Members with No Feedback


Has anyone noticed an increase of members with little or no Feedback? I have had 9 responses to my most recent ad--4 with no Feedback, and 4 with low Feedback. I realize that we all have to start somewhere; but this seems a little strange...
Feedback has no meaning anymore on AudiogoN. Anyone who has negative feedback posted against them can simply deny it. The feedback system has no value at all now.

John, I did not know can that be, to simply deny it. Will it remain this way? I suppose a start as buy or seller would be to simply stay clear of '0's, then again I started with '0' at one time as well, not really fair to ligit newcomers, shame.
I essentially agree with John. However, I look for those members with a long feedback history that pre-dates the new feedback system.

It makes me nervous to do business with members with little or no feedback, but it is true we all started with none.

Speaking on the telephone sometimes helps provide a better understanding of the person.

I pay only with a credit card. The card provides the best protection in the event of fraud or a dispute.
I have noticed it to. I am immediately suspicious of people with no feedback. Having said that the scam artists usually make it pretty obvious. You can tell they haven't read you're ad by the emails. Also, inevitably I get the email from the scammers where I have to send some money back and give the piece to their shipper etc.

I wonder if audiogon required us to pay a small membership fee(where they had to verify our addresses with the credit card company) if it would help?
This past year I have completed several transactions with new members with little or no feedback. I have been pleasantly surprised as they have all worked out flawlessly. That being said, when buying it does make me a little nervous dealing with a new name with no feedback. When selling' if paypal is used I have no problem.
I also agree that the new feedback system is fairly useless. This is the only site where I have been ripped off. Made payment and after a few promises never heard from seller again. He was removed from Agon but that didn't help my pocketbook.
Check out people who have feedback over many years. I got scammed for the first time recently from a "seller" in Indonesia who received funds for a preamp and never responded. Audiogon said they took him out of the members list because others had also complained but did not do anything else to help other than point me to the police. I have filed reports etc. What can you do, there are some bad apples out there.
the presence of feedback for a member on A'gon is only useful to show the person is legit or not. Any system that has a binary rating scale (ie favorable, or not) is of little use otherwise. I've had a few transactions here with members who had extensive favorable feedback scores, where my experience was less that outstanding (though still satisfactory).

I would really prefer a 1 to 10 rating scale with criteria spelled out as exists for the condition rating system. Further, the only disputing of that rating should be via a rebuttal comment. It would also be preferable to have the 1-10 apply in multiple categories like ebay has done. Then, the verbal input is no longer needed, but it too is marginally useful since most of the comments are trite anyway. This is more complex, and doesn't solve all of the problems but would provide more meaningful ratings to judge by and set your expectations.
Yes, the removal of our ability to post Negative feedback is one of those Audiogon moves that makes you wonder what's up. It's one in a series of wierd decisions:

1. Making threads just "disappear", sometimes for no reason , then refusing to respond to questions as to why.

2. Sudden removal of the ability to post links.

3. Changing the feedback system, turning it into a toothless pit bull.

I try to remind myself that I don't own Audiogon, I'm just a customer, and these guys are trying to make a living.

I do however wonder about some of these moves.
I have had offers in the past three months from people who had only been members for a day or two, and the offers were weird. In two cases, I let A'gon know, and in those cases and one other the "member" was booted within the day. It seems A'gon is doing pretty good at identifying that type of scam. Regarding feedback, I believe it still has meaning especially when left by another longer-time member who you can trust, so I also look to see who has left the feedback. My personal limit is about $500 for no feedback folks, and only if they sound legit, preferrably if I can speak with them on the phone. I recently missed out on the CD player I have been looking for when a no-feedback member posted it at an unusually low price, and I offered to purchase it COD. Someone else took the chance and bought it, and it turns out the guy was legit. No regrets, everyone has their own limits on "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is."
Keep in mind everyone that Audiogon is also the Stereophile Marketplace and I think that link attracts many new members. I like to think that when I started out more established members gave me a chance, I would hope most of us would do the same. I think that a little common sense goes a long way in preventing a scam. Insist on phone conversation, be wary of deals that seem too good to be true, etc. I will agree that I find the inability to post links inexplicable, unless Agon ownership perhaps ran afoul of copyright laws or something? I'm no expert on Net legality, but maybe not all links are kosher? Anyway back to the original point, play it safe and keep your wits about you and you can safely expand your universe of possible trading partners.
I know I bought my first peice a day or so after joining, my search on google led me here in the first place, this was with the old system. I bet I would have an additional 36 to 48 points but it doesnt mean much and myself nor the other party bothered with swapping points. A phone call is the best way to feel comfortable with a potential transaction other then multiple positive feedbacks.
As far as threads pulled, postings denied and so on I guess the forums are a free bonus and curtousy so while it is irritating it cant be over thought.
I started with no feedback, like everybody else. But I worked to build credibility, at least for someone who doesn't do a lot of transactions. Thinking of this another way, it is still better than ebay! Caveat emptor!
One suggestion for those who have little or no feedback, if they wish to gain some positive feedback scores, is to buy some inexpensive CD's or LP's and make sure to trade feedback. That way you now have some positive feedback so that sellers have some way of judging your credibility. As a seller I am always wary of scammers although I have found sellers to be less reliable than buyers, go figure. Usually it has to do with misrepresentation of the condition of a product for sale.
And forget about criticising and advertiser.Money talks and when I posted something about a dealer wih a crap attitude (something all to common in luxury products where arrogance somehow to many people convinces the average person they know what there talking abou even when they don't) and after 25 clamored in to agree the thread go sqaushed.Hell I'll be surprised if this one doesen't.

