An Ethical Question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithR, Oct 16, 2002.

  1. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    In another thread, a guy went shopping, found what he wanted and then went ahead and bought used off a'gon. Someone else chimed in and said he was merely "shopping"

    Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong? I would love to hear if these guys ever ran a business. And I am sure these are the same guys who complain about dealers too. I mean, I can see picking a different store based upon price/service...but I can't see going to audition just to pick up used in the first place. You are wasting everyone's time.

    I buy some things used, but I usually based on forum recommendations, or stuff I want to try in my home. Not to mention a person's room will sound totally different than a dealers, so dealer auditions arent' really that important to me.

    I would agree if the dealer was a jerk, I would look for alternative means, but this is pathetic and cheap to say the least.
     
  2. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Nah...I don't have a problem with it at all. I feel a major part of these stores are to provide a place to audition equipment. Then its up to the store to close the deal. The customer can do whatever they want. Maybe they'd get more sales if they all wouldn't charge way too much for the products. I refuse to buy locally anymore. I'll go online or ship it in from another state if I can get it cheaper, but I'll use local to look at pieces to decide whether I want to buy or not.
     
  3. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I think it's very wrong if you go in knowing there's no way you are going to buy the equipment from them, and then waste their time having them give you an audition.
     
  4. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,

    Consider this:

    Why didn't the seller on Audiogon shop the unit to his dealer? This is standard practice with high-end equipment. You get full purchase price on trade-in to be used against new equipment for a period of one or two years (sometimes longer). If it's not high-end, no B&M dealer has any business selling it anyway.

    You're also not talking apples and apples here. The Audiogon unit may not be covered by warranty and can therefore be priced lower than a similar unit at the dealer who cannot sell unwarranteed items. Also, the dealer is under no obligation to support the buyer if he has purchased the equipment outside the "proper" channel.

    Finally, the Audiogon seller is less one unit, creating a whole which, if he was happy with the brand, is more than likely to result in a sale of a new unit of the same brand. The manufacturer is happy and so's the other dealer. Since the Audiogon buyer will eventually be buying new gear, the dealer he "screwed" will someday be smiling as he takes the guy's cash. See how this all works out?

    The "ethics" of buying and selling are simple. The seller attempts to get maximum dollars from the buyer and the buyers attempts to pay minimum dollars to the seller. Anything else is ancillary and meaningless.

    Austin
     
  5. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    You miss the point- I don't care about the audiogon market (and fwiw, most stores do NOT have 100% tradein policies, and most may give you 25 cents on the dollar-LA and NYC are two such places--, so a'gon is going to yield more). Some manufacturers mandate an upgrade policy, but very few.

    The fact is if someone has no intention of buying the product. A dealer provides auditions as a service, but this is by no means free, and at some shops costs money. No wonder the dealer has to charge a higher prices these days. A dealer gets 40 points to play with, with 20 points at least to cover a B&M store. That said, the audiogon used market buyer is not usually going to buy new imho, so I don't get the recycled customer argument at all. He may very well get a new piece, or he very well may buy another used piece to upgrade or whatever. I have no beefs with the seller at all in theis case.

    If I use a dealer, I tell them upfront i am not paying list...if they say no, then I walk. If they want to play, then lets go. For instance, speakers are very hard to trade up and down a'gon. I prefer to buy them new anyways, because they most commonly get damaged, have dings etc.
     
  6. Shawn Solar

    Shawn Solar Supporting Actor

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    I work for an alarm company and we do free quotes. We also do HT and camera's. Some of these contracts take us about a week to quote. Some of them are for insurance claims some just want prices. We don't get all the quotes so yes we do lose money if time=money but if we charged for quotes we would have a lot less business and lose a lot more money. Same would hold true if stores started charging for demo's.
    I don't think it is wrong because someone takes advantage of a free service. It isn't expected or liked but it is accepted as part of the business. Cause like I said if we charged we would lose even more trying to stop the looky looks
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I agree whole heartedly with you Keith.

    It pains me to read all of the people on this forum who are doing this or even worse who are ordering from some online retailer for the same new product to save a couple hundred bucks.

