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Subject: Why is buying in the marketplace a contract ONLY for the buyer? rss

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C.A.
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I click on BUY and I get this message that tells me I am entering into a binding agreement. But I've had multiple times when the seller canceled the order due to some excuse or other, after I placed the order. And I can't even leave feedback to others, saying "you may think you are buying, but you can't be sure."

Why is this a one way street that forces the buyer to commit but not the seller?
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Dan Blum
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For one thing, because the seller may have put the game up for sale a long time ago, and something might have happened in the interim. (And if that thing necessitated removing the item from Marketplace, he or she may have forgotten.) You can't very well force someone to sell you something they no longer have, for example. You, on the other hand, just placed the order and therefore presumably know for sure you can buy it.

You realize that this applies elsewhere, too, right? If you order from ANYWHERE there is a possibility they might be out of stock, or whatnot, and cancel the order.
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Conor Sipe
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I have wondered this as well, though this has not happened to me on BGG. It is extremely frustrating to find something on half.com or in the amazon marketplace only find out that it indeed was too good a deal to be true.
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Anthony Simons
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caltino wrote:
Why is this a one way street that forces the buyer to commit but not the seller?


I don't understand your problem. Have you paid for something you didn't receive? As I see it, BGG works in much the same way as any other site; your purchase order is binding but they may cancel it if circumstances dictate - the item is unavailable, they don't anticipate getting any stock and so on. If you don't part with your money, what's your problem?

 
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fellonmyhead wrote:
I don't understand your problem. Have you paid for something you didn't receive?


The problem is this: if you find something that you have been looking for at a good price, it is extremely frustrating to find that the item is unavailable. While I agree there is no lasting damage (i.e. monetary), it can still be an inconvenience to a buyer.
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Marc B.
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But it becomes a contract for the seller as soon as they "confirm the sale". Just like it becomes a contract for the buyer as soon as they "commit to buy". The 2 halves need to be finalized (committed to) at different steps so no-one gets locked into something they can't complete unless they confirm it first. It really isnt a "contract" until both parties have confirmed their halves.

I've had several buyers "commit to buy" and then are never heard from again even though I confirmed the sale. I have never committed to buying something on the geek and then never heard from the seller.


Edit: fixed spelling..
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Dan Blum
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cwsipe wrote:
fellonmyhead wrote:
I don't understand your problem. Have you paid for something you didn't receive?


The problem is this: if you find something that you have been looking for at a good price, it is extremely frustrating to find that the item is unavailable. While I agree there is no lasting damage (i.e. monetary), it can still be an inconvenience to a buyer.


Sure, and sellers should make an effort to keep their inventory up to date. But it's not possible to protect everyone from inconvenience. As fsumarc notes, it's not uncommon for buyers to place an order and then never pay, and that's much more inconvenient for the seller than not confirming an order is for the buyer (since the seller has presumably had to go find a box and weigh the game to determine the shipping cost). It's also inconvenient when buyers place orders and ignore the seller's restrictions.
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Although the admin and others make a good point, making a parallel between BGG Market and other online retailers is a stretch. Most online retailers are pretty up to date on their in-stock/out of stock status, and if they aren't, then they will receive negative feedback, criticism, etc. that will drive away future buyers.

So, I think the question that should be asked is where is the balancing mechanism in BGG marketplace? If you have sellers who scams the system on BGG (by listing "in-stock, drive you to their storefront, and are magically out of stock on a great deal), then how would anyone know?

Also, not to expect close to real-time data in 2008 is just friggin' funny, and being indirectly defended by the talk-backers.... "Hey, if you order and its out of stock.. no big shakes, man." And saying that a seller can't update their stuff for sale is a bit of a cop-out. There should be some responsibility on the seller when they enter into a contract on the marketplace, otherwise remove the responsibilities on the buyers also. Perhaps there should be a cap on the number of days an item can be listed for sale, so these forgetful sellers will have the cleaning crew to pick up after them.
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C.A.
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The problem is this: I miss other opportunities while the seller takes three days to tell me that "sorry, you won't get that game that you thought you were." These games move fast through the marketplace, they are costing me money when they delay me with false offers to sell. Also, why do I have to put up with going through this frustrating exercise?

