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Your Input Requested - What Is Right And Ethical In This Audio Equipment Sale Disaster

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About a year ago, I was just about to sell off the speaker system from my home theater after replacing the very old (but still good quality) system with a new one that an unexpected windfall made possible. I was just about to put it up for sale, when an old, and valued friend who knows the system well, from many nights enjoying films through it, told me, wait, I want to buy the speakers! I had planned to offer the whole speaker system for sale at around $4000-4500.00 and had mentioned that to a few home theater enthusiasts/acquaintances locally. He was aware of the prices I had discussed with some of these mutual acquaintances and asked if he got a discount, as my dear friend of nearly 25 years. I agreed to sell him everything for only $2,500.00, as a discount for a very good friend.

 

All was fine at this point. I didn't regret giving a close friend the break on cost, and he would have loved the speakers in his house. However, you must know that while this individual had purchased some audio gear previously, a couple times in recent years, he had also committed to purchase equipment from me, and then realizing that he was going to have to rearrange his house, change things, or for whatever other reasons that entered his mind, had backed out, at the last minute. One of those situations, in particular,  caused me some big headaches. And so, the first discussion that we had up front was that if he insisted on buying these, he had to follow through with it, and we discussed the past issues. He promised that he wanted the speaker system, would pay me right away, and we would work to get them delivered asap.  He then paid me the money, a day or two later, and I was working on arranging a delivery to his house. 

 

He asked for a couple weeks to get his house rearranged so his living room accommodate the somewhat large speakers. At his request, I even managed to arrange for some help to deliver the equipment to his house and place it, as he has physical limitations and could not manage it himself. Things were all set for two weeks out and a Saturday delivery. The day before the delivery, he called to say that he had not yet been able to clear out the necessary space, and could we reschedule it for a week later, which I did. That same day, another acquaintance called me, said he had heard I was selling my home theater speakers and said he wanted them, and would happily pay the $4000.00 that he heard I was asking. I had to explain that I had already sold them to a close friend. I did help him shop for a home theater speaker system that weekend, which he purchased, and is happy with. 

 

The Thursday before the scheduled delivery of the speakers to his house, that following week, my friend called me, and in one of his occasional irrational moods, told me that I needed to cancel the delivery, that he had made a mistake. He no longer wanted the speakers, it was just all going to be too much of a problem for him to deal with. I told him that I had just turned down an offer of the full $4k that I had wanted originally because he had guaranteed me that he would not back out on this deal. I also told him that I had used the money he paid me to pay off a debt and didn't even have the money available. He proceeded to tell me that, and I quote "it's not about the money, I could care less about the money. You don't need to pay me back, I don't need the money back, and I don't expect you to pay me back, it's my fault that it worked out this way!" All of which, honestly, I was in agreement with. 

 

Over the year since, because of the size and weight of the speakers, and the fact that I had no boxes for the main speakers which were 5 feet tall and 225 lbs each, and with drivers front and rear, I had to advertise them as a local pickup only. Something that really limits the market, and, what you can charge. I ended up having to sell them off, a pair at a time, to people who were either local, or chose to drive to get them from a few hundred miles away. I ended up just breaking even at that $2,500.00 mark of what I had originally received in payment from my friend. After pondering things, it didn't sit well with me that he get nothing back at all, despite his pronouncements, and so, when I saw him a few months ago for dinner, I brought up the topic. I reminded him that I had to pass up the offer of $4k for the speaker system because I honored his original purchase and agreement to buy them prior to the offer being made. I explained the difficulty that I had been forced to go through selling them off piece by piece, and locally. I then, despite him having told me he expected no repayment, I said I felt like I wanted to give back something. I then offered him $1,000.00, the difference between what he had paid, on the giveaway price that I had sold them to him for ($2,500.00) , and what I lost out on from the offer to purchase from the other guy locally who wanted them ($4000.00), before my friend suddenly backed out. He acted offended, and said he expected the entire amount back, at which point I got up and left out of frustration and having no desire to make a scene or say something regrettable. 

 

I've not spoken to him for the last three months because I honestly feel that I went out of my way to be fair about this situation and was offended at his insistence that he receive every dollar back. Especially after he had told me, point blank, that he neither wanted, or expected back a cent of the money after what happened. And, additionally, this is someone who has, over the years I've known him, loaned significant sums of money to numerous friends and has never received, or asked for payment back. He has even joked about never even expecting the money back. 

 

Earlier this evening, he sent me an e-mail asking when we could discuss my paying him what I owed him for the speaker purchase. I find myself, again, greatly irritated at his presumption and stance on this matter.

 

There are a great number of people who I respect in this forum. Your perspective on what is the right thing to do in these circumstances would be appreciated, as I am struggling greatly with this situation. Thanks.

 

 

JC

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Indeed, your integrity is worth more than anything else. Find a way to give that guy the silly 2.5K and just learn how to avoid people like that. You should have avoided him in the first place... No matter how bad you feel about it you chose the risk dealing with him and unfortunately you lost. Sad, I have a "friend" here who acts the same and I just keep contacts to a bare minimum.

