The poachers on Reverb are getting bad

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by whoismarykelly, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. El Rey

    El Rey Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2018
    Denton, TX
    I'm the odd-ball odd one out here.

    I've sold gear for prices to make a sale happen quicker. I see the buyer relist it for a much higher price.

    I say great for them if they get their asking price. The current market determines what they get. To me, it seems truly that simple.

    My loss, their gain. No one forced me to sell low.

    I don't see the problem.

    Call me stupid......what am I missing?
  2. Jay K

    Jay K Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Bellevue, WA
    Well, let's take the example of a pawn shop, the ultimate flippers. Desperate people take low prices from them, and then the pawn shop sells the merchandise for more, often much more. I'm not denying their right to do this, but I would not aspire to be in the pawn shop business. It seems unsavory to me, even though they arguably are providing value to those who cash in their gear to the pawn shop, and then to those who buy from them.

    Guitar flippers are not necessarily preying on desperate people who as a result of their desperation are selling at less than market price (although I'm sure sometimes they are) but I don't feel I am out of bounds to feel uneasy about them. To be sure "feeling uneasy" is not the same as strongly condemning them, just a statement of discomfort.

    But, in any case you and I will just have to agree to disagree as I still do not understand how presenting a guitar better, reaching a wider market, and pricing a guitar better, adds value to the guitar itself (or in your words: "we're talking about commanding a higher price based on the merits of the thing for sale). If a flipper buys a guitar one day, and puts it up for sale the next, as a general rule I just don't see the merits of the guitar having changed as a result.
  3. hank57

    hank57 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2006
    There is no poaching, it's only supply and demand
    ford, derekd and larry1096 like this.
  4. nowhere

    nowhere Member

    Nov 17, 2018
    You're not missing anything - to you, your time is worth more than the money you may have received if you had asked a higher price and waited longer to sell. I've done the same. I just sold a Marshall JTM1-C locally on CL for far less than the average asking price on Reverb because when I previously listed it (at about $200 less than that Reverb average) it just didn't sell. Maybe if I had been willing to wait for months and months I could have got that extra cash out of it but I just didn't feel like waiting and wasting time with all the inquiries that lead nowhere.
    derekd likes this.
  5. beltjones

    beltjones Member

    Aug 28, 2019
    This is one of those areas where it's easy to call yourself stupid when in reality you're right.

    Price is one of the biggest indicators of value. It's not the only one, but it's a big one. I once bought an amazing Peavey "patent applied for" wolfgang. It was in great shape, played great, and I bought it locally for a steal. I just wanted to fl
    Cool man. Agree to disagree.

    What are your thoughts on this, just out of curiosity: Guy sells a les paul with aftermarket pickups and an aftermarket bridge on reverb. The ad mentions the original pickups and bridge are in the case. Because the guitar has been modded, even though the pickups and bridge have value, the price is less than an unmodded one. For some reason, this is how guitars seem to work in terms of price on the second hand market. Let's say it sells for $1800. So a flipper buys the guitar, puts the original pickups and bridge back on, and sells it the next day for $1900. He also sells the aftermarket pickups and bridge separately for another $300. Did he add value in this instance?
  6. quilsaw

    quilsaw Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Olympic Peninsula
    This activity has the following social and economic benefits:

    1. It provides quicker sales time for those sellers who need the money now (for what ever reason). In exchange, the buyer takes more risk and is likely to have a longer time period in which his/her money is tied up and at risk. In any efficient market, this (risk and time) has a value.

    2. We only learn about the "value" of items (or services) through speculation. A price that generates a quick sale is probably low, while one that garners zero offers is probably high. Marketing time is one crucial bit of information that the market uses to help establish value, i.e. what produces a marketing time that is thought to be reasonable.

    3. Speculation is always the riskiest slice of the market, and (statistically speaking) is likely to produce either strike-outs or home-runs in more-or-less equal proportions, depending on how efficiently pricing information flows. Even this behavior, which might seem crazy (or even greedy) to the average participant, provides highly important information for everybody else, outlining in big neon, the outer boundaries of "value".

    4. In a slow or down market, those who are optimistically willing to bet on a future recovery provide really valuable liquidity while the majority of pessimists are hiding under the bed. And, brother, let me tell you, a market with zero buyers is a frightful thing to behold. Such speculation is surely worth something, providing - as it does - a floor to what can easily turn into panic selling.
    Boundcustom and astralpen like this.
  7. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2002
    Mid Atlantic USA
    I have no problem with capitalism. If someone gives me a story and I agree to a good price and then see it flipped, I think that buyer was a jerk off, and it makes me less likely to believe future buyers’ stories.

    But generally I sell for a price I can accept. In doing so I’ve discovered a couple of jag offs but I don’t lose sleep over it. :YinYang
    derekd likes this.
  8. derekd

    derekd Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    I am consistently amazed at the emotions others express over sales that have nothing to do with them.

    Why should we care when someone buys a guitar low and then tries to sell to make extra $?

