Sales Etiquette and Ethics
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  1. #1
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    Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    As a relative newcomer to the buying and selling of watches I thought it would be interesting to explore the do's and don'ts of buying, selling and trading. These would be things we should all think about to make the hobby more pleasant and safe. There are some obvious rules that I've extracted along the way, but I wonder if more experienced members have additional ideas. Here are my basics:

    (1) Always represent your watch as accurately as possible. Describe any flaws truthfully.
    (2) Take honest photos that try to depict any flaws. The more photos the better. Put photos in your ad, rather than linking to external sources like Photobucket.
    (3) No photoshopping or retouching of photos. No attempts to hide or disguise flaws in your watch.
    (3) Be realistic and fair in setting your price. Always state the limits of your willingness to bargain on price.
    (4) Reach clear agreement about shipping in advance.
    (5) Ship promptly
    (6) Keep a clear record of email, fax, or PM communication. Try to document the transaction fully.
    (7) Pay and ship using methods that offer as much protection as possible against scams and misdelivery.

    What am I missing in terms of common sense guidelines for smooth transactions?

    On a related point, I have a question. What do people consider to be accetable ways to clean up a watch for presentation for sale? Is it considered OK to polish the watch to enhance its photogenic qualities? How about trying to buff out scratches, for instance in the lug or crystal? Or to photograph it on a different strap than is being offered for sale? What are the most effective yet honest ways to photograph the watch, for instance highly composed "arty" shots (on the fencepost, in the snow) vs. more natural shots - on the wrist, on the desk, etc. Are there specific things considered unacceptable in how you present a watch for sale?

    This thread may go absolutely nowhere, but I found it interesting to ponder. Have at it, folks!

    Paul

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  2. #2
    Member Spit161's Avatar
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Regarding the watch condition/presentation:
    Just make sure it is presentable (no dust/dirt visible).
    With the scratches etc.. try and get a shot that highlights them, so as the buyer can see how big etc.. they are, and make sure in your right up you make the buyer aware of them.
    In my opinion, there should be a shot of the front/dial, case back, profile shot, and a shot with box and papers (if applicable).
    I don't care for "arty" shots, as I want to see the watch I am buying, but they are nice.

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  3. #3
    Member lotsofstufftogo's Avatar
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    No Western Union.
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  5. #4
    Member jstroh's Avatar
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Good questions all.

    Nothing wrong with cleaning up a watch or polishing it in preparation for sale, as long as the work isn't designed to hide flaws. After all, you'd wash your car before showing it, wouldn't you?

    It's frustrating when sellers have the watch for sale on a strap or bracelet that doesn't come with it. Only use those straps that are part of the sale.

    Not everyone is good with a camera so this is a tricky area. The most important thing is to take fresh photos of the watch, not recycle photos that may have been used on WRUW threads. And while I may show the watch in unusual settings on those threads, watches for sale should be photographed rather starkly, with no props and certainly no snow. [In the practice-what-you-preach department, I haven't always done this, but it's a good rule to follow.] Closeups are always appreciated, although not everyone has the right equipment to pull this off. No grainy or out-of-focus shots. At the very least, take the photos in a well-lit room, although a photo box is preferred. I, too, consider it a hassle to have to go to another site to view photos. And if an ad says photos e-mailed by request, I move on. If the photos exist, post them.

    I'm not sure I'm in agreement with the statement that one should "always state the limits of your willingness to bargain on price." I leave it at OBRO so as not to show too much of my hand. Then I simply play it by ear and see what unfolds.

