What would you do about a sleazy buyer??

Here's a case that I ran across last week on Audiogon and which I'm still fuming about... I'm selling my Bryston 7b-st monoblock amps. Had an Email from an interested buyer which actually made an offer. Had a second person write to me that he lives only 15 minutes from my house and wants to buy them. It was a "Lawyer" that I'll call "HM" to keep his anonymity here in xxxxxx <- (moderator cut). He wanted to buy them, but wanted to Demo them first on his system. IF he liked them, he was going to buy them for the agreed price of $2900.

Being MUCH easier to sell locally, I told the firm offer that I have a local sale, and that the buyer was going to purchase them on Saturday. If for any reason that the deal fell apart, I would contact him immediately. 2 days later,
I boxed up my 2 amps at 40 lbs each, and drove over to his house.

I listened to his PSB Golds w/ Boulder 100w/channel amp which actually sounded HORRIBLE! We hooked up my amp to his speakers and it was like night and day. NO COMPARISON!!! Totally blew away the Boulder amp. Even my girlfriend could tell right away and she hates this stuff. After 1.5 hours of demo'ing my amps, I asked him if he loved them. He agreed. He said that he would absolutely LOVE to own a pair of these!

This is when he went into his sob story... Well, he said, my economic condition is terrible right now. Let me put it this way. My financial situation is that I'm a car, heading off of a cliff with a 747 crashing right into it. In other words, he would love to have them, but has NO money to be able to buy them if he wanted to!!! He is in financial peril.

So I packed up my amps and left. Came home and wrote the other buyer. Unfortunately, the other buyer had already bought another pair of 7b-st's from someone else.

so, this completely inconsiderate S.O.B. wanted to use me to demo my gear with NO ability to buy them if he could. He was just CURIOUS how they sound. He used me to haul my goods under the pretense of buying if liking, then admits to
loving, but has NO money!

Now I'm mad. I'm fuming. Is this common for people on Audiogon to be such inconsiderate self-serving louts? I wasted 2 hours of my Saturday on this P.O.S. who never had any intention of buying, BEGGED me to leave them with him
for 3 days, and made me lose another viable sale option!!

I say that we expose people like HM from Audiogon for being the sleazy underhanded scum that he is!!! It's lawyers like him who gave many lawyers their bad reputation... How can anyone be such a self-centered lowlife is frankly beyond me.
What a horrible story! It is not credible to me that he couldn't come up with the money; it's not that much. I think he wasn't sure he liked your amps. He may have been accustomed to the Boulders' sound in his system, and your Brystons sounded so different that he wasn't sure. To you, the Brystons sounded better, but to him they may have at first only sounded different. He was unwilling to commit, but he wanted to try them out for three days to get used to the sound. Saying he didn't have the money was just an excuse. In any case, you were mistreated. I wish everyone could behave in a more considerate manner. Is there some way you could leave negative feedback on the Audiogon feedback database?
I am sorry for what happened and understand your frustration. You could have punched him in the nose, but I guess him being a lawyer, it would not be a good idea. I guess he could have lied and said he did not like how your gear sounded. Now I guess you know how salespersons feel. I don't bother with people who want to demo stuff first, except in one or two instances where it was not an inconvenience to me. In those cases, I actually enjoyed meeting these people and got to see what others had for systems. (They were just expensive interconnects) In another case I invited a person to my house to hear some B&W Matrix I was selling.

Most people (myself included) will buy gear to demo and then resell if the gear does not work well in our systems. The trick it to buy something cheap enough, so you can get your money back.

I also avoid folks who want to trade gear. If they can't sell their component, to raise money to buy mine, why should I get stuck with something they are too lazy to get rid of. I alway get the feeling their gear is in poor shape.

