Written by 2:39 am News

The Audiogon Cables That Weren’t

Over the last year Steven Stone heard lots of second and third-hand tales about crashed deals on Audiogon. But here’s a first-hand story…

AR-gon1.tifWhen Audiogon changed its site nearly a year ago many longtime
users went ballistic. I, too, didn’t care much for the new format, but I
figured I’d give the site some time to settle down and then I’d see how it was
going. Well, I’m sorry to report that
Audiogon still has some problems that keep it from being as valuable
and vibrant a sales and purchase site as it could be.

My story is relatively simple, and the problems shouldn’t have
happened, but they did.

About a week ago I saw an ad for some Cardas Crosslink Bi-Wired
banana-terminated speaker cables for a reasonable price. I made an offer, the
offer was accepted, and I paid via PayPal. Then next step should have been a
box of speaker cables arriving in the mail, but instead I received an email
from PayPal several days later showing a refund from the seller.

I also received a letter from the seller that went like this, “I would like to apologize for the refund on
the Cardas Crosslink cables. I’m not sure where the blame lies, more with me,
or Audiogon’s overbearing process. On Friday, I received an order from
another member. I waited 3 days for a response of some kind through
Audiogon from the purchaser. I contacted Audiogon support and they issued
a credit for the Non-sale. I then paid another $4 dollars to re-list the
ad, which you responded to. I received notification through Audiogon of your
payment and the payment from the Friday sale, along with a number of
inquiries within minutes of each other. To be fair, I have accepted the first
payment from a couple of days ago and issued the refund back to you. In
seven years as an Audiogon member, I have never had such poor
communication. With the new system, you have to go through Audiogon. Only
at the end of the transaction do you get the person’s e-mail address.”

Obviously I would have preferred to have the speaker cables to
the refund, but for me the aggravation was relatively minor. But if this had
happened with the purchase of something harder to replace or find, such as a
clean pair or Stax SR-X III earspeakers I would be more than mildly aggravated,
I would be pissed. And I would think long and hard before trying to buy another
item from Audiogon.


I understand that the reason for not letting buyers and sellers
see each other’s email addresses is so they can’t do “side deals” that avoid
Audiogon’s sale commissions. But if this “added security” throws a monkey
wrench into transactions, more people like me will decide to do their equipment
purchases elsewhere. My last three vintage equipment purchases have been
through EBAY.

I see that Audiogon will be at “The Show” in Las Vegas during
CES. I’m going to make sure I visit them and see if they have any solutions to
their current lack of communication transparency. My own take is that
slimeballs will always be slimeballs, and no amount of special provisions will
change that. Making it more difficult for honest sellers in an effort to
prevent commissions cheating will cost Audiogon more in sales and growth than
they get back from their increased security. Bottom line, if you can’t trust
your customers, you’re in the wrong business…

(Visited 78 times, 1 visits today)