Judgement day for dodgy seller

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Perpetual eBay bad-mouther Gary E. Sattler tells a great story about a scamming eBay seller’s appearance on Judge Judy. According to a friend of Sattler’s, the seller had defrauded buyers by getting them to pay over £200 for a photograph of a mobile phone. The seller’s defence was that the buyers were “Nigerian scammers”, but that he had shipped the photos so they had got what they paid for.

Let me say straight off: I loathe this scam. I make most of my living through eBay, and I hate any kind of scam not least because they put people off using the site. And yes, Sattler is right in so far as “eBay should immediately ban the dishonest seller” goes: of course they should.

But I also have to take a moment to mention buyers who don’t read what they’re getting into: I recently saw an auction for a photograph of a PS3, 99p start, bid up to more than £200 by greedy buyers who were obviously too excited about the thought of getting their hands on a cheap PS3 to read that the seller had actually written “This auction is for a photograph of a PS3 only” on the auction itself. Sellers shouldn’t try and scam people, eBay should stop scammers (and in this case, they did pull the auction), but buyers should also beware. Caveat emptor, people.

Back to the TV show. JJ found against the seller, and fined him US$5000. Sattler doesn’t seem to have seen the show himself, but that hasn’t put him off citing it as legal precedent: something that one of his commenters has argued with. I can’t believe that a TV show can set legal precedent, even in the US. Any lawyers in the room who want to set this one straight?


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