Where does a sellers responsibility stop?

I have a ethics question that I need some input about. I just sold my pre amp to a buyer who made a local pickup. The pre has always worked flawlessly. He demoed it and then we took it out of my system. I started to remove the top to take out the tubes and pack them as they were when I purchased the unit. He said not to bother and so we packed it in all the original boxes.
He called me 3 hours later and said that the pre amp doesn't turn on. I told him that it had never had a problem like that before but, he was welcome to return it. He seemed really miffed at me like I cheated him. Now the problem is, I will be refunding his money but, how will I know that he didn't drop or short out or whatever the unit ?
Did my responsibility stop once it left the door?
If he came to your house and demo'ed it and then he took it with him, I would say your responsibility ended at the front door. It worked fine until it was out of your sight.

It would be different if you had shipped it to him. Then it is your responsibility until he confirms it works at his house.

I think you are being more than generous in taking it back.

Those are my two cents worth anyway.
Boy, what a bummer. It could be something simple. Did you walk through any trouble shooting with the buyer? If you offered a refund he shouldn't be miffed; a refund is generous. You're not a dealer where follow up service is expected. In the used market it's buyer beware. The problem is, the buyer could have done anything with the preamp once he left your house. You have no idea way to know what happened. After you refund his money your stuck with a broken preamp, so i guess it's seller beware too.

I once had a guy return a CD player because it wouldn't play through the digital out. When he returned it I plugged it in and it worked great. Turns out he was using the digital out direct into a home theatre preamp that didn't have a DAC. He just didn't know what he was doing. Turned out OK because I still have that CDP and love it.
I was working when it was being demo'ed. He saw it working. He took it away WITHOUT letting you do what you thought was proper. (removing the tubes)
I say he is out of luck.
The problem IS his.
IF you feel like being a 'nice guy' and looking at it at his place, then go for it. But you are not responsible.
He antics and anger don't mean squat.
How do you know the rantings are not a put-on to return something he damaged? In fact the angrier he is the more likely he screwed something up himself. IMHO
I would take it back provided it still worked in your system & was in the same condition as before. If there are any signs of abuse I would refuse the refund but maybe like in Budrew's situation, the guy didn't know how to hook it up. Then again maybe it's tube related & that gets into a gray area.

If everything's OK you won't have any problem reselling if it's the LS5 because you can reverse the SOLD on the ad.
Thanks for all your responses. He brought it back and I took a close look at it and could see no sign of abuse. Audio Research is notorious for having the toggle on/off switch go out through constant use. I'm betting that it was just bad luck and it happened after he took it home. He still wanted the unit, so, we agreed that I would keep half the money until it was repaired, which I would bear the responsibility for, and then he would return to pick it up.
That seemed like a fair compromise. This way if the repairs show abuse I use the money he left to pay for it and return the rest making him responsible. If the dealer sees it as a non-abuse repair situation I pay for all the repair and still sell him the pre-amp. I think in dealing with used equipment you always should treat the other party the way you would want to be treated, even if they are obnoxious.
Welcome him to the land of tubes. What did he expect?
The reliability of solid state?
I brought home my Rocket 88 (with all tubes removed).
I re-installed them carefully & watched one of the EL34s turn frosty white on start-up. I replaced both tubes w/a matched set & moved on.....

This gentleman probably does not have any experience w/tubes...
Agaffer- Hats off to you for dealing with this difficult issue in a very responsible manner. I'd deal with you anytime. A creative and way cool solution.
Agaffer, the way you handled this touchy situation is admirable. I'd buy from you anytime, without hesitation.

Best regards,
Agaffer, you're a gentleman and a scholar; and there's not many of us left...you were a cut above. Nice to hear....
Agaffer- I think we are all curious as to what the outcome will be. Please post an update when the unit returns.
I think you really bent over backwards and did more than expected in this case.....which is great service!

As several others said, if buyer comes to your house and actually gets to audition gear before buying, then once unit is out the door the buyer is responsible for any future problems since he is providing "shipping" of gear to his house etc. I guess whether you do anything further is purely up to your good will.

This is different than packing/shipping gear a distance to buyer where "seller is responsible" to provide working gear to buyers home........which can put seller at disadvantage since you never know if buyer did something wrong when using gear initially, but this is risk of used market.

