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  1. #1

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    Several years ago I lent a guitar of mine for awhile to a friend and told him if he could sell it for $X to go ahead and sell it for me. He did and gave me the $X. A few years later I found out that he sold it for $X+Y. Part of me feels like he should have given me $X+Y, but part of me says, hey, he gave me what I asked for.

    How would you feel?

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  3. #2

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    (I probably need to stop all my posting on ethics, but here goes....)

    If you are like me, you kind of know how your friends behave so his actions probably did not surprise you, and you probably won't hold it against him since you do know the cat well, and all his warts, right?

    So if the above were true, I would go on with life happy about getting the dollar amount I had first proposed.

    Now on the other hand, if you were kind enough to loan me a guitar, and I sold it, I could not turn around and keep the excess above what I sold it for. I would let you know everything.

    So that being said, it was a learning experience about this individual and you know how they operate. I say move on, be happy and take joy in the fact that you know this person's priorities, which apparently when it comes to money, do not involve full disclosure - even with a friend like you that did them a favor.

    One last thought is that the guy might have run into a desperate situation and acted out of character. Desperation can do this, and then a person can be so guilty after the fact that they keep it a secret.

    (I have seen it many times so I am careful when I deal with folks who live their life on the edge. Should they slip, they tend to grab ahold of anything or anyone they can get their hands on, and there can be collateral damage.)

  4. #3

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    If it were me I'd consider it a fair deal: I got what I asked and friend got a finders fee.

  5. #4

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    If Y were a significant amount, I'd have to insist that my friend buy me a beer sometime.
    Jay

    'boobadoobadoobaooababop!'

  6. #5

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    Doing business with a friend is not often a good thing.

    That being said, jckoto is right: it's no different than having some other guy/store sell it on consignment -- you got what you wanted, he got a seller's fee.

  7. #6

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    This begs the saying, "Truly, we don't all think the same."

    So for most, its no big deal, since you apparently gave a firm number.


    Interesting.

  8. #7

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    I think if your friend was really a friend . . . it wouldn't have taken you a few years to find out he sold it for X+Y. As a friend, he owed you a conversation . . . "Hey man . . I sold your guitar. You wanted X. But, I got X+Y. How do you want to handle that?"

    Ask yourself . . if the situation was reversed and you sold your friend's guitar for X+Y . . instead of just the "X" he indicated he wanted . . . what would YOU have done???

    Look man .. . you already know the answer to your question. Your friend is a snake.

    My suggestion . . . Don't leave your "friend" alone with your significant other.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  9. #8

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    You were willing to accept $X. You told him to sell it for $X. You got $X. So, I guess it is fair.

    On the other hand, you lent him the guitar to use for free. So, he owes you as many beers as you can drink <= $Y/2.

    If he uncovers more value in your guitar than you thought possible the delta is his fee for his expertise and enterprise.

    If I were in his shoes, I would tell you about it and split $Y/2 and give you 1/2 of the extra uncovered value or all of it if you insisted. If I were in your shoes, I would say, Keep the difference. That's your enterprise and I should update myself on what my guitar is truly worth next time.

  10. #9

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    Sadly, most people don't have near as many friends as they think they have. This guy was someone that you knew, but not a friend. I have a grand total of three friends in this world, and I would happily go hungry and coatless before I tried to make a buck off of them.

  11. #10

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    For me, honesty is not about who should have gotten what amount, plenty of valid different acceptable outcomes have been mentioned above. It's about full discloser from the start. According to the OP, it took years before he found out the truth, therefore I think that he was betrayed. In my book, there is no real friendship without trust. Maybe the other guy is a good man, but if he is, he certainly made a bad decision and he was not a friend that day.

    EDIT TO ADD: if I worked in a music store and my boss wanted to sell a guitar for $950, would it be stealing from the store if I sold it for $1,000 and put $50 in my pockets without telling anyone? Could I decide that it is a bonus I deserve for my good work?
    Last edited by Eddie Lang; 03-09-2014 at 02:21 PM.
    Richard

  12. #11

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    You sell it to your friend for $X. Your friend keeps it for awhile and then sells it on for $X+$Y. Does he now owe you the $Y or are they his to keep?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Lang View Post
    ...

