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Is this unethical?

(70 Posts)
ChaosTrulyReigns Wed 07-Nov-12 18:58:11

Buying stuff from an outlet shop and then selling on ebay?


EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 19:01:38

I wouldn't do it on purpose but I will buy things I think I want, change my mind and then put them on ebay sometimes.

That's not the same as going and buying up the place on purpose just to make a profit, which though I don't know if it's ethical or not, I'd feel uncomfortable about doing.

I hate it when people buy up sale stuff or stuff that's cheap because it's from a charity shop, just to put on ebay or to sell as they're dealers - our local charity shop told me they get dealers in all the time, seeking to exploit - it's really sad. That makes me mad.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 07-Nov-12 19:06:11

Of course not.

Buying & selling, it's what makes the world go around not love, the fools.

The only things I think are wrong are people getting things off of freecycle etc pretending they are for them (lying) and selling them on (fine if they say it's for ebay or carbooting) and buying from a charity shop and reselling, I think that's wrong - however, it's been debated on here many a time and some people don't think it's wrong?! I think charity shops should serve two purposes - to raise funds for their charity and to help out people who are struggling.

lljkk Wed 07-Nov-12 19:07:28

I think you are supposed to be a registered business seller to do this (Inland Revenue rules). I don't think it's unethical, though.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 07-Nov-12 19:11:13

I got something from freecycle once which was lovely, but the wrong size for our house. So I put it on ebay - the woman I'd got it from just wanted rid of it, I think, and I'd no idea if it would fit or not when I asked to have it.

I sold it for around £50. I still feel bad about that. But I don't think she would have minded - I mind if people do it on purpose iyswim. Not if something ends up being wrong for them and they dispose of it in a way that makes some money, well, that's Ok.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 07-Nov-12 19:29:24

Eds - I don't think it was a terrible thing you did, but in the same situation I would have put it back on freecycle first.

I'm not sure I can explain it very well but, to me, it feels wrong to make money out of other people's generosity. Mind you, if it was a large thing and she couldn't be arsed to put it on eBay and you took said 'big thing' away saving her the hassle, then I suppose it's not all bad... confuses self.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 07-Nov-12 19:30:06

It is still definitely wrong IMO to 'grab' everything possible off of freecycle with the sole purpose of selling it on.

TheMonster Wed 07-Nov-12 19:38:14

Ed, I think what you did was wrong and you should have put it back on freecycle.
Chaos, my instinct tells me that buying from an outet and re-selling is wrong.

fergoose Wed 07-Nov-12 19:49:58

buying to sell on isn't unethical, surely that is what all businesses do don't they? - but if you are buying to sell then you need to register with hmrc and as a business with ebay

Mirage Wed 07-Nov-12 20:51:31

But if the charity shop sells an item for,say £6,and the person then sells it on ebay for more,the charity shop hasn't lost out,they've gotten their £6,which they'd still have got if it hadn't been sold to a 'dealer',but to anyone else.Most charity shops are too savvy now to put potentially valuable stuff on the shop floor at a regular price,so if anyone can find a bargain and make a profit,good luck to them.

naturalbaby Wed 07-Nov-12 20:53:58

supply and demand - if you can get hold of the supplies and put them where other people can buy them then why not?
I'm always a bit hmm about the overpriced Ikea items on ebay.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 07-Nov-12 20:58:20

Mirage - but it stops the person who needs the item buying it at a reduced price.

ChaosTrulyReigns Wed 07-Nov-12 21:03:22

See, that's what I thought about charity shops too, Mirage.

But MN enlightened me - they are also a great resource for those struggling to find reasonably priced stuff.

So I'd kinda extrapolated thinking to outlet stores, but was onfusing myself. Hence the post.

I think from an economic pov, the retailers are getting what they are content with as an income, so I reckoned it was FairGane. But then wibbled.


ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 07-Nov-12 21:25:38

Chaos - it's hard isn't it?! I know I said before that it wasn't unethical and I still think that and I think if it's just a few bits then it's 'ok', On the other hand I don't think it's on for people to swoop in and clear the place out because it stops lots of other people from getting a bargain, something for themselves or presents they couldn't otherwise afford.

Much better to get something direct from a supplier if you can.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Wed 07-Nov-12 21:42:06

It's not unethical at all. Once you have bought something it is yours to do with as you will; sell it, keep it, set fire to it or shove it up your arse.

It would only be unethical to lie to someone about how much the item they are selling you is worth ie telling them that a silver bracelet is plate, not solid, when the reverse is true.

Mirage Wed 07-Nov-12 22:24:17

But another person who can't afford to buy new could also buy it,thus depriving someone else poor of it.Personally,I find charity shops too expensive anyway,and get most of our stuff from car boot sales.It is 50p to £1 for an item of clothing there,compared to a lot more in a charity shop.Plus some of them seem to have a very inflated view of the value of things,Oxfam vintage,for example,has just silly prices.

