(Topic ID: 57643)

Being "fair" with a buyer that has an issue with machine you sold


By too-many-pins

6 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 74 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by AkumaZeto
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “What is "fair" as far as fixing issues on machines sold after 30 days”

    • I always try to take care of my customers regardless of how long it has been since I sold a machine. 6 votes
      5%
    • I do what I can for customers even though machines were sold "as is" 51 votes
      40%
    • I look at it on a case by case bases but normally "as-is" is just that and it isn't my problem. 54 votes
      43%
    • I sold as-is so it just isn't my problem! Once I have the cash I am done with it! 15 votes
      12%

    (126 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

    There are 74 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 6 years ago

    I am at a loss this year because we have had a run of bad luck with machines we have sold or traded this Spring & Summer and I am getting a little discouraged.

    We normally sell fully working machines at what I consider to be "fair" prices and always sell "as-is". But if someone buys a machine from us we do our best to help them with any issues that might develop.

    Anyway - over the past few months we have had several people end up having issues with machines we sold. I know we don't have any obligation since all machines were sold "as-is" but I was wondering what most of you would have done.

    First machine was a Jungle Lord (trade deal) - guy got it home and played it heavy (pretty much non stop) for a few days and all of a sudden power supply started acting up. Fuse area started getting very hot and finally failed. We sent him a replacement board N/C and had him send us back his old board. We found out fuse holder was the main issue. - I thought this was more than fair and so did the buyer.

    Second machine was a Firepower - and after being played fairly heavy for several weeks driver board developed issues. We intend to send the buyer a replacement board even though it has been several months since we sold the machine. - I am thinking just charge him a few dollars plus postage - fair?

    Last one was a Xenon - driver board failed after about a month and one of my friends (a pinball service guy) just went over and replaced the driver board (as a regular service call). Should we pay or offer to pay for part or all of the cost on something like this? It has been several weeks since we sold this machine.

    I want to be fair with my customers but I also do not do pinball machines as a business and sell them fairly cheap. (100% working & fully shopped and normally still cheaper than Boston Pinball average price).

    How far do I have to go on "as-is" machines to be fair with customers?

    We have never had a run of luck like this and hopefully now that we have had 3 with issues it is behind us but who knows! (As the old saying goes: everything happens in 3's)

    #2 6 years ago

    Pinball machines are like ever lasting gobstoppers. They should last forever with no issues. Especially machines that are like thirty years old.

    #3 6 years ago

    I guess it depends on what kind of expectations you set with the buyer. Do they think they are getting a game with bulletproofed boards or do they think they are getting a game with working boards. Maybe give them 30 days to decide if everything is fine. Or just tell them straight up once it leaves, you own it and any potential problems.

    I think if you advertise the game as working and you sell many games you should help people out for at least a short period of time, but set a timetable to it.

    #4 6 years ago

    Depending on what goes wrong, I would think about 30 days would be nice thing to do, to help them out. After that its there's.

    #5 6 years ago

    First of all, I think it's very cool of you to ask this question.

    I'd like to ask "Why is this even a problem in the pinball world?" -- we all know the answer. I propose the reason this is such a "grey area" for us -- is that Pinball is special kind of hobby, where the (newer) hobbyist often doesn't have the skills to do the (likely and upcoming) repairs, and unlike collecting old automobiles, there are rarely mechanics living nearby to help out. I think this puts this extra "unspoken" burden on the seller to be a "little extra" helpful, as if -- as if the seller "designed" this environment in which it's tough to get help, (and as if every seller is a qualified serviceman.) Thus, I think it's extremely important that the buyer and seller are clear about what the expectations are. As the seller, there is a range of expectations you can set.

    I have yet to sell my first machine. I can only speak as a buyer. I have bought from Pinside collectors, non-collectors on Craigslist, and a well-known flipper.