Figured I would add my 2 cents on this subject. Twice I have taken some gear to someone else's house to audition and possibly buy. My experiences were both very good and met some very very nice people in the process, and also got to see their setup. I have bought and sold many things here at Audiogon and have prettty much had good dealigs with the people here. Also agree with above comments from Sugarbrie, hope things go better for you. Best, Charlie
I was small high-end dealer in the 90's. This is the sort of thing that happened all the time. To add insult to injury, many times I would find out later, they bought the same product, elsewhere at reduced cost .... send him a bill for your time ... he would send you one !
Maybe he couldnt tell the difference and was too embarrassed to say, so he made up the story about his finances? Is this sort of thing off limits for feedback, ie, does there have to be a completed transaction?
I have to admit, there have been times that i have inquired about items ( if they are still available, specific questions, etc... but with NO commitment to buy ) and then forgot to follow up on them. Between everyday life and sometimes working on multiple deals at once, things get lost in the shuffle.

Your case is VERY different. The person knew their financial situation, had no intent on buying and yet still let you go through the motions. Mind you, this is not like you just lost a bona-fide sale to the other interested party, you've also lost additional time and money by driving a couple of hours to deliver and sacrificing part of your week-end to do so. Check with Detlof about how much "mental stress" this has caused and Cornfedboy to see if you can sue : )

Honestly though, this one deserves and NEEDS negative feedback. Keep it sincere and honest i.e. "lacks sincerity, no intention of buying even after delivery took place" or something to that effect. This would sum up the situation and let others know to be leary when dealing with him.

As to the Bryston's soundly stomping the Boulder, i am impressed. While i've heard situations where there just wasn't good system synergy and making a component change drastically woke things up, this at least shows that the newer Bryston stuff CAN run with the big boys. Sean
Did you commit to the first buyer and then back out of that deal? May be karma. I don't mean to be harsh here but you must be new to selling things. If I had a dollar for everybody that committed to buying whatever I had for sale and then suddenly could not come up with the money, I would never have to sell anything again. People want what is just out of reach. It sucks that your deal went that way but you are not the first and you won't be the last. Forget it, move on, and don,t lose faith in the rest of us here at AG.
Your problem is that you did not "pre-qualify" your sales prospect. Savvy salesmen do it all the time - make *sure* your prospect has the means to complete the purchase of the product. But how do you do this without running a credit check on every schmoe who wants to demo your equipment?

There is a very simple solution to this problem: charge an up-front demo fee, say $50-100. If, as you claim, it was such a hassle to schlepp your amps over to his place so he could check 'em out, let him pay you for your time. If he bails, at least you got paid for your time and effort. If he buys, the honorable thing to do is to credit him the demo fee towrads the purchase price. This eliminates the tire kickers and makes sure you are dealing only with SERIOUS buyers.

And so ends lesson #1 - you will be ready for lesson #2 when you can snatch the remote from my outstretched hand, grasshopper...
Sorry to hear you got jerked around. You could start a thread on lawyer jokes.
Geeze, I read your post and cringed. What does he/she being a "lawyer" have to do with it? Was he short or tall, or a Catholic or Jew, or white or black or a tube or SS guy? A jerk is a jerk. They come in all professions and flavors. Maybe I am sensitive to the issue because of the incredible amount of grief that comes with being in the profession (only thick skins need apply here). Now we're associated with being stiffs at Agon.

Sincerely, I remain
Kinda glad to see the last few posts, cause where the guy was wrong to do you that way, a couple of things done on your behalf might have prevented it, as those described above. Regretfully its part of the learning process. And though I doubt it, maybe the guy thought he was backing out of the deal in a polite way, rather than just tell you he didn't like it for whatever reason(I mean after all, he does own the Boulders, gotta have or had a little money)
And by the way, this guy was NOT a buyer, as he did not buy. He is what a lot of salespeople call a lizard, whether it be the store lizard or the car lot lizard, they are all of the same family, genurus troublenotneedus, and they habitate the world. You see them every few days, scurrying around your store or lot, and about the moment you think you have them pinned down on something, they scurry away.
At least he didn't pull your chain farther and tell you he didn't want them after possibly succeeding in getting you to leave them for 3 days.
I would tell you as I would a friend over a beer, forget about the anger and stuff(and hard to do right now I know0, it will just make us all older but remember the deal somewhere in your mind, that way it won't happen again.
I'd invite a prospective local buyer over to my place for a listen, that way if he didn't want it well..no time or effort lost, I woulda been listening to music anyway. I'm with Jvia, "don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things".
To me, Lawyer indicated a professional. Typically a financially solid prospect with good intentions.

