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Is it ok to negotiate and/or offer less than the listed price? What qualifies as a low ball offer?

jonbuilder

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Low ballers are scum who hope to prey on others misfortune and desperation. They have no scruples putting in insulting bids and they usually just quote you the price and a questionmark because they do this all day.
I used to sell a lot of watches internationally before the hobby got big back home, now I don't bother because of the insulting and annoying correspondance.

I'll ask you: Why would anybody who were not in a desperate situation agree to a price 20-30 percent of market value?
Because markets can and do fluctuate by 30%.
 

Superfluous

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When I buy here, I make up my mind first if I do want the jacket and if I want to buy from this particular seller. If so, I don´t haggle. I consider TFL a special band of brothers, and I would rather see both buyer and seller happy than even trying to get a "good deal" for myself.

Your honorable approach works well if the seller's listed price is consistent with fair market value ("FMV") and the actual amount that the seller hopes to receive from the sale. However, several people here have acknowledged that they increase their listing prices above FMV and/or what they hope to receive in order to allow room for the inevitable negotiation. This is a very common strategy. Therefore, if you simply agree to the posted price, you may be paying the buyer a premium over FMV and/or more than the seller hoped or expected to receive. That is certainly your prerogative.

The obvious part of the whole equation which has been touched on 100 times now but can’t be answered because it’s different for everyone is just what low ball means. If something is 500 and in general agreement it’s worth somewhere around that. Would 450 be low, 400, 300, 200...what does someone consider laughable, insulting, offensive, etc...that point will be different for everyone. . . . my definition of lowball will be different than yours. . . . Or what about in my example above of 500. I personally send an offer of 450 cause I think that’s what it’s worth to me and can’t see going above that. But to the seller they are convinced 500 is the lowest they can go. They may consider the offer low. But a third person comes along and thinks whoa this is a 400 dollar jacket tops and sends an offer. Now the seller and if I as the first attempted purchaser would say nope that’s wrong. Where do we draw a line for low? That’s not determinable. Different for all.

Exactly! What if the $500 listed price is $100 above FMV, as is often the case? How does that impact the determination of what constitutes a low-ball offer? What if there is a genuine disagreement regarding FMV? How does that impact the analysis?

How does intent factor into the equation? Some here assume that buyers making low offers are attempting to exploit or abuse sellers who have fallen on hard times. There are a lot of assumptions built into this perspective. What if the buyer genuinely believes that the listed price is well above FMV and genuinely believes that his offer is within the ballpark of FMV? What if there is a genuine disagreement between the buyer and the seller regarding FMV? Does the buyer’s intent / belief change the analysis?

Is it really immoral to offer well below FMV even if you firmly believe your offer is below FMV? The seller is free to reject or ignore the offer. In the absence of fraud or coercion, why is the mere presentation of a low offer immoral if the seller is free to decline?

Successful negotiations often begin with unreasonable starting numbers and thereafter migrate towards a middle ground that is acceptable to both parties. Just as sellers often start higher and leave room for the inevitable negotiations, buyers often do the same by starting low and leaving room for the inevitable negotiations. This is negotiating 101. Why is this immoral or offensive?

I recently got a jacket that I said I sent a low offer on. And it was accepted. Although to be clear in my mind it was a feeling out. I saw what the jacket was listed at and I sent way less and it was simply to see if the seller would be willing to move at all. I didn’t really want or need the jacket at all. It was a seller I didn’t know. Just seeing hey will they come down at all. And to my surprise and honestly to my shock the offer was accepted before I even got off my phone. Can I be blamed for that situation?

No blame whatsoever. You engaged in a traditional negotiating strategy and the buyer unexpectedly accepted your offer.

Some have said they don’t like haggling or playing the game at all.

Easy solution -- If you don’t want to negotiate or consider offers below your listed price, simply state as such in your listing. Its that easy. In the absence of an express disclaimer, you should expect to receive offers below your listed price, and some much lower offers. Negotiating the price of used products is entirely appropriate and to be expected.

Some have said if they think a price is fair they won’t offer anything less. Honorable but can’t be expected to apply to every member.