    I have different expectations about each seller, based on how the seller sets my expectations. I hope that professional Pinball Flippers price based on the service they DID and WILL OFFER on the machine going forward. Allow me to illustrate:

    The work you do on a pinball machine can impact three aspects of the game: playability, cosmetic, and components. In my opinion, the Pin-Flipper should charge more for more services offered, and less for fewer services offered. (I think the Pin-Flippers we dislike the most are the ones who price up the most, and offer the least.)

    Service Options: (and what the service impacts)
    A) (playability/cosmetic) Replace all plastics/rubbers/balls to new or like-new condition.
    B) (playability/cosmetic) Clean/Polish/Wax every component.
    C) (cosmetic) Paint touch up on every aspect of the machine to as much of a like-new condition as possible.
    D) (cosmetic) Install upgrades that improve look and feel (i.e. LED's that cost $150 for a set.)
    E) (component) Measure all electrical components one by one, and ensure that they are all in working order. Clean/Tweak/Replace any component that needs it in order to perform to specification.
    F) (component) Ongoing maintenance of the machine "if anything goes wrong" for 30 days. Perhaps a discount against future hourly maintenance past X days.

    FULL SERVICE: Big mark-up
    A,B,C,D,E,F.

    MEDIUM SERVICE: Medium mark-up
    Typically A, and sometimes B, and sometimes C, and sometimes D.

    NO SERVICE: Small mark-up (next day flip)
    -null-

    Those are my quick thoughts on services and markups. It's all about the services you offer, and the expectations you set. There is no "right way" to do this. Hopefully, your prices match services offered. Hopefully you clearly set expectations in writing up front.
    -mof

    #6 6 years ago

    Typically when we sell a machine we tell sellers we have done everything we can to be sure everything is working 100% when they pick them up. We warn them that these machines are like used cars and sometimes have issues develop but we do our best to make sure they are fixed as good as possible before we sell them. We fix any known board issues, replace any bad connectors and pins, re-flow pins on boards when we don't replace them, fully shop machines and play test every machine at least 100 times.

    Our issue has been electronic parts failures after machines have been played much harder than normal. New buyers that only have one or two machines tend to play the heck out of them over the first few weeks they own them. With 30 year old boards sometimes something fails - and that has been the issue with these 3 machines.

    It isn't like we missed an issue when we got machines fixed up and ready to be sold it has been more of an issue that machines were getting played much harder than normal for hours on end. The guy that had the fuse holder fail told me the Jungle Lord had been on and played for 14 or 15 hours the first day he bought it and about 10 or 12 hours the next couple days before it started having issues. (Even after the fact we re-pinned the connector on that power supply something else got us). When these machines were in arcades they were not being played any harder and that was over 30 years ago when machines had all new boards in them.

    I just am not sure what more we as sellers can do. Once you start replacing more parts you can't keep prices cheap and it is kind of a trade off between trying to keep machines as cheap as possible so more people can afford them and making them as bulletproof as possible.

    Up until about 3 months ago we have had very few issues with machines we have sold but then all of a sudden we have had several crap out on us with in a few weeks of us selling them. And every machine has had something odd fail. Just something that has been driving us crazy lately and I was wondering how others handled it.

    #7 6 years ago

    I think you need to better prepare your customers. If I sold any system 7 with original boards, I would make it crystal clear to the buyer that it will need service in the near future. If the customer wasn't technical at all (and never owned a game), I would discourage them from buying a 30 year old game. If they were somewhat technical, I would make the sale and give them plenty of resources to make repairs themselves. Links to the wiki, here, RGP, parts suppliers, things like that. You don't need to put it in writing, but you do need to know the technical ability of the potential buyer if you're selling games that old. Can they use a DMM? Can they solder? If not, tell them to buy something newer.

    Make sure that any noob customer completely understands that even a brand new pin can be high maintenance. Let alone a 30 year old game. Unless your markup is 2x, any 30 year old game should have a taillight warranty.

    #8 6 years ago

    I do warn all my customers that machine WILL have issues down the road and I show them what to typically look for if they are at all mechanically inclined. I also explain one of the main reasons pinball machines were replaced by arcade machines in the late 1970's and into the 1980's was most operators loved the fact that arcade machines are typically more reliable and don't need as many repairs.

