Is this the norm?

I've been trading on Audiogon for 2 years and have had great experiences as both a buyer and a seller. Then I posted an ad for a learning remote control. I received two email within 20 minutes both buyers commiting to buy the unit on the spot. I emailed the first respondent and said the unit was his. I heard nothing back so a few days later I emailed him again. Nothing. After a week and a half I emailed him again expressing confusion because he had seemed to really want the item. I finally heard back from him saying he thought it was a different model, the model # was clearly in the title of my ad, and he didn't want it. Fair enough. I contacted the second potential buyer, explained the deal had fallen through, and offered the item. The buyer quickly said yes, I agreed to pay shipping and he said he'd have payment in the mail by Monday. I waited until the following Monday and emailed him inquiring about the payment. He responded by saying he had forgotten all about it, thanked me for reminding him, and said because of all of the other transactions he had conducted over the past week he couldn't buy the item now. This is the frist time something like this has happened to me once, let alone twice for the same item. So I must ask, is this normal and have all of my other pleasant, professional transactions been abberations?
Jond-Maybe what happened stinks, but at least you didn't loose money or an item just a potential could be much worse. Sometimes flakey people find their way in here, but they usually don't stay long :)
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I'll second Tim's comment. They probably live on e:Bay & thought they'd buy your item & make a fast buck there. Then they got cold feet. I've had the same thing happen to me as a buyer there.... I won an auction for a Rowland remote. The seller simply ignored 4 e:mails I sent. e:Bay was absolutely no help. I rarely surf there now.

Hi Jond; To answer your question, no your recent experience is not the norm for Audiogon IMO. I've had around 30 transactions and not a bad one in the bunch-- knock wood. As Tim noted, you didn't actually have a completed transaction, so your loss(es) were only your time and patience, ie a couple of low-octane types came out of the woodwork and jerked you around. Consider your many positive experiences more the "norm". But I too have had to deal with these kinds of experiences occasionally, and it is discouraging. But please maintain your own sense of integrity and trust.

I do not consider a transaction complete until both money and merchandise exchange is complete, both parties are satisfied, and feedback has been left. Good Luck with future deals, and Cheers. Craig
.........Jond (to add), I just looked up your feedback-- it's excellent, and you're the kind of person we would all like to do business with. You have a record to be proud of, so don't let a couple of low-lifes discourage you. Cheers Again. Craig.
I agree with Craig, Daniel, Tim, etc. They were probably hoping to "flip" the item at a profit on ebay and when they got no buyers, they bailed. So far, I have been very satisfied with all of my transactions here.
I have no idea why you got screwed! Seems like bad luck. I'm rarely jerked around here or on Ebay, but it has happend on both. Sounds like you're lucky it's for a modest amount of $.

I've been rudely reminded in business recently that there are a ton of lying sacks... . I'm really having a tought time telling the good guys from the bad guys without those white and black hats anymore.

You know... if we can just bring them back. Yup. That's it. Bring back the hats!

Bill E.
Thanks for all the support guys. My outlook stays positive, it was just a bit disconcerting to have this happen twice on one item after dealing with so many cool people. But as you have said there is no actual loss, I'll just consider it a learning experience.
I see this problem with BOTH buyers AND sellers on audiogon. Maybe I'm used to different trading systems in other online communties. Too often I see buyers calling "first dibs" but never follow through. But the converse is also true (and one I find more objectionable). Often I'll see a seller promise an item to someone who calls "first dibs" but then sells to another buyer to "sent the money first." IMHO, the shi-at just "ain't right." It is this lack of a "basic level of decency" that disturbs me about A'gon.

Yes sometimes buyers back out. They shouldn't, but sometimes they riffle out a "I call first dibs" before they should commit to an item. I personally try to not commit to an item I know I don't have the funds for, but sometimes I don't quite balance my checkbook correctly, and I don't have the money i thought I did. In that case the seller should move onto the next person who has "dibs."

A little explanation of how I think the "dibs" system should work (in my mind). A sellers advertizes the item with single email address. Prospective buyers in turn email the selling either with questions, calling "dibs," or with "dibs" pending the outcome of some question (pending item's condition, for example). The seller, should (IMO), grant dibs to whatever buyer emailed him "first" (look at email time stamp) and called "dibs." Most honorable sellers will do this at most internet communities (I say "communities", and NOT "classifieds" there is a slight difference). Any subsequent "dibs" emails that are received are stacked in order according to the time stamp.

