Would this be classified as fraud? (eBay related)


Hubby bids and wins auction. All is good. However, Hubby messes up with Paypal and payment doesn’t come through right away. He apologizes profusely to seller, gets rude email in response (understandable in a way) but payment goes through a couple of days later and is accepted by seller. (I’ll also add that there never was anything in the original auction that specified when the payment was due.)

No product ever shows up. Seller never responds to email.

Fifteen days later Hubby checks seller’s auctions and sees that the original item had been relisted and resold the day after Hubby had sent the apology letter.

So, he makes a complaint through eBay and Paypal. Seller sends another rude email and says he’ll refund some of the money, after deducting some for “wasting his time”.

Is that legal? Can he do that? Or is this fraud?

No, it’s theft. Report the proceedings to the police in the seller’s jurisdiction.

If the payment was fully made within a ‘reasonable’ length of time (IIRC ebay suggest 7-14 days as reasonable), then yes, the seller has breached the contract he made by offering the item for sale.

I’m pretty sure that payment was made within 10 days.

The police will be the next step. Thanks. :slight_smile:

If it wasn’t a credit card payment, and the item was over 25 bucks, eBay has a fraud-reimbursement scheme to (hopefully) help you. I think I’d deal with it through eBay before resorting to the police - eBay is used to this kind of thing, and will work with you to fix your problem.


I also meant to point out that PayPal also has protection services (up to $500 dollars covered free, I think) that you might look into if the eBay coverage doesn’t work for you.

I forgot about Paypal. :smack: Hubby did file a complaint through them as well. He’s been using the free mediator thingy through eBay but it costs money to have someone intervene.

I don’t know if he’s tried the fraud linky yet so I’ll suggest that when he gets home. Thanks!

Go here: eBay Non-Selling Seller Links and report him. Good luck!

I think I would just call the CC company for the CC I used (if it was a CC) and have them reverse the charges since you never received the item. If not a CC, talk to Paypal, from what I understand they are VERY lenient in reversing charges (so much so that people are using it as a means for fraud). Also, you didn’t say how much the item was, or how much the seller offered to refund. If it was a large amound and the seller offered to refund a good chunk of it, I’d go ahead and take it while the mediation is happening. If he bought something for say $200 and seller is offering a chunk of that back I’d decline it. I’d be worried that when he’s contacted by CC/paypal/ebay he’ll tell them that he’s already refunded a portion of the money and that you accepted it.

I had an incident where a guy sent me a burned CD when the auction made it seem like the actual CD. This is clearly fraud, and I reported it to PayPal and eBay. PayPal froze the guy’s account and he refunded my money pronto, since he couldn’t do any other business over PayPal until I rescinded my complaint.

Definitely contact PayPal. Very effective in my case.

So he accepted your money in payment for an item after he had sold the item to someone else? Yeah, baby, that’s fraud.

How long did it take for PayPal to take care of your problem? We haven’t had any feedback from them yet.

Actually, it’s not. Criminally, it might be theft; and civilly it might be breach of contract, but it’s not fraud. Fraud is an intentional misrepresentation of a material fact, made for the purpose of inducing the plaintiff to act, which is reasonably relied upon by the plaintiff, causing damages.

Unless the seller never planned to send the goods (and that doesn’t sound like the case here), it isn’t fraud.

I also wanted to point out that you should definitely leave appropriate feedback for this guy - to save others from potentially getting the same treatment.

If the ebay auction had the “PayPal Buyer Protection” seal on it the you are covered up to $500. Just file a claim in your PP account. They will either force a refund from the seller or reimburse you out-of-pocket (if it was covered).

IANAL but ISTM that not only can the seller NOT deduct money from your husband, also he has broken the contract. He agreed to sell the item, then he failed to do so. You might consider suing him for breach of contract.

This is what I don’t get: why should she sue him, if she’s able to resolve it through other non-litigious means? Suing involves lawyers, paperwork and a lot of time. My bet is that through PayPal, she’ll likely have it resolved within a week. And no fees, no hassle, no headache. I don’t get the impression we’re talking an expensive item here.

Hubby wanted to buy a certain item, entered into a contract for the item, then the contract was broken. Why should he sue for damages? Well, it depends on the item in question, which the OP didn’t specify.

Suppose, for example, the item normally costs $500, but hubby offered $100 and had his offer accepted. To buy the item elsewhere will cost him an extra $400. He has lost money due to the breach.

Suppose it was a rare collectors item, such as a near-mint copy of Amazing Spiderman #2, or a unique item such as an original work of art. Hubby may not be able to find a replacement for the item anywhere at any price

IANAL, but I believe he has suffered loss as a result of breach of contract. He should certainly consider suing - depending on the value of the item in question. If it’s something he can get anywhere for the same price, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Good luck getting a judge to go along with this logic. Since there has been no consideration exchanged (the item was never delivered, and the price was never paid) there is no contract. And no damages. IANAL, but I remember something from business law.

A contract is a promise. There are two kinds of contract: Unilateral–a promise for an act (I promise to pay you $20 if you cut my lawn) and bilateral–a promise for a promise (I promise to pay you $20 if you agree to cut my lawn). An auction sale results in a bilateral contract. When the auction is complete, the seller has promised to transfer the item to the winning bidder and the winning bidder has promised to pay the winning bid amount. Either party has the right to enforce the other’s promise.

The consideration here is the exchange of promises–not the exchange of goods for money. I’m surprised that you don’t remember this little tidbit from business law. Most business contracts are bilateral contracts.

If the contract were a unilateral contract (e.g., I promise to sell you x if you pay me $500) then the seller could not enforce it. But clearly the seller expects the benefit of the bargain in an auction. If the winning bidder does not pay, the seller could sue the winning bidder. Of course things get confusing because of E-bay’s protective schemes. But the basic laws of contract have not changed.

BTW, gifts (sometimes called donative transfers) work like unilateral contracts. A gift is effective upon delivery. So if your great aunt promises to give you $10,000, but is in ill health, your best bet is to leave with a check.