    NONE of these customers asked me to do anything for them for free. I just feel better taking care of my customers. I just don't know at what point I am not being fair to myself?

    #9 6 years ago

    I think if no warranty is implied , then it shouldn't be expected. I certainly don't go back to someone I bought a machine from if I have issues , unless its a person or business that says it has a 30 day warranty ( or any timeline they say )

    #10 6 years ago

    It sounds like you're nice enough to basically provide the warranty anyway, so you might as well advertise it at the time of sale and charge an extra $50-100 per game.

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    NONE of these customers asked me to do anything for them for free.

    Did they call you first when the game went down? Before attempting any diagnosis or repair? If the answer to any of them is yes, I would suggest improving your final sale talk.

    Sounds like at least part of it is you being too kind. Perhaps a 30 day warranty, with the selling price adjusted accordingly, would work better for you (and your customers). You could also offer warranties (1 month, 6 month) at an added cost.

    #12 6 years ago

    I always tell buyers to feel free to call or email with any questions or issues and I help them any way I can. Up until these three machines it normally has been telling them to solder a wire back on a coil, reset a connector, make an adjustment, change this switch to reset from 3 to 5 ball - etc.

    But 3 machines in a row with board issues has me rethinking things a little. If would be different if we were getting big money for a machine. But selling $750 to $900 machines (fully working and shopped) it is really hard to be giving away boards or fixing boards for free a couple months after selling a machine.

    Hopefully our run of bad luck is behind us but I am just trying to plan ahead because I still have another couple dozen machines to fix and sell now that we have changed directions with the hobby.

    Originally I had thought about doing some type of arcade or pinball hall but our plans have changed so now I just want to keep our collection and sell everything else we do not have space for here at the house. It has been a great hobby for the past 4 years but beyond our own personal machines it is time to move on.

    #13 6 years ago

    Too many pins eh?

    #14 6 years ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    It has been a great hobby for the past 4 years but beyond our own personal machines it is time to move on.

    Not a problem at all. You don't even need to own a game to enjoy this hobby. All it takes is a quarter or two. You're still very much in the hobby.

    You don't list your location, but have you considered operating games? Operating older games is gonna be tough, but if you enjoy the tinkering, you might want to consider it. Location play is starting to pick up in many areas. It's the absolute best way you can contribute to the hobby. You won't get rich doing this either, but it pays off in other ways.

    #15 6 years ago

    We are in Central PA and after we were in the hobby about a year we quickly ran out of space here at the house. So for about a year after we were out of space we had thought seriously about doing a location somewhere to give people a place to pay and enjoy classic pinball machines. But after looking long and hard at the idea we decided it just wasn't in the cards for us right now.

    The problem then was what to do with almost 100 machines we had purchased with the idea of doing some type of an arcade. So about two years ago we decided to start selling some of those off as we fixed them up. We still have between 20 and 30 more machines than we have space for so I know we have about two dozen machines we still need to fix & sell.

    From day one we realized there really is no money in the pinball hobby. Regardless if you flip machines, open an arcade, restore machines, sell parts, or what ever else you can do pinball CAN'T be about money. There just isn't enough money in this hobby these days to make it into a business so if you are involved you have to be into it for the love of the hobby and we are. But right now family issues have me pulled in too many other directions to devote the time I would need to if I were to try to open an arcade or put machines on location. So now to do away with storage rent (that is killing me) some machines have to get sold.

    My point of this post is trying to figure out how "fair" is too fair when helping people with machines we have sold or will be selling. I like to keep everyone happy but we make very little on machines we sell so I can't keep giving boards & stuff away. I am trying to find a good balance between fair and being nuts!

    #16 6 years ago

    I repair tvs, family business for over 40 years running. We give 90 days on repairs or used tvs. If delivery is not paid for, warranty is in shop unless a service call is paid for. If they picked up the machine have it brought back for warranty repairs imo. At least charge shipping or have the part sent back to you for repair. Just my opinion from a service world!

