trying to stir up trouble, just wondering...
Changing the for sale ad at a specific price to an auction seems to be a less than honorable thing to do. As far as selling to someone that seems to be a jerk it may be excitement/nervousness/worry on the buyers part about getting an item at a very attractive price. Do the right thing.
I was on the buyer-end of a similar situation. Not that I think I was being a jerk, or would ever be a jerk, but I was the first to respond to a nicely priced item. It was the seller who actually turned out to be a real jerk. After he had committed to sell the speakers to me at a price I'd estimate around 25% under market value, and AFTER I'd sent him a money order, he decided from the amount of responses/offers he'd received that he should be able to raise the price. No, I did not appreciate it one bit, but I could understand he was frustrated at having not researched the item carefully. To be fair to him I agreed to a fair market value price but certainly was not going to agree to taking part in an (informal) auction. After bending over backwards to comply to his terms and get the additional money to him quickly, he took over ten days after receiving the funds to ship the item, packed it poorly, treated me as if I were putting him out, did not follow up on correspondence, and generally acted without conscience or integrity. The speakers arrived poorly packed and damaged, UPS refused to pay as did the seller. He was kicked off of Audiogon as the result of a conflict dispute which I filed.

My opinion is that if you advertise to sell something at a specific price, and not post it as an auction, then you should stick by your offer. If you've found you made a mistake AND you have already agreed to sell it to someone, I think the fair thing to do was to honestly lay it all out to the buyer you made the agreement with and see if he/she is willing to come to a different arrangement. Obviously whether you sell or not is entirely up to you, but I believe there are a set of ethics that most sites request you abide by and I think this kind of situation puts those to task. Whether or not the buyer is a jerk should not be an issue, unless they are somehow breaching those same ethics. As far as who was first, again, ultimately it is entirely up to you as only you know who's email was first (you can always confirm this by looking up the item under "MyPage" under which each item lists the email's that have passed through the system for that item in the order it was sent). If you made an agreement to sell, or implied that one buyer was first in line (I think anyone would assume that they had priority given that admission), I would not go back against that understanding, and try to resolve it as best you could.

Lugnut offers good advice. Put yourself in the other's position and do the right thing (...Do unto others...).

Good luck Elizabeth.

If your asking price was meet in full w/no conditions then I would say you should sell the item. If multiple offers were received at full price/no conditions then I would say you could choose which party you wish to do business with depending on the factors you deem important. I agree w/ Lugnut and do the "right thing." It will all come to you next time around.
Missed being able to edit my post, but I wanted to add this: If you applied the same situation to purchasing a set of speakers at a store...Say you had your heart set on a pair of used Soliloquy 6.5's and the local retailer had a set that just came in on trade. You run over there with Visa in hand and they tell you, yes, we have this one chery pair and you are the first here. This is your lucky day as they are only $2500.00!! Well all of a sudden two more savvy shoppers overhear that price and turn around and declare they'd like to buy them too! Though the Internet may work in a different way and can disguise those details, it is essentially what I think you are describing. So who get's the 6.5's? And how do you feel if the salesperson decides to sell them to another of the shoppers simply because he didn't like your attitude? Or realized they could get more so raised the price to $3500?! Ultimately it is up to you, but I think I've made my point (probably oversated it, as usual).

Why would anyone think it would be OK to change from an item offered "For Sale" at a given price, to an auction just because there was more than one person showing interest You can't change the rules after the game has started.
Probably every Audiogon member with multiple sales, and multiple purchases can understand your frustration about selling lower than someone else was willing to pay. But, almost certainly, you can look forward to being on the buyer side, and wanting to be treated to any bargain that you earn by promptly agreeing to pay someone else their bargain asking price. Only an auction will elicit the highest possible price if you wish to have buyers fighting for your item. Abruptly changing to an auction after you get your buyer seems contrary to Audiogon spirit. There is definitely a comraderie among Audiogon members based upon trading around equipment at a bargain price. In that regard, Audiogon is serving as a hobbyist outlet rather than a strictly commercial enterprise. I think you can expect your overall experience to be more fun if you do not set the goal of extracting the absolute maximum from others, and giving the least from yourself. Your question shows you have your heart in the right place, and seeing how the membership responds should reflect a range of opinions. Hopefully enough responses will be posted so you can feel comfortable deciding how you want to proceed on Audiogon.
I think if you state OBO in your add you have the right to take the highest bidder. This includes informing the potential buyers, waiting a day or so and see what happens. However, if you make a deal with someone you MUST stick by your word and as mentioned, "do the right thing."
No, you cannot change you mind. To change the deal would be dishonorable, despicable, and worthy of contempt. You must decide before you post whether it will be a classified ad or an auction. Certainly, you have the right to sell your property to whomever you wish, but if you violate the Audiogon rules, you should justifiably be banned from this venue.
It's called jerking people around and I doubt most people would ask the question and opine that one shouldn't be offended by such a practice. Once you start buying/selling stuff you should act like a mensch. My two cents worth.
I don't think this is even a question...sure you like the other offer it's higher...and yes the other guys a jerk because he won't meet that offer...I am not suprised to hear this...I look at the way things are going in the world and it sure has changed (having grown up during the end of the depression)...If I see an item for sale contact the seller to buy at his or her price...I think thats all thats needed...I also have always taken OBO to mean you are willing to go LOWER not HIGHER...Doing the right thing is good for your well being...it gives you that feeling "hey I did the right thing" ...and thats what I think you should do...first come first served...thats what this site is all about...finding items used at a price that you could otherwise never own...Good Luck its one you have to search your feelings to see if the extra money is worth it.
Free market economy....Is it rude, by all means. If the seller has not agreed to a sale, then all is fair. Simply my sending an email saying you will pay the asking price does not conclude the transaction, this does not enter anyone into a contract. Once money is sent or a sale is verbally agreed, this is a much different matter.

