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Ethical quandary in re-selling gear

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

  1. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    What he wrote ^^^^^^!
    Mannyinnewyork likes this.
  2. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i don't cringe at selling to GC. for one thing, i've gotten some good prices from them in the recent past. for another, they have overhead, and if they didn't pay salaries, rents, lawyers, health insurance, business insurance, and on and on, there would be no guitar centers. for another thing, people who need to save a few bucks can find the gear more easily at GC and score a deal. i got a SR500 there and a rockbass 5 string streamer at a GC for $200 each.

    probably half or more of the gear i've ever tried since 1972 has been at one guitar center store or another. i'm not unhappy to help keep them afloat.
    Sub-hoo-fer and Bass Jones like this.
  3. This is what I would do. Help out as much or as little as you wish, but make sure everything is transparent, agreed and in writing, even if it's only an email trail. If any advice could later be portrayed as self interested, or interested in favour of a prospective purchaser, then you could, conceivably, be in danger. Make sure that it is completely clear that you are only providing a personal opinion not a professional valuation. To intentionally provide incorrect information on which a deal is based is fraud, and that's a criminal offence. At least, here it is. I don't know about US.

    And that's a personal, not professional opinion!
  4. Cliff Colton

    Cliff Colton

    Nov 7, 2016
    Asking GC to evaluate the gear with no intention of selling it to them is a form of dishonesty.
    Asking you to move the gear for little or no profit is worse.

    Either sell the gear for them and retain a reasonable percentage to compensate for your time, or tell them to list it all on eBay with no reserve.

    Why all this submissive deference? Do you have to walk his dog too?
  5. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I know you are, but what am I?
    Your instincts are right. Explain things as you've explained things here, give them a one-time payment and then sell the pieces over time, by whatever method you'd like. Definitely wouldn't get involved in a long-term payout situation with them. One and done. And if they're not happy with that situation, suggest that they sell it on eBay on their own, or that they get an offer on the whole lot from GC.
  6. backin82

    backin82 Jack of a Few Trades Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2009
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I don't see the ethical dilemma. You give them a fair price for the gear, and that should be the end of it.

    What you do with it from there shouldn't be anyone's concern, IMO. In fact, I wouldn't even disclose that I may sell it unless they specifically ask my intentions.
  7. TemplesOfSyrinx

    TemplesOfSyrinx Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    New Jersey
    A family that my wife has known for 20 years had their son pass away. He was a musician (guitar). No one else in the family knew anything about music. She had been telling me that they were just going to trade it all in or have a garage sale. I explained to my wife what would happen in both scenarios. The family asked me as a fellow musician to stop by and take a look at the gear. I was half expecting to see a bunch of low value guitars. Boy was I surprised.

    He had 5 custom built Carvin & Kiesel guitars. Beautiful stuff. After my initial shock passed, I explained to them that they had approximately $5,000 to $6,000 worth of guitars in resale value. He paid over $8,000 total for them all. I was able to get the invoices from Kiesel. Unfortunately that brand doesn't hold value exceptionally well in the used market.

    Bottom line is I have privately sold 4 of the 5 so far. I wanted to help them. I took no fee. The guitars are now being played, and they are happy to hear that. The money has really helped them too.

    And as a thank you from them, they have given me a beautiful 12 string acoustic guitar their son also owned.

    Sometimes good deeds are rewarded. I'm just happy that they didn't get ripped off.
    Duder, Bullitt5135 and backin82 like this.
  8. 2000TA46032


    Aug 1, 2018
    If you are just trying to get a estimate from GC then I wouldn't waste your time hauling it there or GC's time.
    Just offer the family what you think is fair. It is nice of you to help them with this. It is just best to give them one check for everything if you really want the equipment. I'm sure they will be pleased knowing you will find it a good home or will be using it yourself. I've been in this situation a few times with classic cars. The owner passes away.. the family members don't care about keeping the cars. They just want to sell it as quickly as possible. They don't want to deal with tire kickers and a long drawn out process.
  9. Mixing friends, funerals, and money is a recipe for hard-feelings, second-guessing, and ruined relationships. I appreciate your concern about this, but if it were me, I would prefer this being handled by a third-party source, and leave me out of it. It could go well, but to me the chances it won't are far greater, and I'd choose to skip getting dragged into a 'friend-of-a-friend's' problem: If this were blood family, it would be hard enough, and I wouldn't be crazy about it even then.

    People will say they just want the goods gone, they don't want to deal with CL or whatever means were available, etc., . . . . . . and then later it gets back to you that some of them think you took them to the cleaners. Nope, not this kid.
    CyberSnyder likes this.
  10. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    I think your idea of buying it all at once at a good price is best.
    I know when my father passed years ago and I was left with a whole woodworking shop of high end tools, literally thousands, that I knew absolutely nothing about as far as resale value was concerned. I consulted one of his woodworking club friends about the value of everything so that I could sell it in one lot. He worked up a price, I then told him that I'd sell it all to him at half of that price. Sold it all on the spot. Luckily, I didn't need the money and it was a relief to get it all taking care of at one time.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    singlemalt likes this.
  11. groooooove

    groooooove Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    the only smart move IMO would be to put them on ebay, $1 starting auctions with free shipping.

