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#26 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:53 PM

I tend to agree with this.  I don't think that CN should be policing what buyers offer.  A strict adherence to first offer gets it simply turns the classifieds into a lottery for who has the fastest trigger finger (or who writes a script to ping the page periodically) instead of one governed by economics.  Sellers often guess at a reasonable price.  If they receive offers for more, it stands to reason that they underpriced the item and they should benefit from a prospective buyer that chooses to make a higher offer.

 

Similarly, what if a seller does not want to ship an item, but I am willing to offer enough to cover shipping costs, plus a bonus for the seller's hassle?  I think such an offer should be allowed.  Or what if I suggest a trade (something like $2500 plus an AT92)?  Do I have to keep the total value below the cash asking price?  

 

A classified ad is much different than a vendor or store that publishes a list of prices.  In the case of a vendor, the transaction might be legally consummated at the time the buyer expresses an intent to purchase (sorry, its been a few years since I read the Uniform Commercial Code), in which case I agree with your dog food analogy.  However, my understanding of classified ads is that they are less a firm offer to sell and more of a starting place for negotiations.  This makes them much more like a real estate transaction.  

Regardless, I agree that unless CN makes a statement, this issue won't go away.  I also agree that this scope was priced far too low.  Hopefully, the seller doesn't read these threads and feel that he or she got cheated.  My guess is that if the seller would have listed it for $5,000, they would have gotten offers somewhere in the $4,000+ range in a week or so.  Hell, I didn't consider putting mine up as a potential trade for my CFF160, despite the seller asking (which I was totally fine with BTW).

Excellent observation! There have been a few times where I've gratuitously offered and paid more, sometimes far more for an item than the seller was asking. One of the widows in our astronomy club was selling off her beloved husband's stash. There was his nice lathe. She asked $500 and I forced $1000 on her, "Honey, I'm still getting a bargain and he is probably looking down with a smile on his face." Most people are reluctant to pay too much. Me... I'm reluctant to pay too little! I'll leave it up to the reader to decide who is the unethical one...   Tom


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#27 turtle86

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 12:54 PM

That was an awesome deal.

 

I agree, and kudos to the seller for not trying to make a profit off of it.


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#28 blakestree

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:01 PM

When a buyer gratuitously adds seller-diminishing conditionals, (less than asked price, take and send pictures, take measurements, meet me somewhere, wait till I look for cash, only want part, ask my wife, etc.) --- at that point the buyer has not satisfied the seller's offer. The seller is not obliged to honor, discuss, or even respond to that buyer's tire-kicking inquiry. The item is still on the market --- to the first serious buyer offering to immediately honor all terms of the offer. Really as simple as that! All the rest is just background chatter.    Tom

All this is fine and good. The seller responds, "Sorry I can't oblige", then moves on to the next in line. What you described doing is actively trying to beat other potential buyers by offering more money, right now.



#29 SeattleScott

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:05 PM

I think of the key difference between CN and eBay is on CN the fastest fingers gets the deal, as opposed to the fattest wallet on eBay. It seems like stuff usually ends up going for about 10% more on eBay, especially auction stuff. The difference is you don’t have to be fast. You have a week to check the ads. You don’t have to set up an automated alert system. You just have to be willing to pay more than anyone else. With CN, you don’t have auction activity bidding up price, so things might be a bit cheaper. But it is very competitive and you have to be fast to score a real deal. Offering over list would be a way to potentially transform CN into more of an eBay environment, if the seller accepted the higher offer because it was higher.

Personally, with Tom, I don’t have a real issue with it. Bottom line, Tom and I aren’t going to be competing for the same things. So it doesn’t impact me. Tom spends more lavishly on astro gear than I do. I know his policy is to maybe pay a little extra when buying and sell for maybe a little less when selling, because he can afford to, and it generates goodwill. I view this more as him being generous, but I can see how it could get him bumped to the front of the line on a specialty item. I just don’t care because if Tom is making an offer on it, it is too expensive for me to consider.

Sellers don’t have to accept the first offer. I have scored a couple particularly good deals, not necessarily because I was first, but because the seller preferred not to ship, and I was the first local buyer. I normally accept the first offer but I will often wait a day and see what offers I have. That gives some flexibility regarding shipping costs, buyer reviews, etc. No one has ever offered me more than my asking price on CN. Unless it was to cover additional shipping costs for international shipping.