Exactly. As mentioned above, many here acknowledge pricing their jackets higher than FMV in order to leave room for negotiation. Nothing wrong with that.

I feel like different hagglers have different motivations. It could be for sport. It could be because they can't afford something. It could just be on principle. It could be because they want to buy something at a discounted price, flip it, and make some money. It could be because the item is overpriced to begin with.

I agree. Many different potential motives and even more potential outcomes, many of which are a win-win for all parties.

Because markets can and do fluctuate by 30%.

So true! Market fluctuations are yet another inherent variable that materially impacts the analysis.

Bottom line: There are way too many variables to reach broad conclusions regarding these issues. The exact same negotiating strategy is perceived by different people as: (1) necessary and inherent in the process of buying and selling used products; or (2) offensive and immoral.

“Let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy

“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow
 
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Few years ago, a listing for Aero leather trousers, listed at 500-something GBP popped up on eBay which, for a used pair, was way too much. I think it the new ones were 550 GBP at the time, something like that. Anyhow, I sent in an offer of 300 GBP believing it's a very fair amount of money to pay for these (and I still do), which the seller not only turned down but banned me altogether from buying the pants, claiming I am clearly not a serious buyer and called me a low-baller. I replied by copy/pasting them the link to Aero's website where you could clearly see the price of a brand new, custom made pair. The pants were sold some months after. In any case, this is just one example why I hate haggling. I was 100% right in this case and the seller was an idiot, truth be told but I still vividly remember their insulting message. Negotiating sucks ass. It's all about establishing dominance, trying to force something upon someone and I hate it.
 

jeo

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“During a negotiation, it would be wise not to take anything personally. If you leave personalities out of it, you will be able to see opportunities more objectively.” – Brian Koslow

To quote a less conventional yet just as authoritative source...

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Superfluous

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Few years ago, a listing for Aero leather trousers, listed at 500-something GBP popped up on eBay which, for a used pair, was way too much. I think it the new ones were 550 GBP at the time, something like that. Anyhow, I sent in an offer of 300 GBP believing it's a very fair amount of money to pay for these (and I still do), which the seller not only turned down but banned me altogether from buying the pants, claiming I am clearly not a serious buyer and called me a low-baller. I replied by copy/pasting them the link to Aero's website where you could clearly see the price of a brand new, custom made pair. The pants were sold some months after.

Your example perfectly illustrates the inherent variables in the process, including disagreements regarding value and fair pricing. You offered 40% less than the asking price. Some here would characterize that as a "low ball" offer. However, you strongly believed that the asking price was well above fair value and, therefore, not a "low ball" offer. The seller apparently disagreed. These types of disagreements are a natural part of the process. IMHO, your offer was entirely appropriate and the seller's disparaging response was inappropriate.

Interestingly, in your example the seller is the villain arguably seeking to exploit unknowing buyers. Is that immoral or offensive? Absolutely not. Just as buyers are allowed to submit offers below fair market value, sellers are equally entitled to ask far more than fair market value. It is all part of the same dance, each side trying to negotiate the best possible deal, and each side able to discontinue and walk away at any time. Absent fraud or coercion, there is nothing immoral or offensive about the foregoing.
 
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Sloan1874

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There is a difference between a low-ball price and somebody taking the mick, though. When I was selling my 80s Aero A-2, a guy said that he was a student, couldn't afford the asking price, which was seriously reasonable, but really loved the look of it, so would I accept £50 for it!
 

01flhr

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I usually prefer not to make lowball offers on something thats recently been listed for sale. On a fresh item its just not worth being insulting. Lowball, to me, is a recently listed item and trying to get it for less than 50% of asking. If its been for sale awhile, i might strike a conversation and tell them what im willing to pay, no offense intended, maybe show them why im basing my price where i am. No pressure. If i get someone who offers me something in the range of 1/3 my asking or they start getting pushy with their lowball i usually agree and send them a pin to meet up at the nearest comedy club or someplace else thats awkward like a strip club or something.
 

