Man Cons Woman Into Paying For eBay Auction She Won

A guy over on Reddit had tickets to a big sporting event but at the last minute couldn’t go, so he sold them on eBay for $600. The event was in less than 24 hours and when he contacted the winning bidder after they didn’t pay for a while, the woman told him that her husband had said that it was too much money and wouldn’t let her go. Never mind that winning an eBay bid is a binding contract and now the guy has little chance of selling the tickets. So he concocted a fiendish scheme to trick her into paying.

What he did is email her from a different email address and say hey, I saw you won those tickets, I’d really like to go, can I buy them from you for $1,000? She agreed, and lo and behold, she contacts him as the original seller and says “oops, changed my mind, I want to pay for those after all.” He brings her the tickets, collects the money, and then goes home and has his sockpuppet bidder back out of the deal with her.

Once again proving there are two user classes on eBay: predator and prey.

Unethical? Yes. Illegal? Probably not. An eBay bid is a binding contract. An email is not.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

How I got an uncooperative eBay buyer to pay for her purchase. Was it unethical? [Reddit]

Comments

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  1. Portlandia says:

    Serves her right. If you bid and have no intention of paying then you deserve it.

    • Buckus says:

      Agreed. If you win, you should work it out with the seller. By winning, she blocked him from potentially selling the tickets to someone else who would actually be able to go and pay.

    • coffeeculture says:

      the seller is a freakin’ genius

    • coffeeculture says:

      the seller is a freakin’ genius

    • 72Riv says:

      He deserves an award.

    • Portlandia says:

      I seriously expected to be flamed for this response but if you’ve ever tried to sell something on eBay then you can feel this seller’s pain.

      This is pure win!!!

      • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

        You’re totally on point, and I think even legally correct. I’m no lawyer but I watch my fair share of Peoples Court. She won the bid on ebay which is a binding contract. The result of her bidding was him taking the tickets off the market to uphold his end of the contract. Then by her not paying up she violates the contract and he incurs damages of the ticket price because she ruined hurt his chances to re-sell them.

        I think he could take this to court and win his money easily. He chose to instead trick her into paying money he was rightfully owed. This saves both of their time, the courts time and taxpayer money. I think that’s swell. Thumbs up to him.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          Yeah, I can’t see how this wouldn’t be legal. Anonymous Email Dude isn’t a binding contract.

          I wouldn’t even call this unethical. Not that what he did was on the same level of societal impact, but he basically went “undercover” like a cop asking for coke does.

          • kujospam says:

            If in the email you said you will pay someone 100 dollars for something, and then the email recipient says they agree. That is a binding contract also. Guess what? It is even written instead of verbal.

            • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

              Hey Kujospam, I’m going to give you $300.

              Reply with an agreement to that statement, then sue me and watch what happens.

    • spamtasticus says:

      He is the man!

    • macoan says:

      Yup! Way to go seller!

      Nothing worse then having some low-life bid – waste your time, then not only waste your time but make keep others who might have been interested in the item not be able to get it…. and in cases like this where the bidder would have basicly made the tickets void since the event was so close….. WAY TO GO SELLER!

    • a354174 says:

      Except.. She will reverse it through Paypal. Buyer always wins. Paypal will lock his account forever and he will lose.

      • CoachTabe says:

        Except the transaction was done in-person and she paid cash so no worries about a Paypal chargeback.

      • Portlandia says:

        Except, if you RTFA you would see they met in person and exchanged cash. No Paypal, means no dispute and no chargeback.

        Just pure stupid seller who didn’t realize ebay buyer IDs are obscured on auctions for just this very reason. So not only is the buyer gullible they’re dumb as well.

    • poco says:

      Damn right. As anyone who’s drunken Ebayed (umm… not me >.>) can tell you, you’re obligated to buy anything you’ve bid on. “My husband won’t let me” is not only weak, it’s irrelevant.

  2. Tim says:

    Ehh … it might not be legal. What he did is definitely more legal than what she did though, because he, as the sockpuppet, didn’t sign a binding contract like you do through eBay. But he (well, the sockpuppet version of him) did, nonetheless, agree to pay her for the tickets. And since he did so via e-mail, she has a record of that.

    • Bremma says:

      Yeah, but he has the advantage of potential anonymity with the sock puppet e-mail. I’m sure he was clever enough to use an address and name that is not going to be easy to tie back to him. So, even with the records, not knowing who was possibly gonna by the tickets will make things difficult for her.

      • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

        Except that the story is now on the Interweb, so I think it would be easier for her to match this story to her situation.

        Nonetheless, this story made my day!

        • Bremma says:

          This is true. Also the fact he rehashed a line in his sock puppet e-mail that she sent to him as a buyer (I didn’t read the linked article before..) so she might be able to better pin him. Clever idea on his part regardless.

      • Trick says:

        He outed himself to her in a phone conversation and the buyer is fully aware she was taken by him. The OP reports she has already called the police, the FBI and the Fire Department.

    • Alexk says:

      They both behaved unethically, but I can’t see where his actions are worse than hers. She made a binding bid, and then refused to pay. She effectively rendered his valuable –but only for a short time!– properly into something valueless. Impossible to feel sorry for her.

      • Tim says:

        No, I didn’t say his actions are worse. I’m saying hers are worse, but his aren’t exactly angelic.

        For one thing, eBay does have a process for recovering your money if someone doesn’t pay you for a transaction. He didn’t need to do this to get his money back.

        • George4478 says:

          What money back? He wanted the $600 she owed and never gave him,

          The ebay process I think you’re talking about is, as a seller, to recover your sales fees. Or, as a buyer, to recover the money you sent. Neither of these processes gets him his $600.