    Don't people appreciate having locally owned businesses and not a swarth of national chainstores all across town anymore. Kind of like Starbucks vs. the local coffeshop. Locally owned businesses provide character to the town, and some even can define the town.

    I have bought used products before, because they are sold at significant savings and I have champagne tastes on a beer budget, but all of my used products have been brands not carried locally.

    I have also built relationships with my favorite 4 out of 9 local hi-end shops. I have purchased something from 4 out of 9 as well, some big, some as little as a CD here and there. But with each of those 4 I have built relationships to the point where I relish the day that I can really help out their income flow for a month. The level of service received at these places has been excellent in fact sometimes I just drop by to shot the bull, listen to some tunes and check out any new models they may have. A couple of the dealers I have drank a beer or two while hanging out with them. Another has loaned me $12,000 in equipment for a week plus come by and checked out my system for 4 hours all on the promise that I would at least purchase something from him. (Ended up with some effective Walker Audio Valid Points for $325 BTW) Now the rest of the audio stores here I have either not received a good vibe from the store or been mistreated, hence I have chosen to take my dollar elsewhere.
     
  8. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    To go in and audition equipment that you have no intention of purchasing from retailer is disingenuos...It implies that you wish others to keep in buisness a company whose service you find useful, yet don't wish to pay for....
    knowing that most retailers are existing on profits (after taxes and expenses) that are hovering around the 3% level , it would be a difficult arguement to make that,"if they could get real close to the price that the wharehouse e-tailer has ,I MIGHT buy it"....If they offered a 3% discount would you consider purchasing?, I thought not...
    Do you feel comfortable thinking he can make a profit off the next guy?
    I am not making moral judgements here ,we are all going to make our own rationalizations, I just wonder when people will lament the dissapearance of all the nifty auditioning stations.....
     
  9. Henry_W

    Henry_W Stunt Coordinator

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    Well folks I just can't go along with socialistic capitalism. I agree wholeheartedly that we should support our community and small businesses (I am a small business owner myself), but that support should not be a basis for restricting the purchaser's freedom.
    My business is successful based on the number of times I win over the competition, not on restricting the competition. If I get a new customer into purchasing services such as I offer, regardless of whether they purchase from me, I have increased the overall size of the market and opportunity for future purchases. This 'philantropic self interest' allows the potential market to expand (new customers beget new customers) and offers me new opportunities.
    Ethics? I do not have any internal problems with auditioning in free showrooms. If a high end shop is so disposed, they can treat listening like test driving a new Ferrari - plop down a nonrefundable deposit to cover the costs of keeping an inventory for test driving.
    Quite frankly, many highend shops are difficult to deal with. With limited selections and an outright disdain for for the under-educated it is very easy to walk away wondering what the premium price covers. While I have found comfort with a local shop, it took more effort on my part than I thought was necessary.
    Wow - got carried away. Excuse the evangelistic approach I seem to always take[​IMG]
     
  10. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    I say again I don't want to talk of Morals and Ethics , just want to start the thought process of what will happen to our audio choices when listening stations only carry "protected" lines and it is increasingly difficult to get a demo of equipment that has been "marketed" to us.....mnfgrs are already employing "posting companies" to get that "unbiased" word-of-net advertising...Competition is wonderful, I always lament when a local retailer goes under....It's just common sense ,however ,to realize that ultimately we need to LISTEN to the gear in a comparative way.....why should we support a buisness model that makes this less conviniant?....READING about audio is like READING about food.....may give you some insight, but hardly a substitute for ears/tastebuds....I would gladly, if forced to make a choice, give up all the written info on equip. just to have the ability to audition comparitively as opposed to giving up comparitive A/B tests for all the lit. and e-marketing in the world....ymmv, imho, etc...
     
  11. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Keith,

    I don't think I missed the point at all - I think you are not carefully considering what I said. So let's try this again.

