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How to Win at eBay:
Legal Obligations
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Use this link to get to eBay whenever you buy and it helps me write more like this, thanks! Ken.


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It's easy to be a buyer, and tough to be a seller.

The description and your winning bid are a legal contract. A contract has three parts: the offer, the consideration (the price in this case), and the acceptance.

The listing is the offer.

Your winning bid amount is the consideration, and the fact that you placed a bid is the acceptance.

When you pay for the item, you've met your side of the bargain. You're done.

The seller now has to deliver his side of the bargain. His side of the bargain is to deliver exactly what he described in his listing.

If what you get isn't what was described, you're entitled to sue him for specific performance and unlimited and consequential damages far beyond the winning bid price. (Of course in America, anyone's entitled to sue anyone for anything; it doesn't mean they will win.)

If a seller is stupid enough to list any item as "like new," "pristine," "mint" or any other similar words which mean new, he is obligated to deliver that.

That's why smart sellers never use these words, and will always describe something a little less than they can deliver. No good seller ever uses the word "mint" by itself, although they will use words like "mint -" or "near mint" if something really is like new.

Buyers win here. If an item has any functional defects and the seller fails to mention them, it's the sellers responsibility to fix it. If an item doesn't work or has anything else wrong about it which significantly affects its value, and it wasn't disclosed, you win. It's the sellers problem, not yours.

This means you don't have to ask the seller a million stupid questions, to which he probably doesn't know the answer anyway, like "Does it work?," "Is there any fungus?," or "Is there any oil on the blades?" If he hasn't disclosed it, you're entitled to a lens free of these defects.

You can read the particulars at eBay's Ts & Cs for eBay's definition of Significantly Not As Described (SNAD), which will change as often as eBay feels like it.

PayPal (a part of eBay) recently added unlimited coverage for loss for things paid via PayPal. They used to only cover up to $200 or $2,000, but along with lifting the coverage limits seem to have eliminated from the examples of SNAD that an item that doesn't work for its intended purpose, or had undisclosed defects which, if disclosed, would have altered the value of the item, was considered SNAD and entitle you to recourse.

Luckily, when buying from good sellers, I've never had any problems. It's only the crummy sellers who misrepresent items deliberately.

If a listing says one thing and shows pictures of something else, its ambiguous. I don't bid or ask any questions; I avoid listings that are unclear as to what's for sale. I may point out errors to the seller, but I won't bid on it unless a new or corrected listing resolves it.

I don't worry much about the condition as described, since everyone sees this differently, but if I see one item described in words but pictures of a similar, but obviously different item, I steer clear.


Next: How to Return Junk

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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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