First post, so I hope I do this right...
My fiancé and I have been looking for two bookcases. The ones available in stores are either not our style or totally out of our price range. So we started looking at popular online classified sites. We finally found an ad for two matching bookcases in the right style and price. The advertisement was already a couple of weeks old when we found it, but my fiancé emailed the seller in the hopes the bookcases might still be available. The seller responded that there was already another interested buyer (Buyer 1). Buyer 1 had viewed the bookcases but she had not paid yet or arranged for pick up. The seller thought that Buyer 1 might be backing out.
We waited a few days. Then my fiancé emailed the seller again (this past Saturday) to ask if the bookcases had sold or not. It turns out that Buyer 1 did back out. Meanwhile, we’ve only actually seen a photo of one bookcase (not the second one, although it allegedly matches) and we wanted to be sure of their condition before committing to buy. In addition, we suspected that the seller’s apartment was probably a walk-up (given the neighbourhood) and these bookcases might be a hassle to move (in which case we’d need an extra pair of hands). We were totally upfront with the seller that we just wanted to see them before making our final decision. The seller agreed and scheduled a viewing for us on Monday afternoon. She did write that she had friends coming over on Monday evening (after our viewing) which sounded like it would actually be an inconvenience to her if we wanted to move the bookcases that afternoon. At this point, it also became clear for the first time that the seller is a woman.
On Monday, we arrived for the viewing on time. The neighbourhood is a 30 minute drive from our house, so not the most convenient trip. Meanwhile, the seller insisted on not giving us her building address until we were already in her neighbourhood. So we parked the car and called her as requested. She told us the address and we started walking. About five minutes later, when we were a couple of blocks away, she called to cancel abruptly. She suddenly claimed that she was very busy because of her friends coming over in two hours. She also told us that she would only allow us to view the bookcases if we promised that we had the full price on us (in cash) and to take them right away (not possible in our compact hatchback). When we couldn’t promise her to buy without seeing anything, she finally told us that she wasn’t comfortable having us in her apartment without her boyfriend present. She told us we could re-schedule for another time.
I suspect that because my fiancé did all the communicating (emails and then mobile call), the seller didn’t realise that it was a MAN and WOMAN coming to view. I think that she may have been worried that she was about to be alone with two men and she backed out at the last second due to nervousness (it was clear that two people were coming but I guess we didn’t make absolutely clear that one of us was a female). Honestly, I can understand being hesitant to invite strangers into her home while alone. However, she had two days to arrange for her boyfriend or friends to be there. Instead, she waited until the very last minute to cancel. I feel like our time was wasted.
Under the circumstances, we have decided that we aren’t interested in buying from this woman. Besides having to drive out of our way again, her terms were that we have to come ready to move. That’s just too much inconvenience if we discover that the bookcases are not even in the described condition. (For one thing, we will definitely need to borrow a larger car from my father and I don’t want that to be a needless inconvenience to him if it turns out we don’t even buy the things.)
I think it would be considerate to inform her that we are no longer interested in purchasing the bookcases (rather then letting her believe that we might still buy). However, I am wondering if we should tell her that the main reason is her abrupt cancellation and her unreasonable/inconvenient demands? (I am kind of wondering if this is what happened to Buyer 1?). Or is it better to just say “not interested” and nothing else?
Also, more generally, is there some rule about not viewing items from online classifieds unless you are prepared to move them immediately?
(For the record, our plan was to give her the full price and offer a 50% deposit immediately. We wanted to give her the rest when we actually moved the bookcases at her convenience --- ASAP. Is that weird?)