    #17 6 years ago

    I'm fairly new to pinball, so I would probably be a good representation of who you are selling to. If I bought a 30 year old machine and it ended up with a fried board, I certainly wouldn't expect the person that I bought it from to buy me a new one. I would probably call them to see if they could troubleshoot, and I might have them order one for me. If I then wanted them to come over and replace it for me, I would expect to be billed for this. If you aren't telling them that you provide some sort of warranty, then any help you give is awesome, but they at least need to be buying their own parts. Just my 2 cents.

    #18 6 years ago

    To the OP: I really appreciate the fact you posted this thread; it proves you really have a conscience and care about the customer! I would buy from you, even knowing up front that I need to bear some of the costs involved of the repair if the pin goes south. I appreciate that you offer service after the sale, even at personal cost. Confidence in the purchase will merit a higher sell price. I'm willing to pay for that!

    Post edited by balbers : Grammar

    #19 6 years ago

    It can be frustrating at times. Back in the late 90's when selling 100+ games over the holidays we would get about a 20% callback on games. Most would be a minor adjustment etc. We provided a 30 day warranty. We were always flexible even at 70 +days. This was to keep the customer happy.This was when a system 6-9 were 10+ years old.

    Now one can expect more odd issues to crop up as these games are older. Another thing to consider is when the games are tested in shop a solid 120V is provided. In a home its possible line voltage could be lower causing a current rise. This causes heat and marginal electronic components to fail sooner. Add toddlers hitting the flippers constantly and things are going to heat up
    Don't let it get you down though. These failures will make you more smarter as you will look for these things on future sales..

    #20 6 years ago

    If it ain't broke, it ain't pinball -JJP

    #21 6 years ago

    i think your being a little too nice, and they should not even accept your favors with out offering some compensation, some phone tech support is great, but rebuilting games giving away labor and parts on units that are theres now and not yours anymore is taking advantage of the situation... reverse the situation, say they gave you 1000 for the game and the dallor devalued,,,, could you call them and ask them for another 50$...

    well no of course not the deal was struck, you have the money and they have a machine- offer them a warrenty, or jsut tell them you fixthem for side work and give them a good more than fair rate.

    #22 6 years ago

    I tell them its 100% now. But when it leaves I have no control. But if there is problem I do my best to point them in the right direction to get it fixed.

    #23 6 years ago

    To add what others said, unless you are dumping a bunch of new components into and bulletproofing all the boards, no way to give a 30 year old machine any warranty either stated or implied.

    Normally I will spend a bunch of time teaching an owner to do basic troubleshooting and install. I'll even fix problems that show up after it has been moved. But beyond that call me if you have a problem, I'll try to help, I'll steer you to help, but if I have to do the fix at a minimum I'll ask for compensation on the part.

    You wouldn't expect to buy an '86 Ford Fiesta in beautiful condition, run it for a month and call the previous owner telling them the tranny slips and ask for a free fix, why then for an '86 pin?

    #24 6 years ago

    Do what you can, but unless you sold support with the game it's their baby.

    #25 6 years ago

    I would suggest this:

    Sell your machines "as-is", with a two week warranty. Let them know that it's an old machine and that problems will likely crop up with it.

    That being said, offer them a longer term service contract for it. Figure out what you estimate the machine might cost for 6 months or a year, and offer this contract to them so that you cover parts and labor. You could even adjust the contract based on how solid you thought the machine was.

    I don't think many modern consumers would have any issue with that. They realize they're buying something that's 10-30 years old. It was fully working when they got it but problems are likely to happen. They'd consider it buying insurance and if nothing goes wrong with the pin, it's your gain. But if things do go bad, you'd at least be covering the cost of parts *and* keeping the customer happy about their purchase.

    Make sense?

