Audiogon and PayPal double burn

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by blackhawkskid6, Jan 15, 2024.

  1. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    If you are bored and want something to read something regarding a seller getting burned here goes (I'm venting admittedly):

    This is recent. Long-time buyer and seller on Audiogon and USAM. Audiogon 20+ years with 281 positive feedback and zero negative and neutral. USAM has 40+ positive rating in last three years and roughly 90 over time (no negatives). I am liquidating my equipment as we recently moved (again...I have a thread on here) and also got bored with some equipment and wanted to try same stack manufacturer (went with Simaudio Moon Evolution).

    Two years ago I moved exclusively to USAM for all transactions except a few accessories and a set of Dynaudio's purchased or sold on Agon. Things haven't been selling much recently so after about 6 weeks on USAM I placed an ad on Agon and last week sold a Sugden PA-4 phono preamp (on Agon) that is a beautiful piece (all original packing/contents). Mint minus condition. Used it with a Pass INT-25 and Luxman PD-171 TT. I received an inquiry from a member (1 year) with two transaction history. He offered me 85% of my (fairly low) asking price. I accepted and shipped next day after receiving cleared PayPal payment. USPS insured with signature (my go to since UPS has been dismal for years and FedEx does not insure though they charge you for declared value...whatever that means). Buyer received tracking number on the Saturday it was shipped with estimated Tuesday delivery. Weather across the country slowed things down and he started calling and texting me on Wednesday being understandably nervous. I tried to calm him down by stating I had been through this many, many times and that the shipment would arrive albeit late. I asked for patience. He obsessed over the lack of transparent shipping progress as USPS was not scanning the package at distribution/consolidation centers where the shipment changed hands and insisted it was lost. I fielded and answered at least a dozen calls/texts, each immediately. I even called him proactively 2 times in the period the shipment was 'lost'. He started to obsess now over lack of temperature control and exposure to humidity. I asked him if he knew that this unit had likely spent many weeks en route to the original owner or distributor coming across the ocean from the UK and then to me on the secondary purchase; and it was a fantastically sounding unit in my system. Dead quiet, beautiful sound.

    We agreed that before I file a missing shipment inquiry that he wait until Monday. Very late Friday night the package showed progress in USPS as being in Houston which is near this guy's address. I informed him Friday night and Saturday it was delivered. He reached out to let me know that it was delivered and he was setting it up. I said 'great let me know how it goes'. Later on Saturday I get a text that asks if we can have a FaceTime call...I answered 'yes right now'. He calls and tells me there is a noise coming from the unit and proceeds to show me how when he powers it on and touches the input or volume knob, the unit makes a zapping sound. I immediately stated 'please unplug the unit now and then power it down'. He did and then I asked if he had grounded the Sugden to his turntable. he said no that he had not used the grounding wire since his Rega P8 had internal grounding. Also that Saturday afternoon he had taken it to 'my local guy who knows audio and he told me it did not need to be grounded'. From here the real circus begins:

    -buyer claims the unit is defective...I tell him it needs to be grounded and he may have damaged the unit repeating that event over and over

    -he asks me for a video of the unit in use with audio which unbelievably I had taken to compare different integrateds paired with different stages (ridiculous I know but I did that)

    -he then claims then that it was freight damage and sends me a photo of the box with the slightest top corner crease that was also present upon me shipping it to him (I took pre-shipment photos)

    -he reaches out to Agon and after a round and round of approximately 20 ever increasingly contentious email exchanges they tell me I have to honor a return request and he asks for my address to return the unit

    -I tell him nope, user error and I don't want a damaged unit sent back to me; I tell Agon the same thing but they dig in with him and tell him to dispute with payPal

    -I have a 'no return policy' on Agon for non-defective equipment but Agon still insists I have to take it back even after I share the screenshots I took from the FaceTime call that demonstrate the problem and the issue with connectivity

    -He opens the case and PayPal emails me roughly stating 'due to consumer protection laws if you lose this case there is no obligation that the buyer has to return the unit to you'

    Meanwhile Audiogon responded to me stating 'its his word against yours' to which i replied 'what about my history and credibility demonstrated through my transaction recored for 20 years with you?' matched up against the buyer changing his story and constantly moving the target on his reasons for not wanting the unit and his lying assertions.

    Apologies for the rant. i know these things are never cut and dry but this is apparent to me. I am officially done with trading and will forever be satisfied with what I have. This is what it took for me to stop the trading habit. The taste of getting absolutely screwed over on a sale is bitter knowing I have always treated buyers fairly, honestly and respectfully. However in the end I share much of the responsibility here as I violated one of my own rules which was to never sell to anyone with no or limited feedback.

    The rest of the equipment that remains will all be sold (except what I am keeping) as a local/cash sale only and will be discounted appropriately to incentivize a fairly quick sale(s) to get off the 'go round.

    I'm done.
    Mr. LP Collector likes this.
  2. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    It sucks, but the reality is this: No matter what "no returns" language you use, no matter what user error stupidity is involved, at the end of the day, if a user wants to do a return, you have to grit your teeth and take it. If you try to stand on principle, you'll likely get more burned than if you take the return at the onset. PayPal isn't your friend.
    Mr. LP Collector, lv70smusic and Dave like this.
  3. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hey thanks for reading what is really a “TLDR” post/rant. I had to get it off my chest. Appreciate the time and words. Thanks again.
  4. bresna

    bresna Senior Member

    York, Maine
    PayPal's ridiculous actions pretty much forced me off eBay many years ago. I was sent a grossly over-graded collectible CD. I asked the seller for a refund. The seller refused. I opened a case with PayPal & they required I take the CD to a local shop and get a letter stating the condition. I did this & PayPal agreed that it was over-graded & said, "Send it back and we will issue a credit".

