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Fair Play in Purchasing BIONICLE Merchandise

fair play bionicle sets collectibles market

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Illuminatus

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 11:32 AM

How do you guys feel about buying BIONICLE and other LEGO-related merchandise from casual or former fans if they have no idea how much the merchandise is currently worth on the market?


Last year I saw a huge lot of BIONICLE sets and pieces for sale on a local trading website and I specifically contacted the seller to ask if he'd agree to sell me just three mask for about 20% of his asking price. At first, he was reluctant but as soon as I insisted, he agreed.


Now, most people would assume that what I did was fair (as I did at the time), but here's the thing: his asking price for the entire lot wasn't much to begin with; it was 100 BGN, which amounts to about 60 USD. On top of that, the masks I got were a chrome Hau, a misprint green Matatu and a trans-yellow Kaukau. I subsequently kept the Hau, sold the Matatu for slightly more money and traded the Kaukau for a Toa Inika Promo CD, which was the only copy I had ever seen in my life.


So I don't consider that I cheated the person as I barely got any money out of the purchase directly, and chances are the he wouldn't have even bothered to put any of the pieces up for individual sale; he just wanted to get rid of the lot for a quick buck. But I did still deliberately withhold information from him regarding the current market for these pieces and in all honesty, I would never do that again with a clear conscience.


I see a lot of people on Facebook tend to brag when they make purchases like that and I can't help but a feel a bit... disappointed. If the seller is aware of how much they can get for an item but sell it to you cheap anyway, that's perfectly fine. But if they don't have a clue and ask you how much you'd give, and then you casually offer $20 for a sealed Toa Lhikan set, that is cheating, IMHO.


I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.

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#2 Offline squidmaster

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 12:06 PM

I think that bragging about it is quite sad but if they dont know the value that is kind of their fault they need to do their homework 

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#3 Offline CommanderKumo

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 12:28 PM

I would barely have a collection if I hadn't managed to get key things for much cheaper than they should have been, I have only payed the prices the seller asked in the listing, so it's not really bad, it's the price they want.


I believe it is less bragging and more celebrating, they just want to educate others on the wonder of what you can achieve

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#4 Offline xccj

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 12:36 PM

I don't know, if they don't want to put any effort researching how much they can sell something for, I would say that's on them. I wouldn't necessarily gloat about outsmarting them, but I'm not going to do the work for them either outside of just suggesting that the value may be more than that. (I'd probably do it after I strike the deal; it's really hard to build a collection on a budget.)

On the other hand... might be worth questioning them a bit, just to make sure they didn't acquire the pieces in an unsavory way and are just trying to make a quick sale...


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#5 Offline Pohaturon

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 06:01 PM

If you want to sell something you ought to know its worth. If you find someone selling something for notably less than others, it just means they either spent no time researching or know what it's worth but want to off-load it quick. In both cases, it's fair game. 


Actively deceiving someone into thinking a valuable thing isn't worth much and getting them to sell it to you for much less as a result, however, is dancing on the edge of being something to be frowned upon, but there is something to be said about teaching the gullible through their own mistakes. That said, I'd never do this. 



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#6 Offline Zarkan: Master of Storms

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 06:27 PM

Frankly, if you have made the jump to selling items on the internet, I feel the impetus is on you to actually use your newfound tool to the fullest extent. I realize many people still don't, but at the same time you also can't assume that they're always ignorant of value just because they've priced an item lower than average. I've been doing some buying and selling on a transformers forum recently, and I've found that the best deals come from people who are trying to unload items as quickly as possible due to some personal emergency - not from people who don't have a clue how much a used Generations Deluxe Blurr is worth. (it can be worth anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars, depending on how quickly you want people to bite)

Edited by Zarkan: Master of Storms, Sep 01 2017 - 06:29 PM.

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#7 Offline Illuminatus

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Posted Sep 01 2017 - 07:12 PM

Fair points raised. It does seem like it ought to be the seller's responsibility to do their own research. Yet it still feels a bit that consciously keeping them in the dark is morally ambiguous.


Obviously you want to strike a good deal when you're on a budget. Is it right for you to do that, though? Wouldn't it be more fair if everyone got the most they could for any item at all times and no one withheld any relevant information?