    #26 6 years ago
    Quoted from GaryMartin:

    I would suggest this:
    Sell your machines "as-is", with a two week warranty. Let them know that it's an old machine and that problems will likely crop up with it.
    That being said, offer them a longer term service contract for it. Figure out what you estimate the machine might cost for 6 months or a year, and offer this contract to them so that you cover parts and labor. You could even adjust the contract based on how solid you thought the machine was.
    I don't think many modern consumers would have any issue with that. They realize they're buying something that's 10-30 years old. It was fully working when they got it but problems are likely to happen. They'd consider it buying insurance and if nothing goes wrong with the pin, it's your gain. But if things do go bad, you'd at least be covering the cost of parts *and* keeping the customer happy about their purchase.
    Make sense?

    ^^ This.

    #27 6 years ago

    I treat my customers how I'd want to be treated.

    I like to look at a satisfied customer as a return customer. Most repairs aren't super expensive in parts, but can be labor intensive.

    I will state the warranty of games I sell, and if something happens outside the warranty period, will do what I can to help a customer, within reason. Sometimes, that means advice on how to repair their games, sometimes that means they mail in a board to be repaired or exchanged, etc.

    I don't advance boards anymore. Got burned on a deal years ago and it still smarts. Had a customer that it was impossible to please. I could've given him a game, and he wouldn't have been happy.

    #28 6 years ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    ...If would be different if we were getting big money for a machine. But selling $750 to $900 machines (fully working and shopped) it is really hard to be giving away boards or fixing boards for free a couple months after selling a machine.

    This is your problem. You should be selling fully shopped machines for double this with warranty. I don't think people understand the difference between a broke down basket case and a fully shopped and gone through pin that scores and lights the way it should. You certainly know the difference.

    I would double your prices and include delivery, setup and a 30 day onsite "parts and labor" warranty. People are willing to pay for service like that.

    Then you could go ahead and sell a long-term electrical/electronics warranty - that's what the pin noob really wants.

    #29 6 years ago
    Quoted from MTPPC:

    This is your problem. You should be selling fully shopped machines for double this with warranty. I don't think people understand the difference between a broke down basket case and a fully shopped and gone through pin that scores and lights the way it should. You certainly know the difference.
    I would double your prices and include delivery, setup and a 30 day onsite "parts and labor" warranty. People are willing to pay for service like that.
    Then you could go ahead and sell a long-term electrical/electronics warranty - that's what the pin noob really wants.

    With chagrin, I have to agree with this. A first time buyer wants, and is willing to pay for the extra security that a warranty offers. I paid extra for my pin just for that! Once I learn some of the minor repair issues, I'd take a chance buying a pin without that service. I will say that no first time pinball purchaser wants to get stuck with a pin that has early repair costs that are more than the table is worth.

    #30 6 years ago

    As another's have posted, it's great that you have a conscience and care about those purchasing games from you. You have to remember your not the original manufacturer selling these pins. You can't fully back it up with a warranty that they will always be in working condition. I would say if you were selling Sterns you would have better luck with not hearing back from buyers as often but even then it's not a sure thing. I imagine "As is" is exactly what it means. If you like to offer more assistance sell it with a warranty. If you cannot forfill the warranty than your not obligated other than having a good conscience to help a buyer on your time. I would have to say though I would almost question any first time buyer trying to purchase an older pin. As bad as you would want to sell, and pocket the change... You would be providing one hell of a service educating a first time buyer/owner of the upkeep and maintenance involved with owning such a pin. Maybe provide some good help references like pinsides website or local repair technicians. Just some ideas...don't be hard on yourself discouraged. Seems you care, that's a big plus!!!

    #31 6 years ago
    Quoted from rlslick:

    As another's have posted, it's great that you have a conscience and care about those purchasing games from you. You have to remember your not the original manufacturer selling these pins. You can't fully back it up with a warranty that they will always be in working condition. I would say if you were selling Sterns you would have better luck with not hearing back from buyers as often but even then it's not a sure thing. I imagine "As is" is exactly what it means. If you like to offer more assistance sell it with a warranty. If you cannot forfill the warranty than your not obligated other than having a good conscience to help a buyer on your time. I would have to say though I would almost question any first time buyer trying to purchase an older pin. As bad as you would want to sell, and pocket the change... You would be providing one hell of a service educating a first time buyer/owner of the upkeep and maintenance involved with owning such a pin. Maybe provide some good help references like pinsides website or local repair technicians. Just some ideas...don't be hard on yourself discouraged. Seems you care, that's a big plus!!!