If they no longer have the game, they should show the responsibility to update their records in the marketplace. Am I demanding too much when I say "if a seller posts a game for sale with certain terms, he should honor his offer?" And if he doesn't, then there should be a way to note this on his record- something that leaving feedback would accomplish.

If it's just fine to have games listed for sale that you won't actually sell, and there won't be a way of noting failures to honor offers, then this will be (or is already) a pretty poor marketplace. After all, if a buyer doesn't get to say "oops sorry, I won't be buying from you after all" and has to honor his offer to buy, why are we expecting anything less from the sellers? Buyers have reasons too- maybe they read a review that changed their mind, or found a much better price or got the game from a friend- but for the buyers, it's a contract. For the sellers, it's OK if they make a mistake or have an excuse.

Just this morning I went through this, albeit through geekmail this time- an offer to sell became "oops I am selling it to someone else." Do I need to geekmail everyone I will buy from to say "do you actually have this to sell?" before I click on buy? How long do I need to wait for the answer?

To address the above comment about inconveniences caused by buyers, I don't believe that saying "buyers do it too!" is a justification for not holding people responsible. If a buyer doesn't pay, the seller should leave negative feedback, just like the buyer can if the seller doesn't have the game. "These things happen" is not a way to create a well functioning system that provides feedback for intelligent choices in the marketplace.

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Perhaps there should be a time limit on items up for sale, after which the seller must either confirm that the item is still available, or the item drops from the marketplace.

At the very least, maybe there should be a warning to the buyer: "This item is more than xxx days old, and may no longer be available for purchase."

BGG should be more about the consumer than the retailer, and therefore, IMO, should err on their side. If the sellers must do a little more work to keep their inventory up-to-date, that's the price of being a retailer.

Tom
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Marc B.
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Most of the sellers on the geek are like me, just regular joes and not a business. I really think of the marketplace as almost a different trade forum, this time game for cash instead of game for game. I enter some games on my "for trade" list as well as my "for sale" list. If a game moves due to one, I try to remember to remove it from the other. I'm human and sometimes forget. I'm not a business so expecting me to buy real time inventory control software and keep it somehow linked with the BGG marketplace is silly.

You guys all make this big stink out of the fact that you "are locked into a contract to buy a game" when you choose "buy game". Well, to be honest I don't know what kind of contract you are actually bound to as I have had at least 10-12 different buyers commit to that same "contract" and then disappear and never pay. After I have packaged, weighed, got a shipping quote, etc. and committed to sell. They ignore multiple geekmails and external emails. I have no power to do anything about it. And because they did it, I have to go back and recreate the listing for the game because it gets removed the moment they chose to "commit to buy". I also have to get BGG to take away the automatic marketplace fee that is charged. And as an added bonus, I lost 3-5 days of exposure in the marketplace waiting on Joe Buyer to make good on the purchase he committed to and has no intention of actually buying.

Don't treat the marketplace like a bunch of small thoughthammers, or boards & bits. We're not. Just mostly some folks willing to also trade some of our games for cash if you don't have a game we want on your trade list.

Look at the sellers feedback. If they have a bunch of positives then you know they haven't left every potential buyer hanging. I realize there are several actual sellersretailers in the marketplace as well and you can usually tell by their feedback. I make it a habit to confirm and/or respond to purchases/trade offers as quickly as possible.

Also, adding in a mechanism that makes me look at a list of the games I have for sale and put a check mark next to each one to confirm I still have it every 30 days or something would be fine with me. It would also be good for the trade system.

edit: changed sellers to retailers
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Paul Sauberer
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Some of us who sell in the BGGM (quite possibly a majority) are not retailers. We just have some games in our collections that we are willing to sell.

