Ethical quandary in re-selling gear

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bullitt5135, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    So now I'm in an ethical quandary. My buddy's friend passed away recently. Before he died, he asked my buddy if he would help sell off his gear after he was gone. The only thing the guy asked was to try and not "take a bath" on it since proceeds will benefit the family. I pretty sure the family is OK, financially speaking. I never knew the guy. Since my buddy doesn't know much about bass gear, he asked if I wanted first crack at it -- either to purchase it myself or help him price things. I really don't need any of the stuff -- a high-end 5-stringer, a few tube amps and cabs, a bunch of pedals I'd never use. All very nice gear.

    My buddy could take it all to GC, and probably get 50% of typical USED resale value (so, like 25% of the new retail price). I'd consider that "taking a bath." Or, he could list it all individually online at fair resale prices, and wait until it sells. In the meantime, he needs to find a place to store it all and deal with potential buyers, shipping, etc. And like I said, he's not a bass guy.

    Alternately, I could just offer to buy everything. A fair price for me would be the very low end of resale value. That would potentially make it worth my while to store things for a while and sell them over time. As long as I could make a small profit for my time & effort, I might consider it. And yes, I would be upfront with the guy's family about my intentions. They might be perfectly OK with getting a sizeable check all at once instead of dragging this out for months, an item at a time. Given the situation, I wouldn't be adverse to passing along some or all of the profits as stuff sells over time.

    What would you do?
    HamOnTheCob, jamro217 and FerK like this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I'd suggest they sell it all to GC. A long drawn out financial partnership with loosely defined promises is a recipe for disaster. They're not struggling financially? Leave it alone. It'll work out better for everyone involved.
  3. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    If I were to buy all of the gear, it would be a one-time deal. They would get one check up-front for everything. I would assume the risk of reselling it. In other words, I'd be GC -- except the family would get a larger check from me. I'm not even sure if the money is all that important to the family. Sometimes, situations like this are filed under "closure" and "moving on." And certainly, if I knew for a fact the family was in dire financial need, I'd probably offer to do whatever I could to help them get top dollar.
  4. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    I like the buy it now and sell it later deal. I do that a lot and it always works for long as you understand you will be storing gear until you get your get your price, or the deal isnt worth cant be in a hurry to sell as you cant give the stuff away but you cant sit on it too long because life will get in the way so its a fine dance you have to do. Good luck with it.
    Rock on.
  5. Duder


    Dec 6, 2014
    As long as they know your plans up front and are okay with it I don't see an issue.
  6. It depends on what you mean by high-end and what tube stuff. It could be worth a lot or a little. GC or any local store is not very good at pricing in my opinion, especially if the equipment is rare or idiosyncratic.
    Bass Jones and jamro217 like this.
  7. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I'd still leave it alone. At most I'd advise your friend about value. Something like this is never gonna be simple. Or maybe it could be. Seems unlikely though.
    pcake and Flooflox like this.
  8. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Any scenario that takes a big-box retailer out of the equation sounds good to me.
  9. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Good point. EBMM USA bass and Ampeg SVT's. High-end compared to my usual purchases, but certainly not for some people.
    jamro217 likes this.
  10. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I've suggested posting the gear on the local bass players' community Facebook page. It might filter out *some* of the usual CL riff-raff, and it would be easier to facilitate local sales vs. Reverb or Ebay. Also looking into whether any of the local studios might be interested making an offer.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    jamro217 and Tommy V like this.
  11. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Send pics of the EBMM, lets see what you got.
    Rock on.
    Jeff Elkins and jackn1202 like this.
  12. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I wish I played a 5, because it's pretty sweet.
  13. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    I play 5's...
    Skillet likes this.
  14. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    Help out as little or as much as you can or care to.
    Be fair, be honest. No ethical issues.
  15. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    They could also join TB and list it here with your help on pricing.
    BassWaffle, Picton, jackn1202 and 4 others like this.
  16. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Supporting Member

    Just be honest with them in whatever you do and then there is no ethical quandry at all. Ethics are your morals, so if you are having a moral dilemma for whatever reason, talk it out and then it is no longer a moral dilemma, it is a group decision based on the known information. An ethical quandry is when you are faced with doing something that goes against your morals.
    BassWaffle, Joebone, howlin and 2 others like this.
  17. This would be closest to honoring the last request of the deceased, if that's still important to you. (It would be to me.)

    I can see the family appreciating the thought you put into it. They can't handle this chore and they don't want a protracted partnership, and if you can assure them you are paying a reasonable street value for the lot significantly above what a store like GC would pay, that should settle it.

    What you do with the gear from there on is your business. If you flip things and end up a little ahead on the deal, that's your fee for being the middle man broker. Or if it gives you good karma you can redirect the profits as you see fit, but I wouldn't see that as a requirement. It's a lot of work listing and selling gear one item at a time, so you would be perfectly justified keeping any profits that arise.

    And if you go through with this you are a good man. I am sincerely impressed with your generosity and selflessness.
  18. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    I would take the whole lot into GC, see what they offer then see if the family is ok with that amount. If they are, then I 'd buy the whole lot for more then what GC offered and go about selling it individually on your own. They're paid more than what they would have gotten and you have the opportunity to do with it what you will and are also helping them out in the process.
    samson3382, db59, BrentD and 7 others like this.
  19. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I’d be cautious about getting involved. You don’t know the family and sometimes estates can be lawsuits waiting to happen. Then there’s tax issues.
  20. PaulCISSA

    PaulCISSA Unsweetened, highly-caffeinated Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Northest New Jersey
    Did this for a friends wife that asked for the same in the field of firearms/competitive shooting gear. He and I went back 40 years together. After he passed, we evaluated what he hadn't sold off before departing and I cut her a check to "make it disappear". Took a decade to move it all and I didn't make much on the deal after refinishing some neglected works and putting a lot of hours into researching most of it. I kept a few things for myself that he had shared with me during competitions that have sentimental value. I take them to the range every year on the day of his passing (or as close to it as I can) and shoot a few rounds in his honor...It's how I commemorate our friendship.

    His wife and my family are still in touch and she's considered part of the family. By getting those things out of her life, she was able to grieve and move on. Seems like the OP is in a similar place, even if not 1st-person relationship with the deceased. Karma isn't cheap but it has bigger benefits than just cash.