What responsibility does a seller have to tell a customer an item has been serviced?

A few months ago I bought an expensive pre-amp from a dealer here on audiogon. This is a long time known dealer with an 100% approval rating.

I went to his home to listen to it and there was one quirk about the design I didn't like about it but I thought I could live with it. I had spent so much time and effort to get it. A pretty long drive. When I brought it home and within 24 hours by the afternoon of the next day I realized I couldn't live with it I called him to return it. 
He didn't want to take it back. On his website he has a 30 day return policy. Unfortunately not being an experienced buyer I did not know there is a hidden tab on audiogon saying no returns. Why is this not stated on the main page?!

I was furious and he said he would take it back if I forced him to but he already had another buyer for it. I felt bad and there was a (hidden) no return policy so I let it go.
I had given to him two excellent pieces, the pre and an integrated, and cash for it so I lost quite a bit of money on the deal. I'm obviously not an experienced savvy customer.
I asked him to just give me the pre back for the piece he sold me and keep the rest but no deal. And he told me the pre I gave him in perfect condition, the one I wanted back, wasn't working so he had to send it in for repair. But I shouldn't worry about it. What?!!! I drove it to him I didn't ship it! And why shouldn't I worry that I gave him a non working component when I told him it was in perfect condition?!

Then about a month later I saw he had it listed for sale. This was about 2 AM and I immediately wrote him asking for it in exchange for the item I bought being that the sale he had fell through. Early the next morning hours later he told me it was sold and he had taken it down.

He did list my item he sold to me on audiogon for a couple of months at his expense but no sale. I finally at an extreme loss as I said was able to use it for credit towards another item being sold by another audiogon dealer. This dealer told me he spoke with the American distributor of the brand who told him the first dealer had sent it to him for repair. This was not told to me. Of course I was outraged. But I hadn't asked. If I had known I would never have bought it.

So this is my question: What obligation does a seller on audiogon have to tell a client an item has been serviced if a dumb customer doesn't ask?

Still burned by the loss of so much money and the jerking around and what seems to be a couple of lies.


Showing 4 responses by tonykay

This post is the definition of “caveat emptor,” or is it simply buyer’s remorse. In any case, the OP is expecting too much from a simple stereo transaction. We all have similar stories, but to answer your question, if the piece functions well then there is no additional guarantee. Things break, but how can the seller predict when that will happen? As far as allowing returns, unless specified in advance, nothing should be assumed to be returnable. Move on!
Elizabeth’s suggestion of a plaque to commemorate this horrible transaction is hilarious (LOL)!
Actually, this post reveals nothing (that’s right, nothing) about who to buy from and who not to buy from. After reading the responses, it seems clear that most believe that buying used equipment, especially vintage used stereo equipment is an “as is” transaction. We live in an imperfect world and things do break. That doesn’t mean that the previous owner was a scammer. It gets more complicated when buyers are not fully committed to the purchase, have buyer’s remorse, and look for ways to reverse the sale. That’s the basis for the phrase “caveat emptor” (buyer beware). Most, but not all, stereo equipment traders understand that.
Look, once you buy used stereo equipment, you own it. Looking for a reason to void the sale, like the screws had been turned indicating that repairs had been done, is childish. If you think you made a mistake, or realize you really can’t afford it, then just sell it. Typically, unless spelled out in advance (probably in writing), stereo equipment is sold "as is." If this thread points out nothing else, it shows the disparity of opinions in regard to buying and selling equipment. I doubt that anyone is trying to cheat anyone here, but trying to speculate on whether a 20 year old piece of equipment that you own has ever been repaired is ridiculous, unless you have owned it since new. Personally, I have done many buying transactions here on Audiogon and never had a bad experience. I’ve probably just been lucky!