I have sold hundreds of games on the BGGM and yes, on occasion I have not removed a listing after trading the game. I admit that is a mistake, but I am not perfect. I certainly don't intend for it to happen, but I make mistakes. I will apologize for the error, but there isn't much else I can do and it is a rare occurence.

If in every case you require the level of customer service that you find from an online establishment that is an actual retailer, then the BGGM is not for you. You will not get perfection, but that is not a resonable expectation in this venue.

If you want a professional level of service, then buy from a professional. However, you have to realize that you will pay for that. If you are satisfied with buying games from other BGG members and realize that sometimes mistakes will happen, then the BGGM is a great place.
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So, in summary, this is a marketplace with low confidence, and those entering it should expect such. It really isn't an eBay like or even retail-like marketplace, so it should probably just blend into the trade market, except by offering for monies instead of trade. I guess that when I see "marketplace" or "market", or "sell", I assume some legitimacy and controls, which from these posts, sounds like they are missing from BGG's marketplace. Also, mistakenly, I assumed that because of BGGs age, that the marketplace was a refined and advanced offering, but that was my fault. Hey, buyer beware and all that.


fsumarc wrote:
Most of the sellers on the geek are like me, just regular joes and not a business. I really think of the marketplace as almost a different trade forum, this time game for cash instead of game for game. I enter some games on my "for trade" list as well as my "for sale" list. If a game moves due to one, I try to remember to remove it from the other. I'm human and sometimes forget. I'm not a business so expecting me to buy real time inventory control software and keep it somehow linked with the BGG marketplace is silly.

You guys all make this big stink out of the fact that you "are locked into a contract to buy a game" when you choose "buy game". Well, to be honest I don't know what kind of contract you are actually bound to as I have had at least 10-12 different buyers commit to that same "contract" and then disappear and never pay. After I have packaged, weighed, got a shipping quote, etc. and committed to sell. They ignore multiple geekmails and external emails. I have no power to do anything about it. And because they did it, I have to go back and recreate the listing for the game because it gets removed the moment they chose to "commit to buy". I also have to get BGG to take away the automatic marketplace fee that is charged. And as an added bonus, I lost 3-5 days of exposure in the marketplace waiting on Joe Buyer to make good on the purchase he committed to and has no intention of actually buying.

Don't treat the marketplace like a bunch of small thoughthammers, or boards & bits. We're not. Just mostly some folks willing to also trade some of our games for cash if you don't have a game we want on your trade list.

Look at the sellers feedback. If they have a bunch of positives then you know they haven't left every potential buyer hanging. I realize there are several actual sellersretailers in the marketplace as well and you can usually tell by their feedback. I make it a habit to confirm and/or respond to purchases/trade offers as quickly as possible.

edit: changed sellers to retailers
 
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Cathy Griffin
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Since I am the seller you dealt with this morning, I'll comment.

You actually made me an OFFER for 2 games. You didn't BUY them. I declined your offer. You also sent me email about shipping prices for various combinations of games I have for sale. You didn't provide a zip so we had to have that email conversation so I could get you accurate shipping prices in order for you decide if you wanted to purchase the game(s).

I had the same shipping question for the same game from another potential buyer. Neither of you had actually BOUGHT the game. You were both negotiating pricing and shipping. Who do I give the opportunity to purchase the game to? In the absence of an actual BUYER, the guy who's first in line gets first right of refusal.

I'm sorry you were disappointed.

Cathy
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C.A.
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This thread is not about you.
 
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darthhugo wrote:
So, in summary, this is a marketplace with low confidence, and those entering it should expect such. It really isn't an eBay like or even retail-like marketplace, so it should probably just blend into the trade market, except by offering for monies instead of trade. I guess that when I see "marketplace" or "market", or "sell", I assume some legitimacy and controls, which from these posts, sounds like they are missing from BGG's marketplace. Also, mistakenly, I assumed that because of BGGs age, that the marketplace was a refined and advanced offering, but that was my fault. Hey, buyer beware and all that.