    Nice post! I am also a new pin owner, and probably paid much more than the going rate for my table, because of the fear of being stuck with an inoperable pin from some shady dealer. This is why I joined Pinside.com to get educated! Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

    #32 6 years ago

    To be fair and only fair on an as-is you only need to go as far as the door.

    That said I always try to help if they contact with any issue in the first few months.

    I would give advice but seldom free parts it is just too much at the price point they are sold at.
    If it is very recent after purchase I would go as far as to drive local to them and help with repair if I was adept. The most I have ever offered is a new Motherboard do to reset issues shortly after purchase. I already had one tested and working and felt bad for issues shortly after move.
    Not obligated but it is a nice gesture to your customer. IMO

    Open and honest about everything that you know about. The rest is just electronics and normal situations for 30 year old electrical.

    #33 6 years ago
    Quoted from Shoot_Again:

    To be fair and only fair on an as-is you only need to go as far as the door.
    That said I always try to help if they contact with any issue in the first few months.
    I would give advice but seldom free parts it is just too much at the price point they are sold at.
    If it is very recent after purchase I would go as far as to drive local to them and help with repair if I was adept. The most I have ever offered is a new Motherboard do to reset issues shortly after purchase. I already had one tested and working and felt bad for issues shortly after move.
    Not obligated but it is a nice gesture to your customer. IMO
    Open and honest about everything that you know about. The rest is just electronics and normal situations for 30 year old electrical.

    That's more than reasonable to me! Thanks for sharing this! Respect points awarded, you have now entered a buyer's Wizard Mode!

    #34 6 years ago

    My answer to the poll would be "I do what I can for customers even though machines were sold as is"
    except that I would add "for a limited period of time only (weeks)".

    I sold my first two machines to complete beginners. I am not especially proficient at repairs either, but I made sure everything was working before selling these pins. I phoned both buyers a few weeks after to make sure everything was fine. I then realized one of them was inexperienced in mechanics and electronics, but a real artist for cabinet restoration. He beautifully and accurately repainted the cabinet of the Williams space mission I sold. We became friends after that. He sold me a machine a few months later and is now much more experienced than I am. He is now capable of PF restoration / touch ups.

    #35 6 years ago

    I didn't answer the poll, but here are some quick thoughts...

    1) If you aren't actually there setting the machines up in their house, I feel like it is way nice to do anything for them. You can't stop them from doing something silly when they set it up.

    2) I think it's fair to help them on the phone, but you shouldn't feel compelled to actually swap boards or whatnot with them. Get a few service people who are not you who you can recommend in case they need something, and tell them those costs up front. Then, if you want, offer yourself up too. If they feel like you are selling them a piece of equipment that isn't super well put together because of this, oh well.

    3) Charge more and offer a warranty of some point for a certain period of time. As others have mentioned, these are old original boards, they'll go bad. I don't think a $200 warranty for a year would be bad at all.

    Sometimes people ask my why I claim that I get my machines for such low prices - and I do. It's simple - it's because the sellers know that if I get a machine from them, I am never going to contact them back about it to come fix something. Rarely, I'll call them and say, "Hey, this is going on, ever see that before? Something easy?" But if they say no, I always say, "No problem!" and then leave it at that. I don't even expect they need to answer that.

    Because of that, relatively often I'll get 10-20% knocked off the cost of a machine. And quite frankly, when I'm selling those are the exact type of buyers I like to have. I'd rather get $800 for a machine that I don't have to worry about ever again than $1000 for a machine that I hear about and end up with a buyer who comes back complaining that it didn't work as advertised any day of the week.

    If you're offering to do this extra work out of the kindness of your heart, charge the extra money. Then, if you get a buyer like me who you KNOW won't come back to you, knock the price down Your time is worth money.

