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Thread: Trust issues in sales?

  1. #21
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Well, all I can do is add a personal experience. I sold a Selmer Serie III Tenor saxophone with a "like new" description and no photos recently. The buyer was very satisfied. Delighted, I might say.

    As a contrast, I recently offered a mpc to a forum member who was on a search and I thought I had an outstanding mpc to offer him, which I did through PM. I did not have it up for sale and was not too keen on letting it go, but I thought I would do this person a favour since he was in a quandary. We played "stump the dummy" over a number of emails while I answered all of his questions. Additionally, I had to provide some additional information (which I won't go into) to prove my reliability. When he asked for photos, I told him I was a lame photographer and anyway, how can you "see" how a mpc is going to play? But I then offered up endorsements from two other very fine players about the mpc in lieu of photos.

    After he seemed satisfied, and agreed on the sale, then he wanted me to wait until he got the money to send. OK, I can do that. Then I got this email out of the blue asking for studio-quality photos and a recording of the mpc, at which point I said, perhaps this is not a good idea. Good luck on finding a good mpc for yourself.

    I could've jumped through my @ss getting studio quality recordings and photos (I don't have any recording equipment available and told him that) but, due to his indecision and back-tracking, it's quite possible that once he got the mpc, if it didn't work for him like it worked for me, that he still wouldn't like it and then I'd get grief over that, too.

    There is a contrast here I'm trying to make. In the first instance someone got a $3000.00+ instrument from me on my word and was very happy with it. Everything went very smoothly. I could have provided the second person all kinds of reassurances and photos and recordings for a $200.00+ item and still he was reluctant to believe me. So my reaction is, why bother in the first place? Either I have credibility with you or I don't and sometimes offering all the additional support material in the world isn't enough.
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  2. #22
    More horns than I'm worthy of . . . Mick Stuppguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    If you are listing it here, it means you don't have a large enough buyer base locally, so now you want a bigger field to play in. Well, that brings it own problems since obviously buying instruments and mouthpieces and such is a strange process without being able to play them first.
    I believe the first statement is not always true here, Adam. It seems to me that in many cases members list here for other reasons, including:
    • A desire to see a good instrument go to a good home. Call it sentimentality, but I believe it comes into play.
    • Peace of mind: There are many, many "regulars" on this site that I believe would go to great lengths to keep their reputations in tact. Those are folks that I'd like to do business with, both buying and selling.
    • Convenience: I've bought and sold items here because I know there are serious sax folks that aren't going to make impulse bids and then drag their feet or get cold ones. We can transact and be done with it, stay friends, and not have to jump through any eBay hoops.

    As such, it's a way different setting than eBay or Craigslist. Off the top of my head, I can think of several dozen folks (including Dr. G) that I would buy from, sight unseen because I know they will treat me right and fairly throughout the process - - and would expect the same from me.

    In Dr. G's position, I would not have been very offended by a request for pictures, but it would have told me something about the prospective buyer, and would have tempered my enthusiasm for working with him. I can empathize with the mild frustration that the request engendered.

    Trust is a precious and critical commodity that many here have earned. Part of what makes me spend time here. If that sounds naive, well, I can live with that.
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  3. #23
    Distinguished SOTW Member Bebopalot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    All of this soap opera, "trust me, I trust me, why don't you trust me?" b.s. is why I do not sell or buy from SOTW unless the person has a legit business, as in the mouthpiece or sax manufacturers. This is exactly what happens when you do business with "family". People start having their sensibilities stepped on and feel insulted by being asked for a friggin' photo!! of the item they are selling. They want to sell sight unseen because "you should know that I wouldn't rip you off, man!", or, "I can't take good photos". Simply unbelievable.

  4. #24
    CraigH
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Stuppguy View Post
    Off the top of my head, I can think of several dozen folks (including Dr. G) that I would buy from, sight unseen because I know they will treat me right and fairly throughout the process - - and would expect the same from me.


