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Amphicar BUYER

Your opinions please...

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In conversations there has been some discussion of a couple of scenarios. How would you handle these situations?

Each one has subtle differences, so please read carefully. Be honest.

Is this just a perk of the position?

Should you automatically be excluded from the opportunity due to your position or how would you handle it?

* All positions are unpaid volunteer board positions for a car club.

* You must assume that you are interested in what is for sale in each situation.

1 - You are contacted via private email addy by a non-member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in you club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?

2 - You are contacted via private email addy by a member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?

3 - You are contacted via general club contact email addy that goes to all board members by a non-member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?

4 - You are contacted via general contact email addy that goes to all board members by a member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?

5 - You are contacted via private email addy by a person who has expressed interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, and you are interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?

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He is interested in selling his parts, you are interested in buying his parts. If you both agree on terms I see no harm no foul. A foul would exist if he asked your opinion on priceing, in good faith, and you low balled him to take advantage of him..............Bob

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Amphicar BUYER</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

1 - You are contacted via private email addy by a non-member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in you club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?</div></div>

I see no conflict of interest. I get contacted all the time by people who want to know if I know of anyone interested in certain cars or parts. If I need/want the part, I buy it (sometimes I even buy things I don't need because I think they might be useful to someone else or sold by me at a profit). I don't think you are obligated to give others in the club the first shot at it, even as a club officer. Would it be any different if you bumped into a guy at, say, a local cruise night with a part you needed for sale? Would you say, "Listen, I really need it, but since I'm an officer of a club, why don't you place an ad in my club newsletter and see if anyone else needs it instead?" Of course not.

Similarly, if someone approaches you with parts you don't need but a friend does, do you give your friend a heads-up even though there may be some other members looking for the same thing? Of course you do.

Just today someone E-mailed me and offered me a Buick 320 straight-8 single 4-barrel intake, a 1952-only item. Very rare. I don't need it, but what he's asking and what it is worth are two different things--I can probably make a few bucks. I also know a lot more people than he does who could benefit from it. Does the fact that I have a high-profile web site about Buick straight-8s make me a cheater in this case?

However, now that I've said I know where to find one (and I don't need it myself), if someone on this board expresses a desire for it, I'll refer them to the seller directly and take myself out of the equation. I'd rather help someone than make a buck in this case, but if there's nobody else in line, making a buck isn't a crime. Who's to say I wouldn't have bought it if I saw it on Ebay instead? As a friend told me yesterday, "profit" isn't a dirty word.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">2 - You are contacted via private email addy by a member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?</div></div>

Same as #1. You aren't taking advantage of your position--you are being approached by a fellow member, just as you might be at a show or swap meet. There isn't a "system" you're circumventing or cheating anyone out of any money (like on eBay when you try to avoid paying the fee by making a side deal).

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">3 - You are contacted via general club contact email addy that goes to all board members by a non-member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?</div></div>

Is it different than non-members using this board to sell something? It's an official club communication device, but non-members are using it to sell stuff to members. Director Steve Moskowitz and webmaster Peter Gariepy can buy this stuff just like anyone else, right?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">4 - You are contacted via general contact email addy that goes to all board members by a member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, but has asked if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?</div></div>

Same as above. Personal contact is what the clubs are about. Ads in newsletters are great tools, but nothing beats networking when you're looking for that special something. Again, you aren't abusing your position, this person approached you as a resource, not to cheat anyone. If the ad appeared in the newsletter and you happened to get your copy a day before the other guy who needs the parts, would you be allowed to buy them then?

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">5 - You are contacted via private email addy by a person who has expressed interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, and you are interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members? </div></div>

Same as #4. Luck might just dictate that you would be first in line if the ad appeared anyway.

My opinion is that being on a board of a club doesn't make you exempt from the side-functions such as buying and selling. You're a higher profile member, perhaps, but still a member like anyone else. You don't have access to secret information that would make this akin to "insider trading" or something like that. If someone has parts, you should be allowed to buy them just like any other club member, without guilt. The fact that you were the first person they contacted shouldn't matter.