EdsRedeemingQualities Thu 08-Nov-12 07:29:14

Yes you're probably right, and that's why I feel bad about it all these years later.

I do think it's a bit of a grey area, and yes, it was a large-ish heavy thing and I did come and take it away.

I have trouble with freecycle, it is full of ethical problems and such, and confuses the hell out of me. I don't belong any more.

But what I was trying to say is if I'd gone and got this thing deliberately intending to sell it on, that would definitely have been wrong. iyswim? But I didn't.

I can't remember but I don't think she had many people wanting it in the first place so it might have been pointless putting it back on. It was ages and ages ago.

<has the guilt>

ChaosTrulyReigns Thu 08-Nov-12 10:34:45

I do think the intent in your scenario matters, Eds.

I think you shouldn't berate yourslef.


SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Thu 08-Nov-12 10:58:38

Look, people put things on Freecycle because they want to be rid of them. Either they CBA to put the thing on Ebay or whatever, or they've tried it once already and for whatever reason it hasn't been bought. If they were that bothered about where the thing went to and tightarsed enough to want to prevent anyone making a profit, they'd give it to a friend or a charity.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 08-Nov-12 15:40:08

Lord Eds, I don't think what you did was wrong.

It was your possession & you sold it. It doesn't matter where it came from originally.

I get given things I don't like & I sell them on ebay - I was given them for free, but I'm not going to sell them for free! I've bought items that I genuinely thought I wanted & they haven't been right or I have hardly worn them & for some random reason they've sold for more than I bought them for on ebay. I don't beat myself up about it. I didn't force anyone to buy what I sell on ebay - it is their choice.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Thu 08-Nov-12 16:17:31

SGB - I don't totally agree with you there. Lots of people put things on Freecycle because they don't need the money & are happy for someone else to have the use of something they no longer need - in other words, to help someone in need out - not for other people to make a profilt. It's absolutely not about being tight arsed, it's about helping people out. Giving it to charity still means the person who needs it has to pay out for it.

PBB - of course it's someone's choice to buy it or not on eBay, but people deliberately taking things 'for free' or cheaply from charity shops etc to make a profit on them is stopping people in need from benefitting from the charity of others. It's selfish, surely you can see that.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 08-Nov-12 17:07:21

Chipping - charity shops sell donated items to raise money for the charitable cause. Unless they are the salvation army, their purpose is NOT to sell stuff cheap for poor people. They should be selling stuff for the best price they can get, so that they raise money to meet their charitable objectives. If they are selling stuff too cheaply, that is their problem and the charity should be looking into it and wise up. (I should know, I work for a charity!)

There is nothing wrong with picking up something from Freecycle and selling it. It is the perogative of the owner of an item to give it away, and it is just as much the perogative of the new owner to sell it, if they think they can.

I can't see why giving something away is ok, but selling it isn't?

ChippingInLovesAutumn Thu 08-Nov-12 17:33:33

PBB - Selling donated stuff to raise funds is one aspect of a charity shop. Another is that they are a shop that sells second hand goods, which are (or should be!) cheaper than new. It allows people who can't afford 'new' to still buy clothing etc People that buy up large, simply to sell on, are being incredibly selfish and depriving people who can't afford new of those goods. These goods can often be sold for higher amounts in either other areas or on the internet, this does not mean the charity shop could achieve a higher price in that shop, in that location.

In YOUR opinion there is nothing wrong with picking something up from freecycle and selling it. In MINE there is.

Perogative is one thing, morals are an entirely different thing.

I can't see why giving something away is ok, but selling it isn't?

Because you are profiting from someone else's generosity, when someone who needs the item is losing out. How can you not see that?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 08:53:00

I'm sorry Chipping, but you are wrong about charity shops. Charities are failing the cause they are raising money for, if they are not maximising fund-raising opportunities. Charities should not be selling donated goods cheap for those who can't afford new stuff - unless they are the Salvation Army or a similar type of charity and that is their charitable purpose.

Nowadays, it is often cheaper it is often to buy goods new anyway. You are more likely to get stuff in Primark or Asda for less than you would second hand.

Lots of people Freecycle because they can't be bothered to take stuff to the tip or sell it on ebay/gumtree. It is not because they genuinely want their goods to go to those in need. Are you suggesting that there should be a vetting process for those who want to pick up Freecycle stuff? Only the "needy" may pick it up? What if a needy person gets something on Freecycle and decides to sell it on? Where does that sit in your moral compass? Is that ok, where it might not be for a comfortably off person or heaven forbid a wealthy person?

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 09-Nov-12 09:45:10

Yes, don't forget that reselling on ebay is something poor people do, so they can buy food/pay their bills. And the thing with selling on Ebay is that it's hardly a matter of guaranteed riches: the item might not sell, the buyer might rip you off (as often happens), there are Ebay fees to pay and postage charges can sometimes be higher than expected.

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