Potential problem with sale.

I didn't see this possible dilema addressed in the archives. My question has to do with a product you sell being properly represented, no functional or comsmetic issues, but not being compatible with the buyer's system. Case in point-- I have recently sold a dvd player (Camelot) which when hooked up to the buyer's 16:9 tv (Panasonic) produces uneven blackbars when playing a 2.35:1 movie in progressive scan mode-thin bar at the top and a wider bar at the bottom. The buyer is going to trade his tv for a Mitsubishi tomorrow and hopefully this will be a non-issue. I had no problems with my Sony XBR2. What is my obligation to the buyer if the new tv performs in the same manner? Am I to let him return the player to me for refund? My opinion is that sales on Audiogon are final and not a trial of the equipment (if properly represented). I have good feedback, and wouldn't want that to change because of this transaction. I am interested in the views and opinions of other Audiogoners as to this situation. Thanks for your time and input.

Jeff Strossner
128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xjstrossner
Jeff, I sold a Krell KRC-3 to a guy last year. It was in like new condition with original box,warranty etc. Worked perfectly in my system. Diconected it , packed it and shipped to the next state over which UPS delivered the very next day! He calls me and tells me that the unit has a wicked buzz. So I co through all the grounding issues to no avail. I told him to return it to me on his dime and sold it to the next person in line and they were thrilled with it. I would, and did take it back. I knew there was nothing wrong with it, but felt it was the correct thing to do. Hope this helps, and good luck.

I think that part of the general good will of Audiogon is that people should take things back if there is reasonable cause. If any buyer contacted me about a problem within the first few days of receiveing something from me, I would take it back, even if I had never noticed the problem before, or it had been damaged during shipping. If an item does not work for the buyer, even if it worked for you, then you should take it back. Also, how you represent and rate your equipment in an ad cannot possibly describe your item as well as seeing and using the item in person. Because we are all buying items sight unseen, it is important to extend the courtesy of taking returns, and expect (hope) that others extend the same courtesy. However, I think shipping is fair game. If they want you to refund the money, they should pay for shipping back to you. Just my opinion, others may differ on this.
Anyone who buys something to be shipped should realize there is the possibility that it could be damaged in transit. If this unit doesn't function correctly with his next TV, I think it would then be safe to assume something could well be wrong inside the case. It's a bummer, but the buyer should take it to the shop to find out, and make a claim with the shipper if need be. It's hard to get satisfaction that way though in the absence of obvious box damage, so if I were the seller, I'd probably offer to split the repair cost, but I see no reason for you to have to take the piece back and pick up the repair tab by yourself (unless you did a lousy packing job). Best of luck!
I agree with Dtsag completely. It's the responsibility of the buyer to know if what you are selling is compatible. Your responsibility is to accurately represent what it is you are selling. If you do that, and it doesn't work for the buyer, then that may be a problem but it is not yours unless you CHOOSE to take it back upon yourself.
The result is: that now YOU have the problem and HE/SHE no longer does.
I don't know about you but one of my cardinal rules is that: Whenever someone brings me a problem, and tries to give it to ME, I make it very clear that they will LEAVE with the problem. Because if they give it to ME, then I now have the problem, and THEY no longer do.
A lot of folks will try to do that to you...don't let'em.
Caveat Emptor...it's not like the unit was misrepresented or damaged. You are not obligated to buy back. Anyway, having 1 or even 2 negative feedbacks will do little or no damage, especially if you were not at fault.

my 2 cents
Legally, it depends on what was represented. If your ad, or other communications, promised compatibility with all TV's, you certainly are obliged to take it back (assuming that his TV is not defective.) If your ad was silent on the issue, then it is legally his problem.

Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with Itsalldark and Esun above. It's the right thing to do.
Here's a slightly different scenario but nonetheless on the same subject.
I recently sold my Rel Sub here on Audiogon, I was paid rather quickly so I took the sub off my system, packed it well and sent it out to buyer.
The next day after he received the sub I received an email from him saying that the sub was DOA and it did not work right off the bat, he went on to tell me that he opened the sub and found that some of the wirings are burned including some caps and switches, he also added he's got two more REL subs and he builds his own amplifier. Naturally I was shocked as I know for a fact that the sub was in excelent condition before I shipped it out.
His next email he mentioned that he could repair the sub but he needs some parts namely the fine and coarse switches for the crossover. He then proceeded to ask me if I could help with it, I of course said yes and suggested that I will contact Sumico and see if they have the part that he needs, the buyer also told me that Sumico may have the switches but it sells only as a whole circuit board, he went on to say that once I get the price of the parts we can talk about how to deal with the situation.
The whole time I'm still trying to figure out what the hell is going on? Is this buyers complain legit or not. I'm thinking to myself we would probably share the cost or maybe I would pay more.
The whole weekend passed and the following Tuesday I received another email from the buyer saying that he figured out how to make the sub work and their's no problem anymore.
What do you guys think of this situation?
The buyer has a few positive feedback and I hate to speculate,,, I ended up shaking my head and just tried to forget the whole thing even happened.
In my mind if you knew this problem was a possibility and explained that to the buyer,then you are off the hook.If you knew the possibility of a problem and didn't mention it to that person,I feel you are obligated. Only you know where you fit in the problem.Personally I would do everything possible to help the buyer be happy.... Good Luck!
I, too, agree with Itsalldark and Esun. You can bet I will look for what they are selling here, and buy from them. I do, however, think that shipping should be paid by the original buyer, and that something must be done to ensure that goods have not been damaged by the buyer when returned.

I have legal obligations to my husband, but that is not what builds relationship and credibility when the going gets rough.
I think it's the buyer's responsibility to know about what he is buying. The seller is responsible for the item's condition, not its functionality. I bought a Meridian 598 with progressive scan and didn't discover that it didn't have outputs compatible with my TV until I tried to hook it up. Duh! (I bought a used 565 to solve this.) I bought a remote for one of my components and didn't find out that the component didn't have the circuitry to receive remote commands until I tried to use it. Double Duh! (It's in the drawer now.) These are MY mistakes, not the sellers'. If I had wanted, I could have sold my mistakes on Audiogon.

Now, having said all this, I would nevertheless be willing to take back the Camelot dvd player IF the buyer really wanted to back out of the deal. He should pay for round trip shipping and any transaction costs (credit card fee, etc). I would relist it for sale and hope to get a comparable deal. In other words, he would make me whole financially (presumably not a big number), but I would be willing to put up with the hassle of trying again to sell it. I think this position is reasonable on both sides given the sense of community courtesy and mutual respect shared on this site. No one wants to be taken advantaged of or put at a disadvantage, but I would try to be civilized and understanding about the whole thing.
Rmml: Your situation sounded extremely fishy. Having dealt with you, i know that you would have done the "right thing", but it makes one wonder what the real deal really was. I have no doubt in my mind that you send a fully functional product. My guess is that one of the buyer's other subs was "smoked" and he was asking you to help pay for the repair. I guess that he was creative enough to figure out how to repair what he had without buying a bunch of OEM parts using his new sub ( your old sub ) as a reference, letting you "off the hook". This is pure speculation, but i've seen similar situations happen before.

Jeff: I am currently in a situation very similar to yours. I sold a digital component that has multiple functions. As such, i had never used some of those functions nor did i have the capacity to test them. I had used the unit for an extended period of time in various systems and it had performed flawlessly. I listed it for sale and a fellow Agon member purchased it from me.

When the unit arrived, the buyer hooked it up and was overjoyed with it. He was quite pleased with the unit, both cosmetically and sonically. A few days later, the buyer tried to make use of some of the other features of the unit that i had never used. Unfortunately, it would not work for him as he had planned. From what we could deduce, the problem appears to be relatively simple and it is electrical. As such, i offered to either refund his money or repair the unit, covering the cost of shipping both ways. The choice was his.