    It's not fair to assume every member should know which individuals are worthy of enough trust to buy from sight unseen.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Stuppguy View Post
    In Dr. G's position, I would not have been very offended by a request for pictures, but it would have told me something about the prospective buyer, and would have tempered my enthusiasm for working with him. I can empathize with the mild frustration that the request engendered.
    To imply that a request for a picture tells you anything about a prospective buyer is just not accurate.

  5. #25
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    I wouldn't take it personally. I always ask for a picture, and I advise others to do same. It's just sound policy. It acts to keep the folks in line who might misrepresent items on occasion, and it's a deterrent to scams. No, it's certainly not foolproof, but I always take pictures of the items I've got for sale/trade.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    Wow!

    Dr G has proven to me that he is beyond reproach. If he says something's "like new", for me that's all I need. He has credibility and has built it up over the years. I do not consider his post arrogant at all nor do I see it as egotistical.


    I think that response to Dr G was unreasonable harsh.
    If one is so mistrusting and down right paranoid why would they even respond to a FS or FT listing to begin with? I've personally done dozens of sales, swaps and trades through SOTW and never had any trouble. I've done a couple of deals with DR G and TRUST ME, I trusted him unquestionably and not only continue to be thrilled with the items but also got to communicate with a fine gentleman who has probably forgotten more about gear than many here will ever know.
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  7. #27
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    For a horn, yeah, I want a pic.

    But for a mouthpiece? G'wan.

    Certainly not from G or gary. They're like the brothers I never met.
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Where you have trust you don't need lawyers,I prefer a detailed description than a photo from someone I trust. I prefer to trust than not to.It is a valuable feature of the forum market place that trust and reputation are so important.
    A few recent SOTW transactions of mine.I bought a Florida link thought to be original,there were pictures,when I recieved it,it was clearly a refaced,replated and restamped piece.I took this up with the seller he offered me a 50% refund which I accepted,the piece now plays great,thanks to Morgan Fry.
    I bought a slant,big money,the seller offered pictures,they looked good,I asked questions {which were artfully deflected}.I bought the piece,there were big surprises which I couldn't live with,the seller gave me 100% refund.I have had two other transactions with high end pieces that ended with a refund from the seller because of gross misrepresentation or misrepresentation by omission.
    All of these sellers refunded me,I had NO leverage,I made my case and the matters were resolved,this strikes me as a very valuable aspect of the forum,a market place that operates on trust and reputation.
    People you don't know seem to act decently even after they have tried to swindle you...this is a good thing.As for DrG,I've never meet him but I know I could trust him.

  9. #29
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    I would also remind, that this discussion is about new or like new items. We're not talking about an eighty year old instrument sold by a novice who's understanding of dent, nick, the percent of original laquer, etc. might be up for interpretation.

    I was about to write that with vintage instruments, I would definitely ask for photos but then I was reminded that, actually, I have bought only three vintage instruments; a Conn 6M from Wichita Band & Instrument, a Conn 10M from Bob Ackerman and a Martin Committee trumpet from a guy in Austria, all sight-unseen and none with photos, all exactly what I was expecting.

    And bebopalot, really, my photos are lame. I try and I'm getting better, but I'm not there yet. You can't hold that against me any more than I might hold it against you if you were a poor driver no matter how hard you tried. Presently, I don't take photos that would help you make the right decisions - trust me.
    ____________________________________________________
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  10. #30
    Forum Contributor 2013 Multi Reed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    remember the good old days - pre internet? You could walk into a store and see stuff. Or you would have to go to someone's place and see what they had before buying it.

    This just seems really like a small issue. Do you want to sell it? Digital photos to an email take such a small amount of time. Tyre kickers existed long before internet sales too. Since when has asking for photos meant that there is any distrust or anything other than wanting to see the item? Like new is like kind of a virgin right? As a buyer, I have a right to make an informed choice. (In Gary's case of the guy wanting recordings and pictures - I would have removed the offer too - buyer was being unreasonable IMHO)

    Sorry Dr G, if I ask you for a photo on a 'like new' product I will respect your right to say no and to call me a tyre kicker and hopefully you will respect my right to walk away and not proceed. You can try to judge all buyers by the same yardstick but ultimately nice sellers want nice buyers. What's in a photo? I really don't understand this post.