For myself I am a private individual not bound by the "normal" bars of running a business. Would I do something like this, no. Do I think it's wrong, yes. But I would get over it and move on.

I have the right to refuse a sale on any basis I see fit. Simply by listing an item does not enter me into a contract with anybody with an email account. I have the right to cancel the listing at any point in time, to reduce or increase the price.

I also have the right not to deal with someone whom does this.

Just the other side.

You can do whatever you want. You can change your mind a half dozen times if it suits your purposes. But there are consequences to your actions and the decisions you make today can comeback and haunt you tomorrow. It sounds corny, but the best bet is to treat people how you would like to be treated.
This thread is a reassuring reminder of why I do enjoy most of my transactions generated through this site. To most folks here the answer is plain and simple. Very nicely stated Listener57. My thoughts exactly Onhwy61. Ultimately you certainly can do anything you damn well please, and disregard other people for the sake of making a few more bucks if that's how you want to conduct yourself. You can argue right and wrong, quote black-letter law or the Audiogon guidelines, declare yourself a business or just a poor lonely individual.....or declare diplomatic immunity if that wets your wick. In the end it's just WHAT YOU DO that really matters, and what YOU must live with. I believe strongly that you get back from the world just what you put out into it.

Implicitly an offer to sell at a stated price and containing "obo", such as $1000 obo, means the first person to accept at $1000 has formed a contract by giving the required acceptance. The obo portion means that if an acceptance is not received on the sellers terms, then the seller will take the best offer short of the stated offer. Any proposed offer which differs from the sellers terms becomes a counter offer. For example, if a potential buyer emailed and said, "I accept your offer if you include shipping" or "I accept subject to my spouse's approval," are all offers which become counter offers and put the power of acceptance back to the seller. If a buyer did not vary the terms of the offer, then the buyer has the power of acceptance subject to a prior sale. If the buyer is the first to respond and has truly accepted with no counteroffer, then one should sell to the first to accept the offer. At the time of acceptance a contract has been formed.

I recently had a seller make an offer, then when I accepted, he refused to sell even though I was the first to accept on the same terms as the offer. Instead of providing any reason why, he simply refused to acknowledge me with any further emails. After numerous emails over 4 days and no response, I left him negative feedback. Of course, he retaliated by leaving me negative feedback. This was a real disppointment as I feel Audiogon is a great forum. I have bought several items without a hitch as well as received great advice. To conclude, I got the impression that the seller felt he did nothing wrong and that he was right to just ignore me in hopes I would go away because he had second thoughts on selling the item.
So for everyone that is offended by someone switching an ad to an auction, how do you feel about someone ending an auction early to sell to something that is willing to pay reserve? It's the same thing. I say do what you can to get the price you want.
This is just me, but I feel the opposite approach is better.

When I was selling a component which I knew would draw a lot of interest, I first listed it on auction here on Audiogon with a reserve equal to what my asking price in a classified would be. That way, if there was to be bidding, there would be bidding. It did not meet my reserve.

Once that happened, I listed it in a classified for what my reserve was.

It sold in about a half a day, and everyone was happy all around.

And, as many have said here, treat people as you would wish to be. Listing a classified, having a big response, then wanting more money is a VERY ugly thing to do. Imagine you were on the receiving end - who wouldn't feel as if they were being treated poorly?

