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Subject: Auction Etiquette rss

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Shawna
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[Disclaimer: I apologize if this is not the best place for posting this question. I just started using the site a few months ago, and I'm still learning. Please forgive me.]

This is mainly directed at subscribers to the auction MetaList, but all users are welcome to weigh in:

A couple days ago, I commented on someone's auction that one of their games was available for $20 cheaper on Amazon and with free shipping. I was quickly called out by another user for not private messaging that person and told what I did was in bad form and disrespectful. In the end, we all mutually agreed to delete our comments. I've now seen two more individuals do this same thing, and nobody has batted an eye about it. So are there other opinions on this issue? Is it EVER okay to question someone's pricing publicly?

 
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On my own auctions I won't call someone out on it but on others I will.
Personally I think it's frowned upon but to be honest I see both sides of the issue.

On the one hand, if someone is overcharging, is it fair to other geeks to not make them aware you can get it cheaper? On the other hand, who are you to publicly shout out that others can obtain something cheaper elsewhere? To put it in another format; would you ever walk into a store and in front of the owner point out to all the other customers where they can get those items cheaper? Because it's exactly the same thing when you publicly post that a price is higher. If you think the auctioneer is unaware of fair pricing, geekmail him/her.

The only exception I can think of, would be if an auctioneer obviously makes a practice of price gouging hoping to find users who aren't aware of fair pricing. But I've yet to really see that...more often than not, it's usually one item in an auction.
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Shawna
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I completely agree with all of your points, Alex. I've only ever done a public comment like that the one time, and it was along the thinking you mentioned- should other geeks not be made aware if an item is *significantly* over priced. I agree that one would never shout out in someone's store "Hey you could get this lower over there!", but I might would quietly say to other people in the store that an item they were considering was way cheaper elsewhere. But there isn't a good way to do that on the Geek as you don't who is considering what.

I agree most Geek users don't purposely price gouge though, so a private message should do the trick. In my specific example a couple days ago, after deleting my comments, I sent geekmail to the user to point out that it was $20 cheaper on Amazon. He thanked me and told me he wasn't changing his price because of the price he paid for the game. Initially, I was like...dang! I don't want someone to unknowingly overpay $20 + shipping on this game. However, the user later edited the item to acknowledge the cheaper Amazon price. So I thank him for being a standup guy.

Anyway- long example, but I guess my question is, what if he didn't? Still not okay to publicly comment and just let each Geek be responsible for their own price checking?
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shawnad2006 wrote:
[Disclaimer: I apologize if this is not the best place for posting this question. I just started using the site a few months ago, and I'm still learning. Please forgive me.]

This is mainly directed at subscribers to the auction MetaList, but all users are welcome to weigh in:

A couple days ago, I commented on someone's auction that one of their games was available for $20 cheaper on Amazon and with free shipping. I was quickly called out by another user for not private messaging that person and told what I did was in bad form and disrespectful. In the end, we all mutually agreed to delete our comments. I've now seen two more individuals do this same thing, and nobody has batted an eye about it. So are there other opinions on this issue? Is it EVER okay to question someone's pricing publicly?



Nope. It usually causes the item in question not to sell. If you feel like you need to police the internet, then send the seller a private note. The market will figure itself out. If a game is way overpriced, no one will buy it. If it's underpriced, people will bid it up. Additionally, there are a huge list of factors that might cause someone to pay more on BGG than at other venders: seller loyalty, packaged shipping, condition, actual availability (vs. perceived availability), site preference, etc etc etc. Comments about the peoples bidding behavior or selling behavior shames everyone. You're saying the seller is a crook and the buyer is an idiot.
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Yes, this action is considered poor etiquette... no need to comment, as the market will take care of the pricing.

If its too high, then it won't sell.

If you didn't want to purchase it at that price, then don't, but no need to pontificate.

shawnad2006 wrote:
[Disclaimer: I apologize if this is not the best place for posting this question. I just started using the site a few months ago, and I'm still learning. Please forgive me.]

This is mainly directed at subscribers to the auction MetaList, but all users are welcome to weigh in:

A couple days ago, I commented on someone's auction that one of their games was available for $20 cheaper on Amazon and with free shipping. I was quickly called out by another user for not private messaging that person and told what I did was in bad form and disrespectful. In the end, we all mutually agreed to delete our comments. I've now seen two more individuals do this same thing, and nobody has batted an eye about it. So are there other opinions on this issue? Is it EVER okay to question someone's pricing publicly?

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Shawna
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sirgalin wrote:
You're saying the seller is a crook and the buyer is an idiot.