Again good job.
Agaffer, just to echo what others have said, you are a credit to Audiogon. Your handling of this situation was decidedly above and beyond the normally expected duties of a seller. All the more admirable if the buyer was acting like a clod.
I recommend pointing the buyer to this thread, if there is any more unpleasantness. He should see that there is a consensus opinion on your side of the argument. I also suspect that the buyer has very little experience on Audiogon buying/selling equipment. I've found one or two novice buyers and sellers to be problematic, but have never had any problems with veteran members. Best of luck.
Well, it stops where you and the buyer agree it stops. Not that you did anything wrong, but now know it is always safer to at least say it, or better to make a writing, if that does not seem too chilling. Other than that, it is buyer be ware. The burden of proof is on the buyer. Not that a spite action cannot still be brought to bleed you, however unlikely. I brought in a component to my high end dealer to sell on consignment for 15%. He sold it for $2600 and kept it all. When I went to get the proceeds, he said 'Make me.' I will not sully this august forum with my thoughts. But I controlled myself and called my lawyer at Thor, Zeus and associates. Long story short, he declared bankruptcy.
Agaffer, your responsibility stop when he stopped you from removing the tubes because the unit was working properly and he seen that it was. Removing the tubes was the proper procedure but when he stepped in and stopped you then all responsibility was shifted from you to him. You should had made that clear to him that not removing the tubes could create problems due to the vibration during transport and that you would not be responsible if anything goes wrong once the unit left your house. Sometime you have to be strick about this that's the only way you can protect yourself, I had a customer do the same thing to me but when I told him I would not be responsible for any problem due to not removing the tubes he then said "go ahead and remove the tubes". Sorry you have to go through this. Let us know how it turns out!

On March 28, my husband and I sold a home to a couple. At settlement, we put 1900 into escrow to pay for repairs at the result of a home inspection. One of the items was one countertops in the kitchen needed to be tighted. (Recommend by the inspector) My husband asked a contractor for an cost estimate to do the other repairs, and to tighten the countertops. The contractor states the main countertop couldn't be tighten, he said it should be replaced, and he had a countertop to match the remaining countertops. At settlement, the new homeowers agreeded to have this contractor to do the work, they were given a choice to use this contractor or take the money. They chose to use the contractor. Both parties signed agreement for the $1900. The contractor completed the required work from the inspection report. The new homeowners decided to select another type of countertop, now the other two smaller countertops do not match. The new owners realestate agent is asking us to pay for the other two countertops, that were not included in the service order. Are we responsible for paying additional money for their countertops?
NO. WAY!!!! I would take a hard line, they seem very unreasonable.

Next they will want you to pay to upgrade the bathroom counters as well so they all match ; 0 ).
Huh? First time poster reviving an unrelated 3.5 year old thread to ask a real estate question?

What am I missing... April Fool's day was several weeks ago...
I'm guessing this person is a victim of google search. Google knows text but it's up to the user to handle the concept, or context in this case, part.
How do you tighten a counter top? turn it counter clockwise?
Rccc, I like that. To loosen, I guess it would have to go counter-counter clockwise, which seems a bit redundant.
Righty tighty, lefty loosey! Not really counter-intuitive.
Actually, it's not that easy, you have to hold the counter still and turn the house.
Darlene needs to talk with our Home Despot specialist, Johnnantais. His Lenco torque wrench would tighten that counter right up.
Another great post and a fine example of what this community is all
about...way to go 'agaffer'. 
This is a hard question for me. I remember I sold a pair of headphones and a year later the buyer is complaining to me that I modified the headphones and screwed stuff up in the process. I told him I did no such modifications and just plugged them in and played them which was the truth. I gently reminded him that it had been a year and if he had a problem why wasn't I notified a lot earlier. I would have taken action then.

Now whenever I sell I do a full test before I ship the item out if it has been sitting for awhile. I'll also state up front that this is an as/is sale and No Buying/Trying/and Returning if the gear doesn't have synergy with your system.
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It ends one week after purchase.
If shipped, one - two weeks at most, so normal 14 days return.

Agaffer is a true gentleman, I´d do business with him anytime in person and online, when PainPal allows me to use my money, of course (grin)