    [ poh-ching ]

    the illegal practice of trespassing on another's property to hunt or steal game without the landowner's permission.
    any encroachment on another's property, rights, ideas, or the like.
  9. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2013
    North Carolina

    CME doesn't own Reverb anymore. That said - are you being forced to buy things? If not who cares....
    ford, larry1096 and derekd like this.
  10. Whitecat

    Whitecat Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    I sold two guitars to (two different) people who turned out to be flippers/speculators, both on eBay, over the past 9 months or so. Both ended up on Reverb days/hours after I shipped and are still languishing there at much higher prices despite being discounted in multiple 15% off sales as well as just “naturally” as well. Starting to think that the prices I got for them may well have been the going rate... but it’s their capital to invest!
    derekd likes this.
  11. samdjr74

    samdjr74 Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    New Jersey
    I recently sold a guitar on reverb. The buyer beat me a little bit but I walked away on the upside of the deal so that worked out. I knew he was a dealer and within a day of getting the guitar he listed it for $1000 more then he paid for it. I don't think he's going to get that but more power to him if he does. I don't have time to list something and sit on it for months until it sells. Mostly because I have limited space and sometimes I need the money for another purchase. If he can sit on it for a while, good for him.
    xzacx likes this.
  12. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2006
  13. Presc

    Presc Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    It’s all about time. I just sold a guitar last week. I initially listed it at the upper end of asking prices for comparable instruments, and didn’t get much action. I slowly lowered the price in increments until I found the level at which buyers seemed willing to engage. Based on this process, I think I found the market clearing level, but it took a couple months to happen. That was fine; I wasn’t in a rush...but not everyone has the luxury of time to make a sale.

    If you want to find something listed on the cheap, you need to be regularly on the lookout and ready to act fast.
  14. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    All of this, and it helps to be flexible on the small things; color, pickups, etc..
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
  15. ItJustRocks

    ItJustRocks Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    I've watched a lot of guys buy stuff and re-list it for a profit. What I won't don anymore is give guys a discount because they say they only have so much or whatever the plea is, then they just list it to profit - Not playing that game. What I think is pathetic about it is what a waste of time it is. I've watched people buy something. Then with their $300 tied up in a product they re-list for $400, it sits for a couple months, then they let it go for $340, have to ship, pay fees, etc., and spend time on communicating with potential buyers. Worth it? If that's how you spend your time, fine. But for me, its not worth my time at all and what that practice really does is hike prices all across the board for buyers.
    slowerhand likes this.
  16. Machew

    Machew Member

    Dec 30, 2018
    I think they sent me a video once on buying on Reverb and reselling on Reverb.
  17. madhermit

    madhermit Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    Toronto, Canada
    Weird amount of virtue signalling going on here over people buying and selling music equipment.
    WornFrets and derekd like this.
  18. mtngpeopleiseasy

    mtngpeopleiseasy Member

    Aug 28, 2012
    Lots of folks are mentioning the time spent with money tied up in these situations, and that's why I really have zero problem with it. I like selling fast, so I sell low and just look at the difference between purchase price and sale price as a rental fee for that particular item. If the person that buys my item makes some money on it, cool.

    I do think it's gross when someone who knows exactly what they're doing buys a '59 burst from a 90 year old widow for $100 (or whatever crazy example you want to think of) and sells it for $$$$$$, but that's not the situation we're talking about here. It's also gross when ticket scalpers use bots to buy up tickets that could've been affordable for a huge fan of a band and sells them for 5x as much. Still, that's not the same thing as an informed seller letting go of something for a price they're comfortable with to an informed buyer that's willing to sit on it to get the price they want.
    magnus02 likes this.
  19. Angus Page

    Angus Page Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2019
    Mclean Virginia
    For every unethical sale there is always an equally unethical buyer. All that needs to happen is for all us in reality land is to not pay exorbinant prices for anything. That one of kind pedal for $1500 - who needs that?
    And if you have that kind of money to spend - the inverse is true - why judge that?

    After all this time of scalped ticket prices I'm not convinced that the Bands themselves are not involved. But the other side of scalping is there are people with more money than sense.
    They pay these exorbitant prices to scalpers and the practice continues. My father was a frugal man and I've inherited the practice. I won't pay exorbitant prices for anything.
  20. Wucan

    Wucan Member

    Jun 28, 2019
    Why do stores and pawn shops offer pennies on the dollar for your guitar? Because they have something called liquidity - they can afford to sit on an unsold product for months or even years before the right buyer for the price comes along. While the guitar sits they have money tied up they could be using elsewhere. Therefore, they can only offer a certain amount that makes it worth their while to buy guitars at random.

    Flippers usually operate with similar motivations. You need cash right now, the flippers have it. They can then afford to wait for someone willing to pay more to come along. Other times someone is cleaning out a closet and they just want stuff gone ASAP. Nothing wrong with that.

    Where I set the moral bar is ripping off people who aren't in a position to know what they have (as the previous poster pointed out, the granny who doesn't know about her husband's Gibsons). People having to sell gear on short notice to pay off bills is a grey area. I saw some guy selling a modded Duo Sonic very cheaply for rent, then the flipper relisted it for several times the price. This happened because the guitar is niche, so even in a large city sometimes there just isn't anyone interested in a modded short scale offset in a given day no matter how cheap it's going for. So I'm not sure if I'd be comfortable giving someone like 25% of what the used selling price should be just because the seller is extremely desperate.

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