Now, if you were mining pre-production newsletters and buying the parts before the newsletter got to members, then I might be unhappy. But you're not taking advantage of your position by buying parts that you need that the seller might have mentioned to anyone else in the club. Heck, if all the board members get the E-mail from the seller, I'm 99% certain that they would each refer the guy to you if they knew you were looking for those parts. They wouldn't hide it from you until the ad was placed to give everyone a "fair shot" at them.

Don't sweat things like this. There's nothing shady in any of these scenarios in my opinion.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Bhigdog</div><div class="ubbcode-body">He is interested in selling his parts, you are interested in buying his parts. If you both agree on terms I see no harm no foul. A foul would exist if he asked your opinion on priceing, in good faith, and you low balled him to take advantage of him..............Bob </div></div>

I agree completely with Bhigdog. In each case you wrote that the person wondered "...if you are or know of anyone interested in buying his extra parts."

To me that means the person is offering the parts to you first and others after that. That might be on purpose, they wanted to offer the parts to you first. If you want the parts buy them.

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exactly.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Bhigdog</div><div class="ubbcode-body">He is interested in selling his parts, you are interested in buying his parts. If you both agree on terms I see no harm no foul. A foul would exist if he asked your opinion on priceing, in good faith, and you low balled him to take advantage of him..............Bob </div></div>

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I don't think it would be very ethical that only board members can buy stuff. How could that be fair and in the best interest of the club and its members?

When someone sends something into the club address for sale it should be available to the overall membership. the club owns the address not the board member. I do agree that it is a non issue if between a board member and the seller and contact is totally independent of a club owned address.

But typically most club rules say "there are no perks", so saying "it's a perk of the position" clearly breaks the club's rules. If the board member had wanted to behave according to the spirit of the rules, he ought to have placed the ad on the site and then sat on his hands for a sufficiently long time so other club members would have had a reasonable chance of seeing the new advertisement.

Whenever you take on any position of responsibility such as board member, that potentially leads to a conflict of interests, you ought to error clearly towards not abusing your position.

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Well in our club we had a member that gave me several "for sale" cars for the news letter. He also told at the meeting he was selling the cars. He then told me " you have to come look before you add them to the newsletter" So we went and bought one and the others I added to the news letter. Nobody ever said any thing.

Then my husband did a job for a guy (non member) and he had a couple of cars (VW's)he wanted to "give away". We did not want them but knew a member who could use parts. We contacted that person and he was very happy.

As for posting a add in our paper I have added everything I was given by members or friends of members, I have never been asked by any body else (non member)

Deby

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The only area that's questionable is number 5.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">5 - You are contacted via private email addy by a person who has expressed interest in posting an ad in your club newsletter, and you are interested in buying his extra parts.

Do you buy the part or do you feel required to exclude yourself as ineligible because of you position and pass it on the the club members?</div></div>

As a board member, it seems to me that you're duty-bound to serve the club at large, accept the ad and then buy the parts you need once the ad has run. To do otherwise could be seen as abuse of position and tick off your membership.

The key phrase in all the other scenarios is that the parts were offered to you or any other member. A board position with published contact info is where the addy guy got your address, so if anyone has a beef about privilege, let 'em run for the board and put in the thankless hours required. Before long they'll be singing a very different tune.

In all but number 5, the early bird catches the worm. And you Amphicar owners need lots of worms, right? wink.gif

TG

(I'm not a lawyer (or an ethicist), but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last month).

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Even in the event of scenario #5 I really don't see the big deal with the only exceptions being:

1. If you charge to post in the newsletter (not sure) you should either make him (or you) pay the listing fee.

2. If he/she is a novice and asks you pricing it's sort of unfair since they are looking to you as a source of information. If you want something they have, ethically you should either get them in touch with another member to set a price of provide them with a fair price.

