Money Moral Dilemma: Should I buy and sell on a lamp that may be worth more than the owner thinks?

edited 5 April 2022 at 2:18PM in Ebay, auctions, car boot sales, post & parcels
45 replies 17.6K views
MSE_KelvinMSE_Kelvin MSE Staff
292 Posts
Fifth Anniversary 10 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
MSE Staff
This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

I've haggled the cost of a 'marble' lamp I found online down from £10 to £8, but what the seller thinks is marble, I believe to be serpentine, and these lamps easily sell for £30 or more. Would it be wrong to buy it and sell it on for a profit without telling the seller what I think it's really made of?

Unfortunately the MSE team can't answer Money Moral Dilemma questions as contributions are emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be a point of debate and discussed at face value. Remember that behind each dilemma there is a real person so, as the forum rules say, please keep it kind and keep it clean.

B) If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply.
:/ Got a Money Moral Dilemma of your own? Suggest an MMD.


  • maisie_catmaisie_cat Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Academoney Grad
    I personally work on a Karma basis, I'd rather not benefit from somebody else like that.
    The only we've done something similar is when a neighbour gave us a broken lawnmower for spares because we had the same model. I heard him tell his wife that we could take it to the tip because it was junk. My clever husband fixed it with a few hours work and we kept it and sold ours for £80. 
  • ExodiExodi Forumite
    2.1K Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    It's certainly not prospective buyers responsbility to help sellers achieve the maximum sale value - quite strange to think about really.

    Know what you don't
  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Ambassador
    70.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    I can't see why buyer is obligated to give information to the seller, seller has offered something and agreed a price and that should be it. A lot of people buy at car boot sales to resell, this is a recognised business model, is there a suggestion then that these sellers should instead be going around offering basically free valuations for people and not actually buying?

    I buy at auctions, I go to a price that allows me to make a profit when I re sell, If buyers are under any obligation to advise sellers that they are not achieving a good price how would anyone ever buy or sell anything again?

    I'm certainly aware that people have bought from me to resell , sometimes even though I know something is worth more than I am being paid - I still just want rid of it, perhaps the buyer has more room than I do to store things or maybe they have a buyer or a venue I don't use. I take a price that makes me happy, if buyer can sell for more then good luck to them.
    ’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]
    All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • VintageBelleVintageBelle Forumite
    319 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I don't think it's wrong it all. Reselling is a huge deal now. It's the sellers responsibility to do all their research on an item and not the buyers. It's the same in charity shops and car boots, sellers set their price, buyers pay it. Well done on a potential bargain.
  • pollypennypollypenny Forumite
    29.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    There's an old saying 'buyer beware'; the same thing can applies to a seller. 
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
  • HarryMcGarryHarryMcGarry Forumite
    6 Posts
    Eighth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    Does no-one watch Bargain Hunt???? 
  • pinkpiggypigpinkpiggypig Forumite
    5 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker
    Buy and sell on - sure, but do you really need to haggle?
  • NQManchesterNQManchester Forumite
    156 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I think it’s fine to resell, I sell stuff on Facebook knowing someone else can probably get more for it but I just want rid. If people can make a bit of money doing that then good luck to them.
    However I think you should just pay them their asking price, bit snide to haggle it down when you know it’s worth more. 
  • Ed264Ed264 Forumite
    66 Posts
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    I think it's up to the seller to be fully aware of what he/she is selling! If you're confident it's serpentine, go ahead and buy it for the best price you can agree and enjoy your profit. It's really no different than part-exchanging a car - the dealer will offer you what you will accept, then sell it for the most they can. Business is business! However, if the lamp turns out to be marble, you might not achieve your goal. Good luck.  
  • All_EarsAll_Ears Forumite
    11 Posts
    Third Anniversary First Post
    There is a Latin phrase 'Caveat Emptor' which means 'Let the buyer beware' but there is also the Latin phrase ' Caveat venditor' which means 'Let the seller beware'. Given that these phrases have been around for 1000s of years, you would have thought that Homo sapiens would have got it by now. Thus, if the potential buyer (Emptor)is correct in saying that the lamp is made from serpentine, sorry, but I have no sympathy with the seller (Venditor, from which we get the word 'vend' or sell). Those lovers of Bargain Hunt will remember Chiswick Auctions in past programmes as it was popular for selling Bargain Hunt items, which had been bought out in the sticks, often at a higher price than bought. This shows that prices can vary region by region. Thus, beware Bargain Hunters buying in a retail London shop and trying to make a profit in a regional auction such as Philip Serrell's in Malvern. Sorry, 'He of the scarf instead of tie brigade'! 
Sign In or Register to comment.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Energy Price Cap change

Martin Lewis on what it means for you

MSE News

Best £1 you've ever spent?

Share your most impressive bargains

MSE Forum