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Used Gear Sales Etiquette - Thoughts on obvious "flippers"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CatDaddyOTB, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. CatDaddyOTB


    Mar 20, 2018
    Boston, MA
    Quick story - I was on reverb a few weeks ago and noticed a sick deal on a Japanese Fender. I was seconds away from buying it and what do you know, it got snatched up!!

    About 2 weeks later it pops up on classifieds for a couple hundred bucks more. What do you guys think? I suppose I hoped the person who beat me to it would play it and love it forever, lol!

    It's no longer a steal, more of a fair price for it now - I of course can't wrap my head around buying it when I was so close to getting it before. Anybody have any similar stories?
  2. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    That's how they do it. They find gear that's priced low enough that they can make a little money and they buy it. Nothing wrong with that. It's their business.
    soulman969, Ikkir, Jewce and 11 others like this.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I don't see an issue.

    If someone finds a great deal and knows they can sell for more, good job! I've done it.
    If I want to buy something and someone buys it out from under me and then flips it, that stinks but it is what it is.
    If I'm selling something and I know the buyer is just going to flip it, I don't care as long as I get what I'm asking for it.
    soulman969, Ikkir, cataract and 11 others like this.
  4. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    I don't have a problem with it in general. I know a lot of guys that are geniuses at flipping up. You know, starting with a old rusty nail, then two weeks later have an American Std Jazz. One of my old guitarists was always doing this. He'd need money, sell his guitar a week before a gig, then 4 days later have another one of more or equal value. Play the gig, then sell it too. Drove us crazy as we never knew if he would actually have a guitar to do a gig.

    However, I'm no GAS'er, so I buy what I need and rarely sell. Applies pretty much to everything I own. So if I am selling, for some reason I want that person to use it. Or I am only selling it because someone is in need, not because I need the money. I'm weird like that.

    Flip on!
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Buy low and sell high is how ALL commerce works. If you buy a new bass from a shop, they have marked it up from what they paid for it, and for that matter the distributor probably marked it up from what they did. If a bass is on the used market, someone agrees on a price with the seller, and then is able to find a buyer willing to pay more for it, then they have made a successful transaction and the economy carries on.
  6. CatDaddyOTB


    Mar 20, 2018
    Boston, MA
    Yeah yeah I get it... I think the real problem here is that I need to stop watching used gear like a hawk 24/7 hahaha!
  7. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Or buying instead of pondering about buying.
    /\/\3phist0, MattZilla, Ikkir and 4 others like this.
  8. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    You snooze, you lose.
  9. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sometimes the price reflects individual situations as well as the market, or rather individual situations are a factor in the market, which after all is the collective sum of many individuals. Sometimes a seller, be they a retail establishment or individual, needs to raise money fast, or free up space, or something, so they are willing to sell at a lower price. A flipper thrives if he can catch those when they happen, and can afford to be patient until he finds a buyer willing to pay his price.

    For instance, I once got a good deal on a P bass from a guy who was going into the Navy. He had to ship out in three days and had no place to store it. I didn't crazy low-ball him, but he was offering a good deal just to move it. I did sell the bass later on, not for more than I paid for it, but I kept the MXR pedal he had thrown in with the deal, so the net was basically that I got a pedal for free.
    LBS-bass likes this.
  10. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    I think if you snooze you lose. No one is obligated to sell to you at the best price you've seen. If the flipper’s asking price is too high it wont sell, and if it’s appropriate he’ll make a buck. It’s just commerce.
    viper4000 and Sixgunn like this.
  11. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I'm seeing 'flippers' often enough on the retro videogaming market, with the exception that an upwards spiraling price tendency is the whole basis of the trade. Lowball oblivious sellers to sell at prices that would make your head spin, and no one wants to be the one selling at the lowest price because you could always squeeze a few dollars more out of them suckers (and there's always one who will buy). Kind of like a negative price war. Which ironically makes some sellers end up sitting on their stuff because they're unable to sell at the desired price but are unwilling to adjust their inflated prices. Especially hilarious if they're carrying around their stuff from flea market to flea market, the cartridge labels slowly fade in the sunlight and rain and what you end up with is an aesthetically unpresentable shelf warmer.

    Flipping instruments again at a fair price point is kindergarten level compared to that.
    Plucky The Bassist likes this.
  12. Cowboy in Latvia

    Cowboy in Latvia

    Mar 1, 2015
    I've done my share of flipping in my other hobbies (never had the luck/knowledge with basses). While it is crappy when a flipper poaches a deal or just gets there first, it's the nature of the used game. Just remember, there will always be another deal. It's cold comfort but it's the truth.
  13. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I'm guilty myself, but I spend more time on local purchases. I see the same thing since I'm always looking. What scares me more is when someone buys something and ends out selling a couple weeks later for the same amount.

    Obviously they weren't a smart buyer and now they're trying to sell junk, or something with a questionable past..
  14. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    I don’t give flippers much thought. If someone else buys an item it’s none of my concern why or what they do with it afterwards.
    soulman969, Ikkir, kentiki and 2 others like this.
  15. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    No problem with it at all...unless the flipper misrepresents the item when he/she sells it.
    pie_man_25 and hrodbert696 like this.
  16. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md
    If it sells, it sells. Not much I can do about flippers, but I have mostly stopped the "give people on TB a good deal" thought pattern because of flippers.
    KJMO and The Eristic like this.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Or start ...
    tradernick likes this.
  18. rodak


    Jun 14, 2005
    People do it with cars all the time - they even have a special name: "Curbstoners" They advertise in the "For sale by Owner" section of CL all the time (I'd bet at least 3/4 of CL car ads are from curbstoners). When I contact one about a used car, my first question is usually "Regarding the car you have for sale on CL, is it still available?" If they reply "which car?", I write them off and move on. I'd rather buy a used car from someone who actually owned and drove it and can answer questions like "when was the timing belt last replaced", or "do you have maintenance/repair records?" Curbstoners can't do that.
    pjbassist and Plucky The Bassist like this.
  19. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    There is nothing inherently wrong with it but a lot of people who are part of an online community take a dim view of it (reverb and ebay are there for that but I'm talking about sales on forums where we interact with members). I won't participate in it and won't likely sell to someone I suspect does it. The synth community is pretty small although eurorack has exploded in the last 8 years, it used to be fun to buy and sell on muff's, but the whole environment has changed, too many people now, a lot of the good deals we would afford other members are now gone, I no longer participate on the forum much for a variety of reasons but that is one of them.
    bass12 and cosmicevan like this.
  20. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    New York
    At times a great price is just a reason to check something out. If you don't love it you can make a few bucks and if you love it you got a great deal.

    However, I am going to offer some perspective on flipping that I think is NOT ok (and I recently encountered this on TB - but caught on before giving in to the fanboy sob story). I think it is scummy to get something with the intention to flip if you are presenting yourself as someone who will not flip. We're all familiar with situations where someone gives someone else a deal because they would rather something go to a good home vs making max profitz. I have no issues with asking people for their best price, but when you present yourself as a fan in an attempt to needle down the price, that's just being a liar.

    I also think it is horrible when people try to falsely talk down the value of something in the market and trick the uninformed seller into giving them a deal so that they can sell it at a higher price. I have no issue with flippers or flipping, but leveraging or building a personal relationship so you can get a good deal for the sole reason of you turning a profit is not cool to me and the kind of thing that will end my relationship with you.

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