I have several friends who are Lawyers, and feel those attributes apply. My take was that he was more disappointed than normal, having been let down. Like most verbiage in print, it is difficult to know the mood of the writer.

As for the situation, I understand the disappointment as I have had similar experiences. I allowed a friend to take a piece of audio gear before he had the money to pay. He did make partial payment, but never paid the balance. It is if nothing else, an example of how things could have been worse. However, I am not going to let it spoil my enjoyment of audio, nor should it for Charles.
hello a person delivered a pair of amplifiers to me for demonstration and possible sale I didn't like the sound and paid him $50 for his efforts, I felt he deserve something.
I agree w/ Griswold, you jerked someone around and then you got jerked. Is it justice? Probably not, of the three people involved you definitely got the worst of the deal. In direct answer to your question, you should do nothing to your local non-buyer, instead you should look in the mirror.
Onhwy61, nice comments...you must be a lawyer too?

Please allow me to interject before you take this overboard. I NEVER jerked anyone around. I had 2 emails in my inbox at the SAME time. One read, "I'm interested in your amps for XXXX dollars". The other read "I'm interested in your amps and I live within 15 minutes of you." I wrote the "Out of State" offer an email that I had a strong possibility of a Local Sale which I wanted to pursue first as it was a local deal. I called the Local party who agreed. The local party wanted to have them for 3 days to demo. I TOLD the local party that I cannot do that as I have another interested party waiting on us to complete this negotiation.

In the meantime, on the day of getting both offers, I told the "Out of State Offer" that it was not right for me to play 2 buyers against each other for the max price, nor keep him strung along. Rather, I wanted to pursue the Local deal first for many reasons (No shipping, Less chance of Fraud, Less chance of breakage during shipping, etc.) I was completely up front and honest with the out of state offer that IF the local sale did not work out, and he was still interested, I contact him within 2 days, which was the scheduled time of the Demo. That is why the "Out of State Buyer" went to buy someone else's gear!!!

I am not the least bit mad at the "out of state" offer, I feel bad that I couldn't have had the chance to given him a BETTER deal than what he got. He was completely right to find the same product somewhere else! We all would have done the same thing. My concern is that I could not have negotiated with the ONLY genuinely interested party FIRST.

This has taught me a few lessons. I believe that I will no longer be doing local sales as I would rather have the troubles of mailing 360 lbs of speakers for a clear deal over dinking around with "unverified" buyers! In the end, this will only hurt the buying market of used equipment by people who are less than honest or up front. This used high-end audio market is tough enough without unreputable people participating. We are not in the business of doing this for a living. This is our hobby where we give up our
time on the weekends as a favor for someone who wants to
buy them.

Secondly, I loved a few of this ideas such as charging $50-$100 up front for a demo! How about making it $200 which is refundable with a closed deal??? I also like the idea of a credit check. My father suggested the same thing. The "buyer" actually lived in one the highest priced housing areas. Heck, he was bragging to me about just having bought a new engine for his Porche! Who would ever have thought he was penniless??? $2900 is not a LOT of money for people who own Porche's.
You paid $50 for their trouble! Wow, I want to do business with you. You're a man/woman among men/women! It really does beg the need for a discussion on offering our time to a sale and how MUCH time.

If the buyer would have just told me, "Hey, I don't like the sound. I'm not interested", I would have been happy and left. That's part of the sales process. It's saying "Wow, I really love these and would LOVE to own these, but I don't have any money. Thanks for your time and here's a copied Soundtrack to My Cousin Vinny for you", is what got me twisted off. This is compeletely true!

