Unwritten rules for buying/selling in the TB classifieds??

Discussion in 'Classifieds Usage Discussion and Help' started by tb-player, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always! Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    I've been buying and selling in the TB classifieds for a couple of years now. During that time I've noticed certain trends that affect the way I approach gear, no matter which side of the deal I'm on.

    Obviously, a seller and buyer should deal honestly and not misrepresent themselves or their item. That's a given. I'm thinking more about the transaction itself.

    When I started as a seller, I tried listing the item as close to my desired price as possible. I would put language in the listing to the effect of "Price is firm but will negotiate basses on shipping location." But inevitably, I'd get a couple of those DM's with an offer that is 15-20% off the asking price. Many times, those 'offers' were disguised as, "This is all the money I have." And even when I put "No trades please," I would get at least one DM asking, "Trades?"

    I get it. You have not because you ask not. I learned that in Sunday School. But the result has been that now, I feel the need to list the items at a higher price to leave room for negotiations... hoping to get the offers a little closer to my range. Of course, this can look like a seller has priced gear too high, when it's been listed for a while.

    On the other hand, as a buyer, I try & take all this into consideration. If I'm interested in an item, I'll typically DM with any questions including, "Is that your rock-bottom price?" or "Are you entertaining offers?" just to be polite. For me, it's a 'Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you' kind of thing. Once again, Sunday School.

    TB Classifieds is still my favorite place to buy/sell gear. However, I'm genuinely curious to hear thoughts from other TBers along these lines. I want to make sure my expectations are realistic.

    In your mind, are there any unwritten rules of decency that you follow or require when dealing in the TB classifieds?
    R&B, ToneMonkey and skortch like this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wear pants when photographing item. Or make darned sure there are no reflective surfaces in the pics! lolz (seriously, though, it has happened :eek:)
    D Bowden, R&B, roccobass and 22 others like this.
  3. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always! Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    That moment when you realize, "Maybe I've been concerned about the wrong thing." :wideyed:
    yodedude2 and JRA like this.
  4. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Keep your feet/shoes out of the frame!
    ajkula66, bholder, Relayer71 and 21 others like this.
  5. tb-player

    tb-player Sarcasm intended... always! Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
  6. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    FWIW, as a buyer I always figure there's a little room on an asking price, unless the ad says, "firm". If it says that and not at a price I want, I do not respond to the ad. Otherwise, I'll pay the asking or ask for a reduction to what I am currently willing to pay.

    I will also add a pet peeve: twice in the last year I agreed to an asking price, requested payment info, only to be told that the piece was sold in the couple-10 hours overnight between my acceptance and the seller giving the payment info and my receiving it. I did a thread on that, and as a result have about 20 TBr's on a "don't buy from" list based on their defense of that practice - I will never buy from their ads. (Ironically, I bettered the price and condition on each of those items, one here and one elsewhere, within a day or two. And I seem to recall one of the deal-breaking sellers had an issue re getting paid on the item in question ... schadenfreude. )
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  7. moon-bass

    moon-bass They call me El Jefe Supporting Member

    May 10, 2004
    USA, New Orleans
    For a bass - list the weight. If you don't, you will invariably get some rando, who has no intention to buy, that will respond to the post simply with "weight????"
    thumblypeg, R&B, Lesfunk and 9 others like this.
  8. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE!

    Mar 31, 2010
    If you're selling something unusual, please don't say, "If you're looking at this, then you know what it is and what it does."

    Not necessarily. I've looked at lots of things not really knowing what they do simply because my curiosity was piqued. It's not too difficult to give a brief description.
    R&B, Bolsyo, ElBecko59 and 10 others like this.
  9. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    Though my limited interactions using the TB marketplace have been positive, since the community as a whole generally consists of good decent people, I think the unwritten rules are similar to most any online marketplace, swap meet, etc. While most folks are good, there are shysters and low-ballers out there. So look at peoples' feedback, since it usually links to the transaction threads, so you can get an idea of how things went down.
  10. Personally I find it annoying when I have researched what similar items are selling for, taken the market pricing into consideration, listed something at a very fair price, specified that the price is firm, and then have to waste time fielding questions from people who didn't take it seriously when I said "firm." Words have meaning. If I am open to haggling with you I will not tell you that the price is firm; "I'm not taking low offers" is literally what it means.

    I never feel like I want to sell something so desperately that I have to deal with people who can't follow directions, so sometimes I just respond with a quick, "sorry, price is firm." If they start whining after that, I just ignore it.

    I do realize that many people think it's a game to play, and that me not wanting to play the game for them is annoying to them. I spent five years in musical instrument sales as a job so I'm really conditioned to just cut to the chase; I got very annoyed at the salespeople who would do that little psychological game of raising the price so they could lower it and even more annoyed with the number of people who fall for that stuff. It's like we're all conditioned to be little slaves to marketing tactics and somehow it makes us feel good when we play a little game and think we got a better deal somehow when, really, that's the price they wanted all along.

