In an unusual case of “seller remorse,” a Judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that eBay’s Buy-It-Now is an enforceable contract.
In court documents, Julie Rohr, a Phoenix resident, put her 10.17 carat diamond ring for sale on eBay. Evangelos Armiros saw the listing for the ring and initiated the transaction using eBay’s Buy-It-Now feature at the $100,000 asking price.
A temporary problem to confirm Armiros’ eBay account prevented him from immediately paying for the transaction.
But before Armiros was able to pay for the ring, Julie Rohr received an email from another interested eBay buyer that offered her $150,000.
This buyer convinced Rhor to cancel the original transaction and completed the purchase of the ring with Rohr at the new agreed price.
Armiros sued for breach of contract and a trial court agreed that Rohr owes Armiros $135,250 in damages. Rohr appealed the ruling, but the appellate court sided with the Armiros:
“…We affirm the trial court’s finding that a valid contract existed when Julie offered her diamond ring on eBay with the option for users to “Buy It Now” and Armiros accepted the offer by clicking the “Buy It Now” button. We also affirm the trial court’s finding that, although Evangelos had not paid for the ring before Julie breached the contract, he was entitled to the benefit of the bargain and suffered damages…”
The Honorable Randall H. Warner, Judge
The Upshot for Sellers
The interesting bit here is that the buyer was unable to immediately complete the transaction as eBay apparently required some additional verification.
By all accounts it appears the buyer was able to finish the required verification process within the eBay time period, but the seller decided to cancel the order to take another offer.
Most buyers probably wouldn’t think much about just moving on. But because of the high value and apparent deal on this item, the buyer decided to pursue a breach of contract case.
It seems courts may deem Buy-It-Now as a contract as stated in the eBay terms of service. Therefore, sellers that do not follow eBay’s policy to the letter may find themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit from an overzealous buyer.
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