Auction Snafu Question

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Corey N.
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#1 Post by Corey N. » February 28th, 2017, 8:36 am

I recently purchased a couple nice bottles of eiswein at auction for a great price. They were listed as 750s, but I was contacted by the auction house to say that a mistake had been made and they were 375s, so they they asked whether I still wanted the bottles. I asked whether they'd make an adjustment, so they offered to reduce the price from $95 -> $70.

While my initial reaction was disappointment (because the "deal" is obviously less good) the response seems fair to me. Is there anything I'm missing?
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#2 Post by Fred Bower » February 28th, 2017, 8:40 am

If you like the 375's at $70 per, sounds like a win. If you don't you walk away and keep your coins for another auction. That's not a loss. I don't think you're missing anything.

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#3 Post by salilb » February 28th, 2017, 8:47 am

The deal is more than reasonable.

(FWIW, halves of JJC eiswein are still typically more expensive than what you'll end up paying.)
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#4 Post by Ian Sutton » February 28th, 2017, 9:07 am

Looks like they've sacrificed their commission, which seems like a fair approach. Your advantage is you are now the sole bidder at $70 for two halves - if you want to at that price.
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#5 Post by Corey N. » February 28th, 2017, 9:43 am

I appreciate the input. I thought it was a reasonable way of dealing with the situation, but just needed some reassurance.

Thanks gents.
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#6 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » February 28th, 2017, 9:48 am

Agree with the group - seems very fair.
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#7 Post by S cott Gurtman » February 28th, 2017, 10:37 am

Dumb question...what is WTSO?

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#8 Post by Corey N. » February 28th, 2017, 10:48 am

S cott Gurtman wrote:Dumb question...what is WTSO?
I think you meant to ask this in another thread, but it's an Internet retailer - Wines Til Sold Out (wtso.com).
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#9 Post by Phil David » February 28th, 2017, 12:15 pm

What am I missing here? You're getting half the wine you thought you were getting, so why isn't it half the price you thought you were paying?

I've made mistakes at auction, both with the number of bottles I thought I was bidding on and the producer, but I wouldn't dream of going to the auctioneer post sale and saying, sorry, I made a mistake, could you alter the price please?

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#10 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 28th, 2017, 12:29 pm

I rather agree with Phil. You thought you were paying $45 per 375 ml. As it turns out they'll offer you $70 per 375 ml. Poor exchange. If you still think that is a good price then okay, but some considerable disappointment is understandable as the deal is much worse than the one you made originally.

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#11 Post by Ian Sutton » February 28th, 2017, 12:44 pm

One of the perils of absentee bidding - in the auction they'll announce the correction, hence the hammer price already reflects the corrected size (unless of course the under-bidder was also absentee bidding).

Their alternative would be to withdraw the lot, but in this scenario Corey is getting 1st dibs on it at that price. That's a better option for him.
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#12 Post by John Morris » February 28th, 2017, 12:50 pm

Michae1 P0wers wrote:I rather agree with Phil. You thought you were paying $45 per 375 ml. As it turns out they'll offer you $70 per 375 ml. Poor exchange. If you still think that is a good price then okay, but some considerable disappointment is understandable as the deal is much worse than the one you made originally.
Corey -- I would think you might have been able to do a little better on the adjustment, since the mistake was theirs. If you sued (not that it would be worth your while), you'd be entitled to the difference in value between the product they offered and you paid for and what they're delivering. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't want to do better by you than this small adjustment.

Plus, depending on the state, the laws governing auction houses are quite strict, as Don Cornwell pointed out repeatedly in the Rudy/Acker thread. You could make trouble for them with the regulators.

But if you're happy, that's the main thing.
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#13 Post by Corey N. » February 28th, 2017, 12:53 pm

I've purchased from the auction house before and I really didn't feel the need to try to shave a couple bucks off my purchase. They recently made a shipping snafu on another order (they were supposed to send my wine and it didn't get scheduled for delivery) and they ended up sending it to me, by courier. All in all, they have been fair to me, so I want to be fair to them.
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#14 Post by Poppy Davis » February 28th, 2017, 1:02 pm

John Morris wrote:
Corey -- I would think you might have been able to do a little better on the adjustment, since the mistake was theirs. If you sued (not that it would be worth your while), you'd be entitled to the difference in value between the product they offered and you paid for and what they're delivering. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't want to do better by you than this small adjustment.
I'm sure their auction agreement contains language that allows for adjustments or rescinding of lots that are miscatalogued.