  11. #31
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    buying and selling is always a matter of trust but asking information about a purchase is as much the duty of the buyer as it is in the seller interest and duty to offer it.
    I can say that I trust a person like you Dr G, on account of our dealings on SOTW but I would also like to see what I am buying if I am buying something even from my brother! That's not because I don't trust him or you but because that's what I have to do as a buyer in order to be convinced that I am not buying something for which I might be complaining later.
    I take always with a grain of salt sound or tone description because they are subjective. I've never seen any advert describing the horn for sale other than things like " a killer" or a "monster" and so on, or the tone being described other than " warm" whatever that means. Of course sometimes sellers trip over themselves when for example (as I recall about a long standing member here!!!) describe as a beautiful tone, a horn which in another thread they have said it didn't play nicely in terms of tone and tuning!!! I do no think that such behaviour (the example above is not referred to Dr G in any way!!!) is correct especially when it comes from a fellow member here.
    So, a simple request for pictures is not unreasonable. I have to add that the very few times that I have sold an item to any member here I have taken the outmost care to provide picture, information and very good packing, especially because I do not want to jeopardize the relationship with the forum for a simple sale.

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by milandro View Post
    So, a simple request for pictures is not unreasonable. I have to add that the very few times that I have sold an item to any member here I have taken the outmost care to provide picture, information and very good packing, especially because I do not want to jeopardize the relationship with the forum for a simple sale.
    Imagine you pop by a store that has an ad screaming "Klingon Tenor Sax Model NCC-1701, like new, $500" in the window. You enter and enquire about the honker. Salesperson heaves a black case on the counter, "there she is." - "My I have a look?" - "No. When I say it's like new, why don't you believe me?"

    See? And as someone else posted - we want something to look at while the beast is in the mail.
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  13. #33
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by tictactux View Post
    Imagine you pop by a store that has an ad screaming "Klingon Tenor Sax Model NCC-1701, like new, $500" in the window. You enter and enquire about the honker. Salesperson heaves a black case on the counter, "there she is." - "My I have a look?" - "No. When I say it's like new, why don't you believe me?"

    See? And as someone else posted - we want something to look at while the beast is in the mail.
    No, I don't see, and I think this is a poor analogy because
    1. In your scenario, you are physically in the store. If you drove by Dr G's house, saw a sign in the window "Mouthpiece for Sale", and knocked on the door, my guess is - I'm going out on a limb here - that Dr G would show you the piece.
    2. We're not discussing sales between profit making business entities and customers. Some of us seem to feel differently about transactions when we have a possibly long-term online relationship with the other person.


    Dr G has proven to me too that he is beyond reproach and I would feel rude asking him for a picture of a mouthpiece that he described as "as new". If I needed to know something about the geometry of the piece that I could not find elsewhere, then I would ask him to describe the feature or send a picture at his discretion. (Pictures of mouthpiece geometry are sometimes less informative than words IMO.)

    OTOH, it doesn't bother or offend me if someone I don't know that well wants pictures, despite the logic of Dr G's observations that trust is ultimately required, and despite the fact that pictures of mouthpieces are not always worth 1000 words. I feel inclined to provide pictures when I can and a little more beyond reproach when I do so.
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  14. #34
    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Even if you are doing your utmost to be honest, and post photos 'just in case'......
    There can be 'issues'. Been there, done that in buying and selling.
    I would never want anyone to trust me to the point where they wouldn't ask for photos. My photographic skills aren't the best, but I would try my darndest to get a few decent ones up.
    My reputation isn't so great, and this is the least I can do for any prospective buyer.
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  15. #35
    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Thanks to all for keeping this civil. It is interesting to learn the almost polar division of perspectives.