In general I like the idea of having two different environments, one where you can score a better price by being fast, and one where you can insure availability by paying top dollar. The idea of some paying more to jump the line works against that. However sometimes buyers really do underprice items, so paying a bit extra might be fair. And sometimes there are rare specialty items that don’t really give the option of just waiting for the next one to come up on eBay where you can just outbid everyone if you really want it.

I did see that Stowaway last night. Seemed like a reasonable price for an AP but I don’t price AP scopes enough to know it was a really good deal. But there were probably already ten offers in by that time, and I’m not in the market for a $3,500 92mm Apo.

Scott
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#30 blakestree

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:38 PM

An aside about generating good will through the Classifieds, Martin recently sent me a PM wishing to give me a "heads-up" on an item I was looking for. After some pleasant conversation, he ended up offering to send me something for free. Then, he wouldn't even let me pay him for the shipping. That's generosity!



#31 Phillip Creed

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 01:53 PM

You think that Stowaway went fast?  Toss up any Astro-Tech refractor onto the classifieds right now and it'll be like lowering a cow into a velociraptor pen.  I'm only half-joking.

Some scopes just sell very quickly.  An Astrophysics...anything.  Televue NP101's.  Anything by Zeiss.  Thanks to COVID, tons of Chinese-sourced scopes as well.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#32 Virtus

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 02:38 PM

You think that Stowaway went fast?  Toss up any Astro-Tech refractor onto the classifieds right now and it'll be like lowering a cow into a velociraptor pen.  I'm only half-joking.

Some scopes just sell very quickly.  An Astrophysics...anything.  Televue NP101's.  Anything by Zeiss.  Thanks to COVID, tons of Chinese-sourced scopes as well.

Clear Skies,

Phil

You have an AT frac for sale?! I'll take it!!



#33 Paul G

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 03:49 PM

I did see that Stowaway last night. Seemed like a reasonable price for an AP but I don’t price AP scopes enough to know it was a really good deal. But there were probably already ten offers in by that time, and I’m not in the market for a $3,500 92mm Apo.

Scott

It's a $5000 92mm apo for $3500. More than reasonable.

 

Admittedly, the Rules are vague about what "negotiable" means. That's why I pointed out how I, personally, interpret it. However, they seem explicit about "offers". Accepting offers, for all intents and purposes, creates an auction.

 

Yes, I will offer less, if I feel the price is more than I'm willing to pay. And, I accept it if that is not enough for the seller. I see Tom's methodical offering up as unethical, though, because it is at the detriment of other members, or "the innocents" if you will.

Seems like you are doing the same thing, just in a different direction. The seller could have refused Tom's offer, too.

 

Edit: Where it would cross the line for me would be if the seller committed to selling it to a buyer at the advertised price, then someone else offered more for it and the seller rescinded the sale in favor of the higher offer. That would be a zit on the seller. Hands On Optics did that for a while, had items for sale on ebay and the same item in the store, if it sold in the store it was then described on ebay as being retracted from auctuion because it was damaged. That violated ebay's terms and when he was outed on sci.astro.amateur for doing so he said he would rope off and appropriately label the items in his store that were on ebay. Hmmm.


Edited by Paul G, 07 April 2021 - 04:01 PM.

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#34 bulletdodger

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 03:56 PM

     I have always went with first offer gets it and assumed most members acted with that understanding. If not the seller could look over multiple offers and simply choose to sell it to buyer with the cheapest shipping costs.
      I guess it is up to the seller to express in their ad how they would like potential buyers to respond.
      I also know a rule doesn't need to be made if their is a common understanding amongst Gentlemen.
      Perhaps the Moderators can see what the process founders intended when Classifieds was set up.

Best to All!


Edited by bulletdodger, 07 April 2021 - 03:58 PM.

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#35 sw196060

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 03:57 PM

This is much ado about nothing.
Besides, the CN rules were for the poster.
Again there were no rules on how to make an offer.
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#36 Phillip Creed

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:51 PM

You have an AT frac for sale?! I'll take it!!

I do have an AT, but I doubt you'd want it.  Optically and mechanically the scope is fine, but I need a replacement set of mounting rings...

