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"OBO" Sales

Postby the elephant » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:59 am

Please do NOT use the term "OBO" in an ad unless you actually mean "OBO". We recently had a CraigsLister sued for this and he lost, as he should have. The term "OBO" in an advertisement has a legal definition in some places, and in those places you much honor such terms if they appear in written or electronic form.

If you do not know what this means then do not use the term. It is irritating to read this in an ad and know (based on the posts) that offers were made, only to see the horn up for sale again some time later. The man who was sued (and who lost) told me he had placed the ad, received offers he did not like and gave up, pulling the ad. A month later he was stupid enough to post it again, same ad, with "RE-LISTED" in the title. The person who sued him had a complete record of his interactions with this seller to include his offer and an acknowledgment of receipt of that offer. Then the seller emailed him back to claim he had sold the item. Then he re-listed the item and the guy took him to court. He got the item, the seller got what the fellow had initially offered him for it, less court fees and all that.

(This did not happen where I live. The seller is a guy I know who lives in another state. He was complaining to me about this. All I could do was laugh at him. He was stupid enough to list something for a price and then state that he would accept the best offer if his item had not sold for the price he wanted. THAT is what "OBO" means. It means you are selling your item regardless of your advertised price and it opens up a can of worms whereby you musk keep track of all offers, and the highest one gets your item regardless of how low that offer may have been UNLESS YOU STIPULATE A MINIMUM PRICE. And in *that* case you just sold it for that price, because no one is stupid enough to pay you $1,000 when you just stated that if you can't get a grand you will sell it to the best offer that is above $750. All you will get are offers for $750 (if any).

Please stop claiming you are selling a horn for $XXXXX OBO unless you ACTUALLY INTEND TO PASS IT TO THE PERSON WHO GIVES YOU THE HIGHEST OFFER REGARDLESS OF WHATEVER THAT IS.

Again, "OBO" means "or best offer" and is you offering to sell your horn for the best offer you are given BELOW your price. It is not an invitation to start a "bidding war" for your super fantastic horn. It is a DOWNWARD bidding system in most cases. It can mean both directions, but it generally invites LOW-BALLERS. Don't use the term in your ad unless you intend to honor this. As my friend found out, you can get into trouble if you place this in writing (even in electronic form) and then receive offers and you do not sell to the highest one.

I think TubeNet needs to restrict the use of this term since so many here seem to not understand it. Rather, if you want to entertain offers in a manner that does not bind you to the best one you receive, instead of "OBO" use the term "Offers entertained" or even just say that you are open to offers but that this is not a Best Offer sale. Be clear in your ad about what your terms and intentions are. Be honest. If you are desperate enough to place OBO in your ad some guy like me might offer you a buck and then hold you to it. Whether you or the person making the stupid-low offer win is not the point. They can make your life hell for awhile if they want because you used certain wording carelessly in your ad or you changed your mind after making a claim. If you are not serious about your item being a Best Offer sale then pull your ad and start over, edit the ad, whatever. But do it before you start receiving offers. You never know what the person making the insultingly low offer (or even a perfectly legitimate one) will do in response to your blowing them off once you have committed to the whole Best Offer thing.

Be safe.
Last edited by the elephant on Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Three Valves » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:05 pm

I love small claims!!
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby edsel585960 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:44 pm

"All offers considered" is a better way to state it.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby bort » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:41 pm

Thankfully, I do not plan to sell any oboes.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Carnival of Venice » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:56 pm

In a way... yes... I see where you are coming from. But if I were to fight the system...

" FS: Brand Name Tuba - $10,000 OBO"

In my eyes that means, the seller has the choice of selling it for $10,000 OR whatever the best offer is. No? He/she has the choice?
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby groth » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:28 pm

Carnival of Venice wrote:In a way... yes... I see where you are coming from. But if I were to fight the system...

" FS: Brand Name Tuba - $10,000 OBO"

In my eyes that means, the seller has the choice of selling it for $10,000 OR whatever the best offer is. No? He/she has the choice?

I understand it like that as well. It's the seller's option to sell at whatever he gets offered if it's acceptable. I don't see how anyone can sue from a Craigslist ad.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby SteveP » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:29 pm

OK I think I get it but still am confused. Here on TubeNet ads don't ever "expire", correct? I'll bet I could find ads from many years ago in the for sale section. If I offer an item for $1,000 or best offer don't I have an indefinite period of time to wait for an offer that I'm willing to accept? Provided that I don't sell the item to someone whose offer is lower than someone else's I'm good, right? For example three years from now I'm tired of looking at this item still sitting on my shelf. So, if I attempt to contact the person that made me the best offer I received (and that was 2 1/2 years ago) and work down from there this is OK, right? I understand how Craigslist is different because those ads expire in 45 days. The ads here (and elsewhere) have no expiration. So this means I have an unlimited amount of time to wait for just the right one, right?
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby TheGoyWonder » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:59 pm

This is fascism. All sales are to be voluntary between both parties. Even in a rigid system like Ebay, the seller can and should refuse to sell at the closing price if the consequence is less than getting "robbed" by low sale price. In a free-form system, anything should go until both parties agree. The buyer can not show up, the buyer can show up and offer less then negotiated, the buyer can agree to buy and then decline after seeing it. Sellers should have similar liberties.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby SteveP » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:19 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:This is fascism. All sales are to be voluntary between both parties.

