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> Why not sell on 'e-bay'?
chazuli
post Mar 3 2006, 12:31 PM
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I've been getting some flack from the guys I run over the amount of nuyen they're getting for their loot. Specifically they have a problem with the 30% of cost rule. Basically, they're wondering why they couldn't just put the goods they've acquired up on 'ebay'....

To get specific, the runners in my group are operating underwater salvage out of the ruins of L.A. Their opposition so far have been enviromental along with some paracritters, and the rewards they've recovered have been some jewelry from a store in a submerged section of Beverly Hills.

The question they've raised is given they have a couple of players with SINs, why can't they just sell the jewels directly on 'epay'? I've quoted them the value of the gems at 350,000 (there are six members of the party, I wanted them to walk away from the run w/ about 17,000 nuyen) But they're now looking to get 80% from selling the jewelry themselves. The assumption we're all operating on is the jewelry is 'legitimate salvage', since they recovered it from underwater.

Any ideas on the ramifications and justifications for the 30% rule?

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Oracle
post Mar 3 2006, 12:43 PM
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The 30% rule is for equipment that can't be legally sold. If the jewelry is legal salvage, they should be able to sell it for a higher price.
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BlackHat
post Mar 3 2006, 12:51 PM
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Definitions of fence (ignoring those about swords or enclosing property):
receive stolen goods
a dealer in stolen property

I'm not sure about te 30% rule, but I see no reason why they would have to fense the jewelry - especially given they have legit SINs. The jewels wern't stolen, and arn't illegal in themselves. Sure, if they go to a pawn shop, they won't get afraciton of what its worth - but most jewelers will appraise items and buy them (even if they just end up re-setting them) but it isn't like the jewels are counterfeit, stolen, "used" (in the sense that they perform worse), used in any crime, and there is no crackdown on them. I also don't imagine a gemstone pricewar going on.

So, I think that the 30% fencing rule was meant to be when Shadowrunners are trying to fence somewhat tracable or illegal loot - and in a hurry. I would say that if the group wants to unload the jewels quickly, sure, leave it at 30% and let the players roll to bump it up. Otherwise, they didn't do anythign illegal, so htey have no reason to "fence" the loot. They just need to legitimatly sell it to a jeweler (which would tie those transactions to their legitimate SINs, so they better not spend their newfound money on guns and drugs), and I would also make this take about a month (for the jewelers to appraise them, with a second opinion within their company, and for them to gather the funds).

Also, if they were obtained from LA. I believe, in order to be perfectly legal, Seattle would tax the imports. So, you could shave off some percent there too, if you wanted. EDIT But since there are no real rules about how the city of Seattle behaves, in terms of taxes and law concearning other states, its a totally arbitrary GM call.
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MaxHunter
post Mar 3 2006, 01:23 PM
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If you are too worried about the extra payoff, there's always some sort of organized crime organization willing to profit from someone else's job.

"Hello, we have heard you have just gotten a hefty amount of nuyen for your work. Aren't you worried about protection? My cousin Vito and I could surely help..."

Cheers,

Max
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nezumi
post Mar 3 2006, 02:14 PM
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Apparently none of you guys have ever tried to sell jewelry.

We were trying to sell off a diamond engagement ring. It was independently valued (twice) at about $2,000. The most we could get for it was $700. We visited half a dozen pawn shops. Don't expect better on ebay. And that's not dealing with problems involving moving stolen goods.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 02:50 PM
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I'm with nezumi. This is used stuff, and you aren't selling from a storefront so you just aren't going to get anything close to appraised unless it is a very special piece that a number of people would have an interest in. Not stolen? Prove it! Where is the pink slip (receipt). Why are you selling it? "I found it in the ocean" sounds so much like "My dog ate the receipt".

Also the PCC and or city of LA might have something to say the legality and tax status of the salvage. Or the previous owner, or his insurer assuming it was covered, might decide he wants his loot back. If an insurer they might even be willing to work out a recovery fee and further work opportunities.

But that aside, they want to sen up their own high-end retail business? DING, you just won! They just handed you a big fat juicy plot hook. Put it out on ebay that you are some smuck with 350K worth of jewelry for sale? You just don't know who is going to come a-knocking at your door. As the buyer or unannounced.
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calypso
post Mar 3 2006, 03:35 PM
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"Used" jewels? Explain that one to me...

I think it depends what avenues they pursue to sell them. If they want MONEY NOW!!11 then they have to pawn them, and probably will only get 30% of their value. If they're willing to wait, I see no reason they shouldn't get closer to 75% of their value at auction.

Also, unless the law changed significantly in 65 years, the "law of finds" means that since they're the ones recovering the unclaimed salvage, it's legally theirs. So, they're not trying to sell stolen goods. And jewelery retains its value remarkably well.