...which are among the many things still being held up at customs in L.A. along with the AT60ED's, 102's, etc...

Clear Skies,

Phil



#37 weis14

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 04:54 PM

If not the seller could look over multiple offers and simply choose to sell it to buyer with the cheapest shipping costs.


This isn't a flaw in the system. Cheapest shipping costs, best rating, method of payment - these are all legitimate factors to consider when evaluating otherwise equal offers. First in line is at best a tiebreaker among several equal offers. It's not unethical to evaluate other things (including total renumeration) before coming to priority in line.

If the CN terms of service don't allow that, then why have a rating system at all?
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#38 EXT64

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 05:32 PM

I think it depends on the item too. Selling a (cheap) reducer? First come first served. High value or large telescope? I completely understand waiting for and preferring local. I've lost several that way, and while I completely understand it, it is one reason I've given up buying larger items on the classifieds. Where I live I'm almost never local, so I'll always lose.
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#39 SeattleScott

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 05:43 PM

Yes small stuff like eyepieces are first come first serve, unless first response has poor ratings or something, maybe lives out of country. But for a larger item where shipping costs are being split, then certainly preferring local pickup or lower shipping costs makes sense. Often the ad will state a preference for local pickup. So it isn’t always first come first serve. That being said I think it would be unfortunate if it became an expectation to have to offer above list price in order to get an item. But yeah I am yet to encounter this so I doubt it is a widespread practice. Possibly with rare high end stuff.

Scott
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#40 Glades Cat

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:42 PM

That was a good deal.

 

Bust a deal, face the wheel.

Two men enter, one man leaves.


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#41 rootsabove

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:45 PM

I just find it refreshing to see someone who is willing to invite public criticism for what he interprets as an unethical practice.

I barely have the guts to post what I just did. I guess my moral compass could use some calibrating.


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#42 Steve Allison

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 06:45 PM

Actually, offers, acceptances and the like are covered by contract law, but I doubt anyone would take the time or spend the money to pursue even a legitimate claim. The transaction amounts on CN are usually too low and besides, we are all friends, aren't we?

 

Steve


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#43 gjanke

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 07:46 PM

All this is fine and good. The seller responds, "Sorry I can't oblige", then moves on to the next in line. What you described doing is actively trying to beat other potential buyers by offering more money, right now.

I have had this situation happen exactly one time. Someone here on CN PM'ed me and offered more money than I was asking for my response was "that wasn't necessary as I am only looking at getting the advertised price but the fact is I have someone who has committed and we were working out the details."

 

Again the exception, what I typically get is someone offering me less than what I have listed as the asking price. So I am wondering what moral compass is guiding this pratice? None,  and I wouldn't begin to judge someone for offering me less or more for that fact. What's the driving factor? Its the desire to get a deal which believe it or not is the same desire of offering more money on a highly sought after item.

 

As my friend Paul has so eloquently stated the terms of the transaction is between the two parties and no one else.  You're my friend as well and the best part of all of this is we are each entitled to our opinions and this has been a fun thread and I think we can all agree the buying party got a great price.

 

Clear Skies,

 

Gerald


Edited by gjanke, 07 April 2021 - 08:33 PM.

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#44 gjanke

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:06 PM

Actually, offers, acceptances and the like are covered by contract law, but I doubt anyone would take the time or spend the money to pursue even a legitimate claim. The transaction amounts on CN are usually too low and besides, we are all friends, aren't we?

 

Steve

Steve, great point

 

It is covered under contract law, First there' is offer ( the ad)  and then there's the acceptance ( the seller agrees to terms with a buyer) When both parties have come to terms and there is consideration this is consider the meeting of the minds.. For the purposes of this website the consideration is the exchange which is usually when tender or gear is exchanged. Until that happens no transaction really exists and then if you have used PayPal the terms of the agreement are governed by their policies.

 

Always great to have your input.


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#45 Peter Natscher

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 08:10 PM

You should go overseas to other cultures and buy something on their open market. Negotiation is the norm, for thousands of years! Nothing unethical.

 

Admittedly, the Rules are vague about what "negotiable" means. That's why I pointed out how I, personally, interpret it. However, they seem explicit about "offers". Accepting offers, for all intents and purposes, creates an auction.

