Consider the following from my personal experience.
Many years ago, a very wealthy man told me ... "Lois, spend money on things that grow in value and don't spend money on things that lose value. Buy the cheapest car you can and then the best house on the best piece of land." This piece of advice has formed my thinking for most of my adult life.
When I buy a used car I look for:
1. A motivated seller
2. A car with no rust
3. A car history that shows it has not been in a flood or fire.
4. A wreck is okay if the frame was not impacted.
5. No, more than $2500 ... the most I have paid is $2700 and that was a rare happenstance with a car that was in perfect condition.
6. A car that I like.
7. I use ebay Motors to search for cars in a 100 mile radius
Now then, where do I start with my offer? I start at $700 to set the expectation for how I will bid and how much I'm willing to pay.
I allow the seller to make a higher offer and then ... I am very clear that I can walk away from the deal. My position is ... I do not have to buy your car ... Therefore, am I unethical to start at $700 and perhaps go to a max of $2500.
By the way, the car we are currently driving was purchased on ebay motors for $2500. The car my son, Aaron is currently driving was purchased online for $2100.
Comments? Ethical or not?
I don't think that you are unethical at all for starting at a lower bid, and thereafter willing to increase your bid accordingly. I am sure that the seller has the same plan; offer to sell the car for $3,500.00 and go down to $2,500.00. This has nothing to do with ethics. I believe that this is more about how guilty or not guilty you feel about doing this. It is smart decision making.
In terms of your bid, if you start at $700.00, the seller may not think you are reasonable at all, and therefore offer no counter offer. Therefore, you should make some reasonable bid. It ...
This solution provides a response to an attached scenario and a determination was made as to whether or not the scenario was ethical.