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Old 02-22-2018, 09:31 AM
Republicaninmass Republicaninmass is offline
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Default N54 legal: can you pursue an eBay seller for "damages " if they won't deliver a card

I realize the seller can always cancel via ebay, but ebay's t&c says specifically that it is a legal contract, and double check your listing. Also, how would one specify damages for a card/transaction not conpleted?

What about if a card sold buy it now for say 2750, and the seller cancelled, and relisted the same card and it sold at 11,000? I'd say damages would be specific in this instance. Would it constitute unfair and manipulative practices and possibly award treble damages?

Adversely, do some of the auction houses pursue buyers to buy for the auctions? It seems like a non payment strike is not very harsh, as many buyer don't pay for whatever reason.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:28 PM
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My two cents.

Leaving aside practical considerations, a buyer could sue for damages if there was an offer and acceptance, subject to contractual defenses and assuming that there is nothing in Ebay's rules that limits a buyer's remedies. In theory, if the card were sufficiently scarce, a buyer could even sue for specific performance--a judgment compelling turnover of the card. Otherwise, the remedies provided by contract law and/or the UCC would allow the buyer to recover damages for either the difference between market price and price offered or, if a comparable substitute were purchased within a reasonable time, for the difference in price the buyer was required to pay and what he would have paid had the first transaction consummated (oftentimes called "cover"). Some consequential damages may also be recoverable.

The above is conceptual more than practical, as the UCC analysis does not fit nicely with sportscard collecting. It presupposes a sufficiently developed market where "market price" is at least somewhat readily determinable and, similarly, where a "reasonable" time for cover can be ascertained using industry standards or customs that might even be measured empirically. Also and has been discussed in other threads, there may be questions of which State's law applies (although the UCC has been adopted pretty much nationally in about the same form- the"U" is for Uniform), and again, whether there are legal or contractual defenses. Still, from a strictly legal perspective, a damages claim could likely be asserted.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:46 PM
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Would you really want to sue? A story like that gets around. Do you want to be known throughout the hobby as the sort of dick who'd sue over a card? Do you want to be bidder-blocked by everyone on eBay who hears about your antics? Blackballed by everyone on the BST who doesn't want to risk dealing with a litigious A-hole?

All you have as a hobbyist is your reputation. If people find out you are unpleasant to deal with, you are finished.
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Last edited by Exhibitman; 02-22-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
What about if a card sold buy it now for say 2750, and the seller cancelled, and relisted the same card and it sold at 11,000? I'd say damages would be specific in this instance. Would it constitute unfair and manipulative practices and possibly award treble damages?
Very unlikely. Perhaps if you could show a pattern of this kind of activity or some sinister set of facts, and maybe if the state where the action was filed was very consumer friendly. These would not be available in the common law and instead would have to be found in statute.

Please keep in mind that in general, contracts are made to be broken, It happens everyday--somebody discovers they could get a better deal elsewhere or has a change of heart for other reasons. This may have moral implications, i.e., " a man is no better than his word", but contract law contemplates that there will be breaches and the issue then becomes what is an appropriate compensatory remedy. There is a general recognition that commerce would be unduly hamstrung if parties to typical business transactions could be subject to additional claims for treble or other exemplary/punitive damages; thus there is a reticence to allow those kinds of damages.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
Would you really want to sue? A story like that gets around. Do you want to be known throughout the hobby as the sort of dick who'd sue over a card? Do you want to be bidder-blocked by everyone on eBay who hears about your antics? Blackballed by everyone on the BST who doesn't want to risk dealing with a litigious A-hole?

All you have as a hobbyist is your reputation. If people find out you are unpleasant to deal with, you are finished.

And there is that.
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by nolemmings View Post
And there is that.
Sure, just like all the other nefarious people who can't buy, sell or start auction houses because nobody will deal with them. I think if more people took sellers and buyers to task, there would be less malicious activity.
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by nolemmings View Post
My two cents.

Leaving aside practical considerations, a buyer could sue for damages if there was an offer and acceptance, subject to contractual defenses and assuming that there is nothing in Ebay's rules that limits a buyer's remedies.
Does "acceptance" legally mean money was exchanged? Or is that not right? My guess if you paid, then they simply refunded, you have a better case.

But look at residential real estate...buyers back out all the time for no reason, and rarely are held accountable. And that's parties in the same state. The problem with ebay is you are crossing state lines (usually) and laws differ.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:01 PM
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I don't think this is viable. Let me throw another hypothetical scenario at you that has a similar theme:

Let's say you bought and paid for a Babe Ruth single signed baseball from an auction house. The auction house sends you the baseball, but it's not authentic. The auction house offers you a refund so that you're made whole, but you insist they send you an identical authentic Ruth instead. And then sue them for damages related to a future sale of the valuable baseball, which you now aren't able to sell.

I don't think that situation would end well for anyone. I'd neg the seller and forget about it.

Last edited by packs; 02-22-2018 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:07 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silvor View Post
Does "acceptance" legally mean money was exchanged? Or is that not right? My guess if you paid, then they simply refunded, you have a better case.

But look at residential real estate...buyers back out all the time for no reason, and rarely are held accountable. And that's parties in the same state. The problem with ebay is you are crossing state lines (usually) and laws differ.
It is not always cut and dry in real estate. The buyers can lose their EMD (earnest money deposit) in certain cases.
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
I don't think this is viable. Let me throw another hypothetical scenario at you that has a similar theme:

Let's say you bought and paid for a Babe Ruth single signed baseball from an auction house. The auction house sends you the baseball, but it's not authentic. The auction house offers you a refund so that you're made whole, but you insist they send you an identical authentic Ruth instead. And then sue them for damages related to a future sale of the valuable baseball, which you now aren't able to sell.

I don't think that situation would end well for anyone. I'd neg the seller and forget about it.
Many auction houses have liability limitations as part of their rules/terms, precluding recovery of "benefit of the bargain" damages that I discussed earlier. Some states have specific statutes barring recovery of these types of damages in certain kinds of transactions. I did not review Ebay's rules nor the laws of any particular state. If the auction house rules provide that its liability cannot exceed the amount of the bid price, for example, those are most likely going to be upheld.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This comment is general and is not to be considered as applicable to any specific situation or as legal advice you should follow. Please seek a consultation with legal counsel and provide a full description of your facts and circumstances if you want a formal legal opinion.
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Last edited by nolemmings; 02-22-2018 at 05:40 PM. Reason: disclaimer
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