Bushman

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At the same time is it truly low balling to offer a price a quarter of the asking price, even though the asking price is 4x what you've paid for similar items in the past? I'm just uncertain here, because the price is clearly outrageous, but I feel like I'd be laughed at for even asking a reasonable price.
 

navetsea

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if you really want it, and it's hard to come by, totally your size, etc etc.
it's never hurt to try once, I guess
to me though the initial asking price give deeper impression, like woah OK good luck, and I move on, never crossed my mind I would try to bend this guy's price or try to make him understand the market try to make him believe god exist etc, I rather shop around elsewhere, liking quiet peaceful smooth experience above all and no items in the world worth more than maintaining a good mood throughout the day, like @Monitor said I too have a long memory about what others insulted me, I don't wear my heart on my wallet I don't get insulted by price offer, but I easily get insulted by racial comment or called names just because haggling price. My grandma didn't seem to mind to her extra two mangoes is extra two mangoes 20% more value to her money, to me I rather dump the whole 2 kilos and the 2 extra at the dumpster by the exit and never to eat mangoes for the next 6 months... totally different experience if let say you didn't haggle at all and the guy is happy and throw in an extra mango, I'll enjoy them a lot more.
 

tmitchell59

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I'll give my personal experience buying and selling here. Like many on this thread I have done many transactions here.. I have sold most jackets for the asking price with out negotiations. I have taken offers. I have never been low balled. I have never low balled. I have made offers. I have bought most jackets for the asking price. Never an issue that I am aware of.

I have sold many New jackets through the years and always did very well on them, typically sold as priced. Selling a high end is easier, the original maker has done all the sales and promotion. You just add to it. Most buyers of new know how to compare prices. Buyers are seldom if ever lacking knowledge. I bought and sold some beauties here, again never an issue. Made friends and no enemies.

Selling Vintage is a sales job. I've sold several recently for asking price. I use to think I was selling too cheap, then I understood I have just found the sweat spot. Some people just know what they want and know they may not see it again so they just buy it. I'm that way myself.

Low ballers are Tire Kickers of Old, nothing new there. They want an excuse for not buying something; "well, I didn't get that, he didn't take my offer" then storm away. I know folks that are professional "low ballers" they never get anything because it is always some one else fault, too expensive, wouldn't take my offer. They end up with nothing but stories of "the One that got Away". They enjoy their life and do have stories and some are friends.
 

tmitchell59

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I have often thought of a thread on buying and selling. I see many of these same faces in the classifieds, buying/selling/commenting. It is a big part of who we are here. The flow of jackets, is the life blood of this forum. Think about it.
 

ProteinNerd

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So you have a leather jacket for sale asking $600. Would you take $400? No? OK thanks and good luck! How bout $ 525? YES..OK ...money is on the way!! Is negotiating in this way really so intolerable? A yes or no so bothersome to speak through your lips? Really??


I don't think thats how a lot of these low ballers operate though.

I was selling a jacket (obviously) and was contacted by this person who said he was interested but had a few questions. Fine. He then proceeded to ask numerous questions (specifics about measurements, can I double check this, can I confirm that, would I be willing to pay via this method, could I declare a different value for customs etc etc over countless messages over about 2 weeks until finally he then offered me half of what I was asking in $AUD when it was listed in $US so it was closer to 40% of what I had initially asked and expected me to include free international shipping.

Apparently this is a fairly common tactic some low ballers use to beat down the seller and have them so fed up they just dump the item for next to nothing..... do you consider this ok?

If the guy was straight up and said, hey I'll offer you $AUD200 for your FQHH Aero including free shipping to the US but I have a few questions first, what do you say?...thats reasonable, but to waste a heap of my time for 2 weeks with constant questions and then offer that.....that was a deliberate ploy and not ok in my books.
 
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Beat down? I just would have told the person that I'd be happy to do what you ask...but remember 'my price for this item is THIS'. However I am never so desperate to sell any item. If you want it here's my price .....
 