In this one specific case, the game for sale was one that was recently out of print. So I wasn't thinking the buyer was a crook or trying to imply it. Just that they and probably others were not yet aware that it was back in print.

BUT- I completely see your point as well. I ended up apologizing for the public comment. I guess one should always geekmail first. I just wanted to solicit other opinions here in a polite and respectful conversation. Is it EVER okay?
 
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shawnad2006 wrote:
[Disclaimer: I apologize if this is not the best place for posting this question. I just started using the site a few months ago, and I'm still learning. Please forgive me.]

This is mainly directed at subscribers to the auction MetaList, but all users are welcome to weigh in:

A couple days ago, I commented on someone's auction that one of their games was available for $20 cheaper on Amazon and with free shipping. I was quickly called out by another user for not private messaging that person and told what I did was in bad form and disrespectful. In the end, we all mutually agreed to delete our comments. I've now seen two more individuals do this same thing, and nobody has batted an eye about it. So are there other opinions on this issue? Is it EVER okay to question someone's pricing publicly?


Yes, this is considered bad form. But there is no formal rule so it may be "called out" differently from auction to auction. It just depends who happens upon the comment.

On the one hand it is a decent public service announcement that prices are too high and be aware. However, we are (or should be) knowledgeable consumers on this site with plenty of research available. Most people won't blind bid without doing a little shopping to see what it is brand new or second hand.

If you think the seller made an honest mistake, just approach him privately (GeekMail). More often than not, it is someone who had a valuable game where the price has now gone down due to a reprint and they weren't aware price has been adjusted. Or the next most common reason is that they paid that price and don't want to accept lower even if going rates are cheaper.

Why it is considered bad form (at least in my eyes) is that it could also be an abuse by the potential bidder. "Hey, your price is too high" could be interpreted as browbeating them to lower their price. Second, if you aren't the seller and don't plan on buying it, then really it is of no concern to you - so stay out. Looking at it another way, are you able to publicly comment on other auction sites? eBay doesn't allow it unless the Buyere makes your query public. So comments should be reserved to JUST bids. Even positive comments should be avoided though most sellers let it go because it helps them.

Either way, it is best to err on the side of caution which means if you feel strongly enough, contact the seller privately. Only the seller knows why he has set the prices as he has and if people feel it is a fair price, they will bid. If not, they won't bid and the seller will get the hint (most likely).
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Bryan Thunkd
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If someone lists an item at a high price either two things happen. No one bids, in which case it's not an issue. Or someone bids, and presumably that means they are okay with the price. Seller and buyer have found a happy medium where both are content. Sure the buyer would prefer a lower price, but wasn't willing to put in the effort or time to search for it. When you step in and announce a better price (either after or prior to anyone bidding) you are shifting the balance of the situation. The buyer is happier, some other seller is happier (perhaps amazon or another online site) and the seller is unhappier.

I would consider this extremely bad form to come into someone's auction and tank it for them. If they are pricing it too high it won't sell, and if they can find someone who is content to buy it for that price, who are you to mess that up? Basically you're coming in and saying "Look, I know you have a potential sale going on here, but I'm going to screw you to make the buyers happier."

You are taking an action that hurts someone. Sure it helps someone else too... but that doesn't negate the harm that you did.
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Shawna
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darthhugo wrote:
shawnad2006 wrote:

Is it EVER okay?


Um, no. You are pretty much assuming others can't do research, understand, or think for themselves. Try not to be a superhero, unless of course, someone's life depends on it. This is just a commerce transaction, and most that have been born after the 1500s understand the idea of Caveat Emptor.



Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.

Thanks to everyone that had respectful thoughts to contribute. I'm mainly looking at you, Brian. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for. Thank you.
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Bryan Thunkd
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I googled "Define: price gouging" and got this definition:
internet wrote:
Price gouging is S: (n) price gouging (pricing above the market price when no alternative retailer is available)

If there are alternatives then no one is forcing the buyer to buy the expensive copy. This isn't a situation where a) there are no cheaper alternatives or b) this is an item that you have to have. We're not talking selling fuel during wartime gas rationing. This is a luxury good and if the buyer wanted to find a cheaper copy, he could, fairly easily.

If he bids he obviously thinks the price is an acceptable value to him. If he didn't, he could try to find the better deal that is out there.

shawnad2006 wrote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.

You see this as the buyer getting screwed whereas I see a buyer who is happy to get the game, and willing to pay a price he thinks is fair. I see you coming in and shooting down a sale for the buyer as screwing the seller. Everybody was happy until you showed up. Now at least one guy is really pissed off.