3. If you buy and then resell the item on a consistent basis

As far as anything else goes, it's just as unfair for you or anyone to disqualify yourselves. Why should you have to post the ad, wait for replies and then respond if nobody else does. It's like putting you last in line. Just the fact that your posting this shows your being ethical so I am all in favor of people getting a few occasional spoils. Well thats is unless its something i need....... smile.gif

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Amphicar BUYER;

I am an owner of a body shop and have been a director of an auto body association. If someone called me and asked where he could have auto body work done, would anyone be stupid enough to expect me to refuse the job?

Does this answer your post?

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If you were buying it to keep for your own collection, I wouldn't care, but if you were in the business of selling cars and using your position with the club to get the inside track to turn around and sell the stuff without giving someone who would keep it for themselves, it could be an moral issue with someone.

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Thanks for all the responses! This hopefully will help make it clear how this works in the real world and help move forward. I would have bet my last dollar that this is exactly as it would have turned out. Everyone I have polled has the same answers. This all is quite obvious to me and to 99% of all I have polled here and among other clubs.

<span style="font-weight: bold">If there was an ad request,</span> without question it should be posted. If not, than it's fair game. To be excluded because of your position is not fair to the board members. They are members too so in fact it would not be fair to them as members themselves. Catch 22.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> I don't think it would be very ethical that only board members can buy stuff. How could that be fair and in the best interest of the club and its members? </div></div>

You cannot assume that only board members were contacted or that is was ONLY available to them. There was nothing stating or inferring any such thing. That is a stretch.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">When someone sends something into the club address for sale it should be available to the overall membership. the club owns the address not the board member. I do agree that it is a non issue if between a board member and the seller and contact is totally independent of a club owned address. </div></div>

Only if it was intended to be a request for an ad, in this case that was clearly not the intent nor was there any mention of any ad. If there was a request for an ad, obviously it becomes a different issue.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">But typically most club rules say "there are no perks", so saying "it's a perk of the position" clearly breaks the club's rules. If the board member had wanted to behave according to the spirit of the rules, he ought to have placed the ad on the site and then sat on his hands for a sufficiently long time so other club members would have had a reasonable chance of seeing the new advertisement. </div></div>

There is no possible way and unrealistic to say "no perks" as they can be very intangible like more notoriety, and you can be the 1st point of contact etc. <span style="font-weight: bold">Again, you are assuming there was an ad request and that is not part of this scenario therefore it is still a moot point. </span> Please stay on topic.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Whenever you take on any position of responsibility such as board member, that potentially leads to a conflict of interests, you ought to error clearly towards not abusing your position.

</div></div>

Clearly, that goes without saying!

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<span style="font-weight: bold">You are contacted via private email </span>addy by a non-member who had not expressed any interest in posting an ad in you club newsletter, but has <span style="font-weight: bold">asked if you are </span>or know of anyone <span style="font-weight: bold">interested in buying </span>his extra parts.

<span style="color: #3333FF">Your answer is in bold. If <span style="font-weight: bold">I</span> was contacted in that manner, and <span style="font-weight: bold">I</span> didn`t need them, then the "or know of anyone" part would apply. </span>

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Sorry to be joining the conversation so late but I have been busy touring and away from the computer. Obviously example number 5 is the one to stay away from.

I have always used the simplest test to see if something was ethical or not. If you would be happy with your mother reading about you doing what you are thinking of doing, on the top half of the front page of your local newspaper, it is ethical.

If you would be unhappy with your mother reading, in your local paper, about you doing something that you are thinking of doing, it is unethical.

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Matt,

I would agree with your test as long as your mother is not running for a political office....

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If you are in a club, how do your by-laws address situations like this? We really want to get it right, we owe that to our members.

I would have no problem telling my Mom. She would have been fine with it. I try to live right and take the high road. She was certainly an influential part of my standards and remains so.

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I had to take back my earlier replies, as I guess I read a little too fast.

If you are contacted via private email, you have no obligations.

