View Full Version : Caution - Unethical Seller

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 11:50 AM
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.

June 17, 2010, 11:53 AM
Hell I'd Post it...(the name)

Mike Irwin
June 17, 2010, 12:25 PM
So, you're warning people about an unethical seller... but you apparently don't really want to post the name of the seller?


Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 01:11 PM

Seller's Gunbroker handle is trott2holland.


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.

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 01:20 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 01:21 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 02:08 PM
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!

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 02:11 PM

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.:D

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.

June 17, 2010, 02:40 PM
So you have a link to the auction you bid on?

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 03:31 PM

I'll check this after I hit the "Submit" bottum to make sure it works. Everything you need to know is there.

June 17, 2010, 03:55 PM
Wow ... what an horrible seller.
Thanks for the warning.

June 17, 2010, 04:17 PM
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?

June 17, 2010, 04:30 PM
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

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 05:01 PM
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.


June 17, 2010, 05:08 PM
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. :)

June 17, 2010, 05:40 PM
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

June 17, 2010, 06:08 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 06:22 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 07:09 PM
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. :rolleyes:

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.

Gaucho Gringo
June 17, 2010, 07:19 PM
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.

Doc Hoy
June 17, 2010, 07:58 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 07:59 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 08:51 PM
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.

June 17, 2010, 09:18 PM
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".

Doc Hoy
June 18, 2010, 02:16 AM
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+).

Doc Hoy
June 18, 2010, 02:34 AM
Perhaps you recall in a previous post that I reported that trott2holland's relist of the item resulted in a no-sale because 45.00 was less than the reserve price. I am absolutely certain that while the auction was active that 45.00 bid was shown as not meeting the reserve.

I just checked and the finished auction is reflected as a completed sale with the reserve price, still at 45.00, having been met.

So apparently the seller on Gunbroker has the option to reduce the reserve price after the auction closes.

I am having a very bad reaction to GB policies.

trott2holland will probably post negative feedback on me in retaliation for my honesty.

June 18, 2010, 06:22 AM
You did the right thing Doc by leaving negative feed back.
I just had a bad experience on GB. I bought a recoil pad, ended with my opening bid of 22.00. Seller has a automated check out and this check out bumped the price to my max bid of 26.00, a 4.00 increase over the closing bid. Then he wants 12.00 to ship a 2oz item. I sent two e-mails with no response. I see he just complained to GB about me as a non paying bidder. I guess we well just swap negative feed back, 52+ and 1- Oh well.

Doc Hoy
June 18, 2010, 06:45 AM
One of the responses last night prompted me to do a bit more checking.

It isn't easy but there is a way to get Gunbroker off their dead a__ __ and give the buyer a little help.

I have openned a case and will see what they do to rectify my situation. Might be you could get some help too.

In my case the item has already been sold. I no longer want it because I want nothing from this deadbeat. (Obviously I would complete the auction to stay within the bounds of GB.) I think it would be cool if they would force him to sell the item to me at my first winning bid, That means he has to default on the second auction (unless he has two grips from an 1851 Navy). Negative feedback from both me and the other guy....

Nice to dream.

June 18, 2010, 08:24 AM
you stick to your guns, you did right by posting negative feedback, people like that are the ones that make honest folks mistrust others. for the life of me, i can"t see how a person could be dishonest like that. ok, he might have made a mistake on his item he was selling, BUT, he should have been man enough to go ahead with the deal. esp, since it was no fault of yours.shame that theirs people like that out there....good day doc.

Doc Hoy
June 18, 2010, 11:38 AM
Thanks for the support Starbucks.

Here is a little gratification.

I posted the following to GB:

"As you can tell by examining the auction listing I was the high bidder on this no-reserve auction. When I contacted the seller, he informed me that he did not intend to accept payment or to mail the item since my winning bid was not high enough. He stated that he had changed the wording of the auction after the item had received a bid which in his mind, changed the parameters of the auction and gave him the option to decline to complete the auction. He subsequently relisted the item under listing 173190960. I monitored this new listing continuously finding that the bid had gone up to 45.00 but that the reserve price had not been met. I now see that the auction was completed successfully at 45.00 which is an indication that the seller reduced the reserve price to complete the sale. The seller's refusal to complete the auction in which I won this item is a clear violation of GB policy."

This was the reply from GB with 24 hours:

"Yes it is. We will address the issue with the seller and you have already posted appropriate feedback for the seller regarding his failure to complete the transaction. He will not be able to post feedback for you."