Actually, it is a marketplace with very high confidence as the huge majority of transactions go off without a hitch. It is a very friendly place where users can exchange games for money, to their mutual satisfaction in almost every case. The community does police itself through the feedback system and also "bad seller" postings on the forums.

It seems as if "almost every case" is not good enough for you. That's fine. No one is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to use the BGGM. You are free to buy elsewhere, at a place that meets your personal standards every time. (Good luck finding such a place, BTW)

However, extrapolating your requirement for perfection into a denigration of the BGGM is unfair and grossly inaccurate.
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caltino wrote:
This thread is not about you.


How do we know that? There is no guarantee that what is posted in the BGG Forums is truthful. You could have just said this in order to save face. But I read it and have to assume you are correct. You, however, did not have to swear an oath that your statement is true. That is grossly unfair to the readers of BGG forums. We readers may have expended the time and energy to read a post with no ironclad guarantee that it is true, while posters can spew whatever lies they want with no consequences whatsoever.

Until there can be a guarantee of accuracy for all statements made on the BGG Forums, and people who post falsehoods are imprisoned for perjury, they are completely useless.
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
Perhaps there should be a time limit on items up for sale, after which the seller must either confirm that the item is still available, or the item drops from the marketplace.


Agreed (and same props to those who recommended the idea earlier in the thread).

An offer to sell is IMO an offer to establish a binding contract between the buyer and the seller. When accepted by the buyer, it should thus be binding on both parties.

If the item isn't in stock, its due to two situations.

The first is the item never was in stock, in which case the seller wasn't in a legitimate position to offer a binding sale in the first place. Offering to sell something that has yet to come in stock without listing up front the full details of the stock status is IMO by definition a scam, and has no legitimate place here. Buyers have a right to complain about such listings.

The second is the item was in stock and no longer is, in which case the seller should have updated the listing. Since people are so busy (or rather, that is the excuse made) that they can't remember to update all their stale sale listings, the system should make it easy for these busy people by clearing out the ones past their shelf date. If the item actually is still for sale, the seller can either bump the listing before it expires to reset the date, or relist it after it has been removed.

The bottom line is a marketplace that doesn't have an expectation of reasonably current listings is of sub-optimal utility to both buyers and sellers. For buyers, because they cannot place a sufficient measure of confidence in it as a game availability resource, and will thus be inclined to look elsewhere first. For sellers, because their listings will be too far downstream on the above buyers' list of sites to search.
 
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Psauberer wrote:
darthhugo wrote:
So, in summary, this is a marketplace with low confidence, and those entering it should expect such. It really isn't an eBay like or even retail-like marketplace, so it should probably just blend into the trade market, except by offering for monies instead of trade. I guess that when I see "marketplace" or "market", or "sell", I assume some legitimacy and controls, which from these posts, sounds like they are missing from BGG's marketplace. Also, mistakenly, I assumed that because of BGGs age, that the marketplace was a refined and advanced offering, but that was my fault. Hey, buyer beware and all that.


Actually, it is a marketplace with very high confidence as the huge majority of transactions go off without a hitch. It is a very friendly place where users can exchange games for money, to their mutual satisfaction in almost every case. The community does police itself through the feedback system and also "bad seller" postings on the forums.

It seems as if "almost every case" is not good enough for you. That's fine. No one is going to hold a gun to your head and force you to use the BGGM. You are free to buy elsewhere, at a place that meets your personal standards every time. (Good luck finding such a place, BTW)

However, extrapolating your requirement for perfection into a denigration of the BGGM is unfair and grossly inaccurate.

Your point is valid. The problem as I see it is that those sellers offering a good level of professionalism are hurt by those that don't.

And rating isn't always a good indicator of how quickly someone will respond. I've tried to contact sellers before and never heard a word. And that brings down my level of confidence in the system as a whole.