So I'd say, the longer they're willing to wait for a payoff, the more they should get for them.

Calypso
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Dashifen
post Mar 3 2006, 03:46 PM
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Put them online and make the previous owner see the add. The previous owner seems to have some Family who would like to take a look at the gems to be sure that they're as valuable as the players say they are.

Edit: Damn, the Family was already mentioned.....

Okay, second idea: put the gems online. An interested buyer is more interested in saving money. He/She sets a up a meeting with the players for the purposes of verifying the stones' value with an independent appraisal. The meet is, actually, just a show to try and steal some or all of the stones, replacing them with fakes that the buyer made up based on the images of the stones found online.

Ah ... a whole "run" based around one NPC's use of the Palming skill :D
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nezumi
post Mar 3 2006, 03:48 PM
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I know SR3 has some rules on selling stuff yourself which increases the price (and risk of getting caught with it) based on the amount of time and number of people contacted about it. Why not use those rules?
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 03:51 PM
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QUOTE (calypso @ Mar 3 2006, 10:35 AM)
"Used" jewels? Explain that one to me...

Secondhand, not from a storefront.

QUOTE
I think it depends what avenues they pursue to sell them. If they want MONEY NOW!!11 then they have to pawn them, and probably will only get 30% of their value. If they're willing to wait, I see no reason they shouldn't get closer to 75% of their value at auction.


Depends on the type of jewelry. Whether it lots of pedestrian pieces or a few highend ones. Because if it is pedestrian you are pretty much guaranteed to be selling to a middleman anyway that is looking to buy low and sell at something closer to market. No way he'll pay a premium on something that means lots of small sales for him. That puts you way back down the scale.

QUOTE
Also, unless the law changed significantly in 65 years, the "law of finds" means that since they're the ones recovering the unclaimed salvage, it's legally theirs. So, they're not trying to sell stolen goods. And jewelery retains its value remarkably well.


There is a lot of stuff that has changed in 65 years. Like Dragons being elected President. There is absolutely no reason why a special law, tax or otherwise, couldn't be brought into place because of the LA destruction. Or a corp got a salvage contract. Or a criminal org has declared it their turf and actively discourages salvage operations or sells kneecap insurance to salvage operations.

Even now would you not be paying income taxes? Runners normally don't report their income ;), but these guys are going through legal channels. The Taxman cometh!

QUOTE
So I'd say, the longer they're willing to wait for a payoff, the more they should get for them.


This can easily be reflected in negotiation rolls. Potential buys call them with an offer and they with an offer. Maybe they talk them up, maybe they don't. However the will from start to finish be getting calls from bottom feeder traders that are trying to lowball them and get a deal. Also if it is lots of smaller pieces they will likely have to break up into lot sales themselves.
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danzig138
post Mar 3 2006, 05:26 PM
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All I can offer is that, instead of screwing them in one of the many ways suggested, let them seel the stuff off after a period of time, like someone mentioned, a month or so. Let them get 60-80% for it.

Next time, if you want them to come out with 17k in profit each, work the value so that when they sell the loot legit, its value is such that they come out of it with 17k each optimally.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 05:37 PM
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QUOTE (danzig138 @ Mar 3 2006, 12:26 PM)
All I can offer is that, instead of screwing them in one of the many ways suggested, let them seel the stuff off after a period of time, like someone mentioned, a month or so. Let them get 60-80% for it.

Next time, if you want them to come out with 17k in profit each, work the value so that when they sell the loot legit, its value is such that they come out of it with 17k each optimally.

Income tax isn't the GM screwing the player, it is the government screwing the PC in the same old song and dance we both know so well.

The big boys staking a claim on a chunck of known huge wealth isn't the GM screwing the players. It is SR.

Using unexpected loot and unexpected PC decisions as a plot hook isn't the GM screwing the player. It is the GM taking advantage of an opportunity. If the GM used the hook as an excuse to just take an abirtary amount without playing it all out and giving the PCs a real chance of even gaining from the adventure that isn't using it as a plot hook.
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calypso
post Mar 3 2006, 05:52 PM
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What it comes down to is you guys are offering excuses to lower the value of the items, when such an excuse shouldn't be needed.

It really is "screw the players". Yes, they should have to pay income tax on it if they sell them legally. But all this talk of having an NPC steal them, or mug them, or so forth, is pretty heavy-handed.

No where did I see the OP ask for ways to lower the amount of money the PCs would get. He simply asked if perhaps he should be giving them more than 30% for legally obtained goods. And I say that the answer is yes.

Calypso
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 05:59 PM
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QUOTE (calypso @ Mar 3 2006, 12:52 PM)
But all this talk of having an NPC steal them, or mug them, or so forth, is pretty heavy-handed.