 

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1.  Your 25 year "friendship" is dead, no matter what.

 

2. How much do you care about the $2,500??  Didn't you buy the very expensive Audi R8 recently?  if that was you, then $2,500 should be a trifle.

 

What charities did your (former) friend support?  You could donate $2,500 to one in his name.

 

 


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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If you can afford the $2,500 then just give it back. There are a lot more important things to be doing with your time than worrying over something like that. You might scarf 10% of it back as a fee for selling the speakers, storage , whatever - just to make the point. 

 

If you cannot afford to pay it back, tell him so and be done with it. 

 

I personally would find a way to give the bugger back at least some of his money.  But whatever you do, do it because you feel that it is the right and honorable thing to do, within your current resources. Not because you feel slighted, outraged, or otherwise angered. 

 

-Paul 

 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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7 hours ago, mansr said:

The first mistake was using the unexpected windfall to buy audio gear rather than pay off outstanding debts.

 

Sounds like a Monopoly card...wait, I think it is a Monopoly card 😁


Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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45 minutes ago, esldude said:

Not trying to start an argument.  But the charities bit.....that would rub me the wrong way.  I've seen such suggestions before, and while never having been involved I think it a weak approach.  If I thought I had $2500 coming to me, it would seem like a slap in the face to say, "I gave your money to charity".  I'd still consider it my money, and I decide what charities get my money.  You doing that for someone else seems like a way to keep it away from them and make it so they seem an ass if they complain.  I'd consider such a move one more insult on top of the money issue. 

 

 

 

ok, he should just give it all back then


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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6 hours ago, Panelhead said:

  Give him his 2500.00. Some people can never figure out what they want. It is tough dealing with them. 

  Sell to strangers, make sure the deal is “as is” so no buyers remorse sets in. Keeping the 2500 is not right. If I was your friend I would say to go ahead and deliver my paid for equipment.

Just to be clear, if you were my friend, you would also have told me "it's not about the money, I could care less about the money. You don't need to pay me back, I don't need the money back, and I don't expect you to pay me back!" 

 

JC

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you guys are not $2,500 friends

 

maybe you are $600 friends??


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Easy. You received $2500, you give what you paid for. You do not have what you paid for anymore, you return $2500 back. The faster the better. Do not think much and forget asap. If your friendship would survive try to keep it. It cost no money.

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I suggest using this as a hypo in a law class -- 1L contracts or - ... I mean hell why not... -- property class


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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7 minutes ago, AnotherSpin said:

Easy. You received $2500, you give what you paid for. You do not have what you paid for anymore, you return $2500 back. The faster the better. Do not think much and forget asap. If your friendship would survive try to keep it. It cost no money.

I certainly do not feel it is as clear cut as that. Yes, I received $2500.00. He also refused to take delivery of the speakers. In the process of backing out, he cost me an offer of $4000.00, my original (non-good friend) asking price. 

 

I do appreciate everyone's perspective, though. That is what I asked for, after all. 

 

JC

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@TubeLover A true friendship over 25 years would not go back on his promise. For you he could have a been a friend but for him you may have been just a person who benefited him for his purpose. Analyze and you will know how much the friendship worth. 

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18 hours ago, PeterSt said:

IMHO the loss of the 1500 is a bit baloney.

Additionally, but the same thing, if your friend did not turn up in the first place you suddenly could have sold it for 4000 to someone around the corner ? nah ... So:

 

- Try to get over a so-called loss of 1500;

- Give your friend back the 2500;

- Tell him you made a mistake (omit what the mistake actually was B|);

- Sleep well.

 

Again, I do appreciate the perspective. The l strongly feel that loss of the $1500.00 is completely legitimate, though. An acquaintance called and made me the offer to purchase the speakers for $4k, and was set to pick them up two days later. The only reason I turned it down was that I had made the deal and been paid by my friend a week or so earlier. When my friend backed out on the deal, without any valid reason, how is the loss of the $4k (and the additional $1,500.00) I turned down (honoring his purchase) not legitimate? 

 

JC

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Thanks again to everyone who has responded thus far. I am thankful you took the time to consider this and provide your thoughts. I have to say that I am puzzled that no one has mentioned any consideration of the fact that, when backing out of the deal, my friend said, in very clear terms, that given how things happened, he neither wanted or expected a cent of his money back. Does that somehow not matter in evaluating the situation?

 

JC

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1 minute ago, TubeLover said:

how is the loss of the $4k (and the additional $1,500.00) I turned down (honoring his purchase) not legitimate?

 

This reads as a loss of 5500. How do you do that ? (I must have missed something somewhere)


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2 minutes ago, PeterSt said:

 

This reads as a loss of 5500. How do you do that ? (I must have missed something somewhere)

Sorry for not having worded things better. What I was intending to say was that the $4k offered by the other part y included an additional $1,500.00 over the heavily discounted rate of $2500.00 that I sold the speakers to my friend for. 

 

JC

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