I've never seen a 750ml bottle of eiswein. Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?

I think the adjustment is fair. You can take it or leave it. If you leave it, they'll relist with the lot properly catalogued. I doubt you'll fair better than the adjustment.
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#15 Post by SteveG » February 28th, 2017, 1:27 pm

Poppy Davis wrote:...

I've never seen a 750ml bottle of eiswein. Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?

...
haha, here's mine, 1 pint 7 ounces it says up top:

Image

Image
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#16 Post by Corey N. » February 28th, 2017, 1:34 pm

Poppy Davis wrote: Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?
Yes. I knew that 375ml is common for eiswein, but it's not something that I usually buy, so I had no reason to doubt the catalogue description. I did think I was getting a helluva price, though.
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#17 Post by Ian Sutton » February 28th, 2017, 1:42 pm

Corey N. wrote:I've purchased from the auction house before and I really didn't feel the need to try to shave a couple bucks off my purchase. They recently made a shipping snafu on another order (they were supposed to send my wine and it didn't get scheduled for delivery) and they ended up sending it to me, by courier. All in all, they have been fair to me, so I want to be fair to them.
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#18 Post by David K o l i n » February 28th, 2017, 2:26 pm

SteveG wrote:
Poppy Davis wrote:...

I've never seen a 750ml bottle of eiswein. Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?

...
haha, here's mine, 1 pint 7 ounces it says up top:

Image

Image

VC for the win. I have several 700ml (I believe) eisweins from the 70s

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#19 Post by johngonzales » February 28th, 2017, 3:30 pm

John Morris wrote:
Michae1 P0wers wrote:I rather agree with Phil. You thought you were paying $45 per 375 ml. As it turns out they'll offer you $70 per 375 ml. Poor exchange. If you still think that is a good price then okay, but some considerable disappointment is understandable as the deal is much worse than the one you made originally.
Corey -- I would think you might have been able to do a little better on the adjustment, since the mistake was theirs. If you sued (not that it would be worth your while), you'd be entitled to the difference in value between the product they offered and you paid for and what they're delivering. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't want to do better by you than this small adjustment.

Plus, depending on the state, the laws governing auction houses are quite strict, as Don Cornwell pointed out repeatedly in the Rudy/Acker thread. You could make trouble for them with the regulators.

But if you're happy, that's the main thing.
That was my thought as well. I wish when I f'd up in business it resulted in basically a break-even rather than losses. But, as everyone has said, I think it really isn't an amount of money worth quibbling over.

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#20 Post by Chuck Miller » February 28th, 2017, 4:39 pm

Selbach Oster made many magnums of 2001 Zeltinger Himmelreich Eiswein Junior.
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#21 Post by alan weinberg » February 28th, 2017, 6:23 pm

Poppy Davis wrote:
John Morris wrote:
Corey -- I would think you might have been able to do a little better on the adjustment, since the mistake was theirs. If you sued (not that it would be worth your while), you'd be entitled to the difference in value between the product they offered and you paid for and what they're delivering. Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't want to do better by you than this small adjustment.
I'm sure their auction agreement contains language that allows for adjustments or rescinding of lots that are miscatalogued.

I've never seen a 750ml bottle of eiswein. Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?

I think the adjustment is fair. You can take it or leave it. If you leave it, they'll relist with the lot properly catalogued. I doubt you'll fair better than the adjustment.
my 750 Donnhoff Eisweins are treasured bottles. They exist.

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#22 Post by Chris Seiber » February 28th, 2017, 8:47 pm

Phil David wrote:What am I missing here? You're getting half the wine you thought you were getting, so why isn't it half the price you thought you were paying?

I've made mistakes at auction, both with the number of bottles I thought I was bidding on and the producer, but I wouldn't dream of going to the auctioneer post sale and saying, sorry, I made a mistake, could you alter the price please?
I'm with Phil. I understand that 375s sell for more than half the price of 750s, but not 3/4ths the price.

I don't think it's the biggest deal and I get that it isn't worth anything like legal action, but I wouldn't walk out of it thinking "oh, they were very fair dealing with this."

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#23 Post by Corey N. » March 1st, 2017, 4:51 am

What do you think they should have done, Chris?
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#24 Post by CJ Beazley » March 1st, 2017, 4:54 am

SteveG wrote:
Poppy Davis wrote:...