    If your local dealer will not credit AT LEAST the "market" price of the used item against a new purchase, he's not going to be around for long. Dealers routinely offer this service as a "favor" to Tier 1 customers, selling the trade-in at little or no profit to Tier 2 customers that honestly inform them they can't afford the pricey new toys. Furthermore, if you check a bit, you'll see that high-end dealers commonly dispose of such trade-ins using Audiogon themselves.

    Keith, you don't sound like you're a "relationship" guy. That fact makes it difficult for you to understand what's going on here. You talk of "mandates" and your no-list "rule". A relationship is a fluid give-and-take proposition not something that is governed by rules and ultimatums. Both parties have needs and if these needs are unmet IN THE LONG TERM, the relationship fails. High-end dealers realize this, especially the time element. I think you are looking at things from a short-term perspective which is clouding your understanding of the situation.

    Someone may have "no intention" of buying the product from a dealer NOW but that doesn't mean they won't be buying from from him in a year or two or five. Think of your first car - it was most probably a family hand-me-down or something you bought used from an ad in the paper. But your second or third or fourth car was brand-spanking new purchased at your local dealer. And if you got good service from both the car and the dealer, you are likely to use him for the bulk of your car-buying. In other words, our MOs change as we age. At twenty-something, we're all full of piss and vinegar and scream about getting screwed by dealers charging us full retail. At 40 or 50, we've got other priorities, a more comfortable financial situation and are willing to "pay the piper" for good service and to maintain the relationship.

    Someone that indicates to a high-end dealer "upfront" that they are unwilling EVER to hold up their end of the relationship (paying retail), will quickly be shown the door - not so much due to the monetary issue, but simply because they, like you, have clearly demonstrated they are not now and probably never will be a desirable long-term customer.

    The point you missed about the recycled customer was this: someone selling a Brand X component is probably looking to upgrade. Once they sell the component they now have the cash to purchase the upgrade component. If they enjoyed their Brand X experience, they are more likely to buy the next step up in the Brand X line. And, as time goes on, they are more likely to purchase it from a dealer at close to full price. Get it now?

    Austin

     
  12. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I think missed the point, yet again, Austin.
     
  13. David_Larkins

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    I think that many people (myself included) when they are considering a purchase of a piece of equipment will consider 2 questions:

    1) Which one do I want (brand, model, etc.)?

    2) Where should I buy it once I have decided?

    These two questions are quite independent in my mind. It's very likely that I will not be willing to pay dollars for the answer to the first question. I will instead choose to do research on forums like this, and I will utilize a dealer who offers a FREE service of demo-ing equipment.

    Now, once I have decided and am ready to buy I will take a number of considerations into account before making a purchase. First and foremost will always be price. Not only the price of the equipment, but also the extra dollars that are associated with other things that one always has to pay for no matter which dealer they choose to do business with... shipping, or warranties or overhead...whatever.

    I try to take into consideration how much it means to be able to get good service, and have someone local to back up the warranty of a piece, etc. However, if a piece that would cost $500 from an online dealer ends up costing $750.00 from a local shop, then I have to ask myself if it's worth $250.00 (HALF again the price of the piece in question) to use the services of the local dealer.

    I don't have a problem paying for service. My problem comes when the disparity of cost is too great to justify the type of service received.

    Bottom line is that if dealers don't want to keep an inventory so that we can demo products, then they don't have to. It's their choice. But just because a dealer chooses to do that doesn't mean that he double the price on me and expect me to be OK with that.
     
  14. AustinKW

    AustinKW Stunt Coordinator

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    Great post, Mark.

    It'll take me quite some time to fully consider and respond to your deep insight into the issues discussed. Your obviously well-considered response and quick turn-of-phrase have me at a distinct disadvantage. You see, I'm a bit slow and find it difficult to respond so completely and in such a rapid fashion. Please forgive me and try holding your breath waiting for my response - I'll hurry. I promise.

    Austin

     
  15. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Not touching this type of thread again.

    Ethics are something you learned from your family and community. You will always be a representation of them whether you acknowledge it or not.
    It's not always what you do w/ others watching, but what you do when others aren't watching or when the "chips are down" or whatever motif you care for. At least, that's how I see it (tried not to sound self-righteous).
     
