I recently purchased a used planer on a popular woodworking equipment auction site. The planer was clearly listed as 220v single phase power. As a part time cabinet maker, that is the world I live in. I also have a day job, as many other part time cabinet makers do. The day before picking up the new planer, I sold and loaded my old planer to make room for the new one. I went and picked up the equipment, unloaded it at my shop (this was a half day ordeal from my day job without pay and was a 100 plus mile drive each way).
Immediately after unloading it, to my horror, I discovered it was 3 phase power. I immediately contacted the auction company of their mistake and was told they would do something since it was their mistake, not mine. This was late on a Friday and was told to contact them on Monday morning which I did. Sometime over the weekend, they decided to change their tune. I was told to call the seller and see what they were going to do for me since they wrote the description. I told them my contract was with the auction company, not the seller, but the auction company was washing their hands of it. The auction agent contacted the seller and they agreed to get me a Static converter to run the planer. This option was unacceptable since it de-rates the motor by 1/3 and is designed for intermittent use only.
After some wrangling, the auction company said smugly (knowing I was stuck at this point) "return it for a full refund". I asked who was going to pay for the return since it was not my fault. They claimed it was my fault for removing it in the first place. Since I cannot afford to drive 200 miles and another half day from my day job, I am stuck with it. My defense was I had no reason to look at every detail of the machine since their site documented the power requirements. Does anyone have any thoughts? Was I wrong here? Does anyone have any ideas on possible recourse?
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor K:
They were wrong, you are right. Itís time for small claims court for the cost of the new single phase motor and getting it installed.
You assumed the machine would be plug and play Ė never, never, do that. When buying something you cannot see firsthand so you have no idea what youíre getting. You assumed you would have a problem free transaction as if you were buying a new machine. Even new machines come with problems - used machines from an auction! I'm not trying to pick on you, but I can't even imagine how you could sell your planer before receiving and getting running the new one?
I agree with the others - if the rest of the machine looks like it's in decent shape, get a new or used motor for it and take as much cash from them as their willing to offer instead of the convertor. I'm not saying the auction company isn't at fault either, but if you don't have the time to return it, youíre probably not going to have the time and money to chase after them in court! Even if you do I'd bet their contracts are pretty well written to protect them. My advice is to take this as a lesson learned, get the planer running, and make use of it and you'll be better prepared in the future!
The auctioneer ignored all of this. They projected sales close to 100K to the bank, and after not advertising the sale, and not distributing the info, the 12 buyers chipped in less than 30K! Molder tooling was piled with the ripsaw, sawblades were left behind - a real mess! I believe the auctioneer bought most of the good stuff for a song, and then went on to the private market to sell at a real profit.
When this was mentioned to the bank, they discarded it with a hand wave - nature of the business, they said. When asked, the auctioneer conceded that they could buy it all and resell at whatever price, and it was legal and proper. He would not tell me the details of my sale or answer why it was not even advertised. The auction world is a strange one, with different rules than most of us operate under.
They've offered you two options - one to supply you with a convertor, and second to provide you with a full refund. Just because they're not providing you with what you want it doesn't mean they haven't tried to make reparations. It's not their fault if you can't or don't want to take time to return it. So the question is - what do you want?
You removed it from the property, whether in person or by your agent, at which time you accepted the machine as it was. So although it stinks that it was not accurately described, you have to take some of the responsibility too. I buy a lot of items at auctions myself so I know where youíre coming from, but I have a different perspective I guess. I never trust descriptions, and I almost always call and talk to the owner if it's a machine that's going to cost a significant amount. Not the auction house, the owner, if and when possible. Sometimes they won't know about the machine either, but it's never hurt me to ask. I always hope for the best and expect the worst, (not running, major repairs, etc.).
I think you've been very lucky to be honest. I've seen items at auctions that were both live and online that guys paid way too much money for. Machines that had broken internal parts you can't see in any photo. Machines that looked ok in the photo's but were really nothing more than parts machines. Buying something without being able to inspect it is a gamble at best and generally speaking I won't spend more than I think I can get back for parts on a machine I can't inspect. If you have a shop full of stuff you've bought blindly and this is your fist hiccup then you've been very lucky!
So I'm not sure what youíre looking for in terms of resolution, but they have made two offers for reparations. You need to decide what youíre looking for and think about how realistic your expectations are. Although it's not what you want to hear you share in the responsibility so you can't realistically expect them to go out of their way to make you happy.