What is " lowball"

Do any of you have an idea of what constitutes lowball as a general rule. I have purchased things at 75% of asking price and have been ignored at 90%. All my sales have involved some haggling to find a middle ground and some started at what I thought was a lowball, so it annoys me when I am ignored. I guess it is better than getting involved with someone too busy to type NO THANKS and hit send. I'm just curious what everyone considers a rule of thumb in regards to making offers.
You might find this thread helpful regarding your question.

There is the obo option when a component is listed. When I respond to a for-sale with this option, I simply ask: " what is your bottom dollar" on this item...why beat around the bush.

Components listed without the obo option I take as being somewhat firm in price...an offer 75% of my asking price would be taken by me as a "lowball" offer...I would respond though with a polite no thanks and have always responded to all offers from any adds I have listed.

I would think that we all "do our homework" before we go shopping. What an item is worth and the price range that item has been selling at is part of that homework...as such, you should know if you have just made a "lowball" offer.

search the archives, this has been recently discussed ad nauseum...Cheers,
I agree with Dave, and would add one observation. Not all sellers price their items close to market value. It's not uncommon to see overpriced items, and in this case an offer of 75% might be very close to where these items should be realistically sold. However, there is no doubt that sellers of such items would consider 75% offers to be lowball. So, this becomes a matter of interpretation and point of reference. The educated buyer might believe the 75% offer is extremely reasonable, while the uneducated seller might believe the 75% offer is insultingly low.

In a perfect market, where items are priced accurately according to proper market value, I would consider any offer of less than 85% (15% discount) to be lowball.
An ignored offer to me is rude and inconsiderate when a simple no thanks is all that is required. I agree that lowball offers are upsetting but they are a part of the buying and selling process. I would provide a response such as "No Thank You" even if the ad is marked price is firm. Simple courtesy.
I am just surprised that people have no interest in making an effort to agree on a price in the middle, after all obo means the price is up for debate in my opinion.
Mtheime, if an item is priced correctly to begin with (meaning within 5% -10% of it's market value), then going down the middle on a 75% offer might still be considered low. Conversely, if the item is priced too high, then a split down the middle might be considered by the buyer to be too high. It's all predicated on how educated the buyer and seller are to the proper market value of the item, based on research of comparable recent sales and listings.

"Splitting down the middle" does not work as a blanket principle for buying or selling because it doesn't take into account the variables of the sale. However, it can work if the item is priced properly.

"Lowball" is a fiction. The market determines the maximum price that an item will sell at, not the seller.
I agree with Viridian. Since no one actually knows what the seller considers a "lowball" offer, I feel that any offer is appropriate.

If the seller doesn't like it, they can just say so. I believe that ignoring someone's offer is rude.
significantly below market price. where that is 90% or 75% depends on the item and the people involved. Lowball is well below market price. Also it seems that only white, north american males ro not *like* to haggle. I don't know why. I hate to make it a racial thing, but that's just been my observation. Everything is negotiable! :-)

Also, I'm willing to bet that sellers who do not respond to your 'lowball' offer are not too busy in any way. I think they were just 'insulted' by your lowball offer and are 'returning the insult' in kind by simply ignoring you. I remember that from when I was a kid. Sometimes an adult wouldn't even acknowledge you. It was basically saying "you aren't worth the effort for a reply." So sad. :-/

Do you want to deal or not?

If it doesn't say OBO, than offers other than asking are uncalled for.

If it does say OBO, make an offer.

So you are a buyer and you get a lowball... Ignore the email and move on with your life, don't raise your blood pressure.

So you made an offer and you didn't get a reply from the buyer? It isn't a karmic scar, move on to another piece of gear.

Obviously, there is *no* formula for what a lowball is. 85% may be low for an ad that has been up less than a day. 85% might be high for a item that has been up 2 months. Not saying I'm perfect, but my general rule of thumb has been to try to explain any offer that I make at below 90% of list price--its been up there X days, there are X others for sale at a lower price, the bluebook is X, etc. You might avoid offending a buyer that priced unrealistically (and therefore get the reply you want) if you do some work for them.

Dave, when you play poker, do you also ask people what cards they have in the middle of betting? I think you missed the point of bargaining. The appropriate response to "what is the minimum you would accept?" is "I'll tell you after you tell me what the maximum you will pay is."
Aroc, I have been ignored when offering 95% on items and it just made me wonder what obo meant is all. It will take more than rudeness from an anonymous person on the web to break my heart and I'll keep trying I guess, all in all I find this to be a great way to get exposure to gear not available around me and I've met some nice people as well.
Thanks Edesilva, no I don't play poker...I like to watch though! I did buy a lottery ticket just before I retired...the jackpot was at $100,000,000 and I really wanted it.

