I believe the problem is their crude rubber band market model. As the quantity you sell goes up, the value per unit decreases. Not a bad idea, but not one that makes much sense given the microeconomic scale of deliveries, and even less sense given their contractual nature. Anyway, this means taking two contracts for the same good to the same destination will likely reduce the value of said good to nothing once you sell off the goods for the first contract. Yes, this is a bad and broken design.
Additionally, I am certain I have experienced transactions that result in a negative balance difference where it actually costs me money to sell goods. No matter how depressed the price of a good is, there should never be case where a merchant would take a fee from the supplier to accept a good; they would simply refuse the good. Of course, there is the special case of paying for disposal, such as the case of waste products. I suspect the cause of this particular problem is a flaw in their market calculations that crops up intermittently when some denominator is negative.
The market is one of the major problems I’ve noticed in this game. I could go into excruciating detail about the contradictions and other flaws I see in this and the economy in general, but that’s for another post.
Regarding price information; In a universe of electronic mail that is able to reach you from anywhere at any time from anyone it would be justifiable to be able to check prices of goods at other stations. Frankly, there’s a bit of a contradiction in how one may send and recieve personal mesaages from the comm system in the manner mentioned but can only connect to stations when in the same sector.
Anyway, the way I’ve found to cope with this has been the following practices:
- Avoid contracts where you must purchase goods
- Avoid overlapping contracts for the same type of good at the same location
- Don’t bother with contracts for a given destination unless there are more than one available for that destination to offset docking fees
- Try to purchase and sell goods outside of contracts. This isn’t easy but the game hints at this being a better way to make money. Of course, lack of pricing information makes this a rather tedious prospect.