    EDIT TO ADD: if I worked in a music store and my boss wanted to sell a guitar for $950, would it be stealing from the store if I sold it for $1,000 and put $50 in my pockets without telling anyone? Could I decide that it is a bonus I deserve for my good work?
    It is called Commission.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Bad HTML

  14. #13

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    Seems really close to stealing to me.

    I've got a couple of "friends" that I ask myself, why is this person a friend? The reason is I have history of being a friend with them going all the way back to when I was a child. It's stupid of me to consider them friends because they've done stuff like the what has been described in jasaco's post.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  15. #14

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    I don't expect friends to work for me for free. If he had fetched exactly the $X I asked for I would have paid him a commission for his effort.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 02:56 PM.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    You sell it to your friend for $X. Your friend keeps it for awhile and then sells it on for $X+$Y. Does he now owe you the $Y or are they his to keep?
    The thing is, the OP did not sell it to his "friend", he lent it to him and then he told him the go ahead if he could sell it for a certain amount. If he said to his friend to keep any excess amount, it's another story.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    It is called Commission.
    A commission is something that's agreed upon. Same with a finder's fee. Nothing like hiding the bumped final price and secretly keeping any amount above an originally stated price. Maybe you meant it tongue in cheek, it's hard to tell. If it's the case, just disregard this reply.
    Richard

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Lang View Post
    The thing is, the OP did not sell it to his "friend", he lent it to him and then he told him the go ahead if he could sell it for a certain amount. If he said to his friend to keep any excess amount, it's another story.




    A commission is something that's agreed upon. Same with a finder's fee. Nothing like hiding the bumped final price and secretly keeping any amount above an originally stated price. Maybe you meant it tongue in cheek, it's hard to tell. If it's the case, just disregard this reply.
    He is NOT a music store either.

    And isn't it conceivable that by asking his friend to sell it it does not preclude his friend from buying it? So, his friend buys it and resells it. How much time needs to elapse before it is considered acceptable? I don't see any difference.

    It is not like he asked for $X and his friend gave him $X-$Y when he sold it for $X.

    If his friend is more clever about it do you think that he ought to benefit from his friend's cleverness? Aren't you then stealing his effort from him? Aren't you then expecting a friend to work for you for free? I would call that taking advantage of a friend's time.

    It is called trade and being a middleman.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 03:09 PM.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    I don't expect friends to work for me for free. If he had fetched exactly the $X I asked for I would have paid him a commission for his effort.

    You invite a friend to come over for a drink at your place. You ask him to stop at the liquor store on his way to get a bottle of [whatever drink you guys drink]. You tell him that it's $30 and you'll pay him when he arrives at your home. At the liquor store, what a nice surprise, they have that bottle on sale at 50%! Great! So your friend pays the $15, then proceeds to your place where you give him $30 to make up for the bottle. He just takes it and doesn't tell you about the sale. After all, he doesn't work for free and he's not your errand boy...
    Richard

  19. #18

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    Straw man, Eddie. I don't see a parallel with this situation. You gotta explain it to me.

  20. #19

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    Does anyone enjoy selling something? If I told someone they could borrow something and are free to sell if for $X, then as long as I get $X I don't care. They did me a favour.

    I can see why your friend didn't mention it. He probably didn't want to make things awkward. He goes through some trouble to sell it for you, then suppose he tells you he got $400 more than you were willing to take. In his mind something like a 50/50 split could be fair, but let's suppose you feel he should only get 25 and you 75. Then things would have become awkward. His way, you got what you asked for in terms of price and you guys didn't have to make it awkward. Of course, they're awkward now, but I say let bygones be bygones.

    You should have told him up front that if he sells it for over $x then the split should be a/b if your expectation was to get anything above $x.