I'll have to give the buyer credit for being too honest, when he felt it was the right time....
If you have his email about purchasing the amps as proof of his offer I wonder if you could take him to small claims court. Talk to a lawyer about an oral contract based on performance. It would serve him right. Wally
Man with forked tongue should never kiss balloon or in other words a bird in the hand is worth putting the thing in the mail. Any time there is this - well I would like to try them out thing going on ------ run and say that is what dealers are for. Audiogon used division is pretty much for people who already know what they want like the other buyer knew.
Hi Charles; This may be "nit picky", but emails come attached with TIME as well as date of arrival. The person with the earliest email should have been given dibs-- assuming he met your asking price, IMO. And if that meant shipping it somewhere you should have done it. I've gotten up in the morning after posting an ad, gotten 2-3 emails, and responded to them in the order received. The 1st bona fide offer getting priority.

Still, I sympathize with your situation. The local buyer treated you poorly, and certainly not like a professional of any kind should should have. As others have said above, don't let this one bad experience "sour" you on the Audiogon sale process. I think anyone who has done much buying and selling has probably been jerked around once or twice-- I have. Good Luck with future deals. Craig
Get over it.
I strongly disagree with those who state the 1st email wins over a local sale. I will bend over backwards to sell locally, it eliminates UPS/FedEx thugs from dropping gear and thus kicking a little life out of them. If the shoe was on the other foot, say I was a buyer, and I had the option of buying an amp locally for $2000 vs having it shipped for $1750, Id fork out the extra cash to be able to see, smell, and hold the amp from the seller to my home. I firmly believe that everytime something is shipped, the product is weakened. Circuit boards get stressed, solder traces can get hairline cracks, etc, etc. If possible, sell locally!!
I understand as well as anybody. Local-- based on a demo is a no,no.(My house or yours) I hauled my Joulie Electra 130mi ,rd.trip.-- This guy was such a smooth talker--I didn't catch on to fast,but I got it.I have had guys come over with their friends; waste 3/4 hrs...That doesn't make it either! For local buyers gimme the dough/ you get your product/ You can open it up etc. if it's paid for.-- You did get caught between a rock and a hard place--what with the weight and all--Most of us would have made that choice.---But only to drop the item off... So this guy took you to school.--I'm sure you have learned your lesson.
You are clearly the S.O.B. and got exactly what you deserved. You state "I told the firm offer that I have a local sale and that the buyer was going to purchase them on Saturday". You previously said that "If he liked them he was going to buy them for the agreed price of $2900.00" Where in there do you get that the person you demoed them to was going to buy them? Nowhere. You needlessly lied to the firm offer instead of just telling him the truth. You tanked the deal. No one else.
Hager, I apologize if my earlier comments were out of line. I may have misread and/or misunderstood your original post. Thanks for the clarification.
Just because you own a Porsche doesn't mean $2900 is not a lot of money! We all have toys, Charlie
I agree that local sales are desireable for all the good reasons stated above. But what do you say to the poor bastard who is 1000 miles away, is a nice, honest person, wanted it just as bad, was willing to pay full price-- including shipping, and had 1st claim to the purchase? Do trust, honesty, integrity, and fairness mean nothing here? Cheers? Craig

I agree with Amwarick, "get over it." I also agree with Onhwy61, in his first e-mail. Garfish was right on with his comment about the timing of the e-mails, and the first buyer should be given first dibs or a flat out "no thank you."

I guess that makes me a lawyer.

Look deep inside yourself to see what is really keeping you fuming. After all, we are responsible for the way we feel.