My advice? Be happy you met your asking price, take the money, give and take positive feedback, and add it to the experience of life. Everyone wins that way.
Everybody is a lawyer these days. As a lawyer with long years in practice I find more and more that "anything I can get away with" is the current mentality. A lot of business people I deal with are the worst offenders at not humouring their obligations. OBO means, and as always meant, that the vendor was willing to accept less to sell the item within a narrow time frame. The people here have this quaint notion that it actually means some sort of "auction" procedure whereby the vendor would keep all offers to purchase open to accept what he considers the best (and to add to that the personality of the purchaser as a consideration!) is beyond the pale. I don't know about other jurisdictions, and discussions about whether an ad is simply an invitation to negotiate or an offer to sell in any given instance can go on and on, but where I live, if you have all the essential ingredients of a contract of sale in your ad and someone says that he accepts these terms, you have a valid sale. Paperwork, payment of the price and delivery of the goods are all concerns that enter the picture further down the line. Like I said, if you are going to play the game, learn the rules and live by them. In a way I am not surprised by anything on this site just thinking about folks who actually believe in hearing inter molecular activity through their speakers. I must be an alien just landed, I still am shocked by what I read here. Ma, is it OK if I poke Tommy in the eye, no one will know his parents are out and he still will have one left?
Thanks for the responses.
I am not looking to do this, just thinking about some folks who seem to not know they have a 'hot' seller, and wind up selling it in the first 3 minutes, when for $50/$100 more, it would have taken a few days... but they would be $50/$100 richer.
My own ads I list the highest price I think an interested buyer might go for. If it doesn't sell, I don't care... sortof...
do whatever you want, up to the point where you accept an offer and take someone's money. An ad's price is a guideline, and you can ask for more or less than it. Take homes in southern california, for example. List one at $550k, and you'll get 4-6 offers between $540k-$560k. Just because the a person gets the first offer in, doesn't guarantee anything. There's alot to consider in an offer.

However, its dishonorable to "fabricate" another offer for so-and-so price and request a higher price.
So the asking price is an "indication" of what the price should be? Is it the same way at a Wal-Mart store in California? So, according to Leftistelf the whole society is some kind of auction where the selling price may be less or more than the asking price. Surely you miss the point and generalize what market conditions bring about in a place where too many people for the resources available live. If there is any truth to the oft-heard notion that what goes on in California now is an indication of what will happen in backwaters such as Quebec in fifteen years, I say to all Canadians that we should decide now to head in another direction. No wonder you guys in the states spend all that money on power conditioners for your systems, the sorry state of the power grid is probably forcing you to do it. "California, it's cold, it's damp, that's why they say this (fellow) is a tramp"...
Pbb, I think there is a profound difference in the attitude of the average American to that of the average Canadian. Michael Moore makes light of this in his provocative film, "Bowling for Columbine". The recently released DVD version has even more Moore-thoughts on this point in the extra features. In a nutshell, while the attitude in Canada seems to be more along the lines that we're all in the same boat together and lets all help each other whenever we can, in America it is all about looking out for ones-self first and screw your neighbor and don't trust anybody. Here it's all about "ME, ME, ME!" It is capitalism gone terribly wrong. No, it certainly does not apply to every American, but sadly it is a pervasive attitude here in my experience. Why it has evolved this way is one of the key themes/questions of "Columbine". I don't know that Moore answers it definitively but it is certainly a thought provoking film, well worth seeing. It really stretches the limits of what may call "Documentary" though, as I believe it is clearly slanted and highly manipulated in order to get Moore's points across. I guess it might more rightly fall under the category of "Propaganda". If I didn't sympathize with many of his ideas I might object to his techniques more strongly. Essentially he is fighting fire with fire.

Just to briefly comment on Leftistelf's point; I think it is implicitly understood in most real estate markets where the market is overtaxed with demand that the buying process is essentially open to bidding as described, and is normally held on an auction-like basis. To compare this to the private sales of stereo gear is ludicrous. There is a forum for auctions here that is distinct from the classifieds. If you want to conduct your sales that way simply use that forum and take advantage of the reserve price. What's the problem with that?! OBO does not imply an auction-like process to me either, and Pbb described it's implications very well in his/her previous post. The conclusion of that post is hilarious and as painfully true as the scenario it illustrates. The suggestion that one should seek out a buyer according to how their 'attitude' pleases or displeases the seller is very sad indeed. To further be under the illusion that one may be able to, or should, judge another person from email correspondence related to a transaction for a piece of stereo gear is just,....well...sorry, but it's just pathetic. Again, "Land of the Free"....do whatever you want, and LIVE WITH IT.

I've under priced items on Audiogon, but that was my choice, so I did the right thing and sold it on a first come basis

On E-Bay I have received offers to sell items for more, right after I committed to sell the item. I took it on the chin and sold as advertised to the first person, such is life...being ethical is it’s own reward, you feel good about yourself and are thought well of by others over the long run.

Besides this is a hobby, it’s supposed to be fun, not stressful.
I recently sold 6 items on Audiogon and almost every response I got on every item was asking for a lower price (on every item I was already lower than any other similar item on Audiogon).
So, if the buyers all want to turn it into a auction to lower the price, why is it not o'k for a seller to do the same if he sees that he can raise the price. By the way, I had 3 different buyers ask me to hold on to a item while they either returned from vacation, raised more funds, sold something of theirs. All then came back offering a lower price after turning down other offers thinking the first was legitimate.