    I sent it back (at my expense) & I was credited my money. The next day, I get a notice from PayPal that the seller opened a non-payment claim against me. They took the money back. I then had to re-open my original complaint. They ruled again in my favor and sent my money back. Then the seller filed another non-payment claim and PayPal again sent him the money. I had to re-open it a 3rd time. They ruled in my favor and sent me my money back. The seller tried to do it one more time but PayPal finally stopped him.

    The final straw with eBay was when this seller was allowed to give me negative feedback. eBay refused to remove it even with all of the documentation I sent them showing that this was retaliatory feedback by the seller. eBay wouldn't pull it. Bye-bye eBay.
    kwadguy likes this.
  5. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    PayPal is a legal scam. I have closed both my PayPal and Venmo (PP owns Venmo) accounts out of principle but also fear that my information will be breached and my linked accounts hacked. However I am sure my account information will always reside in their system so I am debating closing those linked accounts and establishing new ones. A real PITA.
  6. styler

    styler Senior Member

    from a past similar experience, audiogon will always side with buyer.
  7. No Static

    No Static Gain Rider

    Heart of Dixie
    Even when you’re completely in the right.
    One transaction tied my money up for six months, having to go through all the
    Audiogon, then PayPal, then credit card steps. Finally got my money.

    For my last equipment sale I sold speakers to a used audio resale company. It probably cost me around 30 percent in realized return but the lack of hassle was worth it. I’d do it again.
  8. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Audiogon proved worthless here as you both stated accurately. They fell in line with PayPal’s stance. Without sellers there are no buyers. I hope they lose their market. I’m done with them also and the way they handled this and completely threw me under the bus. Almost 20 years of perfect feedback and they completely discredited me in this case. USAM and local sales are all that is left but luckily I only have two sets of speakers and some accessories to sell.

    thanks all for your responses.
  9. Cherrycherry

    Cherrycherry Forum Resident

    Le Froidtown
    That really sucks. You got a crap buyer,
    Maybe the unit isn’t permanently damaged.

    What if it comes back trashed? Can you file an Audiogon/PayPal claim towards him?
  10. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Update: PayPal ruled in favor of buyer (as they d0) and buyer never returned the preamp to me. I submitted feedback on the Audiogon system (nothing questionable regarding language just "avoid this inexperienced buyer' tone and Agon removed it. Now Audiogon is trying to collect their commission from me for a non-sale. The gall.
    Dave likes this.
  11. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Right, but doesn't Paypal demand proof of a tracking number from the buyer for a return? I'd tell Audiogon to wait until there is any kind of proof of the return via tracking number. Perhaps your feedback might have been a little premature.
  12. KeeperUSA

    KeeperUSA Forum Resident

    Denver, USA
    Feel sorry for the OP.

    As a buyer on Audiogon, it is nuts that a seller can be ripped off like that. I have bought a couple of expensive Marantz units and each time, the sellers have been great to deal with. For something more exotic, like a used turntable or preamp that needs grounding, I would only buy locally or new.

    Glad my selling days are mostly over. eBay and PayPal don’t care about sellers or buyers.
  13. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    No proof required. In fact buyer is not legally required to return it at all. PayPal contacted me by phone and I had a 10 minute call with the rep who strangely enough is in Rhode Island. (After the two calls with the India call center who could not help the situation at all). Probably a local contractor. She was a decent person but I shared that I have zero intention of paying and now it’s a matter of principle and I will dig in hard. She captured everything and stated “they will read this” after I remarked that PayPal does not care one bit about the facts of this transaction and they just want their money. I now fully expect a non-stop barrage of calls, US Mail and email communications but my position is clear.
  14. james

    james Summon The Queen

    Sounds like a bummer!

    can you clarify the grounding thing? Can you not use a Sugden phono preamp with a Rega table (which don’t have grounding wires)?
  15. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    I would have taken the unit back, it's the only way out of this. Sometimes buyers fail to return unit and it's the end of it, or they don't save tracking number and screw themselves. Either way I would not want someone to be able to walk away with the item defective or not.
    I would also have a return policy written up, because defective or not defective is open to interpretation.

    It does sound like you got a nutcase, and it because obvious from the beginning.
  16. blackhawkskid6

    blackhawkskid6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I really cannot give you an informed response. However what. I can tell you is that the buyer claims his Rega turntable has internal grounding. What that means or how it is accomplished is beyond me. The ground wire from the Sugden was not connected or even installed in the Sugden during the FaceTime call. Buyer claimed it was not needed. This is not in line with Sugden instructions.
    I believe that the Sugden could be grounded in another manner (eg perhaps to the chassis of an amp) but I personally have never grounded that way as I strictly follow manufacturers instructions and research as much as I can before I purchase items to understand compatibility and connectivity. I did make a mistake myself one time when I tried to connect a B&W sub to a Hegel amp. I used the speaker line connection as the amp had no sub connection. It hurt the amp which I sent off to Hegel authorized service center (actually drove it 3 1/2 hours each way twice) for repair.
    I did not go back to the B&W seller claiming damaged goods. My dumb error. I also drove my sub to the factory B&W repair site which luckily for decades was in Reading MA and the great techs there stated sub was fine and fully functioning. (B&W eventually moved that center out of the country which was a bummer). The techs there were tremendous!
    james likes this.

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