I think the OBO might be selected by default when you start an ad. But I'm not sure. Someone can clarify I'm sure. If so, that would explain why an ad might have OBO in error. Just a thought.

Let's agree on one thing, if your item is resonably priced (within the market value range), and someone offers you 50%... thats a lowball offer.

While I would reply "no thanks", I can see why some people would not want to even start negotiating there.

This has happened to me on more than one occasion, and its hard to concieve that an offer liek that would come from a serious buyer.

From the responses it seems that almost everyone has an opinion that differs slightly.

People say it is rude to not reply to a lowball offer, but is it rude to offer someone a rediculous price? And it does happen. I think if someone is really pushing the envelope on their offer, they shouldn't be surprised if they get no reply. That said, I agree with others that it isn't that hard to simply reply back with a No.

As for OBO or Firm, I wish they would remove it. I generally want close to my asking price, quite frankly I think that option just confuses things.
I would NEVER list an item with a firm price. Why limit your potential market! Everybody likes to haggle (remember the marketplace scene from "Life of Brian") and feel like they've saved some money...it's a psychological thing! Sellers should allow some "wiggle room" when pricing. Sometimes, splitting or covering the shipping charges is enough to close a deal.

Remember too, that used pricing guides are just that, guides! Firm pricing should be used for rare, collectable, or unusual gear...don't limit interest in your item.

I can usually tell if the potential buyer is a tire kicker doing research or is really interested in the item. Feedback, frequency of discussion posts, and length of Agon membership are all good indicators of a truly interested buyer. Usually, tire kickers will not be very familiar with the item for sale, ask some kind of goofy question, or make an irrelevant comment about their financial hardship. Hey, high-end audio is a luxury hobby. I don't care if your girlfriend just left you, your refrigerator just went out, your dog just pissed on and ruined your carpet, etc. I don't mean to sound callous, but if it's a problem with health, shelter, or hunger, THEN I WILL CARE!
I myself saw an ad for a pair of Straight wire interconnects for 75.00 OBO. I contacted the seller and made an offer of 65.00. He did get back to me with a very somewhat nasty email claimimng he was selling for 75.00. I wrote back that if he was insulted? Than to darn bad his ad said OBO and that gave me the right to make an offer.
Why get aggravated? If you get aggravated over whether or not an offer is a lowball, do you really want to do business together? Nasty email/no email/lousy offer--my answer is the same. Chill out, put on some tunes, and find a deal elsewhere.
No Don, I, for one, would not agree.
Viridian, I'm not sure I understand your viewpoint, and I want to. As an example, let's say twelve CD players of identical make and model have sold within three months for an average of X dollars. One sold for 20% less than X and another sold for 20% more than X, but the other ten sold for +/- 5% of X. Would you agree that the market has determined the value of the CD player to be X? And, if this is the market value, then wouldn't an offer of 50% of X be "lowball"? Or, are you suggesting that the market value is determined anew each time one of these CD players comes up for sale, and the offer of 50% of X is just a starting point to determine the new value?
Yes Tvad, I am suggesting that, with a limited pool of buyers for a specialist product, the market determines a "spot" price for the item, which is different for each like item sold depending on the supply and demand at the time of the sale.
OK, Marty, I see your point. However, I'll agree with Don that even given a limited market, and a limited sales history, a 50% offer is lowball if the item is priced close to previous sales.

Now, I'll also agree that a lowball offer is as valid as any other offer and worthy of response. But, I sure haven't come across any Audiogon sellers that have been willing to continue negotiating with an offer that was far more generous than 50% of the asking price.

50 % is way low I agree, and would never make an offer that low. I always try to make an offer consistent with prices I've seen recently and use that average as a start, buying or selling. I want to get a good price and thought it was because I love money, but I was reading the post above and found out that I have a genetic disposition towards being tight because of my race. Now I don't feel nearly as responsible for my behavior. Great responses, I never thought this post would draw the race card.
Mthieme, you mean you're Scottish? Like my great, great grandfather. :)

To me OBO means I would like to get my asking price. If I can not get this price, then what is your offer? Most reasonable buyers typically offer my asking price. If they have a good vibe, I typically will pick up or offer to split shipping if the item is heavy. If I detect that they are just trying to gouge me by offering a lowball and really don't want the piece but are just looking for a deal, I try to get them to pass. If someone wants something that is priced at market, they should be willing to pay the market price. If not, they really don't want it.
I beleive it's "low balls". This is a condition brought on by wearing boxing shorts.
A lot depends on the timing too. If I put up an item, I won't even consider offers below the asking price for at least a week or two. The first day or two gets the most offers and traffic to an item. Chances are if it's priced reasonably well, it will sell @ asking price without trouble. If you want it, offer the asking price to lock in your spot.