I don't have a solution in mind, but definitely seems like there is a lot of room for improvement.

Tom
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Psauberer wrote:
The community does police itself through the feedback system and also "bad seller" postings on the forums.


The point is, the feedback system would be much more useful if buyers who committed to buying by clicking the link could leave negative feedback if they don't get their game, and vice versa for non paying buyers. If there's already a way to provide feedback, why let this area be ignored?
 
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darthhugo wrote:
So, in summary, this is a marketplace with low confidence, and those entering it should expect such.


That is not the summary of my words.
low confidence? no. Expect mistakes and such in a human run hobby based swap meet? yes.

darthhugo wrote:
It really isn't an eBay like or even retail-like marketplace, so it should probably just blend into the trade market, except by offering for monies instead of trade. I guess that when I see "marketplace" or "market", or "sell", I assume some legitimacy and controls, which from these posts, sounds like they are missing from BGG's marketplace. Also, mistakenly, I assumed that because of BGGs age, that the marketplace was a refined and advanced offering, but that was my fault. Hey, buyer beware and all that.


Yep, and you're free to not buy there if you'd like. It is not ebay (though I believe it is safer). it is not retail. The legitimacy you are looking for is here, but is due to the community behind it, not a bunch of lawyers and legal shop-cops to kick down sellers doors because they forgot to remove an item from their for sale list because someone came over to their house for a game day and liked it so they gave it away. or sold it. Or the cat crapped on it. or they put it in a math trade. or whatever. mistakes happen. I'm sorry you had a sour experience. If I had something you want to buy I would do my best to make it a good experience. I honestly believe 99.9% of folks selling on the geek would do the same. I can't even recall ever seeing posts about sellers taking money and not sending games, though it sure it may have happened. If it does air it out for the community.

The marketplace is not designed to be a direct parallel to big retailers. It is designed for folks to buy and sell games to each other. It has also over the last few years been found as a good spot for some retailers to also sell their wares. The controls you speak of are their to make the process easier for both parties to get communication back and forth. The inventory part of it is still totally user entry dependent. It could indeed benefit from some validation checks. Hopefully that may come someday.


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KGBRadioMoskow wrote:
BoardsAndBits wrote:
Perhaps there should be a time limit on items up for sale, after which the seller must either confirm that the item is still available, or the item drops from the marketplace.


Agreed (and same props to those who recommended the idea earlier in the thread).

An offer to sell is IMO an offer to establish a binding contract between the buyer and the seller. When accepted by the buyer, it should thus be binding on both parties.

If the item isn't in stock, its due to two situations.

The first is the item never was in stock, in which case the seller wasn't in a legitimate position to offer a binding sale in the first place. Offering to sell something that has yet to come in stock without listing up front the full details of the stock status is IMO by definition a scam, and has no legitimate place here. Buyers have a right to complain about such listings.

The second is the item was in stock and no longer is, in which case the seller should have updated the listing. Since people are so busy (or rather, that is the excuse made) that they can't remember to update all their stale sale listings, the system should make it easy for these busy people by clearing out the ones past their shelf date. If the item actually is still for sale, the seller can either bump the listing before it expires to reset the date, or relist it after it has been removed.

The bottom line is a marketplace that doesn't have an expectation of reasonably current listings is of sub-optimal utility to both buyers and sellers. For buyers, because they cannot place a sufficient measure of confidence in it as a game availability resource, and will thus be inclined to look elsewhere first. For sellers, because their listings will be too far downstream on the above buyers' list of sites to search.


The problem with this idea is that the stock issues are a very small part of the transactions on the BGGM. This whole thread is really making a mountain out of a molehill.

If this refreshing requirement were to take effect, then the results would be that, yes, a few games that were no longer available will be automatically removed from the BGGM. However, a far greater number of available games will also undoubtedly disappear. Then we would get complaints from people that there aren't enough cheap copies of the games they are looking for as they used to be.