  21. #20

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    Jab, you'll see if you go back to my initial comment (reply #10 - read the first two sentences). To summarize, my point was simply this: honesty is not about who gets what amount, it's about disclosure. YMMV.
    Richard

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Lang View Post
    Jab, you'll see if you go back to my initial comment (reply #10 - read the first two sentences). To summarize, my point was simply this: honesty is not about who gets what amount, it's about disclosure. YMMV.
    Disclosure tantamount to honesty? How much disclosure do you want? Do you want him to disclose the amount of effort he went through? Do you want him to disclose the time he took, the ads he made (and paid to place), the prospects he had to deal with, the negotiations he went through? Do you want to know all those details? Or do you think that buyers appear at the wave of a wand? After knowing all those details and knowing how much time and money and stress it incurred, would you be willing to pay him because you do not want to deal with the time and effort and cost of selling it yourself? After all, he disclosed everything. If not, aren't you being parsimonious and dishonest now or would you be better off not knowing? Time and Effort is money and I as a friend cannot take my friend's time and effort as having no monetary value.

    YMMV.

    PS Disclosure is a grand concept that I know I cannot adhere to completely so I will let you know that by such a constraint that I am incapable of it than to lie about it. There is no requirement on me to disclose everything except what you need to know. In this case, all the OP needs to know is that he got the price he asked for. Between friends, some things are better left unsaid.

    Edit: Eddie, it sounds combative but it is not. Hard to convey tone in writing. I'm not that good a writer.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 05:25 PM.

  23. #22

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    Coolvinny. +1.

  24. #23

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    Back to the liquor example, as long as he doesn't give me some short-dated crap or moonshine repackaged in a bottle or contraband that falls off a turnip truck, as long as he gets it from a legitimate liquor store for 50% off, the money is his to keep because he saved me a trip to the store. And I won't ask because friends who trust each other won't ask questions. And if we don't trust each other we won't be friends anyway.

    But I will tell my friend without him asking because I want to just to let him know that I am a better bargain hunter than he and that I saved him some money.

    But I won't ever ask my friend. Not even for the sales receipt. And he doesn't have to disclose anything.

    YMMV.

    Edit: So, what if I find out years later that he bought the bottle for 50% off and charged me what I had wanted to pay for it? Well, I would say that he always had a nose for bargains that I didn't have...
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 04:10 PM.

  25. #24

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    Sorry, man. I gotta go on. My only caveat to this is the proverbial old lady who inherits a 1939 Super 400 Natural and would like to sell it for, oh, I don't know, $400? Because that was what Abner paid for it in 1939 and I have the store receipt for it.

    In the case of someone who clearly does not know what she's got I have to let her know that I will find the best price I can for her in good conscience plus an agreed upon commission, if any. You know, karma and all that.

  26. #25

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    Jab, I am all in favor of someone making a profit or being rewarded for either their effort or better selling skills. Shoot! I wish I had better selling skills and I am ready to allow someone to make a profit off something of mine they are selling for me because I know they're good at it and they save me the trouble.

    The "friend" may have earned the surplus amount, but that's not my point.

    All I'm saying is that if they had not discussed this eventuality before, the second guy should have gone to the OP and said: here, I sold the guitar you wanted X for, and I got X+Y. What do we do about Y? He could have added: I believe I should keep Y (whole or portion) because so and so, or whatever. And if anyone of them thinks that the outcome is unfair, they can discuss it further and find a solution. All in the open, nobody sneaking.

    I don't suppose that the OP implied that any surplus over X would be for his friend as a commission, because if he did, we probably wouldn't have this conversation…

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    I don't expect friends to work for me for free. If he had fetched exactly the $X I asked for I would have paid him a commission for his effort.
    Exactly! You would have paid him what would have been deserved. But it would have meant that you knew about it in the first place and that you were part of the process.


    This being said, I posted my opinion because the OP asked "how would you feel about this?" Now that I've said it, I'll add that I agree with those who suggested that it is now water under the bridge. Stay friends with the guy or don't. Whatever. Move on and file under "experience".