By the way, name calling diminishes your credibility.
Charles: Seems more bizarre than sleazy/scummy to me (unless of course he kept allowing his robe to slip open on purpose). The amps are popular and will sell in time.
You definitely got JERKED, BIG TIME. This low life was setting you up for something. Was he a criminal defense attorney? A real low life I once knew (he actually managed to get himself disbarred, and you KNOW how lawyers on the board of overseers protect their own!) His clients would pay him in stolen merchandise! Cops came down and towed a stolen Corvette out of his driveway one afternoon! Even this didn't get him disbarred! But that's another story! Sounds like he wanted to trade you something of questionable ownership, but you didn't bite. Consider yourself lucky. Also, had you left your amp for 3 days, it probably would have been "damaged" or more likely "stolen", he would have offered you an item for replacement that was just too good to refuse, and you would be the proud owner of a STOLEN whatever! I, too, always prefer to sell locally. You are under NO obligation to take the offers in the order that they were received. Unless you accept the offer, it's just that...AN OFFER! A legal (or moral) contract does not happen unless and until YOU ACCEPT THAT OFFER. You did nothing unethical regardless of whatever anyone says. And how many of us had received "firm" offers and then wait for a check that never arrives. And then comes the bulls**t excuse, if the "buyer" will even return our e-mails? I know that you're upset. I've used experiences such as this as learning experiences. We're all here because we LOVE audio. But that doesn't mean that everyone here is above board. Hey, you'll someday probably laugh about this. But he will ALWAYS be a dirtball! Happy Tunes!
If all is true, the situation between the Lawyer and yourself was a terrible experience and I can feel your frustration. I also feel for the first inquiry that was willing to purchase the amps and feel that he also was jerked around. Life comes with little guarantees. One must always make decisions in everyday life and sometimes we make a bad choice. “A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush.” One can stay positive, and search for, and gain, the good in any bad. A lesson may have been learned, and the positive is that you still have your amps. Telling the world that the Lawyer’s system sounded badly, throws insult along with exposing spite. The phrase “what comes around goes around” may apply. I don’t see your point, but have gained myself.
Dekay- funny!!! (open robe joke)
I bet there is more to this than meets the eye.Too bad we couldnt hear from the prospective buyers.Hey,you guys reading this?
Guys like the recipient of the demo wouldn't get it if they read this whole thread.Typically they have their own brand of logic.Like Mom always said,it takes all kinds.Don't anticipate being able to change this kind,anytime soon.---Yo,Marty: hind sight is always- well,-- you know. Charles----- You know,life is for learning;-- you just did --You'll be the better for it.
Sorry to get off-base but way above Mejames mentioned that he gave someone $50 for a demo of an amplifier he did not ultimately purchase. Does anyone know of any companies that purchase audio equipment just to let people pay to demo? There is a lot I would like to try in advance but do not have local access to and don't want to use new gear as a tryout.
Onhwy61, thanks for the apology. It has been graciously accepted!

I've really enjoyed the many comments to the threads. It's been very enjoyable seeing how many people see me as the manipulative jerk in this situation when my intent was to get a survey of this very thorough learning experience. I think a few folks need to go back and reread all of the facts very carefully again. I still read resonances of misinterpretations. I think that it shows me a culture of distrust, spin, and caution pervasive among high end audio. My last sale was sooo shocked becuase I sold him an Aerial CC5 center channel and I described it as a 9/10. He told me that he was floored when he got it as he EXPECTED an 8/10 but it showed up as a 10/10!!

Am I also one of the few people that thinks it's a bit odd that I actually use my REAL name??? Exactly why do most people hide behind their internet pseudonym? To me, it adds to that bit of creating an untrusting culture. What are we all hinding from? Maybe a stretch, but who knows. I clearly have nothing to hide. I don't know, maybe I'm missing something here? Hi, my name's Charles and I'm an internet audio seller!

This has been a wonderful learning lesson to me. I too am quite passionate about my hobby. One of the best comments is that people that buy here should already know exactly what they want. There are a half dozen stores here that carry Bryston. Most of us who sell here do not do this for their PRIMARY INCOME nor is it our business, rather as a way of upgrading when we have more $$$'s in our pockets. We all need to be cautious and yet respectful of others for their time. Like Ronald Reagan said, "Trust the dealer to the fullest extent, but always cut the deck"!