In reality, it would also not solve the problem. If the refreshing option were easy enough to do without much effort, like checking a list, people will still just go ahead and check off their entire list and will still end up with unavailable games in the BGGM. If, on the other hand, it gets made difficult enough for sellers to have to really pay attention to each listing then what will happen is that they will give up and a whole bunch of games will no longer be offered. Not only will this impact the potential buyers, but the Geek will have a drop in commission revenue.

Right now there is a mechanism that penalizes sellers. In order to get your commission canceled on an order, you have to jump through hoops to get it done. Canceling an order can only be done with the acquiesence of both parties. If the buyer does not confirm the cancellation, then the order stands. I have paid at least a dozen commission on orders where the buyer never paid and never acknowledged the cancellation. I think that you can send an individual e-mail to an admin to get the order reversed after a period of time, but that is at least as much an investment of time as that made by the few buyers who run into out of stock situations.

The bottom line is that in order to have a robust BGGM, we have to put up with a little bit on inconvenience now and then. Any "fix" will break it in far worse ways. If you can't put up with that, it doesn't mean the venue is "low confidence" or you have to wonder about every transaction you are considerning, nor do you ahve to confirm first with every seller to make sure that they actually have the game. It just means that the BGGM is not for you.
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caltino wrote:
Psauberer wrote:
The community does police itself through the feedback system and also "bad seller" postings on the forums.


The point is, the feedback system would be much more useful if buyers who committed to buying by clicking the link could leave negative feedback if they don't get their game, and vice versa for non paying buyers. If there's already a way to provide feedback, why let this area be ignored?


AFAIK, for every order entered into the system, there is feedback available as soon as the order is placed, on both sides. I know that I have left negative feedback for buyers that did not pay. Unfortunately, it didn't really make a difference, as it seems they left BGG (or possibly changed user names) shortly after that or even before I left the feedback. They just came on BGG, ordered a game, and then left for parts unknown.
 
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I know that with the sellers that cancel my order after I commit to buy, I have not been able to leave feedback. I checked specifically before I posted this thread to make sure I wasn't talking about a non-issue.

Things happen, sure. But if we have a system in place to provide feedback, let's do it for all cases when things happen. That should motivate people to be more responsible about what they commit to, whether it be for buying or selling.
 
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caltino wrote:
The problem is this: I miss other opportunities while the seller takes three days to tell me that "sorry, you won't get that game that you thought you were." These games move fast through the marketplace, they are costing me money when they delay me with false offers to sell.


This doesn't make sense. If the games are moving through the marketplace that quickly, there is probably going to be another one coming through at any given time.

If the game wasn't really available at the low price you saw and the going rate is higher then you never really had a chance at it at the lower price.

No harm is done except a little bit of wasted time (which is not even a given since purchasing from someone else could actually get you the game faster depending on mailing time and distance.)

If you frequently run across games that you are looking to buy and often end up taking some sort of real loss due to erroneous listings, then your luck is just plain bad. You are an outlier on the probability curve.

Quote:
Also, why do I have to put up with going through this frustrating exercise?


You don't have to. You can always use other venues to purchase your games. However, if you want to have a large marketplace filled by other BGG users where you can get good prices on used games, you are going to have to put up with the occasional glitch.

Honestly, the only people I can see getting really torqued off are those who found an old listing for a game that has become hot recently (for example, let's say Betrayal at House on the Hill for $20 when it first began to take off in price.) They think, "I can make a killing off this on eBay and place the BGGM order. Then, when they find out the seller no longer has the game because he sold it on eBay and forgot to update the listing, they get mad because they didn't get their anticipated windfall. Eitehr that or some other game that was listed long ago and whose market price has gone up significantly.

Anyone else can get most games at about the same price if there is mistake with the original listing.

Now if someone was cruising the BGGM specifically looking for prices that are "too good to be true" then I could see running into out of stock situations more often.
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