    #36 6 years ago

    Seems like one important question here is if you are a retail business seller or just some guy.
    If you are just some guy who sells a pin from his collection here and there, I think the service expectation is much lower.
    If you are operating a business the service expectation is higher.
    It sounds to me like you have been very fair so far either way.
    As for your question on Xenon, has the buyer asked for reimbursement? I probably would not expect any, but that's just me.

    Just be clear about future issues with the buyers at the sale, and stick with whatever you say. You can have any policy you want as long as it is clear, and you keep any commitment you make.

    #37 6 years ago

    For no added cost to a sale, I would offer phone help or advice on how to fix problems (ie send us the board in the upper right for a paid shop repair, or call XYZ pinball tech). Most people have no ideas on how to go about getting a pin fixed and that is a valuable help to them. Board swapping or paying for a tech visit is above and beyond.

    If you're giving the 30 year old machine disclaimer and they're still buying, you've done your duty to educate them about repair frequency.

    I really like the service contract idea. for a limited term. If they have 2 issues/year they'll come out ahead on $200 v/s a traveling tech, and you get to work on a machine you know hasn't been butchered. I feel it has to be on location rather than TV shop style, Pins are not portable like TV's are.

    #38 6 years ago

    If a customer comes with interest in a machine i am selling, i always go through switch test mode, open the backbox, and flip up the playfield. i show them everything to look for and explain that pinball machine will always break eventually.

    after the person looks the machine over and decides to take it "as is" it is theirs. However, if they call me seeking help, I am happy to give them help verbally and sometime even go help them if they are cool and have beer .

    If they are upset, I just take the machine back and give a full refund...... And never deal with that person again. If they are truly expecting a warranty or for you to fix their machine for free after 30 days they are unreasonable. You don't want someone like that trashing your name.

    #39 6 years ago

    1. Take a closer look at the boards before you sell the machine.
    2. Offer a 30 day warranty included with the sales price or a discount for "as is".
    3. Offer an optional service contract after 30 days that includes cleaning, adjustments, annual battery changes but additional charges for repairs.

    Then the customer has no grounds for complaint.

    #40 6 years ago

    Too-many-pins,

    I'm the type of newbie you've sold to. I know next to nothing about pinball repair although I have some electronic background from the military. I bought my first machine knowing it would probably frequently break (which it has). I knew this going in and although my seller didn't really explain this to me, he has been helpful and even swapped free of charge a card after it died the first week. Since then I try to learn all I can about this hobby and I have learned a lot, mostly from the good people on here. I think you have done the right thing and if you tell the buyer that it works now but these machine will break sooner or later, mostly sooner, you will help within 2 weeks to 30 days but after that only phone/email support, they should be fine with that. If they balk, this hobby most certainly isn't for them. Saying and reading all of this, I'd buy a machine from a guy like you in a second. Have an Eight Ball Champ for sale?

    #41 6 years ago

    Absolutely has to do with the attitude of the customer before and after the sale. I like to think I'm like most and would help with educating the customer to get issues resolved, but I don't respond well to demands, especially if they are unreasonable. Unfortunately you run in to "bad buyers" from time to time, and I've even basically changed my mind selling to a few people because I could tell in the future they were going to be a pain in the butt. I also have an unwritten rule that if they haggle with me on price, the warranty of the game goes way away.

    #42 6 years ago

    Sounds to me like you have been very fair. I do my best to divulge anything and everything about the machines I sell. I point out all known cosmetic issues too and never go by the "well if they see it, fine, if not, fine" attitude. I also will mention everything I have repaired as I think it's important for a buyer to know that there has been issue with X, Y or Z board or part at one time, but it has been recitfied.

    However, I try to stress that these are 20-30+ year old electronic devices and things can and will go wrong. How many other electronic devices does someone have in their house that age that gets used regularly? Likely, few to none.

