AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What is the nature of a "powerbuy" on AVSForum?


I think it's time we discussed this openly, fully . . . and set some rules, and other guidelines.

The Need: I have searched AVSF and there is (IMHO) no candid and far-reaching discussion about powerbuys, there is no form of contract, there are no rules posted, not even clear guidelines for sellers to use in offering a "powerbuy". Yet they occur often here, and there have been a substantial number of situations in which powerbuys have turned into many unmet expectations . . . the type of fuel that oft leads to disputes, sometimes litigation. The Panamorph and 165 are among most noted examples, but if one were to collect stories from the disappointed, those who feel misled, those who realized later they didn't understand enough of what they were buying . . . there would be hundreds, no doubt. [There were some elements here, but the positive discussion didn't go far: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...light=powerbuy ]


I note that the people who need the most information, even protection, are often the those who have little time or history here; they may be swept up in excitement, see only a few positive comments, not understand the nature of the situation. And in any business transaction there are technical and business risks. A principal vehicle the law uses to protect buyers of goods and services is full disclosure, so the buyer can make an informed choice, accept (or reject) such risks.

The community aspect: the AVSForum has grown into a large online community, occupied by many people with varying backgrounds, levels of knowledge and expertise, and varying needs and interests. Some are busy with work, occasionally visiting to looking for concise guidance and buy ready/easy-to-use products. Others are hobbyists spending dozens of hours per week on minutae, because they love it . . . and don't understand why others don't likewise. The latter post more messages than the former. Some are pros, exchanging technical information and lending learning even guidance to novices. I think most would agree this community is incredibly beneficial, in general; but very "rough around the edges".

Community Values: As a community we should organize ourselves better . . . and make a serious effort to avoid, or reduce, future upset, unmet expectations, the waste of time and financial resources of our members. We ought to make the decision process more efficient ("Do I want to buy a Dinglepoof model X56?", "Does it meet my needs/desires?")). We ought to build in protections for our members when others step outside acceptable boundaries - intentionally, recklessly, or negligently. Maybe we ought to have a means to give contractual, even legal protection. At a minimum, we ought to at least assure that normal market/sales expectations are met. We don't want AVSF to become known as a community without good values, a place where scams abound, where stuff is dumped on unsuspecting visotors; where the first screen should say "Enter at your own financial/legal risk!".


So, how can we clarify powerbuys - collectively? I believe the first step is to discuss fully, openly, and without rancor . . . this topic: What is a powerbuy? Is it:


1. a group purchase, with rules/expectations the same as one-on-one purchase from vendor, only with a little better price do to collective buying power? (my understanding)?


2. a group experiment, with unknown results, where no "expectations" can be called reasonable? (E.g. trying group-built open software on a product intended for another purpose)?


3. a collective effort by hobbyists to entice manufacturers to be interested in developing a new product?


4. a way for a manufacturer with excess inventory, or an untried product, to "unload" it on others and reduce losses?

Discussion Focus. In this discussion . . . Please keep your comments forward-looking . . . what do we as community members want to see, and do, in the future. If you need to illustrate with an example, please keep the example/facts short . . . and spend more time discussing what ought to be, and explain why.


It is my hope that after this discussion . . . perhaps a drafting committee can put together some rules, guidelines, or even a contract. A committee which is representative of the forum's breadth of knowledge and expectation (say 3 to 5 people). But I've seen such hopes by others dashed, by threads that wandered, lost energy, were lost in "adult whiners", or became engulfed in flames . . . we will see . . .


Note: Due to unusually long post and the topic, here is some background: I'm a business lawyer with nearly quarter century experience, tho' not a litigator for over decade; a former engineer (industrial, human factors); many in communities where I have lived look to me as a community leader (but not previously in online communities). My wife and I enjoy a lovely HT in a custom home, have participated in a few powerbuys, and experienced some successes and some of our own disappointments. I have nothing to gain from this discussion, except a modicum of joy if we, as an online community, could create a clearer understanding of powerbuys, a safer opportunity to purchase, and others could obtain more bargains. Especially for the majority who are not already expert in each such product/service.