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Sven Berglowe
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I think the only bad form or behavior here is the "Shouting Down" or calling out of a person just trying to let others know it is cheaper somewhere else.
Its pretty rude to jump in and just call someones behavior bad or be rude to someone when they are just trying to help.

Granted a private message could have made things easier but there is still no excuse to have someone "Shouted down" for any reason on these forums. This thread is not the politics thread where that behavior is normal.

Just my two cents. Let the "Shouting down" begin.lol.arrrh
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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I'm the one that suggested to Shawna that calling a pricing decision into question was better handled via pm directly than in the public comments.

shawnad2006 wrote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.


But here's the thing you're still not getting Shawna, what you deem gouging is for other people fair market value. You're leveling nasty judgements using the term gouging just because someone isn't matching the lowest price available at the moment, but besides being entirely subjective, it's also misinformed.

Charles was asking $70 for Keyflower which is actually lower than the MSRP for the first edition he's selling, and is completely understandable given that most copies sold for the same or more. Boards and Bits retail price for it was $79 when they had it in stock.

He wasn't taking advantage of, or trying to "screw any idiots" just because Amazon happens to now have the reprint for cheaper.

Miniature Market was selling Age of Industry for $32 for months, that didn't mean that CSI, Amazon, and every other retailer was "gouging" because they were all selling it for $50 based on what they themselves paid for it. (which is exactly what Charles was doing)

shawnad2006 wrote:
I'm mainly looking at you, Brian. That's the kind of feedback I was hoping for. Thank you.


Brian's certainly a saint given all he puts up with as the moderator of the MetaList… and of course that's why we all love him for it.

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Docsven wrote:
I think the only bad form or behavior here is the "Shouting Down" or calling out of a person just trying to let others know it is cheaper somewhere else.
Its pretty rude to jump in and just call someones behavior bad or be rude to someone when they are just trying to help.

Granted a private message could have made things easier but there is still no excuse to have someone "Shouted down" for any reason on these forums. This thread is not the politics thread where that behavior is normal.

Just my two cents. Let the "Shouting down" begin.lol.arrrh


As long as it's done politely, I disagree with you. I think it's actually important for that part to be done in public so that other learn it's bad form and prevent them from repeating the behavior themselves. If, as it seems to be the case, such a comment is bad form, then it's much better to prevent instances of it ever happening rather than only resorting to telling people after the fact. Again though, the key word above is polite. There's no need to say anything other than that the behavior is bad form.
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Shawna
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Dante, I think you just missed a comment I made earlier in this thread relating to Charles:

"However, the user later edited the item to acknowledge the cheaper Amazon price. So I thank him for being a standup guy."

I was only using that example as something that *could have* went a different way. I thought I made clear in my original comments on that game that I wasn't accusing Charles of being a crook nor meaning to be disrespectful, but I completely agreed with you that I should have geekmailed first. And as I said earlier, Charles added a disclaimer. I have no negative feelings towards him and again- agree that I should have geekmailed first.

My point in asking here was to see if others thought public comments were EVER okay, such as if the situation had happened differently.

The response has obviously been that it's never okay, and I completely understand that viewpoint and accept it. I didn't intend this as an argument FOR publicly bashing anyone's auctions or anything of the sort. Just a new user here wanting to gather consensus on a topic.
 
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shawnad2006 wrote:
sirgalin wrote:
You're saying the seller is a crook and the buyer is an idiot.


In this one specific case, the game for sale was one that was recently out of print. So I wasn't thinking the buyer was a crook or trying to imply it. Just that they and probably others were not yet aware that it was back in print.


If spending $20 more for something is of more value to a buyer than spending 10 minutes checking current prices, or if they just don't care, then that's their prerogative.
 
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shawnad2006 wrote:
Dante, I think you just missed a comment I made earlier in this thread relating to Charles:

"However, the user later edited the item to acknowledge the cheaper Amazon price. So I thank him for being a standup guy."

I was only using that example as something that *could have* went a different way.


I did miss that and I'm glad to hear you reaffirm that this was purely hypothetical, but the truth is Charles would be no less a standup guy or deserving of being accused of gouging if had never edited the item or addressed the Amazon price in any way.

shawnad2006 wrote:
I didn't intend this as an argument FOR publicly bashing anyone's auctions or anything of the sort. Just a new user here wanting to gather consensus on a topic.


I hear you say that Shawna, but then you followed up a subtly backhanded thanks with this...

Quote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.


Even if it still doesn't seem to sit entirely well with you, at least you now know that what I was suggesting wasn't just a unique quirk of my own. I certainly wasn't picking on you, just offering a simple heads up as to the local customs.
 
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Shawna
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NuMystic wrote:
shawnad2006 wrote:
I didn't intend this as an argument FOR publicly bashing anyone's auctions or anything of the sort. Just a new user here wanting to gather consensus on a topic.


