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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Is a fair exchange no robbery if one side is getting hosed?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21989 points ) April 10th, 2011

A college kid has a 1968 Chevelle SS Super Sport but it is pretty rough. The kid got it as a project figuring on making a really cool retro ride. But there was more wrong with it than he thought and his college cost had gone up so he thought to cash out of the car. It is said he was going to place it on Craigslist for $2,100. An elderly man in the neighborhood having dreams of nostalgia hears the kid is going to sell but not the price. When he lets the kid know his intentions the kid says he will sell it to him for $8,000. They say fair trade is no robbery if the old man wants it that bad I guess the price would be worth it. Would you say the kid is trying to hose the old guy because he figured he could get no better than 2k and change off CL but because he knows the old man has money but far from wealthy, and loves the car he can squeeze him for more money. Do you think it is ethical? Would

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12 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

A “fair exchange” is when both parties are happy with their deal. If they are both happy, that is all that counts. There are no ethics involved in a “fair” financial transaction.

It is only unethical if there is fraud involved, such as the car has undisclosed mechanical issues, or such.

josie's avatar

Kid can ask his price, old man can take it or refuse it. See @YARNLADY . Unless there is fraud or misrepresentation, it’s fair if they both agree.

Cruiser's avatar

Fair market value is what a buyer is able and willing to pay for something. No fraud involved.

marinelife's avatar

Caveat Emptor. The old man should have done his research.

WasCy's avatar

If the kid represents the vehicle as being in materially better condition than he knows it to be, then he’s being unethical. That would be fraud. (Perhaps he was defrauded himself in his own purchase, which doesn’t excuse his passing that on.)

If the man is honestly informed of all of the things that the kid knows, then there’s no fraud. (This is a sliding scale. If the kid presents a “reasonable amount” of what he knows, taking into account their different levels of expertise – if the kid knows “a lot more” about mechanical systems than the old man and has a fair assessment of “cost to complete” the vehicle, then he has an ethical responsibility to divulge more. If the old man knows more about mechanics than the kid, then he can just stand back without a word and let the old man make his own judgment).

Seelix's avatar

If I was selling something, I’d ask a price that was higher than what I thought I’d get. That way, the “best offer” might end up being not so bad. There’s nothing wrong with asking more than you think you’ll get.

Unless the kid lied about the condition of the car, there’s nothing unfair about it.

No one’s forcing the man to pay. If he’s willing to spend, that’s his prerogative and the kid is completely justified in taking the money.

john65pennington's avatar

If you first offered to sell your car for $2,1000 dollars, then sell it to the older man for that price.

Remember, you have to live with yourself and it’s not nice to fool an AARP member.

WasCy's avatar

No, @john65pennington, if the honestly represented car is worth more to the older buyer, then there’s no shame in offering it to him for whatever he thinks is fair. That’s the whole idea behind arbitrage (and most capitalism) in fact: you buy where things are lower priced, and deliver them to where they have more perceived value.

My only caveat is that he not lie about the car’s condition or hide a hidden defect that he knows about.

YARNLADY's avatar

I just remembered when I insisted a sale be rescinded. My 12 year old son was helping me sell off our belongings, and he agreed to let a five piece brass collection go for $35, when each item was worth that or more. Sonny saw a price tag of $35, and thought it was the whole box. I insisted the buyer pay the full price, or return the items. I was just lucky to catch the mistake. The collector did pay the full price of $35×5 because he knew it was a steal.

At the same sale, one couple returned an area rug they bought because my cat peed on it. Of course I gave them money back.

Seelix's avatar

@YARNLADY – That’s a completely understandable circumstance, and not “robbery” in any way. Your son misunderstood, the buyer may have guessed that it was a mistake but paid what he was asked for, and then agreed to pay more for each item. You’re lucky he was willing to pay that much!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If a person was to sell said item for one price, and publicly said what that price was but then upon hearing somone wanted said item but had or was believed to have way more money than the customer base he thought and jacks the price up because of the belief this person could pay it, is that not a bit deseptive especially if he didn’t say “well, 2 days ago it was X amound of money”?

Would a furniture store get away with that selling a dinette set for one price but then when they see someone they think is rich upping the price if all there was seen was a barcode tag and not an actual price letting the person know the intended cost?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Price is negotiable in both directions. Sometimes people bid on an item they want and the price goes up every minute. If you ever fly on a plane, you would be amazed at the different prices the people in adjoining seats pay, sometimes hundreds of dollars apart. A price is simply an agreement between the seller and the buyer.

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