Amen to this.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby KiltieTuba » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:54 pm

I'll reply to this for a best offer...
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Three Valves » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:41 pm

Three Valves wrote:I love small claims!!


But I love the TubeNet Trolls even more!! :tuba:
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby the elephant » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:13 pm

Carnival of Venice wrote:In a way... yes... I see where you are coming from. But if I were to fight the system...

" FS: Brand Name Tuba - $10,000 OBO"

In my eyes that means, the seller has the choice of selling it for $10,000 OR whatever the best offer is. No? He/she has the choice?


"Or Best Offer" implies the best offer will be taken. Period.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby the elephant » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:16 pm

Fascism? Oh, please...

If you read and comprehend English, the statement, "I will sell this for $XXXX or the best offer made," is a statement that can be taken to court if you make it and then fail to do what you say.

Fascism. You really need to read your World History. What a stupid statement. Do you even know what Fascism is?
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Ken Crawford » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:07 pm

I can't imagine how a classified ad could be considered legally binding. Just saying that you want to sell something shouldn't be legal grounds to compel you to do so. Weird.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby pwhitaker » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:30 pm

In the case of a classified ad, how would the plaintiff know that his/her bid was the "best" offer unless the defendant (stupidly) provided that information gratuitously and then refused to honor the sale. Judge Judy would probably rule in the plaintiff's favor under that scenario.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Tabor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:54 pm

There has to be more to this case that the seller isn't saying, probably in all the other communications.

I do not believe "or best offer" is typically a firm contract to take the highest of any offer with no period of consideration. "offer" is a well established legal term. "best" does not seem to be a legal term, and as it is qualitative term, I would argue differs from the quantitative "highest" in that "best" is a value judgement which specifically implies consideration by the seller, rather than plainly agreeing to be contractually bound to the highest amount. If none of the offers are the best one (meeting a certain threshold at the seller's judgement) none should need to be taken.

Ebay uses the words in exactly this way. "Or best offer" is used with secretly set "sell it now" and "reject" amounts, and explicitly gives the seller a period of consideration. This, I believe, is more consistent with normal use.

I would enjoy reading the legal reasoning on this case. I guess anything is possible. In Louisiana, the high court decided that someone saying, "I want a lawyer, dog" did not mean that he was asking for a lawyer, but a lawyer who is also a dog.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby Carnival of Venice » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:48 pm

the elephant wrote:If you read and comprehend English, the statement, "I will sell this for $XXXX or the best offer made," is a statement that can be taken to court if you make it and then fail to do what you say.


I dont agree with that, but to each his own...
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby bloke » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:47 pm

If you are between age 60 and 70, I will sell you my son's inheritance IF you will assume full responsibility for him until he (or you) expires.
I will offer this for $1 OBO.
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby royjohn » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:05 am

I really don't get this. I think the question, "What are you on about?" is appropriate here.

We all know what the colloquialism OBO means and we all know that any seller is entitled to withdraw something from a for sale offer at any time or to refuse even a full price offer. "I decided not to sell it." What some small claims court did in some jurisdiction does not make law for the whole country and probably the judgement is not collectable anyhow. Fulminating over a common practice won't make it stop and probably shouldn't.

A better argument against OBO is that it undermines your asking price and virtually invites folks to offer you less, sometimes much less. Most people know when and in what places bargaining is expected, so perhaps OBO is superfluous. If you want to put a price out there and put OBO next to it as a teaser to get people to contact you with an offer so that you can start a dialog, perhaps that's a good strategy. So don't see legislating a rule prohibiting something so harmless and universal as making much sense. If you feel strongly about OBO, don't use it and don't read any ads that say "OBO." My guess is that if you saw an Alex listed with OBO and you wanted one you'd OBO fast and ignore any strong feelings you have against using that phrase. Certainly you're not against saving money?
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Re: "OBO" Sales

Postby groth » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:20 am

Or ask higher than you want for it by a few hundred and let the market naturally settle in a workable price you'll accept. I know a lot of sellers doing that and outside of a private website (whatever is decided or not) the seller has every right to do whatever he wants since he holds the cards.
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