    It takes just a few minutes to research sold items and find out what the actual, fair, going rate is for almost anything you want to sell or buy. The little game is silly.
    ajkula66, R&B, ElBecko59 and 4 others like this.
  11. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    TB used to be the place to get a deal. I’m not saying things were being given away, but it seemed like most everyone was in agreement that things would be fairly priced. These days people are asking $1,000 for a MIM Fender. Boggles my mind. You used to be able to get a MIA AmStd in great condition for $700, give or take.
  12. projectapollo

    projectapollo Supporting Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    One unwritten rule I've noticed is that people usually list items at the same price or less that what they paid for it on TB. (A little searching and you can usually find the original sale listing.). I think that is a nice courtesy we offer each other. On occasion, I find someone who bought an item at a good price and then attempts to resell for a tidy profit. It's America and they are free to do that, but it is a bit of a turn off when someone tries to profit from a flip.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    All the good ones are already taken! No Feet! Wear Pants, geez, fashion police. Weight, I'm convinced there is a TB member who is writing a comprehensive book of the weight of every bass. Why else would a non-buyer care about weighting somebody's bass?

    But the one weird one that could only happen in TB classifieds...
    ..."Act today and I'll include the strings that are on it and an old set of strings I didn't like". Sweet!
    db59, TheReceder and moon-bass like this.
  14. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I've got minimal dealings with TB, but I do a fair amount of purchasing elsewhere.
    If I'm making a lowball offer it's based on what I've seen in the market, and what I believe would be a good deal for me... and admittedly not a great deal, but a reasonable deal for the seller. I apologize upfront and let them know that I realize the gear might sell for more if they hold out. If the seller responds with a no I politely a tell them that if they reconsider, I'd still be interested in the future. I wish them luck and make sure that I thank them for their time. Why I make the lowball offer is irrelevant... unless buying their gear is going to save a village in Nicaragua from starving, it really doesn't matter. If they respond negatively..(cuss me out) I simply wish them luck and apologize for wasting their time. No reason for me to get upset, and hopefully their venting on me will keep them from blowing up on someone that actually matters.

    If I make an offer it's meant as my word and I will stick to it, I hate it when people make an offer, the offer is accepted, then they disappear from the face of the Earth.

    As for buying things and flipping them... I don't do it, but those that do, deserve everything that they get... In my opinion it's no different than gambling on the stock market... if you do your homework and make a profit... more power to you. As long as you're accurately describing what you sell, why should any disapprove?
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
  15. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    These rules can go for any selling platform:

    1) Respond to your DM's in a timely manner. That goes for sellers and buyers. Whether you're not interested or you need extra time to come to a decision; LET PEOPLE KNOW.

    2) Be ready to send payment at any moment after a price is agreed on. I've had people wait 24hr to send payment. Depending on what's being sold, a seller could have several (better) offers in that time. It can put the seller in a bad position. I understand that people have "lives" and "jobs" and stuff, but if you're buying something; you best be ready to pull the trigger. This leads into my next rule....

    3) Nothing is on hold until payment is in the seller's account (unless otherwise agreed upon). If you agree to a price with a seller but wait 10hrs to send payment, they have full rights to sell the item to someone else. Make it clear that you will not be able to send payment until you can. It is then the seller's discretion to decide if they can hold it or not.

    4) COMMUNICATE. This hasn't been an issue on here for the most part. Communication is so important. I like to give updates when the payment is received, the morning of shipping the item, when the item is shipped, etc. Could annoy some people but I rather have the buyer abreast on all the happenings of the deal.

    5) Being honest about instrument/item condition. Any dings, electronic problems etc. should be fully disclosed.

    6) Don't up-charge for shipping.

    7) Don't ask for "friends and family" payment through PayPal. Learned that the hard way.

    8) Don't lowball, don't over price

    And lastly, ALWAYS comment about how you would purchase the bass if it were a 5 string :D
    Billsky, roccobass, Lesfunk and 8 others like this.
  16. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Pricing is a disaster in these classifieds, in my opinion. Buyers are listing used basses for a few bucks less than new - as little as $25 or $30 less in cases. Nobody wants to relieve your buyer's remorse at a discount barely enough to cover lunch at Chipotle. I'm sure sellers are coming across with stupid low offers by result. It's not an efficient pricing market.

    Then there's the weird thing where someone has a bass they "just bought two weeks ago, didn't work out" and so they're selling it here when it seems clear it's still within the return period. Head scratcher for me; I always wonder if those basses are stolen or something.
  17. Altitude

    Altitude An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure. Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Denver, nee Austin
    Also, I feel bad for sellers trying to cash out high-end boutique basses. My sense is that the market for those is really soft right now unless the builder is extremely established.
  18. casualmadness

    casualmadness Man About Town

    Dec 15, 2005
    A pet peeve of mine is when people list something for sale/race and they offer no information about it. This makes me skip it-even if it’s something that interests me. I made a thread about that and a few people attacked me and suggested by not googling it, I was lazy.

    Relayer71 likes this.
  19. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    Just don’t be a douche, selling or buying.
    Jefenator, D.A.R.K. and moon-bass like this.
  20. Seashore


    Jun 2, 2019
    I don't sell here, but gosh yes, this. I've seen some people say they don't want to buy things without negotiating, and I don't understand it at all.
    Luther likes this.