Originally Posted by Dracheous
you are not legally obliged, unless your signature is on a peice of paper. If you don't want to purchase something, thats your right.
But, what I will agree with hands down is don't flake and just dissappear, explain yourself. IE. Unavailable funds!... Things come up you know. But to just disappear when the seller is sitting there on his hands telling everyone its sold, when if you come out say "Look, I just can't buy it, I'm sorry to trouble you." The worst is that the seller is a little let down that now he has to put it back up, but he's not sitting there for days/weeks when they could had gone back to their thread and say. "Sorry, the deal was called off, item back for sale, any new takers?"
Now, on to the "pre-order" now there is the only part where I'll agree with "obliged." Because you are getting someone to pay for something, instead of displaying interest in an item that is already in stock. The only thing is still, no signature, so your best bet is to do the deposite, they you have a legal lock with them. And they already paid half! Why pull out now?
You do not need a signature. Most visible example: winning an Ebay auction. That's a legally binding contract.
Saying "I'm interested in" is completely different to saying "I'm buying, where do I send money?"
"I take "interested"'s and use them lightly, give the customer a sense of the stock, an average ETA, etc. On the other hand, "buying"'s, I pre-package it nearly right away. I should NOT have to wonder if the person will pay, but alas, it seems like people feel the anonymity somehow precludes them from following up on a deal.
Of course, I think were always assuming the flaker/buyer approaches the seller, not the other way around. Then in the case that the seller approaches an individual, it's fair enough to say "maybe I'll buy some other time", or something like that. That is NOT a binding contract.
I must say though, pre-deposits definitely do work, when used in the right context
. For example, a 50% deposit (or more, of course) on a large order (10 or more radios, for example) means that:
1) All stock they want that I have in-stock, is held for them, in order that the orders come in;
2) It almost always means free shipping, and almost all tax is covered (8% PST in Ontario is excluded).