    Regarding an As-New mouthpiece: Would you rather buy an as-new mouthpiece with a picture showing its flawless condition or have an honest appraisal from an experienced musician telling you that, although it doesn't have a scratch, it doesn't play well?
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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  16. #36
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    Regarding an As-New mouthpiece: Would you rather buy an as-new mouthpiece with a picture showing its flawless condition or have an honest appraisal from an experienced musician telling you that, although it doesn't have a scratch, it doesn't play well?
    Well, if someone is selling a mouthpiece and claims it doesn't play well... that's not a realistic sales pitch. Besides, what may not play well for one might be perfectly fine for another, depending upon how they blow. Don't know about you, but I've been burned before with "minty" descriptions and trusting alleged reputable sellers in their product descriptions. As a matter of course, I now ask for not only pictures, but written confirmation whether or not a mouthpiece as been damaged, altered and/or repaired; no matter how a seller describes it. Sure, if someone here I trust offers a piece in brand new condition, I might be inclined to forego a picture. But I certainly hope they wouldn't be offended if I asked for one anyway. Sometimes there can be mix ups with descriptions and/or understandings of what is actually being sold. A picture just helps reinforce to the buyer that they're getting what they're paying for. Again, I don't think it's really something to take personal offense over. It's just business.

  17. #37
    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    I hear you, Grumps. I, too, have been burned - witness the recent sale of my Morgan alto 3C. I had several exchanges, was promised that the piece was in new condition, played well... And then when the piece arrives, it's a #$*@ ALTO! I had said time and again that I was trading a tenor piece for a tenor piece - emphasizing that I was interested in the 3C for a blank for a backup piece to my TENOR Morgan 6C.

    Yes, I could have asked for pictures, go ahead, raise the "Duh" card...

    My comment about new pieces not playing well is based on a few "boutique" pieces that I have played over the years - pieces that had poor facings or baffles that were not quite right. The people I sold them to often had them refaced with great results.

    Another brand that comes to mind is Otto Link (raise the "Duh" card, folks). Buy a new one from an on-line seller and you MIGHT get one that plays well. Or you might get one that has been play-tested by several different people. Is that new? On the other hand, if you buy that piece from a SotW member, you might get pictures of it in as-new condition but it may still play like garbage.

    Thanks for your contributions. I do appreciate the perspective that sometimes a set of pictures is worthwhile - I shall certainly endeavor to post some pics of my SC-992 to test the hypothesis (and sell the horn).

    I also need to share some pictures of jicaino's recent work since you won't believe just how excellent it is. Pictures are good but, you know, I was a little put off by the appearance - I thought it would not be a friendly piece to play. Surprise! One of the best in recent history. And since Grumps is here, that also brings to mind how off-putting the picture of a Lamberson chamber can be (rough interior) - yet that is my other favorite mouthpiece! Ah well...
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

  18. #38
    Distinguished SOTW Member Bebopalot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    For a horn, yeah, I want a pic.

    But for a mouthpiece? G'wan.

    Certainly not from G or gary. They're like the brothers I never met.
    That's part of my point. To you they are like brothers you never met but not to everyone and you can't expect everyone to feel the same way. Most people have not had personal contact with members and what astounds me the most is that some expect blind trust from all members across the board.

    I have nothing personal against Dr.G and hope I didn't come off as if I think he is not an honest seller. I think his good reputation far outweighs anything that can be said in this thread. The same goes for anyone else that refuses to post photos of items for sale. I just think it's arrogant to expect people to trust you just because others trust you or because you have been a member for a long time or because you can play well or are a professional.

    If a member comes on and complains about buying a horn sight unseen, from someone they trusted, that was represented as "like new" but was more "like not-new", we collectively tell them that they should always, at least, ask for photos. Now it seem those same people say that you don't have to have photos as long as "I" trust them.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    And since Grumps is here, that also brings to mind how off-putting the picture of a Lamberson chamber can be (rough interior) - yet that is my other favorite mouthpiece! Ah well...
    I have a Lamberson 7J "hand-modified" by Grumps. It is a one-of-a-kind piece that smells minty just after washing and is a monster. Blows easily and is perfect for those pesky vintage horn intonation problems. I will start the bidding at $2,300 and there are no pictures available. Look at my Avatar...I am very trust-worthy.
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  20. #40
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trust issues in sales?

    Don't forget Fowler's prep work with the dremel...

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