 

Yes, I will offer less, if I feel the price is more than I'm willing to pay. And, I accept it if that is not enough for the seller. I see Tom's methodical offering up as unethical, though, because it is at the detriment of other members, or "the innocents" if you will.

 



#46 TOMDEY

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 09:21 PM

You think that Stowaway went fast?  Toss up any Astro-Tech refractor onto the classifieds right now and it'll be like lowering a cow into a velociraptor pen.  I'm only half-joking.
Some scopes just sell very quickly.  An Astrophysics...anything.  Televue NP101's.  Anything by Zeiss.  Thanks to COVID, tons of Chinese-sourced scopes as well.
Clear Skies,

Phil

Indeed! I bought my wonderful Zeiss 20x60 Image Stabilized Binos that way! Instant cash and explicitly stating that I agree to all terms and stating that I have no questions. That sealed the deal. I took them to the Total Solar Eclipse and hogged them all to myself for totality --- perfect for that experience. The seller later shared that others were sniffing around but were peppering him with questions, concerns, and low-ball offers... and even explanations that they somehow "deserved" the item, even though they were too poor to quite afford his price. Like I said, preload your PayPal for that someday and pre-decide to act, and at what price. Otherwise, your dream opportunities will continue to evaporate into others' stashes. These Binos list for $10K, but can be found for as little as $9K, on backorder. I got mine for far less than half that, immediately.

 

~One who cannot come to a decision will suffer for it, as in I couldn't make up my mind, and now the offer has expired—he who hesitates is lost. Although the idea is undoubtedly older, the present wording is a misquotation or an adaptation from Joseph Addison's play Cato (1712): “The woman that deliberates is lost.”~

 

PS: I think I must have learned that attitude from my four years in the active military during the War... where hesitation is absolutely not an option. So we trained to react properly and instantaneously --- to be differentiated from spontaneously, which is an entirely different beast.     Tom

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#47 Dougal

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:03 PM

Not to stray off the topic but related...I know it’s probably not rational or particularly “money smart”, but one of my criteria when I sell in-demand items (not just with astrogear, ran into this when I sold a very hard to find GPU recently)  is whether I think the potential buyer is going to flip the item. Obviously, it’s difficult if not impossible to predict this unless it’s a well known forum member in line to buy.

 

I sold a scope years ago to a guy (no posts, recently joined) at what I though was fair price, and saw it listed on AM for quite a bit more a short time later. Ughh, left a bad taste. I don’t get the impression there is too much flipping on classifieds here, but it’s just something I feel strongly about and it’s on my radar when I sell. Hate the thought of my gear going to a flipper, as opposed to a fellow hobbyist who would use and enjoy the item for a while. Yeah I know, free market, why should I care if I get the moolah,  just my own “rule”I admit it..:)

 

Hope that Stowaway went to a good home and doesn’t get relisted here or on AM. Killer deal.


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#48 SeattleScott

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:07 PM

No argument there. Obviously the seller will sell to the first person who commits, not the first person who waffles. The concern is offering more than list to seal the deal even if you weren’t the first in line. Is it against the rules, assuming the seller waits and has multiple offers, to accept yours because you offered a higher price than others who also commit but at list price? Not as far as I know. Is it unethical? Maybe debatable. Poor sportsmanship? Likely. But again, I don’t really care because we are talking about stuff like $9k binoculars. This kind of gaming doesn’t tend to occur on the more common stuff that I pursue.

Scott
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#49 Steve Allison

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:20 PM

Steve, great point

 

It is covered under contract law, First there' is offer ( the ad)  and then there's the acceptance ( the seller agrees to terms with a buyer) When both parties have come to terms and there is consideration this is consider the meeting of the minds.. For the purposes of this website the consideration is the exchange which is usually when tender or gear is exchanged. Until that happens no transaction really exists and then if you have used PayPal the terms of the agreement are governed by their policies.

 

Always great to have your input.

You're hired!


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#50 Mitrovarr

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Posted 07 April 2021 - 10:59 PM

Eh, situations like this is why I don't even go for the crazy legendary stuff. Normal human beings with actual budgets will never be able to afford it. I'll just have to console myself with all the stuff that is 99% as good and costs less than half as much.


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