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Old June 17, 2010, 11:50 AM   #1
Doc Hoy
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Caution - Unethical Seller

About a week ago I won an auction on Gunbroker for some parts for a Colt 1851 Navy. It was a no-reserve auction and my bid was high and was above the minimum required bid.

When I made contact with the seller to complete the auction, he informed me that he had made a mistake on the auction and did not intend to accept payment or mail the parts. The bid was 13.56 for a trigger guard, back strap and grip in very used condition. Value of the parts new from DGW is 54.85. I was willing to pay up to 22.00 but won the auction for 13.56. He subsequently relisted the parts in a reserve price auction which was not won for a maximum bit of 45.00 (from some fool who does not know that for ten bucks more he can get new parts.)

The seller has an A+ rating with eighteen feedbacks. Seventeen of his feedbacks are very positive. One of them (mine) is an "F". I have sent two emails trying to get him to explain which Gunbroker policy permits him to decline to complete this auction but he has not responded.

If anyone responds to this post asking for more specifics I will be glad to supply the handle of the seller.

Gunbroker's policy is that they do not get involved.
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Old June 17, 2010, 11:53 AM   #2
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Old June 17, 2010, 12:25 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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So, you're warning people about an unethical seller... but you apparently don't really want to post the name of the seller?

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Old June 17, 2010, 01:11 PM   #4
Doc Hoy
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Yup!

SG,

Seller's Gunbroker handle is trott2holland.

Mike,

Yes....I am a little hesitant because while, to me this is cut and dried, to others with different sentiments I might be off base. So I run the risk that no one sees it as I do. (Wouldn't be the first time)

I don't mind disagreement but I wanted to be certain before I put a name out there. I only have six feedbacks of GB so someone with more experience could say something like, "Oh, That happens all of the time. Nobody pays attention to the rules."

At this point, I have told the guy, who works out of North Carolina, that if a couple bucks is worth more than his integrity, nothing I could say would make a difference.

I hope he reads this forum.
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Old June 17, 2010, 01:20 PM   #5
Doc Hoy
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And another thing.....

I am not resting simply on Gunbroker rules or policy. To me this is a matter of integrity.

My skin is about as thick a pine bark, but one way to get to me quick is to assault my integrity. So when someone breaks their word (and not Gunbroker's rules) I get my nose out of joint.

Take responsibility for mistakes, is what I would say. Never having made a mistake, personally I can't speak from experience, but it seems like the right way to do business.
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Old June 17, 2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Yes....I am a little hesitant because while, to me this is cut and dried, to others with different sentiments I might be off base. So I run the risk that no one sees it as I do. (Wouldn't be the first time)
I see this the way that you do: a deal is a deal. The auctions run long enough for the seller to realize that he's made a mistake and end it early - which is a whole 'nother story than letting it run its course and refusing to complete the deal.

Gunbroker, unfortunately, makes this sort of thing easy because a seller can just report that he wasn't paid for the deal and he doesn't pay any commission. In fact, the whole "no sale, no commission" deal encourages "auctions" that aren't auctions in fact - they're just fixed price sales due to their reserve or high starting price. There's a whole lot of chaff to sort through to get to the wheat, so to speak.

I've bought a few things through Gunbroker, but it's just too much of a bother to wade through all the overpriced stuff to find a decent price.
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Old June 17, 2010, 02:08 PM   #7
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He was taking the High Road I believe. Having said that and seeing as several are wanting to know his identity, please do post it for all to see. I don't personally think that will be out of line and it may save others from this sort of behavior. I am also disappointed in gunbroker in regards to how they are (not) handling this!
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Old June 17, 2010, 02:11 PM   #8
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Yup!

HC,

I can't say that I have ever gotten a great deal on GB. Some good ones but you are right. GB seems to be going by the way of eBay. Pretty soon they will ban the sale of firearms on Gunbroker.