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#8 Offline Voxumo

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Posted Sep 02 2017 - 02:55 AM

I don't normally post to this section of the forums, but this is an interesting topic, I do have to agree with Squidmaster that people who brag about the "Deals" they find is wrong, particularly those who make it a point to point out how foolish the seller was. I mean talking about a great deal you got isn't wrong, but it's when it crosses that fine line that it becomes wrong.


As for a seller selling an item for way less than it's worth, I've also got agree with Zarkan. It's not the buyer's responsibility to inform the seller of the actual worth of their items. If the seller has already gone through the process of setting it up so that they can sell, it's their own fault for not doing further research. The buyer shouldn't feel any guilt over the price they paid, whether it was substantially less than it should be, or substantially more than it should be. The seller makes the choice to determine their price, and the buyer simply chooses to spend their hard earned cash. 



I don't think assigning right or wrong to it can be done easily. Humans tend to take the route that is easier, less resource consuming yet just as efficient. Why overcomplicate a simple process? The same can be said for purchases. It's why we have so many huge chain stores constantly competing for people's money. Why spend more when you can spend less? 


Sure it would be fair if everyone got the highest value for an item they could, but that would also create an economic disaster. Prices need to fluctuate to keep things in check. Though that also raises the question of what determines the price an item should be? Is it based solely on production costs? Supply and demand? Sentimental value? All of these and more are factors in deciding how much an item is worth, yet most of these factors can be subjective. I doubt it costs LEGO $20 to make a single 75113 Rey set, yet that is the price they set, based on statistics and other fun filled bits.


I mean by your logic, price gougers are in the right, people who sell the Ekimu set for $60+, or people on ebay who sell random bits and pieces of bionicles thrown together haphazardly for upwards of $80 even though logically such parts shouldn't sell for more than $20. 


It's just a very difficult topic to determine if it's right or wrong. Ultimately I think it comes down to seller responsibility.

Edited by Vox, Sep 02 2017 - 03:23 AM.

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#9 Offline Illuminatus

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Posted Sep 02 2017 - 06:24 AM

Very good perspective, Vox. I'll go ahead and agree.

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#10 Offline _Kocytean_

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Posted Sep 02 2017 - 07:04 PM

I don't deal with Bionicles much these days, but I buy and sell frequently, so my answer comes from an equally valid perspective. It depends on who the seller is as to how willing I am to underpay for an item - I will fleece professional traders all day long, many of them deserve it, but obviously never a single mother, etc.


In answer to the OP, I think it's fair enough. It's a win-win: the seller has an item and wants the money more; the buyer has money and wants the item more. It's not like the seller is being forced to sell an item for less than they want to; where they have priced the item at and agreed on a sale is a price where both parties are happy..


If I want an item personally I think it's more fair to pay low, but less so for something that I'm intending to profit on, unless it's from a professional trader, in which case they had their chance. Perhaps that's illogical because the gain in personal wealth is the same either way, regardless of if one keeps or sells the item, but it's a natural sentiment that I expect most people would agree with me on.


As a side note, depending on the situation, sellers knowingly underprice items for all kinds of different reasons. Sometimes they want space, or money quickly. Others don't need the money at-all and just want to pass the items on to a new home. Sometimes they take a liking to the buyer and offer an item cheaply because they want someone who will appreciate it to enjoy it. I've seen all these things happen. It's not always about the money.


The issue is extremely multi-faceted from a moral point of view. As I keep saying, fair exchange of money isn't the only issue. What about preserving valuable items for maximum human utility? If a seller doesn't know the value of something, they are unlikely to respect it either. Often the good done by rescuing an item matches the evil of undercutting the seller on its value.

I agree that boasting about your bargains on Facebook is pretty low. I think if you've gotten a good deal you should be grateful for your luck, not arrogant about it. I don't think it's bad to enjoy getting a good deal though. It's all part of the fun. 



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#11 Offline Steampunk Tahu

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Posted Oct 01 2017 - 09:51 PM

I think if you find a good deal go for it. But if you can actively contact the seller at least notify then of worth.
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#12 Offline Ta-metru_defender

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Posted Oct 12 2017 - 11:56 PM

Eh, I feel like "let the buyer beware" goes both ways here. I wouldn't think twice about snagging a Chrome Hau for a couple bucks.

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