What rights do i have in this situation?

I contacted a seller from Ebay regarding an auction he had and asked some details. He then informed me he had some other itmes he was considering selling.
After some time we came to an agreed price and shipping arangments. I paid a (fairly large) deposit and he supposedly sent.
A month later and several phone calls he says he has gotten a better offer elsewhere and will go with them instead and will refund my deposit.
My problem is that i have sold some similar items i was buying off him to pay for the purchase (basically upgrading quality) now i am out of my collection and these are hard to get and expensive.
Though in this day and age of litigation, it sounds a corny phrase, but i now actually believe in the terms “mental anguish”. I have gone to bed, playing over in my head what problems could have occured, have i done everything right, am i getting ripped off, etc etc.

In a nutshell - He agreed to sell me items, i paid the agreed price, he got a better offer, tells me to go jump. While it wasn’t a formal sale, we had an agreement, I have all emails saved with all details.

What are my legal options (if any) to

  1. Recoup the costs it will take me to get my itmes back and phone calls made ( i am in Sweden atm, he is in Australia)
  2. Time and mental anguish. This has really upset me. my S.O. has commented a few times that she can see how much this has affected me.

Any advice would be appreciated, but it would involve Australian law, as both he and I are Australian, i am just overseas at the moment.

Well, you better go to a doctor/psychiatrist for that mental anguish if you want $ for it, even then getting compensated for frustration/upset over an Ebay sale gone bad it going to be a tough sell, IMO.

Did you check the seller’s ratings?

Although of no monetary satisfaction, a negative review of the seller will make others aware. EBay is supposed to be self regulating.

Ok. There is the legal and then there is the practical. You undoubtedly have some legal rights here. What they are could prove an interesting question for a law school class on international jurisdiction and choice of law. Assuming you could settle those issues, there is a separate set of issues involving contract damages. You probably can’t collect for your time and effort. Contract damages are usually limited to “benefit of bargain.” In other words, the difference between the agreed price and the price you can get elsewhere.

But this raises practical questions:

  1. How much money is at stake? Even if you can sue this person in your home country, he probably has no assets there. Enforcing your judgment will require a lawyer in Australia, and a fresh legal proceeding over there. When I have taken cases like that here in the states, the fees have been between $3,000 and $5,000.

  2. Does this person have any assets? If not, you are wasting your time and money.

Because you did not do the deal through e-Bay, you can’t even take advantage of e-Bay’s system of ratings and sanctions. Therefore, you may be pretty much screwed. I hope this joker at least refunds your money.

Good luck.

If I am reading the OP correctly, this was an “off-eBay” arrangement, and therefore nothing to do with eBay at all.

That is correct about being an out-of-ebay situation.
And i will be back in Australia within a few weeks, so i would undoubtably wait until then to procede or even make enquries.
Just thought here would be a good place to start in the interum.

In the US, the best you could do is get the “contract” enforced assuming you could prove one existed. You might be able to do that. So if you “cover” and buy replacement goods elsewhere, you can get the extra cost over what he was going to sell it to you. You won’t get your phone calls or mental anguish or the value of your time. This also assumes he has some assets and you can get jurisdiction over him.

I’d be surprised if any country gave you mental anguish damages for a breach of a contract.



I did not read carefully enough. Yes. Being in Australia will help you out quite a bit. Do they have a form of small claims court there?


You definitely have a cause of action, and from what you described (though the proof lies in the e-mails and anything you have actually written) you do have an actual contract. Depending on how much money we’re talking about, you may have to hire a real lawyer…er…I mean solicitor, I think. There will be jurisdictional issues if you’re not in the same state (or is it provinces?) Depending on AUS law, you should be able to get court and lawyer fees if he loses, from what I remember of UK law at my time at Oxford.

Cover and replacing goods that you would’ve had may not be a viable option if the goods in question are hard to find (they should also have some sort of real nominal value; priceless family heirlooms probably don’t count if the value is entirely intrinsic). It is better to go find a solicitor if there is a true preceived extrinsic value (though I suppose you could threaten suit to make the dude pay up).

If the guy doesn’t have any assests, I’m not sure what the courts will do to make him pay costs. However, the court can stop his sale with an injunction and force the sale to you (in the US this largely depends on what judge you get – the judge may decide that you getting money is the best thing).

First things first, though, is to make sure that you do have a contract.