You are correct on your second point too. This was a long auction. Trott had plenty of time to inform all of the bidders that a mistake had been made. I would have accepted that.
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Old June 17, 2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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So you have a link to the auction you bid on?
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Old June 17, 2010, 03:31 PM   #10
Doc Hoy
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I think this will work.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=171946973

I'll check this after I hit the "Submit" bottum to make sure it works. Everything you need to know is there.
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Old June 17, 2010, 03:55 PM   #11
Dino.
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Wow ... what an horrible seller.
Thanks for the warning.
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Old June 17, 2010, 04:17 PM   #12
Delmar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Hoy
Gunbroker's policy is that they do not get involved.
They get involved with nonpaying bidders! If you ask me Gunbroker is being as unethical in this matter as the seller! If "your bid is your contract" why is putting you item up for a no reserve auction not a contract?
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Old June 17, 2010, 04:30 PM   #13
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Looking at it, it seems the day after he opened the auction he added that "This is a buy it now only auction"

I guess he listed it wrong and wanted a reserve or to make the first bid the same as the "buy it now"

He really should have contacted you and let you know, or at least pulled the auction.

That said, if I were the seller I would have simply sold it at that price and learned from my mistake.

Anything else in this case is just a lack of integrity.

Although there can be a situation where I could see pulling it is a really gross mistake was made, say if you listed a $10,000 gun and put a buy it now of one cent
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Old June 17, 2010, 05:01 PM   #14
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Kadmos

All good and valid points.

I am not aware of the designation "Buy it now only". Buy it now for sixty bucks with an opening bid of sixty bucks would have covered it. But as you say....not after the fact.

Tnx,
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Old June 17, 2010, 05:08 PM   #15
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Doc - you did the right thing by "outing" this guy. If he screwed up on his listing, he should have looked at it and fixed it when he posted it. To not carry through on the transaction is just plain "tacky" and lacks any integrity whatsoever. If you had the winning bid and abided by the terms of the auction, which you did, he should honor the sale. As a seller on eBay for years, you learn that you can't please everyone - so be it, that's human nature. But, if I post an auction and screw up or the winning bid is not what I'd like it to be . . . well, that's my problem. The bidder bid in good faith and I in return, am going to honor his winning bid and deliver the goods. I've never bought anything off of GunBroker but I would think that you'd have the recourse of registering a complaint with GunBroker about the transaction (beyond justleaving feedback). If they are like other auction sites, they WANT to know about sellers (and buyers) who are breaking the rules as it is a protection of their reputation as well. It's too bad that this had to happen but I'd steer clear of his auctions in the future if this is how he does business. Don't let it give you a bad taste in your mouth though as there are certainly a lot of other sellers who treat their customers with honesty. All in all, by your posting your bid you entered into a contract with him to purchase the item up to your maximum bid amount and he in turn, by posting the auction and accepting the bid, contracted to sell it to you. Good luck and may this be the only problem you ever run into on the auction sites. Unfortunately, he changed his mind and figured he ought to have "near new" price for the items . . . . which aren't worth that. Have a good one and thanks for posting your thread so others will know.
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Old June 17, 2010, 05:40 PM   #16
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Tough break Doc, but

always remember that GB is funded by fees from the seller. It is in GBs best interest to look out for the seller before the buyer. Even if it means losing that buyer for good. I really think that GB believes the buyer will eventually come back.

The site quickly became a national market for dealers, many of whom do a volume business on there.

I do not expect to get a great deal on it, but I can get what I WANT, usually tomorrow.

I have bought quite a few things off there and so far so good. No ripoffs.

Most of the reserve auctions are nothing more than 'fishing trips'.

My rant be done, JT
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Old June 17, 2010, 06:08 PM   #17
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Perhaps the dude really meant it to be a Buy-It-Now auction to begin with but why then did he start bidding off at $0.01??????? He should have immediately ended the auction and apologized.

In the end I think he just was disappointed he couldn't get at least $60 and so he decided to screw over the bidders. IMHO, he doesn't have proper ethics. I doubt he would have been so sympathetic if someone screwed him like he has screwed others.
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Old June 17, 2010, 06:22 PM   #18
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I agree with your complaint entirely. You won the auction at the terms he set. He should stand by his part of the agreement.

I once made a deal for a large automotive part I was selling. I wound up loosing money on it due to the shipping costs. Still went through with it.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:09 PM   #19
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Some Gunbroker ads will state that the item is subject to prior local sale, so there's the potential for a time lag between the local sale being made and the item being bid on.
Once the auction is bid on, the Gunbroker program doesn't allow the terms to be changed or the auction to be ended early.
This ad doesn't even say which company made the grip frame.

Someone once bid and became the winner of one of my inexpensive BP gun auctions on Gunbroker.
After I sent the payment info., the winning account holder contacts me and says that his underage son used his password and bid without his permission.
He said that he had changed his password afterward so that it wouldn't happen again.
He paid me the auction fee and asked me not to give him negative feedback.
I have 3 boys so I understood how that could have happened.
So I didn't report it and there was no harm done.