But on topic I'd look to see if person can produce ebay feedback veritably (check the zip codes?).I always keep taking info for a sale if I am promised a check or ask for quick Paypal.Never stop taking buyers who inquire after sale because someone say's "I'll get you a check" you want back up.Buying well it gives me the heebie jeebie's but I sometimes send money to sellers with low feedback if it's money I can have held up indispute.I don't like to insult people but unless I see a decent amount of feedback I ask that I can use Paypal with a credit card even if I have to shell out 3% if I want protection when I buy a $1K or $2K or more piece of merch.And hen I say a Hail Mary even if I am Jewish.Funny you don't look Druish.
some of the problems of dealing with "mail orders" is to buy locally. i think seller and buyer benefit from this type of transaction. feedback becomes less of an issue.
When had AudioGon done away with negative feedback? When I view a members' feedback,I take into account the negatives.I gurss it is "Old school VS New School"You reap what you sew.This is a passionate hobby.I know if a member is eager for a product,they don't mind using Paypal.But when I receive a payment this way,I need to pack the gear that night or the next day and ship.I know that I appreciate being kept up to date as to the progress of a transaction-fromreceipt to shipment and tracking.Feedback is optional,though appreciated.Some of the "new school" want their moneys immediately by Paypal and get around to shipping when they are inclined to do so.Hopefully not after the replacement arrives.Some people have good manners,others don't.I have found that the "older" members have a "code of ethics" and I would prefer to deal with them.Once you get frustrated,the thrill is gone.
Rlawry, thats all well and good but I still wouldnt feel comfortable selling a expensice amp or speakers to some guy who bought only 5 $6.00 albums.
my practice with a zero feedback buyer and seller is to proceed with appropriate caution, and base my decision to complete the transaction on the dialog with the person (ie email or voice). Depending on the transaction size, I may respectfully ask the person to provide personal backround to validate their credentials (and I usually apologize with an explanation that the web is a dangerous business-place, and offer to provide them more of my credentials if they like).
If the person isn't forthcoming when I make this request then the deal will not proceed. I've never had anyone balk at this request, by the way.
I think many are forgetting that feedback is not just a number. Comments are included and sometimes that can reveal much more than just a number rating can.

Maybe it is hard to get a negative rating accepted but positive ratings can run the gamut from "thank you" to "great packaging, prompt shipment, excellent condition, I would definitely purchase from/sell to this person again".

When I purchase I do not just look at the score. I read some of the ratings until I get a feel for the seller. I know that does not answer the question regarding memebers with no rating but I wanted to interject my thoughts since the rating system as a whole seemed to be under suspicion.
I have only had one transaction with a newbie with zero feedback, and this was for a relatively expensive pair of speakers that I sold to him. But I only got that warm fuzzy after a good long phone conversation. He turned out to be a very nice guy and it was one of the better deals I have had on Agon. And he was very grateful for getting a leg up with positive feedback for his first transaction. That was a couple of years ago before the influx of scammers here. I'm not sure if I would be quite so trusting today.

I've been a member for a few years. I mostly used the site for the forums. When i started making offers i'd always include my phone number. This was for two reasons, first i wanted the person selling to know i wasn't messing around. Second, i was a little worried about sending money to someone i didn't know hoping i'd get what was in the ad. So i guess it works both ways. But i don't think i'd buy from someone with no feedback. To sell not that big of a deal, imho.

My new policy is just not to deal with any sellers having little or no feedback.
Juxtapose this thread with the ones lamenting the lack of new blood in our hobby. Most of you don't sound very welcoming.
Tvad - and a few others- provide a good suggestion about talking on the phone with your prospect. We speak a language that will not come easily to your everyday scammer. I find it quite easy to know if the individual in question is a true hobbyist or just flipping gear. Some are both, I suppose, but that doesn't necessarily disqualify them.
Another point that may play into this is our weak dollar. The last few time I advertised something, I received a lot of response from around the world. Dialogue revealed that many of these people were established hobbyists in their own countries who were looking at our ads more seriously lately as their currency advantage grew. That would explain their lack of feedback.
And lastly, one can use the lack of credentials as a negotiation point. Legitimate suitors know that they need to establish themselves and are grateful to get someone with my reputation on their resume.
Stop worrying so much. Or course it's a gamble. So is crossing the street. You just have to decide how badly you want to reach the other side.
I’ve also noticed more members with zero feedback, but since everyone has to start somewhere, that doesn’t concern me as much as looking at an ad that reads like a private seller, but isn’t. Some sellers have upwards of 300 to 400 feedback points, and in my little world, that’s a lot of trading. When you read the feedback, the feedback in large part is from members who purchased vs. sold to that member. At the same time, I’d much prefer to purchase equipment from someone that knows what they’re doing. My comments are merely questioning why the ad reads like “this is their beloved baby” but when you hit the Other Items tab, you get a string of ads that reads like a wholesaler.
I am currently working with a member who has no feedback but seems to be a straight new member. We are working through a deal using Postal money order instead of paypal. So far, So good. I figure everybody gets a chance like I did. I just don't want to be the fool. Also, I am not selling a $10,000 amplifier. I want to welcome anyone who is as interested as I am, as long as I am careful.
I took a chance on a no f.b. member from Sweden, and it was a perfect transaction, couldn't have asked for better. It worked out good for me, as I had no other takers on the item. Glad I did, great guy.
Well said Macrojack....
My transaction was great. US Postal Money Order cashed. Added to the new buyers feedback. Let's hope we can welcome more good people to our little corner of the world.
Alright, here's another twist. Normally, I will ship immediately upon receiving a MO. However, I currently have a sale pending waiting for a International MO from a no feedback member. My question is, still ship immediately, or wait awhile for the MO to clear? If wait, how long?

