i got dragged into this, so figure probably should say something...
recently Corey and i did a trade/money deal. He had a Mousin Around, and I had a Johnny mnemonic he was interested in. I drove the JM up to Cory's place, we traded. It worked well, i think we were both happy enough with the deal.
that said, Corey can sell the JM for whatever he likes. It's up to him what price he wants for it. This has no effect on me. If he asks $1million and gets it, I certainly harbor no ill will. Some guys can get the long dollar for their stuff.
Me personally, i price games to sell. I was asking $2000 for the JM, which in my opinion, seemed a bit high. Frankly it was more $1700 or $1800 realistically. But i price stuff to sell. If i have a game for sale longer than a couple days, my feeling is its priced too high. But that's me, and how i roll.
Now Cory is what i would call a newbie. he's been around for a while, but his skill set on repair is pretty limited. I know this because now and then he calls me to do repairs. (Note i didn't touch the BK2000, nor did i ever see it.) Frankly he should call me more. Because a lot the trouble he got into here could have been avoided if he did. Cory is one of these guys that takes the approach, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." That is, he's not very proactive about repairs. This is fine for your own games. Heck this is fine if you're selling games for reasonable prices too. (And a BK2000 at $3000 or $2500 is not reasonable, at least in my eye.) But when you're going for the long dollar, things should be right. Or at least you should tell the potential buyer of all issues.
Now let's take the Mousing Around i got from Cory as an example. Cory was very proud of the game. He took all the top side parts off, cleaned them and replaced the rubbers and posts, flamed the ramps. It was a decent job. Not stellar (Cory we need to talk about what you're using for playfield cleaning, Novus2 is your friend, because a nasty haze was left behind in some spots), but a pretty decent effort.
that said, he left a lot of work to do. Now realize i knew *exactly* what i was getting into. From the moment i walked up to the game, I knew the JM i was giving him was pretty much all done and there (though it did develop a "ball in hand" switch error a couple days later), and the Mousing from far from meeting my expectations.
Remember with these system11 games, they are 25+ years old. These are games designed to last 5 years. So repairs will be needed. I know that. I knew exactly what i was getting into. But i don't sweet the small details on stuff. I'm capable of repairs and i know that all sorts of things will need to be done to make a 25+ year old game "right" (or right in my eye, which brings up another point, which we'll get to.)
Things i found on the mousing... GI connectors melted. So bad that there was no backbox GI lights. He installed some LEDs in the playfield, so that was probably the only thing saving the connectors. My experience with Cory is this repair is pretty much out of his league. Every game i've worked on for Cory has had some GI issue. It's just not his thing to fix.
Score display - the right display glass (the glass itself) was internally shorted. If a upper left "|" segment was on the display, the "\" segment also lit. This is a bummer because the only solution is a new glass, which aren't cheap.
The moving target assembly was hosed. One of the targets was broken in half. I took it apart to replace the target, and the whole carriage fell apart. Someone had tried to epoxy it before. Bad move. These parts are available so i just bought new ones. No big deal, as it gets hammered from the ball, so it's understandable.
Flippers obviously needed to be rebuilt. That's always the case on any game you buy. Batteries were not leaking but they were old as hell. (I always go the CR2032 button battery route anyway.) Playfield had some wear which i touched up (came out really well, game now looks great.) The side rails are dented. (thought i had these in stock, but it turns out WPC side rails are about 6" shorter than sys11 side rails!)
There were some other issues which frankly i can't remember. but the game took me a full week of messing to bring it up to my standards. Now again, this is *my* standards. And for me to think that Cory knows what i want or like is just crazy. The game, in his eye, was working fine for him. That's cool. Everything was basically functioning. Sure there were the issues above, but to a casual player (which is what i would call Cory), it's all good.
So if the Mousing was like the BK2000 (which is probably a good assumption), i could see a buyer thinking the game was fine, or not. Depends on the buyer. That said, if the BK2000 was $1500 or $2000, these things aren't issues really. There's enough room in the price to take care of any problems. (I always tell people when they buy a game to figure that they will spend $200 to get it "right".) But when you're selling a $2500 or $3000 BK2000, the thing should be damn near functionally perfect. The long dollar dictates this.
This is one reason i generally don't price things "long dollar", and i sure don't ship games either. It just avoids this hassle. Because you never know how people will receive/view your game. You just don't know their expectations. I want to sleep at night, posts like this one are a nightmare for everyone.
On the expectation level, unless you're buying a Chris Hutch game, there is always something that can be done to "up the level" of a new game purchase. I think most people do this too, buy a game, and then there's something that bothers them (and it didn't bother the seller), so they make that upgrade/repair to reflect their expectations. This is just human behavior. But when you price a game "long dollar", it backs you into a corner as a seller. And frankly it's not a corner i want to be, hence i generally price things fair to midrange. I don't need to be greedy (because after all, isn't that why someone prices "long dollar"?) Long dollar sellers potentially can create a lot of problems for themselves, and problems i don't want. Money isn't the end-all. Sure we all need it (they ain't giving away food/housing/gas), but to chase the long dollar, in my eye, is dumb. But to some folks, if they leave any money on the table, it's a complete failure in their eye. I guess it has to do with what's important to you in life, and your financial position. But frankly there aren't any "poor" people in pinball... No one spends their last $500 on a pinball game! So why people price the "long dollar" i have a hard time understanding.
So short story... i think there's plenty of blame to go around here. Yes Cory certainly did some things wrong. But the buyer did too. The buyer could have done some research on Cory. The buyer could have hired someone to check out the game in personal. And frankly, the buyer accepted the (crazy high, in my eye) price for the BK2000, setting himself up for disappointment on a 25+ year old game. (Who expects a popular and old title like BK2000 to be "perfect", regardless of the price?) When you're paying long dollar money, don't assume the seller is going to reveal every little detail. As a buyer, caveat emptor, it's at least partially your responsibility to ask questions and get pictures.
Now Cory should have just hired someone to do the repairs and go over the game for him. (It would have costed him that rebated $250, but then most of these hassles would have been avoided. He's still out the $250, so being pro-active on repair when doing "long dollar" selling should be his rule.) He would have also had the luxury of saying, "my repair guy named XXX checked out the game and did the repairs", which helps deflect blame and avoid issues, and puts another set of eyes on the machine. (Note to self, don't do any repairs for Cory, because this could get ugly! ha!)
Also never ever ship games if you're "long dollar" pricing. The potential for failure is just too high. Always best to have people come see and play it. If they accept the game, the burden is on their shoulders. They got to test drive the machine, so any faults they missed is their mistake. Also expectations can be set and met or not met. It's just easier this way. But of course local "long dollar" sales are tougher, especially in Michigan...
Short story advice:
Price games nice. Don't get all greedy and do long dollar stuff, unless your game is a "Hutchinson."
Don't ship games. bad for buyer and seller. This way expectations can be determined and set face-to-face.
As a buyer, make sure due diligence is done. And don't let the emotions of buying "the game title you screwed your first girl upon" or "the game title i threw up upon after my first beer" cloud your judgement.
Be a nice guy. But that rule is good all day, every day.