    I'm always happy to answer questions over the phone or via email, provide resources and even in the rare occurrence go help someone in person if they are close by. I also try to urge everyone to at least get a general familiarity with their machine. I let them know that, by owning a pinball machine, you assume a responsibility to a degree to learn at least the basics of its operation.

    #43 6 years ago

    Whenever I sell an older machine to a first time buyer, especially an SS machine, I say the following:

    "You are entering a hobby dealing with antique electronics and circuitry. Like an old car, this machine I am selling you will eventually break. Its not a question of 'if' but a question of 'when'. When it does, I will do my best to guide you to a repair guide or someone who can fix it".

    Its basically a way of politely saying "as is" but with guidance down the road on how or who can fix it. I have never had a problem after this. When the machine does break, I will answer their questions, point them to Clay's guide, or tell them to post on RGP or Pinside.

    #44 6 years ago

    Warranty is all about being relative to the price paid for the game. Charging a low price for a value game? Tail lights warranty. Selling an A list game at an A list price? A month or so should be expected.

    #45 6 years ago

    I am proud to say that I met Too-Many-Pins just a couple weeks ago when selling him a machine. Stand-up guy.

    I agree with most folks on here that it's important to manage a customer's expectations when buying a machine. If they are new to the hobby, I'd say it's important to almost literally walk them through the process and help them understand exactly what's going on, just as a matter of "paying it forward." I make sure to point out any known flaws and provide them an estimate on repairs and the accessibility of parts.

    But I think most reasonable buyers understand that, when buying a machine, you have the opportunity to play it (if it works) and essentially as much time as you need to ask questions. Thus, as a buyer, I take the time to look at all the boards, play the machine, etc. But once that baby is in my possession, it's mine.

    The only caveat might be someone who clearly intentionally misled me about something with the machine in order to rip me off. That might be a different story.

    All that said, I would not hesitate to ask the seller a question about his/her experience with the machine if I encountered a problem and thought some historical info. might help diagnose or repair it.

    #46 6 years ago

    I wont sell to noobs or non pinheads with skills. Issue solved and has never bit me in the ass. Sell to the educated problem solved.

    #47 6 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    I wont sell to noobs or non pinheads with skills. Issue solved and has never bit me in the ass. Sell to the educated problem solved.

    You were a noob at one time yourself Akuma.

    #48 6 years ago
    Quoted from Miknan:

    You were a noob at one time yourself Akuma.

    Yup and I bought from arcades and ops and fixed the shit myself. BEFORE THE INTERNET!

    #49 6 years ago
    Quoted from AkumaZeto:

    Yup and I bought from arcades and ops and fixed the shit myself. BEFORE THE INTERNET!

    That's impressive (not being a smart ass). But somebody must have showed/taught you at some point. With out the Internet I wouldn't even try. Internet resources probably the biggest reason pinball is making a comeback in the home market.

    #50 6 years ago

    Carl,

    It was a pleasure doing business with you also! I try to be as fair as I can when both buying and selling and try to help as many people as I can that are in the hobby. But the people I love to help the most are people new to the hobby. I feel those are the people who are the future of the hobby and we all need to do what we can for them.

    I have to say NONE of my customers have expected anything out of me when a machine has issues after the sale. So anything I do for them is just me trying to help them enjoy this great hobby and is not expected. But I am truly upset to see anyone have an issue with a machine I sell.

    I realize these things don't last forever but I also feel as though people shouldn't have issues with something I sell them a few weeks or months after I sell it. Thankfully - so far - none of the issues are things we missed when checking machines over or anything. Just old parts failing after much heavier use that would be normal in a home environment.

    One change we have made since this run of machines is we now leave machines on for 10 to 12 hours non stop after we finish them and we play them off and on over that 10 to 12 hours. Before this we would turn a machine on and test play it but then turn it off and try it again later in the day. We never really thought about the fact that many of these machines will get played non stop for hours once people get them home since they are new to the hobby and only have one pin to play.

    Anyway - thanks for all the replies and hopefully this post will help both buyers and sellers down the road. At least each might better know what to expect once reading some of the replies or looking at the poll.

    Thanks again everyone!

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