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navetsea

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can't you just reply "everything is there on the thread friend, I have double check them all, there is nothing more to it :) I'm so and so tall and weight it fit me like the fit pic. " :)

one time locally I have someone contacted me through WA, he wanted the exact same jacket I have, I told him I'm not a jacket maker, I just a hobbyist but the jacket was my design and I order it here in my town and I can help him order if he so wanting it, just give my commission to do the work as I have to put in measurements, and shopping for leather, liner, etc. as well as monitoring the jacket in progress as if I order my own, right... or
second option he can order directly to these people who own the workshop they know me and my orders just tell them which one and give them your measurement and I'm not involved, up to him if he wants to get it cheaper, right, he is local can speak the language, however he insisted to order it through me, going back and forth for months, always asking more photos, leathers sample, I asked the workshop what leather they have, I showed leather samples I got from the leather supplier I bought from, I have his measurements put in the form very detailed, always saying deal, but by the end of the day never transfer me money to order, only to comeback a week later rinse and repeat, until I block his WA since I feel scammed like he wanted me to order his jacket without checking if he already paid me and end up with a jacket already made and he want me to renegotiate a price or something, of which it is not even a business for me just offering a helping hand... strange people around...
 
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Blackadder

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I don't think thats how a lot of these low ballers operate though.

I was selling a jacket (obviously) and was contacted by this person who said he was interested but had a few questions. Fine. He then proceeded to ask numerous questions (specifics about measurements, can I double check this, can I confirm that, would I be willing to pay via this method, could I declare a different value for customs etc etc over countless messages over about 2 weeks until finally he then offered me half of what I was asking in $AUD when it was listed in $US so it was closer to 40% of what I had initially asked and expected me to include free international shipping.

Apparently this is a fairly common tactic some low ballers use to beat down the seller and have them so fed up they just dump the item for next to nothing..... do you consider this ok?

If the guy was straight up and said, hey I'll offer you $AUD200 for your FQHH Aero including free shipping to the US but I have a few questions first, what do you say?...thats reasonable, but to waste a heap of my time for 2 weeks with constant questions and then offer that.....that was a deliberate ploy and not ok in my books.
There are tons of troublesome customers in the real world that shops have to deal with. If they refuse to deal with those, they would be out of business. It is more private sellers' mentality because they are not looking only at numbers or margins but also their "feelings". Feelings like time is wasted, I don't get paid for it, there is no base salary. Feelings of being treated like a hawker.
Since when does a buyer/consumer has to care about a seller's feelings, be it private or professional? Why do I have to commit myself to the purchase before getting all my questions answered. Even if buyer is very troublesome, does it make it a ploy? Loose that feeling and look simply at the numbers and you would not be as frustrated. It often gets personal because the items listed are your belongings and not just merchandise.
It is for this reason that I don't sell my stuff, rather I give them to my friends or charity. I can feel good about that. So money or feeling good. You can't expect to have both all the time.
 

ProteinNerd

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I disagree @Blackadder. If the guy said at the beginning I have a few questions first but would you take $200 for it, there wouldn't have been a problem. I would have just said no sorry, like I have a number of times before and thats that.

Instead he asked a question, I got back to him, he asked another, I got back to him again..and so on and so on for over 2 weeks and only then did he offer 40% of my asking price and still wanted free international shipping which would have been $110. Honestly if someone effectively offered you $90 for a 6 month old Aero after asking repeated questions over a 2 week period...thats taking the piss.

If that wouldn't annoy you off, you're a better man than me.

Anyway, the guy has since been banned from the forum so at least there is that.
 
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I disagree @Blackadder. If the guy said at the beginning I have a few questions first but would you take $200 for it, there wouldn't have been a problem. I would have just said no sorry, like I have a number of times before and thats that.

Instead he asked a question, I got back to him, he asked another, I got back to him again..and so on and so on for over 2 weeks and only then did he offer 40% of my asking price and still wanted free international shipping which would have been $110. Honestly if someone effectively offered you $90 for a 6 month old Aero after asking repeated questions over a 2 week period...thats taking the piss.

If that wouldn't annoy you off, you're a better man than me.

Anyway, the guy has since been banned from the forum so at least there is that.

I agree with you 100%.
If I plan on sending in what I myself consider a borderline low-ball offer, that's the first thing I'll do, ask the seller if they're okay with the price I'd be willing pay and if so, would they also be willing to answer a few questions about the item before I start wasting everyone's time.
 

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