From a Newbie - How long should I wait?

Please, a little guidance on proper etiquette since I am brand new to Audiogon and to buying in the classifieds. (vs. ebay auctions)

I've recently (2 days ago) submitted an offer to purchase some speaker cables. I have not had any response yet from the seller. Does anyone have any guidelines on how long is appropriate to wait before trying to buy elsewhere.

Would it be better to simply send another note retracting the offer? (Assuming that I have found something equivalent elsewhere.)

I know that others also have lives and don't necessarily sit around their computers all day checking their email.


If I have not heard from a buyer and wish to look elsewhere I always retract the offer. An offer is only good as long as it is on the table. I have had buyers for products that I was selling retract offers after five minutes. At least they took the time to imform me.
48 hours is certainly long enough, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to write again and say that if you don't hear back in 12 hours, you will move on.
Both Viridian and Swampwalker have good comments / suggestions. I would drop the seller an email and tell them that you are no longer interested or give them a specific deadline to respond back to your offer ( Friday @ 5 PM CST cut-off time, etc... ). If still interested, you might ask if the cables are still available as some sellers simply don't respond to inquiries after they've sold the merchandise, nor do they update their ads.

As to being a newcomer to Audiogon, i hope that you don't think that all transactions go like this one. Most every transaction that i've been involved in has been nothing less than enjoyable and has given me a chance to talk with / get to know a lot of different people from all walks of life. Needless to say, it's been a blast. Hopefully, you'll have the same thoughts and feelings in the long run : ) Sean
Thanks for all the responses (including the one sent privately to me).

As it turns out, the seller contacted me this morning and we have agreed on the sale. I'm glad that I waited.

I know that some of us (including me) have to travel for our jobs and that we can't always respond immediately. With the internet and email, I've pretty much gotten accustomed to immediate information.

Sometimes I think that I just need to sit back, relax, enjoy the music, and say "its just a set of cables"; tomorrow will still be OK.

Thanks again.
Thats interesting. The way I look at it is that until you hear from the seller that your offer is accepted you are under absolutely no obligation and can do whatever you want. I don't mean this in a legal way but in a general doing business with fellow audiophiles way.
I have to tell you, this just happened to me. I think it is bad business and that the sellers have a responsibility to everyone that says they want to purchase to respond in some way. I wanted to post negative feedback I was so miffed (didn't though). My story was:

I sent an e-mail saying I wanted to purchase the item. Then right after I sent another e-mail saying that since I was at work I could not see their response until I got home that night (can't get to my e-mail at work). I thought I was being considerate. Well, no response at all. Nothing. Here it is about a week later, nothing. Item still shows as being available on A'gon.

Based on this, I will never do business with this person. Their loss.

I was under the impression that according to A-gon rules if a seller does not respond within 24 hours then an offer "expires" and the potential purchaser is not "obligated" to follow through with the offer. Of course in practice, I usually give it a few days because most others, like me, live fairly busy lives.
You just never know with some people. A gent was advertising something here on the 'Gon, I dropped him an email telling him I would take the item at his asking price (and I would pick up the shipping of course). Nothing. Not a word back from him but he did update his ad to read "sold" a few days after I emailed him. This occurred over six weeks ago, every time I see him posting here in the forums I'm tempted to remind him of his Manners 101 course due to start any time now. Life's too short, do what makes sense.
If you really want an item, email back again after 24 hours. It is possible that your email got lost in the 'digital post office'! I must be honost; if someone emails me with a lowball offer (50% or less than asking price) I will sometimes ignore the offer, especially if the offer is worded as a simple, "I will offer $XXX.XX". Even adding words like, "I am very interested..." or, "I would really like to buy..." gets my attention. Just these simple phases indicates that someone is serious, and is not just looking to "rip" an item with a lowball offer. But I always will respond to a second email, even with the same lowball ofer. But after 24 hours, I would consider the offer that you have made has not been accepted, and move on if a similar items stikes your fancy here on Audiogon.
Great responses. I'd like to add that it doesn't hurt to set expectations up front. In the original e-mail, simply add a sentence to say "If I don't hear back by end of day tomorrow, I'll assume the offer is not accepted. Please get back to me later if you are still interested in selling as I may still be in the market" That wording might not be great, but you get the idea.
Several times I have made offers to purchase items and have not received a response. In each case, the seller had an offer, but did not want to lose a potential customer in case the deal fell through, something I learned promptly once I made my second inquiry.