If you are contacted through club contacts, then you have ethical obligations to allow all club members to be included in the information.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: West Peterson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I had to take back my earlier replies, as I guess I read a little too fast.

If you are contacted via private email, you have no obligations.

If you are contacted through club contacts, then you have ethical obligations to allow all club members to be included in the information. </div></div>

If you follow that rule, it puts that member to the back of the line in getting something. Sake of arguement, an Email comes in about a part that the board member needs. Your logic is that it must be posted. Then what? Do you have to wait for everyone to not act before you can? Whats a reasonable timeframe? An hour? Day? Its sort of a puts the board member at a dissadvantage. Its just as unfair, if not more.

The problem is that either way there will be an issue. If you want a solution thats egalitarian than here it is:

If a board member gets into a situation where a person wants to post an item for sale which the board member wants, let the board member post that the item was offered and that they want it and will purchase it for X dollars. If someone wants it also, they can work something out (high bidder, rock/paper/scissors match, e.g.)

Honestly, how often does this come up that it's an issue? Personally, I applaud anyone who volunteers for anything so if they get a bone once in a while, so be it.

Again, predicated that its not an item I want. Then I should get 1st dibs....... grin.gif

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No. It puts you on an equal plane. How does including all members put you to the back of the line?

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Becuase if you act to fast, people will say you posted it and then immediately acted upon it. Therefore you would have to wait a "reasonable" amount of time for everyone to view it. Then you have to say that enough time has past before contacting the person where nobody will accuse you of acting to swiftly. Sit back and wait for enough time that you feel everyone got a chance to see it, and you may miss out.

No matter what, someone will not be happy. I'm not trying to debate for the sake of it, I just think that whichever way is chosen, someone will take issue with it.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: West Peterson</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I had to take back my earlier replies, as I guess I read a little too fast.

<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="color: #FF0000">If you are contacted via private email, you have no obligations</span>.</span>If you are contacted through club contacts, then you have ethical obligations to allow all club members to be included in the information. </div></div>

This is the distinction that keeps getting overlooked. I agree that if the contact is thru private email, it's fair game in all instances.

If it's via the clubs site <span style="font-weight: bold">AND </span>they are a member, I feel it's my duty to inform the member that the ad is an option and post an ad <span style="font-weight: bold">if requested</span>. If no ad is requested, it's still a personal email request then it's fair game.

If they request an ad, then it's my obligation to do so. I personally would probably give it at least 24 hours before pursuing it myself. This is what puts us Board members out of contention, if its a good deal, we surely will not have a chance.

I still don't see a problem with anyone getting the occasional benefit from a thankless and non-paying position. To say "no perks" is just not realistic or possible. Unfortunately there are people out there who just don't understand not everything can be put into black and white terms.

The fact it that this has happened only about once a year. 99% of the time the member will just call and say "hey do you need my widget, if not who might?" Circumstances now dictate that we put a lot of effort into making rules for what I would say should be a low priority or zero priority issue.

Oh well, that's my job and I still enjoy it because the one "perk" that can't be taken away is the people that I have met and come to call my friends from coast to coast and around the world.

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For sale, 1936 Packard, show quality, $100.00.

Please wait until everybody has read this post before offering to buy it. We want to be fair and let everybody get chance at it.

LOL

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Just remember that when it comes to rare car parts, we are all just like the seagulls in "Finding Nemo". Mine....Mine....Mine....

If you step up to be a leader in your organization, you deserve a perk once in awhile.

However, if you put yourself in such a position just to profit from it; you are doing it for the wrong reasons and taking advantage of your members. It won't take long for them to realize what you are doing and vote you out.

My 2 cents...

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Personaly, if I was confronted with the "place an ad request" I'd simply ask for the wording of the ad. If a price was listed I would offer to buy at that price. If the seller accepted I see no ethical problems. If the ad read " best offer" I would feel obligated to post it. Unless of course it was a "to die for" part. In which case the hungry sea gull rules would take effect.........Bob

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