Please pause before writing, then join in . . . constructively, and forward-looking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Questions to stimulate your thoughts:


A. Are there several different "natures" to powerbuys? Can a powerbuy that starts out as one (group purchase) turn into another type (experiment, or even outright fraud). If so, who is responsible for identifying . . . and fully disclosing to participants at every stage . . . . the true nature of each particular powerbuy?


B. What are the minimum requirements before a powerbuy should be allowed? Clarity of product/service? Performance and compatibility specification? Discussion (and understanding by buyers) of the alternatives? Financial disclosre, and fiscal health, of the seller?


C. What are the optimum guidelines for powerbuys to meet?


D. How will a member coming upon a powerbuy, with a couple days before expiration, know what its nature, pros, cons, risks, and guidlines are?


E. Should a powerbuy thread include (or at least refer to) prior threads in which the product/service is discussed? All, or only select threads?


F. What is the proper role of AVScience in a powerbuy? A retailer with all warranties? A "good buddy" who is never responsible? Or . . . .


G. Are other companies allowed, or should they be encouraged, to conduct powerbuys? Only retailers, or also manufacturers? Wholesalers? Independents? What are the minimum standards, fiscal or other factors, before we should permit them to make such powerbuy offers?


H. Who as members of our community can we trust, to act on our behalf . . . to investigate initially, and at each significant delay, event or problem? to report to us, regularly? To be independent, and keep our broad-ranging interests at heart? And, as needed, to advocate the interests of the powerbuy purchasers?


I. What diction will we all use, with common meaning? Words like buy/purchase, warranty, transferable, invest, it operates, it works, it's compatible, improves, film-like, etc. [For instance, puffing salesmen are trained to ask us to "invest in a product" but they really mean purchase. Promoters and struggling entrepreneurs euphemistically ask us to "loan" money or "believe in them" as a means of parting us with money, when it's really an investment at great risk.]


J. Are there other online communities who do powerbuys (or equivalent) who have developed rules, guidelines, disclosure processes . . . that we can learn from, and not reinvent the wheel? Who will investigate this, and report back to us?


K. Who among us should compose the Rules, Guidelines, who we can trust to keep the interests of our members at heart?


L. Did Arizona deserve to win the World Series?


OK, folks . . . your comments are welcome. Please keep them positive, forward-looking, and general in nature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
PS . . . the foregoing message was posted with permission from the moderator . . . who may not be involved much, due to a belief it will turn into whining. Ever the optimist, I have posted it anyway.


Since this affects other forum topics (where powerbuys also have been discussed or done), I will invite others from those forums to join here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
OK,


For you who view, but are reluctant to post . . . what are you thinking?


Anyone have an experience with a powerbuy, that might lead to a guideline for improvement?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,180 Posts
When I see piowerbuys on the forum, from reputable people, if I required the product (or had the money) I would have little concern getting involved.


The Panamorph situation has so many factors involved, especially considering the product was not created at the time of the initial powerbuy purchase.


However, when a powerbuy for an already existing product begins, I find it very simple. If enough people order, you get it for this price. Now, that is why I said reputable, because someone can just be throwing around random numbers.


Will continue latter, am late for class.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
So . . . . some differentiating factors:


1. Reputable person


2. Existing product (e.g. mass-produced) vs. one not yet in production, or more speculative


In a bulletin-board environment like AVSF, who is responsible for determining this?


On 1., perhaps you know many who post messages; I don't feel qualified to evaluate for myself, let alone others, who is "reputable" in this context. Should their reputation be discussed (at least briefly), before they post a powerbuy inquiry?


On 2, I imagine there are all stages in between (say) a Denon receiver and an undeveloped combination of PC-board and software. Should we have a rating system? Or in latter case, a full discussion before initiating a powerbuy? What responsibility does the manufacturer (or distributor) have to put specs on the Board, before selling to a group, here?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
David, more thoughts?


Others (nearly 300) who view, lurk . . . what are your experiences with powerbuys?


How could they be improved?