    Cheers!
    Richard

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Edit: Eddie, it sounds combative but it is not.
    Not at all, Jab. We were/are not fighting. We only expressed opinions about certain details from different perspectives. It was not even a disagreement.
    Richard

  28. #27

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    It's all good, Eddie. What I mean to say is that sometimes one sees only the $ part of it and not consider that there might be more to it than meets the eye.

    I am not trying to get the last word in but I must say that the OP did not pay his friend a commission; his friend never asked for one. The OP was ostensibly happy with getting $X that he expected until he found out that his friend got $X+$Y.

    What I am suggesting is to just consider $Y as the commission that you would have to pay a friend for his help and didn't in this case. So, the OP's friend actually made him money by getting the commission out of the buyer, not the OP. As coolvinny says, talking about money causes awkwardness between friends because one doesn't know how the other party is going to react.

    Discretion is the better part of disclosure. And of friendship.

    Edit: How about this? Consider $Y the commission the buyer paid the agent (the OP's friend) for finding the guitar. Now it is between him and the buyer and does not involve the OP at all. Do you feel that he has to disclose what transpired between them to the OP too? That is certainly a private matter now.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 03-09-2014 at 05:21 PM.

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Edit: How about this? Consider $Y the commission the buyer paid the agent (the OP's friend) for finding the guitar. Now it is between him and the buyer and does not involve the OP at all. Do you feel that he has to disclose what transpired between them to the OP too? That is certainly a private matter now.
    Oh, that's an interesting spin...

    OP

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    Oh, that's an interesting spin...

    OP
    Not meant to be personal. Please don't take it that way. Really meant to imply a person who might find himself in the OP's position but it is tiring to write all that out....

    On related note, I have a friend who owns an apartment in a city that he is not resident in. He asked for $X rent and the realtor found a tenant paying $X+$Y rent but paid my friend $X rent, keeping $Y for himself. In this case we were livid because realtors are supposed to act in the best interest of their clients. And my friend paid him a commission too.

  31. #30

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    I guess we each have to define what a friend is and what ethics are for ourselves, and don't assume that personal values are universal.

  32. #31

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    Like I said earlier, we don't all think the same...

  33. #32

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    Giving you X but keeping the balance: Fair.

    Concealing that fact from you: Cunty. Sneaky.


    I once sold a car to a friend (my girlfriend’s co-worker, male yoga instructor) whose car died and he was in dire straights, unable to get to work. I gave him an amazing deal on a car that I could have easily sold for much more since he was broke. He immediately sold it, bought something for about what he bought my car for and pocketed the extra cash. Technically, it was his car and he could do what he pleased with it. But he also took advantage of my kindness and I never helped him again.

    Friends don't treat each 'by the letter of the law' the way strangers do. Friendship means more than that. It's very possible to do something that's both "not wrong" but also bullshit.

  34. #33

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    If I wanted the friend to keep y and give me x then I would have told him so before hand.

    What he did was total bullshit and you may have considered him a friend before hand but he's no friend.

    A couple hundred dollars (assuming that's about the amount of "Y"), that's not the issue. I'd give that to a friend in need. This is not about the money. By pulling a stunt like that he's demonstrated that he simple is not a friend, not by my definition. Friends are generous and do things for each other, and they're honest with each other.

    That's my view.
    Last edited by fep; 03-09-2014 at 10:17 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  35. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    If I wanted the friend to keep y and give me x then I would have told him so before hand.
    There was no "Y" beforehand. Nobody knew about Y in advance... and I did tell him I wanted him to give me X (if he sold it).

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasaco View Post
    There was no "Y" beforehand. Nobody knew about Y in advance... and I did tell him I wanted him to give me X (if he sold it).
    Obviously there was no y before hand. But once there was, something happened that had not been talked about.

    If he's a friend he should have given you x + y. Then you may have given him y back if you wanted to.

    Friends look out for each other. This person is not a friend.

    You asked me how I feel.
    Last edited by fep; 03-09-2014 at 11:59 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)