Where do you draw the line?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Wimsta, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Wimsta


    Apr 17, 2019
    The recent threads about "flipping basses" and "ethical quandary," outline morals and being deceived (or perceiving deception) in the deal has me wondering.

    Where do people actually draw the line? What do you expect vs. what do you actually consider ethical behavior?

    Is full disclosure required, or only if the person asks?
    Are sob stories part of the game--tire kicking--or jerk moves when they're made up?
    Is all fair game in love and war?

    [Full disclosure: I have zero complaints about any of the 3 basses I've purchased from folks in the TB forum, and I've not listed anything for sale here.
    I have no bone to pick.]
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I assume every word said by a person trying to buy something from me or sell me something is a lie until proven otherwise.

    Doesn't matter if it's a used car, or a bass, or a pizza.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I expect them to be honest, but I also expect to be disappointed. A little suspicion ain't a bad thing, here...
    Reedt2000, LBS-bass and Kriegs like this.
  4. Wimsta


    Apr 17, 2019
    How does assuming you're being lied to influence your decision making?
    fhm555 likes this.
  5. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I'm pretty "cold" about gear sales. It's a commodity exchange. There is a product, and there is a price. Either you are happy with the price you got for your product (or vice versa, the product you got for the price) or you aren't. Nothing else means anything.

    What the buyer does with the bass after they buy it is no more your business than what you do with the money is theirs. What you did with the bass before they bought it (whether it was your favorite, sentimental, gigged a lot, whatever) is no more relevant to them than where they got the money to buy it with is to you.

    The only ethical concerns are those that pertain directly to the product and the price. Did the seller give false information or withhold relevant information about the product? Is the money counterfeit?

    And, to some extent, not respecting the fact that time is money, so some ire at "tire kickers" is justified. A retail store has its doors open for its stated hours for any shopper to come in and look around, but in a private sale, I would want someone to respect the fact that I've taken time out of my day to meet with them and show them the instrument. They shouldn't make me do that if they have no intention of actually buying or if they intend to make a ridiculous lowball bid even when it proves to be exactly as I described it. Do the haggling before you waste someone's time - once we meet, the only justification for lowering your offer is if you point out a problem that I hadn't included in the description.
  6. Leo Thunder

    Leo Thunder

    Sep 27, 2018
    I expect not to be lied to. I know it can and will happen, of course.
    I do not always expect a seller to know all the little details of what he sells. If I get something cheap, I do not expect perfection either.
    Arseholes who believe they own a right to express feelings or an opinion on what I do with my purchase must be told to go stink elsewhere.
    Kriegs and Wimsta like this.
  7. Wimsta


    Apr 17, 2019
    As the saying goes, time is money.
    Should "serious buyers only" be assumed?
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I'm never disappointed by lies, only pleasantly surprised by honesty.

    Takes all the emotion out of it. I don't fall for sob stories. And I verify all claims about provenance.
    basshawk21, diegom and Nashrakh like this.
  9. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    If i’m the seller i have bottom line but i always advertise a bit higher to give the buyer an opportunity to talk me down a bit. I do this because i have never paid asking price and don’t expect anyone else to do so and there is a funky positive phycological aspect to successfully negotiating a lower price so it helps to ward off buyers remorse. As a buyer I’m all about finding bargaining points and using them to get a better deal. I usually don’t deal with my friends because i’ve never learned how to charge friends or family, i’d rather just give them the item, but i don’t allow any emotion in a deal with someone who answers a for sale ad or a seller i’ve contacted. It’s a business transaction without the benefit of a contract or warranty so once it’s done we both walk away with what we want, no regrets because we came to a mutual agreement and that’s the end of it. If i’m not satisfied with a deal i turn it down and move on to the next prospect. It’s stuff and there is never a shortage of stuff so work at limiting emotional attachment and horse trading becomes a challenging fun pastime.
    m-j likes this.
  10. When selling, I try to be as honest as possible. Why would I do otherwise? When buying, I expect the same. I know, not everyone will be honest, but I still expect it. I've been lucky I guess, most of what I've dealt for online has come to me as described.

    What someone does after I sell them something is their business too. I've sold it. It's not mine to decide about anymore. If they sell it for twice as much, well, good on 'em. I traded some gear to a well established guitar store (not GC) back about a year ago. Traded two basses for a bass cab. I wasnt playing the basses and the cab would get way more use, so I made the deal. The store owner dogged both basses as junk the entire time we talked, but made the trade with me anyway. I was happy, and he felt like he was doing me a favor taking such junk off my hands so that I wouldn't have to dirty myself and could respect myself in the morning for getting those horrible things out of my life. About six months later, I went in the store just to look around, and there was one of the basses (the one he considered to be the worse of the two I traded him) listed at the price of the cab. So basically, he got one bass for the price of the cab and one for free. I was pissed for a few minutes, and then realized, hey, it's his bass, he can ask what he wants for it! I seriously thought about acting like I was going to buy it, just to see how low they would go on it...

    leto and oZZma like this.
  11. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    I must have been very lucky, but in the last 2 years I have bought (and sold) a ****load of used gear, almost always sight unseen, and I have never encountered a dishonest seller yet. Only once I got an item that was different from description and it was from a shop (not a private seller)!
    The major classifieds site in Italy doesn't even have a "feedback" system so one could easily sproof people without paying consequences but it never happened to me. My theory is that people who buy/own/sell certain types of gear are for sure decent people so I tend to trust them :laugh:
    Same... When asked, I have also shared my bad impressions on some pedals with buyers, luckily I am not a professional seller because my business wouldn't go far :roflmao:
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    mikewalker likes this.
  12. I think it is personal preference. As I have upgraded I have found great guy (band) just starting out in the business, playing that today's punk sound, that I have "given" stuff too. The stuff I have given has some intrinsic value, but not to me. Things I have given him:

    Zoom bass all in one pedal. Never could get a likible sound out of that thing
    An old pedal board, for Velcro backed pedals. Again some value, I suppose, but I have upgraded
    two trees of the old hot par lighting 6 - 46 pars and 2 - 54 pars with gels and the horizontal suspension beam. Did I mention "HOT". I went to LEDs

    Now I told him, that if he couldn't use anything, or finds that it doesn't fit his bill, that he gives them away, as he received them.

    But honestly, I'm not tracking it, and really don't care. If someone can use that stuff and he wants to go through the BS to sell it, good for him. They are out of my garage.

    about that lighting. I contacted lighting companies, small theater groups, and asked church folk. Nobody wants those heaters anymore (again I was giving them away). LEDs I suppose are where they are at.
    mikewalker and Moosehead1966 like this.
  13. If we're talking about the ethics of flipping:

    I think in the case of an innocent uninformed owner who found or acquired the instrument from a deceased friend or family member, they aren't sure what to do so they call you in to evaluate the instrument and its value. You're dealing with something more like a family heirloom. I personally couldn't find it in my heart to not reveal the true value of the instrument. I would offer the lowest street value possible that isn't insulting. In most cases, the seller is relieved you aren't scamming him, and you end up getting a great deal just the same.

    In most other situations caveat emptor and caveat vendor apply equally. If you are selling something, it's your responsibility to find out its value first. Price accordingly based on value and how motivated you are to sell. I don't feel bad about most great deals I get, because I figure the seller wasn't that concerned and more motivated to just move the item quickly.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  14. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    I've sold several basses and pedals on TB. In most cases, I believe that they went to someone who really wanted them for their own use. However, in other cases, I was sure that I was selling to someone who would resell the gear. Lastly, there were a few cases where I think the person buying thought they were buying for themselves, but later found something else that they wanted more and decided to sell.

    Honestly, once I decide to sell something, I really only care about getting paid the amount that I've agreed on. If someone is willing to buy from me at that price, whatever they do after that is not my concern. If they want to take the risk of trying to sell for a higher price, that's their business, not mine. If getting a higher price was the deciding factor for me, then I should have held out for it.

    It's similar to how people bash Guitar Center and other market makers in gear for not paying full price when they buy. The service they are providing is that they are willing to give you money immediately for something that they hope to sell for more money at a later date. There's no guarantee that they will do this or how long it will take, which is why they need to make some money on the deal.

    In the end, once you decide to sell and agree on a price, put it behind you.
  15. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Suspended Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Interesting. I've never asked anyone to lower a price. If the price isn't right, I don't buy. On the other hand, I once sold a bass after having it for just a few weeks and not looking at it as closely as I should have, and ended up giving a buyer back $100 when he pointed out flaws I'd missed.

    I doubt whether I've ever sold anything that turned out to be seriously underpriced, but even if I did, that's on me, not on the buyer.
    oZZma likes this.
  16. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    I always do my haggling after getting a look see at the goods and i don’t always buy, but i always ask if the price is firm before i set a meet. If they tell me it is i usually decline a meet. If i’m meeting a stranger i won’t assume they are honest until i see the item. Too many times i’ve had people over represent what they are selling and usually it’s something too obvious for me to believe it went unnoticed. Selling is like fishing, it takes a certain level of dedication to keep going back even if you aren’t catching anything, you will often have to meet several people before you conduct a successful transaction, to me it’s just part of the process. That said my time is pretty much my own these days which makes it easier to be flexible so there’s little chance of a time schedule conflict or squeeze to get a meet in.
  17. When you choose to sell something for any price- you have ZERO say over what the person who buys with it does. Even if they give you a BS story attempting to get a lower price only to try to sell it for way more, it isn't your concern.
    kdogg likes this.
  18. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    :laugh: i like skepticism...haven't made up my mind about cynicism. :D

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    per the OP: individuals have to be responsible for their own bad selves. cheating folks is likely to come back to you in some way, and being cheated is no reason to think that the world will end because you were stupid or naive/suggestible.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  19. Raw N Low

    Raw N Low If I can't hear it, hopefully I'll feel it Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Denver, Colorado
    It boils down to being content with what you have. If you really want something you're going to work hard to get it. If your selling something, make sure you get what you want for it. Flippers have no power over those who control their spending.

    I'm a huge collector and I don't frequently liquidate my gear. Something has be really unique in order for me to bust my hump to procure it. This forum has taught me to tell the difference between staples and fads. Some posters on here make their side money on flipping items. Doesn't bug me but, you can usually tell who they are and what to expect.
  20. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    When selling I'll usually price it a bit above my bottom line to let the buyer talk me down a little. Hopefully that has been dealt with before the meet. What they do with the item after our deal is not my concern - I got what I needed.

    When buying, if the price close to what I'm willing I'll explore making an offer, but if I made the effort to meet, I'm 99% going to pay asking price assuming condition is as expected.

    I have much bigger issues with all the window shoppers who pelt me with stupid questions and then don't even bother to respond to my response. That and flaky meet ups - so many seem to have issues making it within a reasonable time from our arrangement and I've even walked away from a meet because the buyer did not respect my time. "Sorry I was doing another deal across town..." not to mention the perpetual re-schedulers. But in some cases the asking price is jut too good to not tolerate idiocy.