The seller then should email all the parties involved, first telling the first buyer that he is in line for the item. The buyer and seller should agree on a "time period" for which the dib is considered "good." usually 1-3 days is the norm. I will often state this in my ads. Also at this point the seller should email the send an email to the other parties to let the buyers know "they are not being ignored." how are they to know the difference between no reply from seller, or the item is pending a sale? An email from the seller to all interested parties is in order. The seller emails everyone and lets them know that , for example 3 people have "dibs" ahead of you. if those buyers drop out in X days, the item is yours.

First buyer drops out? Email buyer two (ranked from email timestamps). Let him know the other guy dropped out and offer the product to him. Maybe buyer two bought something else in the mean time (since he knew someone was ahead of him), ok offer it to buyer three, and so forth. Make sure everyone knows what a "reasonable response time" is. Some users think email should be answered in three hours. this is not always reasonable. Sometimes even 1 or more days is needed between replies, depending on that person's situation. not everyone who doesn't answer email every night has "dropped off of the face of the earth." be reasonable. but also be fair. It works both ways.

There needs to be balance. If sellers expect buyer to stick to their word, buyers need to expect that sellers will stick to THEIR word, and not simply sell the item "who ever sends the cash first" or even worse "someone who offers more money." Neither of which I find very fair, but IT IS a free market, so I understand why it happens. So I think both buyers and sellers need to be fair. you can't have one without the other, IMHO.

Think about it. If "calling dibs" on an item is meaningless anymore, why not just call dibs on EVERYTHING? It's not like the sellers are using a dibs system, like IMO, they should. No seller whats to give up the priviledge of selling how he pleases. No wonder the buyers are as flaky as they sometimes are! There's no good reason not to be. It's not so much cause and effect. It's more symbiotic...

//steps down from soapbox...
Thanks for starting the thread - I was about to do something similar but from the buyers perspective.

I've contacted 4 different sellers over the last week to purchase their items at the posted asking price. Seller #1 - no response for 6 days and then item disappears from Audiogon. Seller #2 - No response after 4 days and item now shows as sold. Seller #3 - No response after 4 days and item now shows as sold. Seller #4 - responds on day 5 and we completed the transaction. (He had a death in the family and was out of touch which is perfectly acceptable due to the circumstances.)

My understanding is that audiogon's policy is to respond within 24 hours. If the item is sold, then send a quick reply stating such or that a sale is pending.

Perhaps it is a reflection of our times compounded by the anonymous nature of the internet. I guess social grace, civility and maners are more the exception than the rule. Unfortunately, those most needing to hear these comments are those least likely to be reading the forums anyway.
Rgodin, I could not agree with you more. A little common courtsey does not require much effort, yet it can certainly go a long way.
Most sellers are very forthcoming and honest, and will keep you 'in the loop', a minority will let your query hang.

From a buyer's point of view, I have also had e-mails not returned. A couple of times lately, no response for 2-3 e-mails over 2-3 days, only to give up. Then see the item sold sometime later. If seller does not respond in a timely manner negative feedback should be allowed.
Time for me to come clean;Yup,I emailed saying I would buy the item.Then found the firmware was 3 generations back. I did email back that same day.I apologised,told him I got the latest version.

Not that this is an excuse: I had exchanged 3 emails with a buyer.We ironed things out. He was to send a mo. It never came; I never asked why not;he never explained.

I just figure the item ain't sold till you got cash at Paypal / or a MO in your hand.

Everybody has their own reasons for whatever actions they choose.

I like to think anything I sell is going to be enjoyed just as much as I enjoyed it.( Similar to how you feel when you have to unload the puppys.
I actually wouldn't want to stuff a sale down somebody's throat.---- I almost had somebody do that to me. I emailed back telling said dealer, he reminded me of the car salesman that wouldn't let you out of the place till you signed by the X--.------ Seems I was right on this. Two days latter the same dealer/ the same wire went for 200 bucks less-at acution-I was buying 2 so that would have been 400. --It's tough at times;so we have to roll with it. So, my apologies to anyone I have offended.

Buying an selling is a contact sport;dress accordingly.