Thursday, April 21, 2005

Frustration with the Buy and Sell

It's Thursday afternoon, I just got home from a funeral, and The following message from the Buy and Sell Paper appeared on my answering machine. (I muted the volume for the name of the employee to protect her identity)
this is an audio post - click to play
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Buy and Sell, the publication is owned by the Trader Company. The same company that owns the flashy Autotrader, Bike trader etc. The buy and Sell is a Free Ad publication, that for years has been offering people ads free of charge to sell their stuff. Businesses have to pay for advertisements. In the past businesses have been identified by their phone number.

I've had some crap cluttering my basement for a while now. So I've been faxing in ads to the buy and sell for several months. My ads have not changed, aside from Dollar value and this week an addition of a portable television.

Initially I noticed that my ad for the computer system with built in satellite receiver wasn't printing. I couldn't figure out why. Perhaps I missed a deadline? Ah well.. I'd keep faxing it in.

Weeks later... Roughly four weeks ago, the buy and sell called me saying that my satellite equipment ad may no longer run for free because they think I'm making money off them by running a free ad and selling large quantities. My reply was simply, "No, I've been relisting the same ad because I've had no calls." They politely told me that because of the problems with people making a private business out of "illegal" satellite sales, I may no longer run my ad. Okay I can accept that.

The following week I got a call that my computer ad was rejected as it offered an upgrading service, hence considered a business. My ad read that I wanted $250 for a PC for an extra $100 I'd add extra memory, better video card, and a DVB card (That's the satellite card that caused me grief in the satellite heading. But only a geek knows what a DVB card does.) I explained that I wasn't offing an upgrade, but rather that the PC was beefed up, and I know that the demand would be limited so I wanted to offer both configurations. I was asked to re-word the ad and fax it in and it would be ok.

One week later, the ad I reworded was scheduled to run. I got a call from the Buy and Sell. They told me that their computer indicated that I told them I buy and Sell computers as a part time business? Pardon me? Umm.. I told them the exact opposite. I can be fired due to conflict of interest for such things.. Duhh.. So after 20 minutes on the phone they agreed to let the ad run so long it isn't changed.

Last week, no problems! Sold a motorcycle part from one of my ads.

Today I get the message you hear above. My first reaction was Great! What ad will you heckle me about next?

I'm now waiting for the Manager at the Buy and Sell to call me back to explain their policy to me. Apparently 6 parts for a motorcycle is the maximum per annum. Because otherwise I'm "running a business or have a basement full of stuff." STOP..

Exactly. I have a basement full of crap. I'm trying to clean up this crap, by listing ads. People may not need these parts today, but perhaps in 5 weeks when something breaks on them. So that's why I'm renewing my ads.

I renewed my account today (before the call from the Buy and Sell) and I will be listing my stuff there.

I'm fed up with the Buy and Sell. Completely pissed. As the editor of a Newsletter, I know where revenue comes from Distribution and Printing costs are easily made up by advertising (and the Buy and sell has may company ads). Furthermore they charge $4.00 for the printed mag. So why charge me $7 for an ad for a $20.00 part I have been listing for free for a long time without luck of selling. Regardless of if my item sold last week, isn't my content contributing to the size of the magazine which increases the value to the buyer of the printed mag? Doesn't this mean that continuing to run my ad is in their best interest?

I don't get it. I'm just frustrated..... Grrrrrr


Drumsticks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Drumsticks said...

That's very unfortunate for you. It's a shame that the Buy and Sell must take such precautionary measures to protect itself from companies that are undermining a type of honor system. Preventing companies from exploiting their free advertisement means more frustration on legitimate customers like you.

The worst of it all is when the time comes that the Buy and Sell, and companies in similar situations needing to protect themselves, become cold-hearted to anyone appearing to do wrong, due to their bitterness from the entire dilemma, rather than working with their customers.