Thanks for the great support from the 95% of the replies. I'm not going to be as naively willing to extend my trust, but I've also gotten a renewed faith that 95% of the folks on here are wonderful outstanding people. I was very bitter from being jerked around, but this thread has shown me that it was a "rare" instance and has restored my faith that people are generally good in the world.

I'm glad that I found Audiogon.
Charles, I too am glad you found Audiogon, and shared your story with us.

By the way, I'll bet you can't guess my real name! It's Albert Porter.
Charles: I am forced to use an "internet pseudonym" as I am rich, famous and extremely sexy (same as "Tim the Tire Guy":-). Nothing underhanded about it.
I use David99 cause the F.B.I. wants me..
David: You failed to mention that it is the X-Files division hot on your trail (for drilling holes and placing sand in your tube preamp:-).
I understand your frustration with the local buyer, however the real reason you are "chafed" is you lost a deal. Understandable, but a chance you choose to take and hindsight is 20/20 and it's all part of the process. As for charging a demo "fee" I am very opposed to that. That is what the sales process is all about, listing to various options and choosing the one you like. I would tell someone wanting to charge me a fee to have fun selling to someone else. I apologize for getting on my soapbox but I like to evaluate all my options before I drop 3-4K. It's like buying a car, I test drove 10-12 different cars before choosing the one I liked. I did buy a car and I was serious, I just did not like 11 of 12 cars I test drove. The day dealers stop offering in-home demo's or charging for them is the day I stop buying from them. It's one thing to waste someone's time with no intention of buying (which if happened to you is crappy) it's another thing to simply not like the product. Also, to all you salesmen who hate the guy who comes in and just looks because he is curious. Here is another spin, I was one of those guys and just did not have the $ to buy the stuff I wanted. Now I do, and the one salesman who paid attention to me and helped me learn as a neophite has about 10k worth of sales over the last few years from me because of it! Treat them like crap and they will never come back, make them feel welcome and all the sudden $ that was allocated for a vacation now goes towards a new amp!!!
Hey, Dekay,
If you're so rich, famous and sexy, why wouldn't you want anyone to know who you are?
In order that everyone here does not kiss up to me.

Oh and that was "extremely" sexy, by the way.
No auditions. Buy it or don't- no exceptions.
Hindsight is always easier. Too bad you get stuck trying to be nice.
Albert! Clueless! Say it ain't so! I'm a lawyer and I can tell you that the words "greedy", "pathologically self-interested", and "narcissistic" are not generalizations that are inappropriate when tied to the word "lawyer". Sometimes, guys, generalities do have general merit...

Solution? Low-yield, tactical theatre thermo-nuclear device with atmospheric detonation.

Seriously though, here's my advice. I NEVER EVER audition components for someone else, much less haul them over to someone else's house! (the only exception being when its a local buyer and its an over $5K piece and your interest in having them not call the next day to say its mysteriously broken overide rule no. 1).

Basically, there are a ton of tire-kickers in this hobby and their problems at honesty seem to be exponentially amplified when they get in the process of a wanna be deal. If you know what you want, buy it. If you want to demo gear, go to a dealer and pay retail.

A good lesson here. Don't ever get too eager to do a deal that you break the rules.
I did nothing about a loser buyer I dealt with. I figured he would eventually do himself in one way or another. This guy was a pathetic S.O.B. He came to my house no less than 4 times (3 hours each time)to audition a pair of Soundlabs. In the end He told me he didn't want my speakers but would like to buy my cat! (And no I'm not talking about Convergent Audio Technology). The real kicker was the next day when I realized he made off with two of my best audiophile cd's.
I had the samething happen to me but the guy gave me a check, a week later said pic them up, he stop payment on the check.
Meanwhile I delivred and set up these amps for him , and it was a 6 hour round trip.

so i did the 6 hour trip Again, but charged him $500 cash, for the BS.