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Ethical quandary in re-selling gear

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

  1. rust_preacher

    rust_preacher Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    And AMPEG SVT might go for a reasonable price here on TalkBass (you'd have to pay for supporting membership to sell on Classifieds) or on Reverb, but it's a stretch as most of the market today is all about smaller, powerful, light-weight gear. The EBMM fiver would sell on TB or on Reverb, guaranteed. I would suggest checking Reverb on the prices. Then, what I would do, is take the SVT gear to Guitar Center and dump it there, and sell the EBMM on TB.
  2. LanEvo


    Mar 10, 2008
    Honestly, the easiest/cleanest solution would be to just take everything to a local music store that’s set up to sell used gear on consignment. There are a bunch here in NYC.

    Let them price it, advertise it, and sell it. Then send the family a check (minus their commission).
  3. I agree 100%. Good intentions will only loose you a friend - every time. Sell it all to GC and there will be no guilt issues for any of your given reasons.

    Remember, "No good deed goes unpunished!"
    Bobhmcs likes this.
  4. FerK

    FerK Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2011
    In your shoes (I'm saying it only because you're asking), I'd help your buddy price out the gear, and let him and the family decide. I'd personally prefer to stay out of it. The little profit you'll make is unlikely to be worth your while.
  5. Bobhmcs

    Bobhmcs Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2017
    Reno Nv
    I believe you have enough food for thought here for a feast.
    But there is another old axiom that is appropriate "The road to hell is Paved in good intentions"! My road shall be gleaming.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    As long as you are up front with the family, you're good to go. If they have a problem with it, they'll tell you.

    Down here in the South, the "Widow's Sale" with regard to tools and/or guns is a long-standing tradition. If the husband passes, a friend of the family, or a relative, will take the tools and/or guns and sell them. The proceeds will go back to the widow.

    The very scenario you are talking about often plays out. A buyer will say something like "If you hold out and sell everything one at a time, you'll probably be able to net $7,500. But if you just want to be done with it I'll give you $6,000 for everything right now." (Or something like that.)

    Just be sure to include your honest assessment of what the items would sell for individually. Otherwise I think you are dipping you toe into the unethical end of the pool and taking advantage of their ignorance.

    Likely, she'll go for it anyway. In times like these, many just want it over. This is another loose end to tie up in a LONG line of loose ends.
  7. gt96g

    gt96g Supporting Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Philly Area
    If it were me this is what id do. Look through and see if there was any gear Id like. Id offer to take the rest and sell it for them at fair values and depending and on the value of the item I wanted, negotiate some beneficial terms, essentially in exchange for my time listing and selling the gear. If it was a pedal I may just ask that be my fee. A bass, i may ask for a favorable price from the family and tell them clearly what it would be worth on the market. The point is everything would be above board so I could sleep at night.
  8. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I’d just let them take it to Guitar Center and you can go along in an advisory role if necessary. If you’re intending to give them low end of resale and then will sell them yourself, a few items will probably sell for less and then you’re looking at a loss. And if you make anything off it, there will be the one relative that now thinks you’re ripping them off even though they said nothing initially. Help them out by giving them values, but let it up to them to sell.
  9. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    Getting 50% quickly on used gear isn't "taking a bath" IMHO. Knowing that 50% is the best you're likely to do quickly may be what you have to offer by way of expert advice.
    JoshS likes this.
  10. marmadaddy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I would go to the family with exactly what you posted here.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  11. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    you don't know the family, you're the 'friend of a friend' of the family. advise your friend the best you can (prices, sales outlets, etc.) and be done with it. you get nothing except the satisfaction of helping/advising your friend...which should be enough for most "buddies." good luck! :thumbsup:
  12. OP: I think you've made the right decision. I've seen brothers and sisters fight over worthless junk when their parents passed, so I can only imagine how ugly it could get over something that has an actual monetary value.
  13. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I think some people responding lost track of the point that the deceased is a friend of a friend and the OP has no personal relationship with the family. So this is really only about the ethics of the business deal.

    I think the OP should certainly do his friend the favor of helping with the market research and give a sense of pricing on everything.

    If he then wants to make an offer based on that, I see no reason not to do so. The family, or the buddy handling the selling, can decide if they want to accept it, or get an offer from GC, or an estate auction or any other buyer, or go through the process of trying to sell it over CL or Reverb or ebay or whatever. The OP is simply another bidder and they can decide how many bids they want to entertain and whether they'd rather have cash up front and the issue gone, or let it take its time and maybe get better prices.

    As long as the OP gives honest advice on the pricing and lets the family make up their own mind about their options without trying to pressure or manipulate them in his own interest, I see no ethical problem here.
    Duder likes this.
  14. I’d have your friend lay out both options to family in detail. Let them decide.
  15. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    I think you are handling this right. There is nothing wrong with buying the bulk outright for a little more than they'd get at GC. They'd have it off their backs and minds, which is really what one needs in a time of need. You do have to be aware what you get yourself into - selling piece by piece requires space for storage, selling craft, and the long-term stamina, stomach and time to deal with all the things that are going to come onto your path - unreasonable buyers, shipping disasters, setting up basses etc. That you get reimbursed for all that trouble by making a little profit here and there is quite fair in my mind. If some piece happens to sell at an amazing price, resulting in a substantial profit, it is quite fine and noble to cut them an extra check, but in my mind you are not ethically obliged to do so (You also may have made a huge loss with another sale the week before) . Go with your gut and it should be fine.
  16. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Give them a lump sum offer that will heals you about 30 to 45 %. If your estimates are wrong (the used market is soft these days), you can at least break even.
    Meeting with potential buyers/shipping is time/$$.
    If you make more $$ than expected, send
    $100 or 2 their way and maintain your integrity.
  17. Roland GR 88

    Roland GR 88

    Sep 16, 2013
    Regardless of the relationship between the O.P. and the family an offer of help and advice shouldn't come at a price. If the O.P. wants to help he should help. If the O.P. wants to buy for himself then go ahead at a fair price.
    Either you're in for doing the right thing by the family or you're an opportunist looking for an advantage, however small.
    Considering the O.P. doesn't want any of the gear in the first place I think the decision should be easy.
  18. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Quite simple, help your buddy out to keep his promise to his buddy.
    HD007 likes this.
  19. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I would advise that they get everything professionally valued by someone other than you. Once they have actual numbers, make them an offer. At that point, they will know the loss/benefit of the sale.
  20. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    I would take an inventory of all the gear and then you and your friend research Reverb, Ebay and Craigslist to get an idea of what the average prices are. Once you establish the average price, you can meet with the family and make offers on anything you are interested in buying. If there is nothing you want to buy, the family will at the very least have an idea of how much they should be asking.

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