FWIW, I have sold to no feedback members before using a USPS MO and shipped with no issues. I'm just a bit nervous about a new member using an International MO. What do you think? Am I being irrational? He seems like a nice enough gent through e-mails......

What does it take to "clear" an international MO? With the USPS, I get cash and no bank is involved. USPS told me that I could simply cash the USPS MO at my local bank, but if it is fraudulent the bank would deduct the funds from my account and I lose. I would wait to clear unless I had cash in my hand and no possibility of my bank taking the money back. Is that possible? Is there another part of this that I don't understand? I have never taken in international MO before.
OK, confession time. I have roughly 100 transactions with perfect feedback from both buying and selling. I have never had a problem on either end. I lose money ever time, as I just like to try different equipment and don't look to make a profit. Now the jack-ass part. A while back I won an auction from someone with zero feedback for a pair of mono blocks and I knew as soon as I bid that I had been had. Nothing added up, my emails were ignored and I was just plain f**ked. While I was thinking of a way to get out of the transaction, which I had NEVER tried to do before, my amps showed up at my door step BEFORE I had even paid for them. I felt like a complete zero with no high ground what so ever to hide behind. The moral of the story, if there is one, is none of us really know who we are dealing with and sometimes those of us with lots of great feedback are no more reliable than the new guy.
I'd wait for the international MO funds to clear into your bank account.

Personally, from international buyers I only accept a bank wire or Paypal in USD.
Good story Mags. Never had too much of a problem with the seller only with the delivery (USPS and UPS; none with Fedex). In the same vein as your story I once sent something to Canada before recieved the MO. No MO. Wait, wait, wait... at least the guy was still answering email but not too quickly. I sweated that one. It turned out the MO was lost at the local post office but after I went up there they eventually found it. Said I'd never do that again but I did it once again with no problem.
Tgrisham, I'm not sure, but I don't believe you can buy a USPS Money Order in Japan. That's why I assume it will be drawn on an International bank. He did not mention USPS MO. My banks have told me it could take up to 30 days for an International MO to clear.

Yes Grant, obviously a wire transfer or Paypal are the way to go, and that is how most of my International transactions have been conducted. A no feedback member may be a youngster that doesn't know how to send money through International channels though. So, is he just a financial novice?

I did e-mail him and recommend a wire transfer over a MO, mentioning that it would get him his 'goods' much quicker, but I have not received a reply yet.

I know Canadian postal money orders can be cashed at US post offices. You just walk into the post office and they will hand over the cash just like it's a USPS money order (provided they have enough cash on hand)

Does anyone know if this is the case with any other countries?
I have had a few items for sale reciently. Most the emails and questions I recieved came from members with zero or little feedback. It was a bit frustrating anwsering all their questions, sometimes several emails from them and then total silence...or a totaly low ball offer from them. I figure thats part of the game's a buyers market with used audio equipment and not as simple as it used to be.
However, I am selling a pair of speakers tomarrow to a guy ( whom I have never met ) who is comming over to my home. He has zero feedback. I hope he doesn't come over with a machine gun, tie us up and torture us.
No, but really, I did talk to him on the phone and he seemed like a nice fellow. I think it will go fine.
Well the gentelman with zero feedback came over to buy the speakers. He brought his wife and daughter and a friend of theirs who was an "audiophile'. We listened to the speakers, they inspected them and everything went very well.
Very nice folks too, seems as thought the speakers were for the wife! She brought her cd's over to listen to and she liked listening very loud. Louder than I have ever listened to those peticular speakers! Wow!
They paid cash
I am happy and so are they....end of story.
I am trying desperatly to get feedback. It doesn't help when one of my items cost more than buyers want to pay.
But I have listed single items and received a lot of views but not even an offer. And it is most likely because I have no feedback to check
But yes to the question I think feedback means a lot and I always read a persons feedback that I am buying from or who is bidding on something
I found a web site that if you put the persons (Ebay ID for now) it shows all the negative feedback received and left by that person.
FWIW, the new International member with the Japanese MO came through with no issues. Now he has some positive feedback.