    As a seller, I've been surprised at times to see the flaws that develop on even the most-babied cases. Take some macros and prepare for a jolt. Does one disclose everything that's there, even the flaws that aren't apparent to the naked eye? I have never bought a used watch that could pass the 3-times magnification test for slight defects. So these descriptions will always be subject to debate. The best rule is always: Disclose, disclose. At the same time, one must realize that the buyer is on the other side of the table looking for advantages or tells. The best transactions are those in which both sides are satisfied.
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Communication
    Please, please, please have good dialogue with your buyer. I am currently in mid-transaction with a seller who only checks his PMs once a day, early in the morning. His responses are "minimal" at best. It is becoming a real PITA. The watch was supposed to have shipped on Monday, but I don't have a tracking number yet. He said that it would be here today (it wasn't). I will most likely have to wait until tomorrow to get a response from him on a tracking number.

    The bottom line is that people get nervous about sending people they don't know money and then hoping they get a package in the mail that is what they purchased. As a seller, it is your job to make the buyer feel good about doing business with you. Be honest, disclose everything and answer the buyers questions promptly.
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    I agree that truthfulness and transparency is the way to go.

    I also agree with Joe about "always state the limits of your willingness to bargain on price." The price listed is what I am asking for, so if the buyer wants to bargain with me make an offer. However, it may not be accepted.
    I also think that the seller should take care of all fees and insured, delivery confirmed shipping. Until the watch is delivered, it is still the responsibility of the seller.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastward
    I agree that truthfulness and transparency is the way to go.

    I also agree with Joe about "always state the limits of your willingness to bargain on price." The price listed is what I am asking for, so if the buyer wants to bargain with me make an offer. However, it may not be accepted.
    I also think that the seller should take care of all fees and insured, delivery confirmed shipping. Until the watch is delivered, it is still the responsibility of the seller.
    To play devil's advocate here, If someone says $xxx "firm"', wouldn't you rather save everyone's time (and be showing some respect to the seller) if you just passed it by? To me OBRO says "let's negotiate", while "firm" says "please respect my limits". "no trades" means just that. And so forth.

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    Paul

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    Seiko Sumo "the Big Orange" - - Assorted Vostoks- - - Omega PO "The Grail"
    - -WUS Chinese Forum Design Project Gone but not forgotten: Anonimo Sailor Diver Tissot T-Touch - - Omega X-33 - - Bathys 100 Fathom
    Science Experiment: Pulsar Quartz Alarm (convinced me I will never have a career as a watchmaker)

  9. #8
    WnS
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Advice for sellers:

    1. If it's a used watch (whether it was worn once or 1000 times), don't reapply the plastic film and stickers to the watch. The buyer knows it's not brand new so what's the point? This also leaves disgusting adhesive residue behind.

    2. Even when the watch has been shipped, don't shut off and assume everythings done and well. Reply to buyer's queries and concerns during transit.
    Last edited by WnS; September 1st, 2011 at 11:11.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Usually, i'm open to offers. But if i mentioned my willingness to negotiate, people will disregard my prices. I also don't wish to say firm, lest i drive off reasonable offers.

    I would like if sellers mentioned if they're listing it to 'see what happens' or 'need cash'.

  11. #10
    Member brandon\'s Avatar
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    Re: Sales Etiquette and Ethics

    Don't get me wrong, this is a good thread and good discussion to have. But I think it's a bit fruitless. I don't believe that anyone that is going to pull-off a scam will read this and change their mind.

    ...

    With that said, I will throw in my opinion on some of the sentiments expressed here:

    -- It is unfair to expect a seller to expose how much they will negotiate. If someone is asking $500 for an item but stated they would take $400, for example, they would never get the $500 and the $400 would end-up being the starting point of the negotiations.

    -- Once again, it is unfair to expect a seller to maintain full responsibility of the item once it has been shipped. That is completely unreasonable. What is not unreasonable is expecting proof that the item is in transit.

    And I believe that all of the rules listed out in this thread apply to all transactions. But they should be followed more strictly as the price of the sale item increases. In other words, I don't think many, not all, but many buyers would have a problem taking a little risk with $50 and buying an item with poor pictures or description. But with $500, nearly all buyers would want as much information about the item for sale and as much communication as possible. And I think that expectation rises even more with a $5,000 item.
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