  16. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    then I have to ask myself if it's worth $250.00 (HALF again the price of the piece in question) to use the services of the local dealer.

    I don't have a problem paying for service. My problem comes when the disparity of cost is too great to justify the type of service received.
    ================================================== =======
    Don't worry, if enough people DON'T see the value of the "free" auditioning services of the local dealer they won't be available anyway, then no one will know if they were worth $500 OR $750 OR $200.................
     
  17. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I'm going to my local dealer (with which I have NEVER stepped foot in before) this weekend to audition some B&W Nautilus 805's. Do I have intention of buying them even if I was BLOWN AWAY by the sound? Absolutely not. Why? Well, I'm pretty happy with my Paradigm Ref setup so I'm just going in there for comparisons sake. Say I LOVE the B&W sound. Well, I couldn't afford a full 5.1 Nautilus setup right now so it wouldn't matter.

    However, if I see a pair of these speakers on Audiogon in 6 months for $1300 used (a $700 savings) and I buy them, does that make me a bad person? I don't think so.

    I try to get the best value for my dollar, that means I will buy what I want, from where, when I want. If the local dealer is willing to discount, sure I will buy there. But in my short history in this hobby I find that NOT to be the case.
     
  18. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    I tried posting this before but damn server was overloaded or something and it was lost.

    I have to disagree with the majority's feelings that a local dealer must discount or they go elsewhere i.e. online retailer.

    I will keep out used equipment for my argument because I have bought several used pieces as well, although each has always been a brand that was not carried locally. Used is also different in that you can achieve tremendous savings (50 - 60%).

    However people's feelings on this forum that a local dealer has to discount or should meet an online retailer's prices is just not fair to the local dealer. Online retailers are able to discount simply based on sales volume and discounted mass purchasing of products from the manufacturer.
    A local dealer may make some months only 5-10 sales whereas a large online retailer is banking on 100's to 1000's of sales per month in contrast, so obviously their revenue per month is much higher. Because they are moving so much product they in turn are buying large shipments of some products. And of course buying in bulk is able to save them some money per item. A local dealer keeps zero stock on expensive items and anywhere from 2-10 pieces of lower priced items, with shipments these small they are paying full dealer's cost thus their profit margin is reduced. So they are looking at lower revenue and a lower profit margin, and then someone who they have no relationship with comes into the store and haggles for 10,20,30% off. These dealers like you have families and with whatever sales they make they have to feed their families, pay rent, pay insurance, pay for advertisments, buy new stock, and possibly pay employees.

    Yes there are some local dealers who are jerks and typically it is places that in turn are having enough sales volume and are also probably doing alot of install jobs, because this is the new highly profitable field. But there are plenty of other stores where asking them to slash the price is like asking whether or not they would like to be able to put food on the table this month.

    This local dealer vs online retailer is very similar to a small audio company vs a major mass market brand.
     
  19. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    A dealer needs to (and has the ability to) earn people's trust and give them confidence in the shop, the products, and their ability to support their customer. To me, that assurance is worth the extra money. To some it's not and they're comfortable rolling the dice with an online purchase.
    Demo'ing equipment is part of the process. When a prospect walks in and wastes someone's time when they CAN'T buy...Well, maybe it's not the most ethical thing one can do, but it certainly not a big deal. AFAIK, it's part of the cost of doing business and it's part of the qualifying process (if you're a dealer). At least they got the person in the door. I know I've walked away with some purchases that I never intended on making, based on my experience in the shop and with a good salesman.

    My $0.02
    --Steve
     
  20. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Businessmen are there to seperate you from your money. Why anyone would give a good Goddam about wasting some store owner's time is way beyond me. If he doesn't like his time "wasted" he can close his shop.

    By Keith's reasoning I shouldn't kick tires in car dealers or browse at Borders. Very naive.

    I'm perplexed by the solicitation some audiophiles feel for dealers, like the guy was your friend or was doing you a favor. He's there to get your dough, just like the guy that runs a 7-11 or a donut shop. None of MY friends want my money.
     

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