Those who have never "bought" - why not? What would reassure you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,180 Posts
Well..obviously, if Alan or Jason started a powerbuy, if it was somedthing i needed and could afford, I would not hesitate for a minute to put my money in.

I have never dealth with them before in any way, but look at what they do, and the stake they have. If something went wrong for AVS powerbuys, that would create a very bad image for them, and because of the forum itself, cxould be devastating to their business.


Let me tell you, if I had the money, I would have jumped a number of AVS powerbuys, for screens, projector (the g15/10, the NEC 135) those were amazing bargains...


The panamorph "issue" is hard to explain, and while AVS did provide the means, they maintained a clearly defined line at which point they were no longer responsible, which, for the most part, was smart, seeing the outcome.


If AVS said there was a powerbuy, and I gave them my money for something they deliver, I would have no fear, for any issue would affect them more than myself.


However, check the screens forum, for instance. There is a gentleman there who started a powerbuy for screen material, apparently it is going well. Me, personally, I would be a little hesitent. Why? Because how can one man maintain correctly keep track of all that money and orders?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
David,


I appreciate your point. However, when it comes to things "not in the mainstream" buying from anyone (incl. AVScience, a small company, in relative terms) has risks . . . it's not safe to assume that being here on the forum is an assurance of safety, or that something will perform. Besides . . . is the seller of all powerbuys AVScience? Or they a facillitator? Did you see my questions above about role . . . and warranty?


As I said above, a Denon receiver (with USA warranty, from authorized dealer) would be a no-brainer. Because the product is reviewd, understood, and a large reputable manufacturer stands behind it. But items which are speculative, untried, or a new combination of parts without a proven market . . . that's another matter.


Cases in point would include Panamorph (expensive, untried) vs. Isco II (established, large company, 2nd generation).


Or PVR's by a new company or group cobbling together a video card + PC combo, vs. TIVO or Replay.


Even Dilard+Colorfacts has untried (by the market), risk elements. My powerbuy order of the latter was facillitated due to the incredible and sustained efforts by Mark H of Milori (one guy) in combination with others here to advance the automated control and calibration of projectors, plus the fact I owned one (uncalibrated) already, and was an early buyer of Dilard 1.0.


But, if I had no HT projector yet, and had a choice between two powerbuys - a Runco out of box and a DILA projector with Dilard+Colorfacts, and they were within 10-15% of same price, similar features and picture, I'd probably go with Runco.


But we get no Runco powerbuys here.:)


Tell me, how would a new purchaser of a HT projector, coming here for their purchase decision, after reading 100 messages on this forum in a week or so, be able to evaluate whether to participate in a powerbuy Dilard+Colorfacts+related gear?


What should we . . . as community members, be doing to help (all of us) make the risks, features/specs, and nature of powerbuys more clear?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,180 Posts
New members SHOULDN'T get involved in powerbuys. I have been here for more than a year, and have seen the AVS powerbuys come, and the positive comments of the members who have received them.


ALL of the AVS-led powerbuys have been for products with warranties. To any newbie, or person who has concern for their money, I would have to suggest stick ONLY with AVS-led powerbuys, when it is with projctors. For things like bulbs and stuff, the risk factor is lower, because of the lower dollar value, AND, the fact that things are less likely to go wrong.


From my time here, I have seen NO problems with powerbuys at all, until the panamorph fiasco. And that was an iffy one at best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
"shouldn't participate" - do you mean they should be banned? Warned not to? Or if wise, they will voluntarily decline?


It is a standard principal in sales to give information, full disclosure, and let the buyer decide if they wish to buy.


One of my key concerns is that doesn't happen in many powerbuys. They have numerous folks suprised, disgruntled, or upset. Take a look at the threads . . .


So, I think with broader disclosures of the nature of the buy, seller, warranties, unique and untried aspects, even the size/health of the seller or mfr., etc. - powerbuys would be clearer, safer, fewer problems/ruffled feathers. And then more would occur.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
a bump . . .


(wondering if everyone's starting to fill stockings, not thinking about esoteric issues as powerbuys . . . .)
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top