    you will by definition get a "fair market value" that way. the worst i've ever done is a used guitar that normally goes used for $600 sold for $450. we're talking 200+ sales, so that's not so bad. usually you get what you would expect for used but functional gear.
  12. HamOnTheCob

    HamOnTheCob Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Cambridge, Ohio, USA
    Endorsing Artist for Warwick, Mesa Boogie, Joyo, Dr. J, Levy's Leathers
    I think it would be very fair to all involved if you bought it all from them and sold it yourself as you see fit. As a bass player, you are better equipped to maximize the return than they are, but as it wasn't your family member, you have no obligation (nor should you feel like you have one at all) to do that for free. You could even see what GC would give you for it all and then stroke them a check for slightly more than that. It would get it out of their hair, which is probably more important to them than anything else. You would be taking 100% of the risk if items become difficult to sell, if anything has any issues with functionality, the burden of storage, the burden of dealing with potential buyers, and the financial burden of having to front the money for it all.
    backin82 likes this.
  13. FollowMeDown


    Feb 8, 2019
    I'd clearly explain the situation to whoever formally owns or controls the gear (the family member who inherited it or the trustee of the will/estate if it hasn't already been settled). ather than you just independently deciding what happens to what is legally their property now, you should ask them to agree in writing to your plan/advice, regardless of what the deceased may have wished or said to your buddy.
    Acting without everyone being on the same page is risking that a family member will incorrectly believe they could have gotten more so you must have ripped them off, regardless of any truth that you actually went out of your way to help them.
    I've seen family members suddenly get VERY greedy and selfish when someone dies, even over junk with no sentimental or monetary value. You don't want to risk inadvertently getting in the middle of anything like that.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  14. I've been in a similar quandary recently. A close friend's father took his own life nearly two years ago now. He had maybe 30 guitars, all sorts of amps, endless random gear etc. I bought one guitar from his family for sentimental reasons, and a local and well renowned guitar shop owner, who was a friend of his father's, priced everything for the family so that they could sell it at a reasonable price.

    My friend's mother is now trying to sell all these guitars, and I strongly recommended to her that she take high quality photos of everything, get really good quality descriptions, and then at least put them on eBay or preferably, in my opinion, Reverb. However, she expects them to sell themselves somehow and wants to put 0 effort into it. I asked her whether she was planning to sell the (actually pretty nice) cases separately from the guitars and she just looked at me funny. Very few of the guitars are particularly valuable, so the cases could be another 10% on top of what she's planning to sell them for, which isn't to be sniffed at.

    I did think I could sell them, but frankly I can't be bothered. This woman is extremely hard work, and no doubt she'd blame every slight discount, issue, "Charlie said it was worth more" etc. on me. So I just gave her the advice and left it at that. My friend says she hasn't done anything.

    She did actually say to me when I was choosing one of his guitars that someone had asked to see the list of what's available and then asked for further pictures. Her response was along the lines of "Why?" Give me strength!!
  15. Wimsta


    Apr 17, 2019
    Lots of good perspectives worth examining here, I'm happy to have read every post.
    I have a Ph.D. in conflict management, and one of my favorite teaching exercises is a simulation that is done on negotiating with family members and lawyers in the distribution of an inheritance. The twist, if you will, is that participants are scored on their relationships afterward, not their "material success." Students tend to leave with lots to reflect on afterward. In this example is see something quite similar.

    There are 3 satisfactions: emotional, material, and process. Does the person feel good about what is happening? Does the person like the substantive--usually financial--outcome? Was the person good with the process?

    In this case there are assumptions and unknowns. The best way to handle that is with honesty dialogue.

    This should include getting information from those you're helping to make sure they are getting all three of their satisfactions met, and your own articulation of your own thoughts and feelings.

    What the fellow posters have provided is examples of process they've been engaged in, and the anecdotal evidence of similar cases. Your own situation may or may not echo in these cases, and the wishes of the deceased are not enough information to make such a conclusion.

    I would be happy to discuss this with you in more detail, for free, if I could be of any assistance and/or to connect with you with resources that might help you with your conversations.
  16. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I appreciate the offer, but that won't be necessary. I've decided not to get involved with the situation beyond helping my buddy price some of the gear. He has a good relationship with the widow, and he has the time and space to store and sell the gear over time. Money is apparently not a driving factor. It sounds like she is quite OK financially and has no use for the gear (no kids, no relatives who might want it). My buddy is simply carrying out the wishes for his deceased friend..."try to get a fair price for it." I suspect this wish has more to do with what he knew he paid top dollar for the gear brand-new, and he'd hate for it to be liquidated for next to nothing (out of principle, not financial motives). The fact that the widow will recoup some cash is just an added bonus.

    I can certainly imagine other scenarios that are far more fragile, especially if money IS an issue or there are a lot of interested parties involved. As an example, my wife's grandmother and great-aunt had a decades' long bitter feud over who had dibs on an beat-up old hope chest. When they both passed away, thing thing went straight in the dumpster.
    Duder and Cliff Colton like this.
  17. Wimsta


    Apr 17, 2019
    Glad to see you've found resolution.
  18. Dwight


    Apr 9, 2012
    Glad you've resolved to stay out of it. In the future your friend could always do a no reserve auction on eBay. Start at one dollar and customer pays actual shipping and packing charges from the ups store.

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