More than once I have bought things that were good deals, and I was lucky to get in on them - fast action with email, firm offers to buy on the first round, and no BS of offering lower than asking price. Later the seller(s) told me things like "I could have sold this 10 times today" or "one guy called me up all pissed and offered $200 more than asking and demanded I sell it to him but I didn't".

Those are the sorts of deals (and with info like that, you know they were DEALS) you miss out on if you screw around with beating around the bush with offers, blah blah. If it's an item that has been up more than once, then chances are the price is more flexible. But don't waste my time with offers under asking price on an item listing that is less than a week old, IMNSHO.


Don't forget very hot baths.
Almost all products have a market price. And, to offer a price significantly below market value is unethical. I don't separate people who I deal with online from people I deal with in person. That said, I don't want to deal with people without ethics. All my ads' prices are firm. Take it or leave it. Any low ballers are considered speculators and are ignored without prejudice.

I do have an item on sale at the moment that I've not seen sold on Agon or anywhere else before as used. Thus, I've listed it as OBO because there is no mkt value set. Flexibility in price in this case is warranted because there isn't a lot of information about this product on the net. So, there is a bit of room to play with for people who are willing to "leap of faith" with this product.
I think I have a better understanding of how to make my offers now but here is my next question.
When I make an offer I do it only when the money is set aside and I am ready to commit. I try not to have offers with different people at the same time. This means I am looking to buy now. How long do you guys wait for replies before making other offers?
Conventional wisdom suggests that while considering offers and counteroffers the seller has a reasonable time to respond. To avoid tying up your dough waiting on that open ended response, nail it down by providing a time limit in your offer. At the same time spell out all your other terms. For example say: I'll give you $$$ paid how and when for XYZ, its original power supply, power cord, box and manual shipped how and when if you respond by 6pm today.

Genuine sellers respond fairly quickly to sincere and reasonable offers. Market testers, wishful thinkers and daydreamers may not respond at all. Making your offer clear and complete paves the way for agreement on both sides.

Once I commit to an offer I give the seller my phone number. If you truly want someone to communicate with you provide them with every means possible.
Sellers of second hand goods should always price their products with some wiggle room.
Buyers on a forum like this want to feel they got a deal.
Some percentage off, throw in some wires, share shipping costs or offer a solid guarantee, somthing.
I like to see items listed low and have the buyers bid it up to the proper price.

Should be fun.
I'm more annoyed with people who inquire about an item listed for sale, make an offer to buy and then when an agreed figure is decided upon, they back out! Seems to me these folks never intended to buy anything! Just like to play "lookelou" and "kick the tires" or were just looking for some reason not to buy!
P*sses me off!
Sorry if this is a dupe posting to this thread. I'm trying to get this out there as I'm tired of getting hit with lowballers.


Audiogon has now defined lowball offers to be 55% off of what you list.

I don’t know if you all saw this but I got an e-mail from A’gon stating they have a new feature in place to hinder insane lowball offers.

After you log in go to your Account and select Edit Account. Then scroll down in the Policies section there is a check box to automatically reject lowball offers.


Lowball offers

Automatically reject offers below 55% of your asking price.

I wish this could be user specific. I would have set this to 45% off of listing price for my tastes but it is a start for Audiogon. I hope this button works and deters the stupidity of the lowball offers some people send.

Buy low sell high!!

Life is too short to get all worked up about this.  If someone makes an offer that is below what you will accept, all you need to do is reject it.  If you do so politely, you may find they come back with an offer you find acceptable.  That's exactly what happened to me, when I sold my SACD player.

I've had my own consulting business now for over 18 years and after I've gone back and forth for some potential gigs, I get this "one sided" contract offered for my autograph, instead of getting my undies in a bunch, just let them know that they'll need to strike that language, or I won't accept the contract...on a number of occasions have turned down work, because I don't want to deal with people like that.

Move on to the next one!
Something similar to low-blow in boxing :-)

Good points mentioned about the values. Sometimes sellers have no idea or just being ignorant and want to get high dollar for item ain't worth a dime. 

Once I've seen dood sellin' White Album with 6-digit black serial number -- Apple label in average condition for $495. I didn't offer him $5 for his, but instead I offered him to purchase mine with embossed 5-digit serial number with above average condition $40 (also Apple label) so he can resell mine for $4,000. He replied -- "I gutta sell mayne furst". If he offered me $15...20, I would sell which would be more than 50% off asking price.

Another retail store strategies is to price product almost twice as much it should be worth and than take 50% off.

So still don't know if I'm low-baller or not. I'm just retailer.