Death and taxes....and thieves

Heavy handed is a Firewatch platoon or a GD silently dropping out of the sky while they sleep. Setting up a opposition that the PCs can deal with using reasonably priced and straightforward tactics is fair game, and frankly a great change of pace "run". Especially if they have an opportunity to maybe even turn the tables and corpse loot some extra gear or pick up a contact by impressing the J that sent the guys to rob them. They want to put up a target that they would take a swipe at themselves? They aren't the only criminals in town!

EDIT

I guess I wasn't as clear about that as I should have been. Yes, do not bring in the theives just to take cash away. If the PCs hold the day let them have that extra cash. It is only a doubling of what you budgeted for, and it is getting divided 7 ways. That should'nt be enough to break your game.

This is also a great opportunity to create an advisary that the players can really loath, if they don't have it already. Emotionally engaging the players towards a goal that will give them a sense of accomplishment when they reach it. The tricky part is doing that with out pulling out the deus hammer. I suggest the best way to go about it is set up an opposition that has a 50/50 or slightly higher chance defeat the team, but will tends to do so in a none lethal manner and even if they fail are likely to survive. So either way the PCs and the NPC(s) are still around, and it was a memorable experience either way. It also doesn't cheat the players, and hopefully they don't feel directly cheated, because victory was there to be won fair and square. Their PCs though of course will feel either cheated or vidicated, and in a way the players are likely to experience themselves.

Players engaged!
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Cain
post Mar 3 2006, 06:23 PM
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It's still heavy handed, arbitrary, and unfair. If the players have done a good job of covering their tracks, there's no reason why a team of thieves would be coming after them. EBay has several protection programs in place to protect buyers and sellers, and any shadowrunning team worth their salt will have a few more.

There's other ways of offering plot hooks than screwing over the players and railroading them into the storyline you want them to play. Just because you're not using orbital bovine bombardment doesn't mean that you're not playing it square with your players-- you're still railroading them.

Let the *players* actions decide what steps would be taken. Unless that jewelry is really expensive, why would a gang of near-equal shadowrunners come after them for it? If you want a plot hook, let some of the jewelry be magical, letting the players choose rather or not they want to follow up on that lead. Don't just throw things at them "just because"-- instead, let them choose the course.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 06:32 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 3 2006, 01:23 PM)
If the players have done a good job of covering their tracks, there's no reason why a team of thieves would be coming after them.

They are publicly saying we got us some jewels we think are worth 1/3 of million :nuyen: . That pretty much covers both off there. Now if they take extra precautions to mitigate this, then they are indeed covered. Until the taxman comes.
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Cain
post Mar 3 2006, 06:43 PM
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QUOTE (Brahm)
QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 3 2006, 01:23 PM)
If the players have done a good job of covering their tracks, there's no reason why a team of thieves would be coming after them.

They are publicly saying we got us some jewels we thing are worth 1/3 of million :nuyen: . That pretty much covers both off there. Now if they take extra precautions to mitigate this, then no they are indeed covered. Until the taxman comes.

If they're using an online auction house, they're going to be well-protected the whole way through; EBay, for example, doesn't require that you tell all potential buyers your name and home address. You're allowed to use a User ID that protects you somewhat. Combine that with a blind email drop, a certified offshore account, and having the jewels held by the auction house, the players aren't going to be in any trouble at all. The auction house might be robbed, but their insurance will pay the PC's off.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 06:51 PM
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I know I wouldn't drop hundreds of thousand dollars on jewels site unseen. If they use a service to provide physical security for inspection of the jewelry and escrow? They will likely have mitigated the risk.

But they have also now used a between that is going to take a cut. As big as fencing countraband? No, but it isn't going to be free.

And that is all assuming they didn't create a trail during the original salvage operation. Equipment purchase or rental? The dock they left from? Navigation beacon from their boat they took out?

Basically I'd look at it as if the PCs were running against the same salvage and sell operation. Turn about is indeed fair play.
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kigmatzomat
post Mar 3 2006, 07:47 PM
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There's 3 ways to do this:

1. You strictly adhere to the rules even when they don't make any sense. (i.e. forcing salvage to be sold at 30%)

2. You find a way for the rules to make sense by ret-conning the setting (taxes, changes to the centuries-old international maritme laws of salvage, etc)

3. You give them the option of 30% NOW or ~80% the way you normally sell jewelry: ssssllllloooowwwwlllllllyyyyy. To get 250,000Y will take between 6-months and a year, they will have to PAY (gasp) an upfront fee (~1-2%) to get the jewelry appraised and PAY (double gasp!) for it to be kept in a secure (bank-type) location (another 1-2%) as well as PAY (triple gasp) for insurance (yet another 1-2%).

So they can take 100,000Y right now or PAY ~10,000Y to earn 250,000Y over several months. Deal or no Deal?