Having fell in love with the unit, he decided to have the unit repaired but did not want to do so right away. He was in the process of setting up a new system and this piece was somewhat central to the operation of it. Once he could get everything dialed in and make sure that everything else was okay, he would contact me and we would go from there.

Well, that was over a month ago. I just contacted the buyer to see where we were at and he told me he'd be ready to go soon. I have no problem with this as the gentleman has been completely reasonable throughout all of our dealings. He struck me as being completely sincere and totally honest. As such, i'm going to do what it takes to make things "right". I just hope that he picked up the same "vibe" from me that i did from him. If he did, he knows that i am not a "shyster", nor did i try to sell him a partially defective unit while trying to play dumb. It did have some flaws that i was aware of and made sure that he was aware of them prior to closing the deal.

I think that this is a matter of having to deal with each specific situation as it develops. While i don't think that any "reasonable" Agon member would expect to be able to return an item purchased from another individual just because it didn't measure up to their personal expectations or work well with their system, i do think that they SHOULD expect to be able to return an item if it is defective and / or damaged in transit. It is also not the buyers fault that what they received was damaged, so it is up to the seller to refund the money and deal with the insurance claim. I know that there are excruciating circumstances that come up from time to time, but hopefully, we are all adult enough to work our way out of the situations that we sometimes get ourselves into. Sean
I agree that you have no obligation to take the unit back, but if I was in your situation I would. In fact, anybody who wants to return something I sell them based on being disappointed, and they do so promptly, I would undo the deal assuming shipping both ways was on their nickel. If it was my mistake, I'd pay shipping both ways.

I sold a HT receiver once to a guy and he couldn't get one of the inputs to work. It was only because it was configured differently, but I didn't have the manual anymore and trying to coach him wasn't working. I think he just wanted to back out and this "malfunction" was his reasoning. He was a good guy and I don't think this was a normal mode of operation. In any case, we undid the deal on his nickel and I sold to somebody else. Somewhat a pain, but it all worked out better in the end I suppose.
If there was/is nothing wrong with the unit and no discussion or representation was made regarding compatibility, this is the buyers problem. You could offer to help them re-sell by iquiring with others who were interested when you sold originally and encourage the new owner to list on a-gon at a reasonable price (which is exactly what you would have to do if you took it back).
Jameswei is right on the money. No obligation on your part, you should not be out any $, but it would be a nice gesture. BTW, I also have items I've bought, sitting in a cupboard, cause I didn't do my research. If its my mistake, I probably would not ask for a refund on a minor cost item; in this case, I might, offering to pay shipping both ways, transaction costs, and re-listing costs.
Thanks to all for the good advice. Well, the Camelot performed in the same mannor with the Mitsubishi. I called Howard at Camelot Tech. and was told that the blackbar situation occurs with some tvs and some 2.35:1 media. This was not listed in the manual. The buyer was going to call and discuss the situation with Howard. Camelot will gladly check out the unit (still under transferable warranty) if the buyer requests. I'll see what they come up with.
Compatibility issues can be sticky at times. I bought a piece from someone that worked in his rig but hummed like crazy in mine. I played around with the usual tweaks but to no avail. I told him about the problems & he offered a full refund including shipping - I was amazed but certainly gratified. A happy buyer meant more to him than $ from the sale did.
Having been treated so well in this situation I just wanted to mention it, but Jeff this is not your obligation of course. If you are inclined to make him whole, then have it shipped back to you on contingency that if inspection reveals no damage (scratches or electro-mechanical problems etc) then you would send him a refund less shipping. This isn't anyone's fault really, but it's absolutely your call. The buyers' story sounds reasonable enough.
IMHO every case is different enough that a standard policy probably won't work.
You are under no obligation to take it back but I personally would. For some reason I hold A'gon members to a higher standard. I sold a cdp that I only ran unbalanced and the man wanted to run it xlr. Turned out his preamp could not handle the xlr output voltage. I took it back, shipped it to the manufacturer for a check-up (it was fine) and resold it. Everybody is happy and I have no regrets.