The day finally came! I am putting the finishing touches on my online store, and I finally got an order from another dealer trying to buy me out of some cards that were, admittedly, priced aggressively to sell. I am leaving out specific details to debate the morality of this issue, as I don't want to focus on the details of the transaction at hand.
The cards are almost all Tier 1 tournament staples, priced to sell below market price. Their current selling price reflects an acceptable margin given the circumstances, but some may be below market price. This is not the issue at hand. Under normal circumstances, I would honor this order in a heartbeat.
These are not normal circumstances. The buyer is another dealer, which in and of itself, is fine. I have no issue selling many copies of a card (double digits and beyond) to another retailer, but I am not willing to be disrespected by a lack of reciprocity. The buyer is a dealer who has cancelled an order of mine, a very similar order. This is compounded by the fact that this seller has cancelled many of my readers' orders, something I know because they write to me and say so.
I am keeping this seller's name and all transaction details private until I decide what I want to do about this. While my duty to my store is to maintain profitability (which this transaction would allow), my duty to my readers is transparency. I'm hardly going to talk about this subject and then simply not address it when i am faced with a topical dilemma.
Here is the barebones fact sheet:
1) This dealer has placed an order with my online store. I have accepted payment automatically, as my site is not currently set for manual order approval. This constitutes a binding legal contract as my non-lawyer brain understands it.
2) This dealer has accepted my money for an order and later failed to honor the entire order. I ordered 12+ of a card, received 4. Many of my readers report similar issues. This is to say, when he was placed in this precise situation, his choice was to reduce my quantities and refund my money, without my permission, and had planned to ship the adjusted order until I had to call and cancel it myself.
3) The order placed by this dealer is similar in nature to the orders that he has cancelled in the past, and by my honoring this sale, I de facto permit other dealers to buy me out, without receiving reciprocity. This is not an arrangement I am willing to make. Some things are worth more to me than money, and respect is one of them.
I have some options here, and I'd like to bring this discussion into the public to use as a case study for the issue of cancelling orders. I'm listing a poll below to see what the community thinks. I'd like to know two things; what should I do, and why.
In the event I choose to honor this order, I plan to make this seller's name public and solicit all past customers who have had a similar order cancelled to come out with their stories as well. This has not been an isolated incident and I feel that if I honor the sale, I should at least use this opportunity to raise public awareness about shady business practices in our industry. The amount of the transaction is small enough that the financials of it are of no concern to me; my bottom line will not change in a noticeable way no matter what decision I arrive upon. Thus, my only concern and motivation is based in ethics.
Vote and comment, and I'll update you all with my choice shortly.
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