By the way: their best bet is for their stuff to be stolen and covered by insurance since that would cover full (100%) value. So can they resist the urge of stealing their own kit?
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nezumi
post Mar 3 2006, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (kigmatzomat)
By the way: their best bet is for their stuff to be stolen and covered by insurance since that would cover full (100%) value. So can they resist the urge of stealing their own kit?

There are many problems with it, the most basic being that I don't think most insurance companies cover most of the cost of jewelry (unless you bought special insurance just for it), the second being that insurance companies don't sell their services to the SINless.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE (nezumi)
QUOTE (kigmatzomat @ Mar 3 2006, 02:47 PM)
By the way: their best bet is for their stuff to be stolen and covered by insurance since that would cover full (100%) value.  So can they resist the urge of stealing their own kit?

There are many problems with it, the most basic being that I don't think most insurance companies cover most of the cost of jewelry (unless you bought special insurance just for it), the second being that insurance companies don't sell their services to the SINless.

Two of the runners have a SIN.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 08:11 PM
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QUOTE (kigmatzomat @ Mar 3 2006, 02:47 PM)
2. You find a way for the rules to make sense by ret-conning the setting (taxes, changes to the centuries-old international maritme laws of salvage, etc)

Ret-conning income tax? :P I better get hold of my accountant. The bastard apparently has been getting me to cut huge cheques to the government for no apparent reason!

The insanity of LA may or may not be covered by the Maritime Law. What is the precidence of a enormous city dropping below sea level and that is expected to pop up again in a couple of years? ;)

EDIT More importantly how does this interact with whatever new laws allow extra-territorality that apparently can now occur underwater? Oceanic Arcologies have extra-territorality right?
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FrankTrollman
post Mar 3 2006, 08:47 PM
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We aren't talking about someone pulling up a bunch of agricultural equipment, or fuel cells, or vehicles or something. We're talking about someone pulling up jewelry, and the fact is that jewelry has no inherent value at all. Diamonds, saphires, even gold is available in raw form extremely cheaply. Gold costs just 1 per gram, and diamonds are available for less than that. You could fill a 2-liter bottle with pure gold and it would be worth less than 40 grand (and weigh more than some dwarfs).

The fact is that jewelry only has any value because DeBeers-Universal Omnitech is willing to shoot people who openly admit that a diamond ring isn't worth more than a set of corrective lenses. Stores that are backed by DeBeers sell jewelry for a lot of money because they have the marketting apparatus (and the Liberians with AKs) to make that happen.

If you're just a guy on the street with some diamond necklaces (whether obtained legally or not), they are worth basically fuck-all. Sorry, but you probably should have been dredging up something with real value instead of just marketting pizzaz. Giving the PCs 30% of retail for jewelry is generous.

Check it out.

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Cain
post Mar 3 2006, 09:35 PM
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QUOTE
I know I wouldn't drop hundreds of thousand dollars on jewels site unseen. If they use a service to provide physical security for inspection of the jewelry and escrow? They will likely have mitigated the risk.

But they have also now used a between that is going to take a cut. As big as fencing countraband? No, but it isn't going to be free.

Probably not, but then again, the cut isn't going to be that painful, either. Auction houses like Christies of London will likely only charge 5% or so. Also note that you can use a blind email with them, nowadays; in 2070 an offshore numbered account shouldn't be a problem, either.

Best of all, Christies has insurance. If the jewelry is stolen, then Christies's insurance will reimburse the team for something approaching their full value.
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Brahm
post Mar 3 2006, 09:43 PM
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QUOTE (Cain @ Mar 3 2006, 04:35 PM)
QUOTE
I know I wouldn't drop hundreds of thousand dollars on jewels site unseen. If they use a service to provide physical security for inspection of the jewelry and escrow? They will likely have mitigated the risk.

But they have also now used a between that is going to take a cut. As big as fencing countraband? No, but it isn't going to be free.

Probably not, but then again, the cut isn't going to be that painful, either. Auction houses like Christies of London will likely only charge 5% or so. Also note that you can use a blind email with them, nowadays; in 2070 an offshore numbered account shouldn't be a problem, either.

Best of all, Christies has insurance. If the jewelry is stolen, then Christies's insurance will reimburse the team for something approaching their full value.

So 5% and another 40ish % for income tax and costs for setting up the offshore blind drop account applied to say 75% of sale...and that is really optimistic. So you are looking at somewhere near 40% of appraisal in cash that while it is now nice and legal which has it's upsides, is also linked to a real SIN so you need to be careful what you spend it on. So the choices are 30% now in underworld cash/goods or perhaps 40%-45% later in In The System cash. That is a real head scratcher, and likely comes down to their particular situation. Which seems fair, no?
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