Last edited by arcticap; June 17, 2010 at 09:01 PM.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:19 PM   #20
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A few years ago I used to sell a lot of vintage stereo equipment on Ebay, at one time I was a power seller. I made a few mistakes here and there but I always owned up and ate my losses. The feedback I had on Ebay showed this. I recently sold a few items on Gunbroker thinning out some gun items and even though one item did not do as well as I had wanted and shipping cost me more than I charged, I honored the transactions. It just makes me mad when people do as Doc Hoy described and I am glad he exposed him as a dishonest seller.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:58 PM   #21
Doc Hoy
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Gaucho

I have been selling on eBay since about 1995. I have 540 feedback entries and every one is positive. I have never had to refund a payment for an item a buyer was dissatisfied with. I have never given negative feedback, even though I sometimes felt put upon. The closest I got was not entering feedback at all.

In the end, you can't take anything with you. But the good will of those who knew you is a legacy worth protecting.
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Old June 17, 2010, 07:59 PM   #22
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Scary to think people will sell their good name for a few bucks. I have customers who owe me $630+ and $240+ and wonder about even that. When I die I hope to not owe anyone anything, and can't understand why anyone goes through life screwing other people.

The guy bought the parts for a price, decided to sell later and set the no reserve starting price low, and when he saw he was going to lose a few dollars he traded his integrity for those few bucks. Like I said, it's scary.

Life is full of deals that end with profit and some that end with loss, some people clench onto a few bucks that tight? Must be a wage slave punching a time clock.
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Old June 17, 2010, 08:51 PM   #23
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Did you contact Gunbroker about it or just the seller? I didn't see that you actually contacted them and they didn't have any response? Even Ebay makes an attempt to make a good resolution when they can.

I'd like to at least hear what they said in repsonse to your complaint to them. You could still contact them and file a complaint so it's on his selling record in case he does it again.
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Old June 17, 2010, 09:18 PM   #24
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I listed a bunch of boxes of "rarish" French ammo on Gunbroker that belonged to a friend. I trusted that the details that my friend supplied to me were accurate including the fact that he said he checked and found that there were 20 rounds per box for a total of XXX number of rounds. And he wanted to receive a specific price for the ammo based on his actual cost for it.
After someone bid on and won it, I picked up the ammo to ship it only to discover that there were only 15 rounds per box instead of 20 rounds which increased the price per round by 25% since there were 25% less rounds.
So I sent a detailed explanation of "my mistake" to the buyer and gave him the option to either buy the ammo at the higher price per round (the amount of his bid) or that I would cancel the entire sale, hopefully through Gunbroker.
The buyer was an experienced ammo dealer who was really understanding about it and bought the lesser amount of ammo for the original price that he bid.
I couldn't very well manufacture any more of the ammo to supply the number of rounds advertised and I wasn't about to pay for my friend's misinformation. Mistakes are made because of human error, and this honest mistake was able to be ironed out with the right amount of communication. A new deal needed to be made through a meeting of the minds. There really is no deal unless there is a voluntary meeting of the minds with all of the terms being known and agreed upon.
There's a Latin legal saying, "Justice is that which appears to be just".

Last edited by arcticap; June 18, 2010 at 06:53 PM.
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Old June 18, 2010, 02:16 AM   #25
Doc Hoy
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To Buymore

Yes...and this is worth noting.

There is a link on Gunbroker auctions for buyers to report situations exactly like the one I experienced. I assumed they would contact the seller, inform him that his unwillingness to complete the auction was a breach of policy, and threaten to revoke his selling privileges if he continued to abuse buyers.

But all it really does is to refer the cheated buyer to the feedback link.

I have found no way to get GB to do anything more than that. In fact as I went through the process, I was informed that GB acknowledges its limited power in forcing sellers to adhere to GB policies. Of cource this is not true. They could delete the seller.

But as was pointed out before, it is unlkely that they would ever side with the buyer, since they make no money from the buyer. One might argue that it takes a buyer to make a sale, and that it is the sale which results in payment. To that, I can only respond that they seem very reluctant to exercise any control over the seller. This, to me, is an indication of where their heart is.

I would hasten to add that trott2holland has 17 feedbacks which present him as the first cousin to Jesus Christ himself. My one "F" did nothing to hurt his rating (Still A+).
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