I've never seen a 750ml bottle of eiswein. Maybe they exist, but Corey, did you honestly think they were 750ml bottles?

...
haha, here's mine, 1 pint 7 ounces it says up top:

Image

Image
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#25 Post by SteveG » March 1st, 2017, 5:34 am

CJ Beazley wrote:...
Nothing screams fine wine more than having a rat on your label
....
True that, but Campus Corners was also the source of ny only tastings of Roederer Cristal, Dom Perignon Rose, Cheval Blanc, and many other top-tier wines now mostly out of my price range; it was however a different commercial moment in the wine universe...
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#26 Post by CJ Beazley » March 1st, 2017, 5:55 am

SteveG wrote:
CJ Beazley wrote:...
Nothing screams fine wine more than having a rat on your label
....
True that, but Campus Corners was also the source of ny only tastings of Roederer Cristal, Dom Perignon Rose, Cheval Blanc, and many other top-tier wines now mostly out of my price range; it was however a different commercial moment in the wine universe...
He does have on a tuxedo, that makes up for a lot.
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#27 Post by Brian Tuite » March 1st, 2017, 6:15 am

Out them! I never want to do business with an auction house like that!
image.jpeg
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#28 Post by Frank Drew » March 1st, 2017, 6:21 am

I agree that $70 for a .375 might still be a good deal and that this isn't worth going to war over, but I'm curious what the auction house would have done if the volume mistake had been in the other direction, if the bottle had been, let's say, double the size listed. Would the auction house have been happy with Corey's original bid, or with maybe just a slight additional payment?

What about bidding on a piece of land, listed as 100 acres; after your bid wins you're told that it's actually only 50 acres. After you ask for an adjustment, they best they'll do is to shave a few bucks off your bid. Is this a normal way to do business?

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#29 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 1st, 2017, 6:22 am

Corey N. wrote:What do you think they should have done, Chris?
Not Chris, but they could certainly afford to honor the original pricing by cutting the deal in half. Or, failing that, adjusting to something more in line with a normal small bottle premium, say 15% over half price. You also take a bit of a beating on shipping half bottles in that you are typically paying about the same to ship half the wine, and auction house shipping is seldom inexpensive IMO. As everyone has said, it's hardly the end of the world, but it seems odd that everyone lines up to pat them on the back.

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#30 Post by Brian Tuite » March 1st, 2017, 6:27 am

Frank Drew wrote:I agree that $70 for a .375 might still be a good deal and that this isn't worth going to war over, but I'm curious what the auction house would have done if the volume mistake had been in the other direction, if the bottle had been, let's say, double the size listed. Would the auction house have been happy with Corey's original bid, or with maybe just a slight additional payment?

What about bidding on a piece of land, listed as 100 acres; after your bid wins you're told that it's actually only 50 acres. After you ask for an adjustment, they best they'll do is to shave a few bucks off your bid. Is this a normal way to do business?
They are giving him two options. Get a lower price or back out altogether, either way he wins. These arguments to the contrary seem excessive.
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#31 Post by David K o l i n » March 1st, 2017, 6:33 am

SteveG wrote:
CJ Beazley wrote:...
Nothing screams fine wine more than having a rat on your label
....
True that, but Campus Corners was also the source of ny only tastings of Roederer Cristal, Dom Perignon Rose, Cheval Blanc, and many other top-tier wines now mostly out of my price range; it was however a different commercial moment in the wine universe...

This was Village Corners, not Campus Corners. [smileyvault-ban.gif]

I broke into the wine business at Campus Corners in East Lansing in the mid-70's

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#32 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 1st, 2017, 6:33 am

No, they are offering him two options: Get a higher price or back out altogether. Either way he loses.

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#33 Post by Jay Miller » March 1st, 2017, 6:37 am

Fwiw I'm in the camp which says the auction house made a reasonable offer which Corey should only take if he still wants the wines at that price.

If he only bought because it was a screaming deal rather than a good price then he can skip it.
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#34 Post by Frank Drew » March 1st, 2017, 6:40 am

Michael, exactly. Arguing the opposite is upside down logic.