I hear you say that Shawna, but then you followed up a subtly backhanded thanks with this...

Quote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.


Glad to hear you reaffirm that this was purely hypothetical and unrelated to the original auction item.

Even if it still doesn't seem to sit entirely well with you, at least you now know that what I was suggesting wasn't just a unique quirk of my own. I certainly wasn't picking on you, just offering a simple heads up as to the local customs.


Yes- that subtle backhandedness was just out of frustration at a particular user whom I felt was impolite. It definitely wasn't directed at Charles. I suppose I get a bit defensive if someone is questioning my motives and seemingly accusing me of being a horrible person.

I don't get upset if someone is just politely informing me of agreed upon etiquette as such you did Wednesday and now today, Dante. No hard feelings towards you whatsoever!
 
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NuMystic wrote:
I hear you say that Shawna, but then you followed up a subtly backhanded thanks with this...

Quote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.

In all fairness, there was quite a jump in accusations before this comment. I believe Shawna was just reacting to the comments made before this was posted. The thread was fully civil until that point.
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shawnad2006 wrote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.


If Coolstuff has a game for $50 and Minature Market has it on clearance for $20, is Coolstuff price gouging?

I've seen situations like that, and CSI continued to keep the item on their website at the higher price. Where is this idea that a seller has to match the lowest price coming from?

And why is it the responsibility of anyone else to "remedy" the situation?

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No worries, I know that particular dig was not directed at Charles, and of course there are no hard feelings.

Some people just aren't fluent in any language other than snark. Now if only that guy whose name starts with a D and ends with ante could learn to tone it down himself considerably. whistle

 
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Quote:
If Coolstuff has a game for $50 and Minature Market has it on clearance for $20, is Coolstuff price gouging?

I've seen situations like that, and CSI continued to keep the item on their website at the higher price. Where is this idea that a seller has to match the lowest price coming from?


No, the sellers don't HAVE to match. But isn't this why there is a Hot Deals section here? For users to tell other users about the cheaper price?
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Shawna
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Thunkd wrote:
shawnad2006 wrote:
Got it. It's never okay. In the rare case someone is obviously price gouging, screw any idiots that bid.


If Coolstuff has a game for $50 and Minature Market has it on clearance for $20, is Coolstuff price gouging?

I've seen situations like that, and CSI continued to keep the item on their website at the higher price. Where is this idea that a seller has to match the lowest price coming from?

And why is it the responsibility of anyone else to "remedy" the situation?



Bryan- thanks for bringing the proper definition of "price gouging" to everyone's attention. I shall amend my statement (made out of frustration) to this,

"Got it. It's never okay. Even in the rare case where you suspect someone is setting prices above what they are worth in the hopes of deceiving naive and lazy bidders who don't care enough to do their research."

Also- not saying it is anyone's "responsibility" to comment. I was just asking if it was really that morally wrong if they felt like doing so.

BUT- I feel like we can lay this topic to rest. Enough people have weighed in and the obvious is consensus is to never call out anyone's prices. And not to beat a dead horse- but I'm completely fine with that consensus and understand it. Thanks everyone.
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blackhawk77 wrote:

No, the sellers don't HAVE to match. But isn't this why there is a Hot Deals section here? For users to tell other users about the cheaper price?


Indeed, and that is exactly where debating on price is perfectly appropriate… as opposed to an individually run geeklist auction where it's not.
 
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I personally find it bad form, as a lot of these auctions aren't necessarily meant to profit unlike a retailer. For those that do gouge shame on them, but most of us do our due diligence on MSRP, amazon/csi/etc prices, and marketplace trends before buying or selling.

That said I've seen the potential of people mentioning other auction prices or being nitpicky over a few dollars (even I've had the urge, since I look at lists so often) opposed to obvious gouging, but to me it just somewhat rude to mention. Unfortunately if you allow one, both have the possibility of occurring...and I feel sorry for auctioneers that get stuck in that situation.

I'd take the high road of "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say it". Likely move on and look at different auctions and let folks do their thing - there's no moral imperative to cause a ruckus; Also I'm sure admins appreciate any qualms handled via geekmail opposed to in the middle of threads/auctions
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shawnad2006 wrote:
BUT- I feel like we can lay this topic to rest…And not to beat a dead horse


What is this laying a topic to rest you speak of? This is BGG. Surely you jest.

Ohhhh that's right you probably haven't received your Dark Initiation Rites yet where you learn that BoardGameGeek.com is actually short for TheBoredAndBeatingADeadHorseGameGeek.com laugh
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