Okay Okay, GB is not so bad.


June 18, 2010, 11:53 AM
Good for you Doc!

Thanks to people like you we can all feel more comfortable using services like GunBroker to conduct legitimate and honest business. Kudos to you! :cool:

Doc Hoy
June 18, 2010, 01:27 PM
Thanks Clem,

I don't mind telling you I was releaved to learn that they had blocked any opportunity for the seller to log negative feedback.

June 18, 2010, 01:53 PM
Way to go Doc. Never take stuff like that laying down.

June 18, 2010, 02:03 PM
Looks like he doesn't have anything for sale
I wonder how long it will be before he is selling stuff again or has a new account.

June 18, 2010, 02:16 PM
Well done, Doc.

I have been burned several times at the big auction site, both as buyer and seller, and never gotten ANY action AT ALL from them. :barf:

June 18, 2010, 07:17 PM
I've heard eBay doesn't take much of any action to punish winning bidders who don't pay.
And they also take a very long time to refund the auction fees when those winning bidders don't pay.
Someone did that to my son and that person is still bidding on eBay today.
Also according to my son, negative or neutral feedback has not been allowed to be posted by eBay sellers for a long time now.

Doc Hoy
June 19, 2010, 04:32 AM
I started as a member of eBay quite a while ago. In the time I have been bidding and selling, I have seen the site change from a one which attracts mostly individual sellers and folks who are genuinely looking for deals, to one which is so highly commercialized that it is more like a visit to Walmart. I am very careful how I used the service now.

I think the marketing environment for Gunbroker is very much like eBay only on a smaller, narrower and more restricted scope.

I wonder if people who go to Gunbroker if eBay permitted the sale of firearms.

BTW, Cap, Your son is correct. The options for sellers are a) Positive Feedback and b) Leave Feedback Later. The site does not prompt feedback until there is a record of the winning bidder paying for the item. Of course once that happens, positive feedback is appropriate. Perhaps if the auction goes unpaid, the seller can give the buyer negative feedback. Your son would know that better than me since he was the victim.

Dr. Strangelove
June 19, 2010, 11:45 AM
I have just about quit using auction sites because of experiences like these. Too many times the seller, seeing his items going for less than he wants, ends the auction, even after accepting bids. "Item is for sale locally" should not be allowed, its simply a way to end an auction if the seller isn't getting the price he wants.

June 20, 2010, 04:20 PM
It's hard to not pass up things on internet that you want. But unfortunately you don't have it in your hand when you buy it. If it ain't right then you send it back if you can--HASSELL. We buy guns and send 1/3 back because they are not up to par. The ones on display are marked up just slightly but they are there for people to see and hold before they purchase. I'm glad I didn't quit my day job to retail these. "The Smokin' Gun" Spartanburg,SC

James K
June 20, 2010, 08:02 PM
Is it possible there is a definition trap here? Folks get so used to describing repros as the original model that it can be a problem. A Italian repro is NOT a "Colt 1851 Navy" and original Colt parts are not available from Dixie. What exactly was he selling? If they were repro parts from an unidentified maker, I doubt they would properly fit another maker's gun or even another gun by the same maker.

If they were original Colt parts, then they should have been worth a lot more than the mentioned prices.

Just my $.02.


Doc Hoy
June 21, 2010, 02:20 AM
Good point. And worth the comment....Thanks.

These were clone parts.

The problem with fit and the obviously used condition as judged from the photo are what prevented me from going over 22.00.

The guy who finally bought them for 45.00 saw something in them that I didn't see.

June 21, 2010, 04:20 AM
Most parts interchange within same brands except for grips. Some fitting may be required to install on different brands.

June 21, 2010, 06:55 PM
Doc..... you're a lot like me. Treat me fair and I'm a pussycat.... treat me bad and the pit bull gene's rise to the surface. glad you gave this guy both barrels. ;);)

Doc Hoy
June 21, 2010, 07:12 PM
....Today I get an email claiming he was in the right....

He just doesn't get it.

I noticed he got another feedback which was less than perfect. Maybe he is in the wrong line.

July 2, 2010, 09:06 AM
I to had a bad experiance on gun broker,motorcity pawn changed the auction 3 times ,discription, reserve, and had several different adds for the ss roa on g .b.:barf: i went inn in person and the man became very nervous,and said he wasnt to blame ,that g.b. had changed the auction:barf:yeah right:mad: