Is this the normal way business is handled?

Maybe someone has asked this before but being somewhat new I haven't seen this issue addressed.

I was looking into buying a pair of speakers from another member (who lives 2000 miles away) While I was asking the seller the usual questions, I'm sure other people were too.
Well I decided to buy the speakers and told the seller so. I was willing to pay the asked price along with all shipping costs. He stated that a local (to him)person was interested (but had not comitted to buy), and he would rather sell them to them to avoid shipping. I feel my offer to purchase was just used as leverage to make the other person to make a quicker decision.

Since I made the first offer isn't the seller obligated to sell them to me?
My guess is that he probably was not comfortable shipping the speakers. He could have told the buyer that he had another buyer whether he really did or not so the leverage angle does not wash.

My guess is that you will find a better pair of speakers or a better price. There are plenty of speakers for sale and more coming everyday.

If a person does not have all the proper packaging they are probably better off and so are you not having shipped the speakers.

Ethically if he committed to you he should have at least notified you and it sounds like he did. I agree once committed that he should have gone through with the sale.

He probably was desperate to sell and after thinking about all the possible consequences of shipping the shippers backed out. Sometimes caution is the best policy for everyone involved! Sometimes our gut instincts guide us much better than are mind.

You must realize that for people who are not dealers or at least avid sellers shipping speakers can be precarious. Gosh, I am a dealer and ship hundreds of items every month and I am never totally comfortable shipping speakers.

Good Luck! You will find other speakers!
Even worse! I had agreed on a deal of a CD-Transport/DAC unit. The seller told me he was glad to sell it as a pair and glad that it would go into good hands and all. Then, while I was arranging money transfer, he told me that somebody else had bought other stuff (!) from him and that he had sold the CD-transport to that person. The DAC he would sell otherwise.
Well, GREAT!
I think you just have to deal with that sort of people. Audiogon is no exception from real life....
If I were to contact a seller and told that person I wanted their item at their listed cost plus shipping, they may or may not choose to sell to me. As a seller you want to weigh all your options if you are lucky enough to have them. Just because I was the first to say I wanted the item doesn't necessary mean I will get it. The last amplifier I bought I was second in line. I got the unit because I was a registered member here at audiogon. The other person beat me to it by about 8 hours, but was not registered here, I got lucky.
Believe me you do not want just anybody shipping you speakers and as a seller of speakers you do not want to ship if you do not have to. Look for speakers near you or with an experienced dealer who will make sure (hopefully) that they are packed right. Use someone who can take a credit card so if there is a problem you have the leverage in the deal if shipping is involved.
Ljgj, how will the use of a credit card help to provide leverage if there is a problem?

You always have the opportunity to leave feedback for the miscreant. He agreed to a sale. State the facts.
I agree with Nrchy. You should leave feedback and state what happened. I would use that as leverage or a threat if you will to the seller. A deal is a deal.
Is he obligated to sell to you? IMHO, it depends. Since this is unclear in your post, did he agree to your offer and were terms of the sale set? If they were not, I don't think he is obligated to you just because you were the first person to make the offer. When I sell, I prefer a local buyer.

Just read all previous posts regarding problems with a transaction or even the disputes section. In the best case these disputes typically involve disagreements with condition of the product; worst case they involve fraud.

Another reason I prefer a local buyer is my own experience as a seller. I have purchased 2 sets of speakers on A'gon in the last 1.5 years. Both came from about 2000 miles away. Both came damaged. One seller was no help and the other one I'm still working with. As a seller, I really don't want to deal with this.

As a seller, I have sold items locally for a couple hundred dollars less simply to eliminate the hassle. I don't have to lug the item to Fed-EX. I don't worry about shipping damage. If the buyer gets a chance to inspect the item, there is little chance for diputes over the condition of the item. I get the money right away.

If this seller agreed to terms with you, then he obliged to sell it to you. Both ethically and perhaps even legally (this may be a contract) However, if he did agree to terms and then recanted, the question is what damage have you suffered? The only thing is your loss of time and the misfortune of dealing with a jerk. My suggestion is to move on. The bottom line is you lost no money and chances are someone else will place the same item for sale in the next week or two. Hopefully, you'll even get it at a better price. Best of luck...
Just because someone offers to buy something from you doesn't make you obligated to sell it to them, whether they are the first offer or the 50th is irrelevent. On the other hand, if you agree to sell it to them then you are ethically bound to, even though you may get a better offer later.
Quite a few credit cards have insurance on your purchases and you can also refuse to pay the charge if there is a problem with the deal or damaged goods come through or if the item is never shipped.
I must clarify one important misconception. Per Audiogon rules feedback can only be left after money changes hands. No money changed hands so no feedback is permitted. It seems unfair, as does your treatment but, as a buyer, I have had this happen several times. It is just part of the system and apparently well within Audiogon guidelines. Personally, I take the first full-price offer from a member with reasonable feedback unless something in the communication sends a red flag. I have refused to sell to others on a few occasions when the nature of their questions indicates that, in my opinion, they are not familiar enough with the product to know what they are buying or somehow have unreasonable expectations. I met one of my best friends when he contacted me to buy a Mac 230 hybrid integrated amp, he was not a collector and thought the thing would work great in his modern system. I told him that it was in excellent, collectable condition but the 230s just sound terrible; it's the design you know.I flatly refused to sell it to him. We became fast friends and now he stops in to visit when in Oregon.
I am with Viridian, so many tire kickers, hard to determine those that are serious, versus those that are not. If someone is in, out, in, out, of a deal, and another person comes in with a solid, or strong offer (deemed by 'I will overnight you payment or send it immediately via PayPal) OR is LOCAL, they would win the deal.

Not only has this happened to me, but someone left feedback TWICE for a transaction that never happened!!

Rules of AudioGon, no-no-no, no-no-no.................