What does your common sense tell you?


I just want to check with fellow audiogoners regarding the sales practice or sales etiquette here.

When you are a seller: Someone sent you an email saying he is interested. You kindly reply, "thanks for your interest. If you would like it, please let me know how you want to pay." A few hours later, other person contacted you saying he would like to buy. You kindly reply, "there is other person showing interested. If he backs away, I will contact you. Thanks for interest. Blah, blah, blah". Now you wait for the first guy to reply. After a while, you email to the first guy, "now, some other person is waiting for your decision. Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible by tomorrow morning."

OK, here is the question. The first guy never replied by the time you designated. Then, would you allow yourself to start contacting the next guy because you waited long enough? What if you close the deal with the second guy and the first guy comes in after two days and says, "I want to pay by MO and send it to you tomorrow."?

I don't want to piss anyone off here, let alone be sued on "Dispute" section. Please let me know how you would behave in one of these situation.

Thank you.
Hi Ken:
Sell it to whoever wants to BUY it. You are not obliged to hold it for someone who is "interested." What does that mean? I'm interested in the Taj Mahal. You have done all you can and have been fair in my book.

I remain,
Usually, I also look at feedback rating. Someone who has lots of (positive) feedback and has been a member here for a year or more usually knows whether they want an item and is just trying to haggle price. New members can be "tire kickers" or just trying to get info about your item for sale. It should take no more than 2 or 3 emails to get a commitment for payment. Furthermore, a contract requires an offer and an acceptance. There WAS NEVER an offer and acceptance with buyer #1, just an "interest". Hey, I'm "interested" in a Ferrari, but that doesn't mean that I intend to purchase one! Further, you had added a time specific option for acceptance which was ignored by buyer #1. As I understand, he never accepted your offer (asking price) or presented a counter-offer (what he was willing to pay). You were VERY ethical by informing him that you had another potential buyer, and giving him a deadline to complete the contract. Hey, "You snooze, you lose!" It's happened to me, as both a buyer and a seller.
This is a tough one! I had a similar situation as a buyer and asked the forum here how to handle, the majority opinion was the seller makes the decision. As a seller I would be inclined to honor the first person to respond if they were serious. A serious buyer could have a question on the item and needs an answer prior to making the decision to buy. I would give them the benefit of the doubt and answer the question and give them a short time to answer back if they wanted the item. Others here would say the heck with that, I'll take the first buyer willing to commit to buying the item. I think this is a position taken by those that have been burned by tire kickers. Can't blame them for that. My suggestion is, if you see something you want make a committment on the first contact with the seller.
You're right on. Call the second guy and, hopefully, close the deal. The first guy: Interested? If he was really interested you wouldn't be contacting him, he'd be contacting you. Interest is a feeling, not an obligation or commitment Means nothing. You may piss the first guy off, but that's his problem. You have been fair and square. peace, warren
Interested means nothing, if there is no offer of money then move on to the first person that makes an offer that you can live with. When I want something...I make an offer. Don't waste your time with tire kickers.
Ken, I completely agree with the previous posts. You have been very fair and by starting this thread have proven to be honorable.

If you've informed the first buyer you'd like an answer within a reasonable amount of time because someone else is definitely going to buy it, you've given them fair warning in my book. When I contact a seller regarding an ad, I also inform them dpwn the line if I don't intend to buy it just so they don't hold an item for me unecessarily.

I know you don't want to upset anyone even if they're in the wrong, but they have to understand your needs as well.
Thank you so far for very insightful advices. I am now relieved to contact the second guy.

Next and last, maybe a rather moral question, but I am serious.
Suppose the buyer #1 has backed away. Further suppose there are buyers #2 and #3 waiting on line for your item. Assume they are all saying "want to buy it" and "will paypal quick". The number corresponds the position (sequence of contacting you). You check the feedback of #2 to find out he has a relatively poor track record (or, even a non-registered member). You check #3 and find that he has an excellent track record.

Let me remind you that there is a "record" on AudiogoN system which tells who contacted you first (or second or third, or...) regarding specific item you intend to sell. You can check that on "My Page".

In the case above, would you contact #3 because he has excellent track record and because you assume there is no way for others to know who contacted you earlier, or #2 because he is the next in line?

Again, I am dead serious about this. There may be a rule somewhere, which I have been too lazy to check. If this is already settled there, I apologize. Thanks! Ken
I can tell you that I have paid through PayPal a few times and the money transfer is very fast..Not hours. If the person with less than great feedback is going to pay with paypal you may be ok with him, on the other hand we are talking about money here so I can understand your worry. I will not send money to a person that has no feedback but would sell as long as they send me money, I would then give them good feedback.
The idea of feedback is so you can make an informed deal. If you had to deal with the first person all the time feedback wouldn't make sense as you would be obligated to deal with the first contact all of the time irrespective of feedback.

No one is required to enter into a transaction when there is reason to think it could be a headache. I would never enter into a long distance deal with someone with a "poor track record" when there is someone else ready to buy.

I remain,
You have to live with yourself and it sounds to me like you've done everything correctly by giving the first person fair warning. So rest easy and sell to the next guy in line. Unfortunetly some people seem to think they are the only one interested and can take there time.You do want to get the best price and sell quickly and fairly.In my opinion you did just that.
The resposibility is on the buyer to make their intentions known. Waiting for an unresponsive possible buyer can cost you the sale. Make clear that other buyers are interested and your intentions and your side is done. People here know if you snooze you lose.
From what I understand in the Audiogon rules, the seller and the buyer has 24 hrs to make the deal once the process was initiated by the buyer. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I think that "back and forth" here on Audiogon when trying to buy or sell an item is completely frustrating. I have had to deal with tire kickers on items that I have sold, and I have also lost out on purchases that I wanted to make because the seller was too impatient. In one instance, the seller sold to the second to reply to the ad in less than 30 minutes, and his email to me didn't even include any specific instrutions on how to pay him! What is really needed here is a "buy it now" option on Audiogon. Such a feature would end the many debates about etiquette in this forum.
I second any above posts saying in effect, sell to whom you please, based on whatever combination of criteria you require. Extend as much courtesy as you like, but do what you need to do for your sale, as long as you don't mislead anybody.
I also agree, if the first person does not get back to you in a timely manner, then it's their loss. It sounds like you gave the first guy plenty of time to respond before selling to the 2nd guy.
Thank you very much for your inputs. I feel better now knowing that "common sense" is still "common" among good people like you all here.