But, again, we're not talking a lot of money and if it's no big deal to Corey, it's no big deal to me. I probably won't PM him for the name of the auction house so I can get on their mailing list, though.
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#35 Post by Corey N. » March 1st, 2017, 6:40 am

Michae1 P0wers wrote:
Corey N. wrote:What do you think they should have done, Chris?
Not Chris, but they could certainly afford to honor the original pricing by cutting the deal in half. Or, failing that, adjusting to something more in line with a normal small bottle premium, say 15% over half price. You also take a bit of a beating on shipping half bottles in that you are typically paying about the same to ship half the wine, and auction house shipping is seldom inexpensive IMO. As everyone has said, it's hardly the end of the world, but it seems odd that everyone lines up to pat them on the back.
Just to be clear they are local so shipping is gratis. Maybe I'm naive, but they made an honest mistake and they offered what I thought was a fair deal.
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#36 Post by Brian Tuite » March 1st, 2017, 6:42 am

Michae1 P0wers wrote:No, they are offering him two options: Get a higher price or back out altogether. Either way he loses.
image.jpg
Any relation to ths guy?
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#37 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 1st, 2017, 7:10 am

Look, I get it, ignorance is bliss. Even so, the reality is that the deal today is worse than yesterday. For perspective, assuming this is HDH, they now lose $5 per bottle on this deal. Corey, OTOH, now pays roughly an extra $28 per half. You tell me who comes out worse. If he still likes the deal I guess it makes sense for him to make it, but that doesn't make the auction house a hero for offering a slight discount instead of honoring their mistake.

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#38 Post by SteveG » March 1st, 2017, 7:31 am

David K o l i n wrote:
SteveG wrote:
CJ Beazley wrote:...
Nothing screams fine wine more than having a rat on your label
....
True that, but Campus Corners was also the source of ny only tastings of Roederer Cristal, Dom Perignon Rose, Cheval Blanc, and many other top-tier wines now mostly out of my price range; it was however a different commercial moment in the wine universe...

This was Village Corners, not Campus Corners. [smileyvault-ban.gif]

I broke into the wine business at Campus Corners in East Lansing in the mid-70's
Right you are (oops), we had both in A2, just got the names confused after 40 or so years.
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#39 Post by Corey N. » March 1st, 2017, 7:32 am

Michael, I appreciate your perspective but to be clear, I don't think that they are a "hero", I think they made a reasonable offer given the circumstances.

Thank you for the responses. I wouldn't hesitate to buy again from the auction house, but I understand why some would be upset (indeed, that was my initial reaction).
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#40 Post by Brian Tuite » March 1st, 2017, 7:43 am

Michae1 P0wers wrote:Look, I get it, ignorance is bliss. Even so, the reality is that the deal today is worse than yesterday. For perspective, assuming this is HDH, they now lose $5 per bottle on this deal. Corey, OTOH, now pays roughly an extra $28 per half. You tell me who comes out worse. If he still likes the deal I guess it makes sense for him to make it, but that doesn't make the auction house a hero for offering a slight discount instead of honoring their mistake.
Hero? Those be your words. It was an honest mistake. True he does not get as much wine for the money but he has already disclosed that at the new price and new bottle size it's still a good price. He is in no way bound to accept it either. Personally I wouldn't lose any sleep over not getting 2 bottles of wine for less than 1/2 its value. From the looks of it neither is Corey. Of course YMMV.
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#41 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 1st, 2017, 7:51 am

Corey, just to clarify, I am not suggesting this is anything to be "upset" about, which implies an emotional response. My opinions are purely on the business deal. Now, if the same thing happened on a much grander scale I could see becoming a bit emotional about it.

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#42 Post by Michae1 P0wers » March 1st, 2017, 7:51 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
Michae1 P0wers wrote:Look, I get it, ignorance is bliss. Even so, the reality is that the deal today is worse than yesterday. For perspective, assuming this is HDH, they now lose $5 per bottle on this deal. Corey, OTOH, now pays roughly an extra $28 per half. You tell me who comes out worse. If he still likes the deal I guess it makes sense for him to make it, but that doesn't make the auction house a hero for offering a slight discount instead of honoring their mistake.
Hero? Those be your words. It was an honest mistake. True he does not get as much wine for the money but he has already disclosed that at the new price and new bottle size it's still a good price. He is in no way bound to accept it either. Personally I wouldn't lose any sleep over not getting 2 bottles of wine for less than 1/2 its value. From the looks of it neither is Corey. Of course YMMV.
Indeed, hero was a bit of TIC deliberate hyperbole. But it does strike me as odd when people seem particularly eager to credit merchants for taking half measures to correct their own errors.

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