        • QuantumCat says:

          Ebay’s process takes 10 days, during which you cannot relist the item. At the end of those 10 days, they refund you the end of auction cut they take and your posting fees, and that’s it.

          He would have lost the value of those tickets had he gone through eBay because their value was time-dependent. eBay will not force a non-compliant buyer to pay, by their own policies.

          Going through eBay was a non-option.

    • Difdi says:

      What he did meets the legal tests for felony wire fraud. What the woman did was breach of contract (a purely civil matter). If she gets wind of what he did, his next bragging session might be in the interrogation room of his local FBI office. He should have sued her for the $600.

      • obits3 says:

        We would need to see the text of his email:

        Did he say I will by from you or can I buy from you. The first version is an offer that she could accept. The second is a question about ability to buy:

        “Can I buy this car?”
        “Yes you can.”

        The above is not a contract.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          It’s all in the article…

          I created a new eBay account, “Payback” we’ll call it, and sent her a message: “Hi there, I noticed you won an auction for 4 [sporting event] tickets. I meant to bid on these but couldn’t get to a computer. I wanted to take my son and dad and would be willing to give you $1,000 for the tickets. I imagine that you’ve already made plans to attend, but I figured it was worth a shot.”

          At 11:30pm she responded to Payback: “I’ll do it for $1,100, no less. I can meet you at the game if you agree. I need your phone number.”

          At 11:35pm, Payback wrote: “Deal. Here is my number…” (Thanks Google Voice for the throwaway number). She called a few minutes later and made Payback “promise” to go through with the deal. She emphasized that she’d be out a lot of money if Payback backed out. Payback swore he would never do such a thing.

          • obits3 says:

            Sounds like he screwed up. I’m not sure what his next move should be:

            a) Buy the tickets for $1,100 and risk being found out or
            b) Hope that he can’t be traced to his sock accounts.

          • gorby says:

            The “willing to give [price] for tickets” line is an invitation to negotiate. Regardless of her actions re: not paying for the bid she won, she was legally harmed by his fraudulent misrepresentation and has pretty solid grounds to sue… if she even knows what’s happened. Just because the Internet is mostly anonymous doesn’t mean that you can’t enter into a contract.

            • Nikose says:

              “The “willing to give [price] for tickets” line is an invitation to negotiate.”

              Close! Invitation to Treat is the term. And it is specifically not an offer- Invitation to treat invites the user to make the offer.

              This line here:
              “At 11:35pm, Payback wrote: “Deal. Here is my number…” (Thanks Google Voice for the throwaway number). She called a few minutes later and made Payback “promise” to go through with the deal. She emphasized that she’d be out a lot of money if Payback backed out. Payback swore he would never do such a thing.”

              Sealed it as a deal and ‘contract’. So she could pursue him to buying back his tickets in court, but I’m pretty sure that the arguement of “Spoofed email/spoofed phone number” could get it thrown out, as it’d be a tougher case to prove the scenario if he was smart enough to use a proxy or two. :P

              ^ All this is based on Canadian Contract law, so it could be quite different in the US, but I believe it functions the same.

              • Nikose says:

                …My god I sound like a teacher. D: I meant to be agreeing with you and it looks like I was lecturing, I’m sorry. D:

              • Mr. Pottersquash says:

                While saying “deal” may make it a contarct, techinally she can not enforce it. Had she had the tickets in hand, she could have immediately attempted to deliver the goods, because she did not actually own them, she essentially made a deal with someone to sell them something she did not own and had no right to.

                Assume Payback is an actual 3rd person. Could he had sued her for 1,100 because she agreed to sell tickets she did not own? I think he is in clear. Now, the extra 20 may become a problem because that WAS induced by fraud as he knew at that point that she was willing to pay to get them.

                • Kitten Mittens says:

                  She had the right to them via the contract through eBay she was planning to not honor.

                • maztec says:

                  You can sell anything, whether you have it or not. You just have to have it at the time you are ready to tender. She had agreed to tender after she picked them up and paid the previous seller. If she had not been able to pick them up, he could have still held her liable for breach of contract and damages related to his expectation interest. Sorry, but your argument doesn’t fly.

              • maztec says:

                In the U.S. it would depend on what state they were in. Around here, “I am willing to pay ,” when surrounded by “I want to buy those” would be treated as an offer. Either way, her response and raise of the price would be interpreted as a counter-offer or offer and his saying “deal” closes the contract.

                She could sell it because she had a contract to buy it.

                And feel free to lecture, I don’t know anything about Canadian law. I gathered he was in the U.S. because she was going to report him to the FBI.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              How was she legally harmed? He was owed $600, and she paid him $600. I think you’re using the term “legally” incorrectly.

              • maztec says:

                He created a second contract with her in order to fraudulently induce her to honor the first contract. “I will pay” opened negotiations with an offer. “I want” was a counter-offer. “Deal” was acceptance.

                She can require him to pay her for the money she lost due to his fraud. On top of it, he may be in violation of wire fraud laws and theft by inducement.

                Again, hire a freaking lawyer before making assumptions about these things and this article seriously needed fact-checked by a lawyer.

                • rambo76098 says:

                  Ah, but he said ‘would be willing’ NOT ‘will give you $1000′ for them. That does not fit the requirement of an ‘offer’ so even if she takes him to court and claims that there was a contract, there simply wasn’t. In order for a contract to exist, there has to be a offer and acceptance, in that order. There was no offer, so there can be no contract. UCC FTW.

        • NaptownMVP says:

          My fifth grade teacher used to do the same thing to us. One of us would ask, “Can I go to the bathroom?” and she would say, “Yes.” Then when we got up to go, she would say, “Where do you think you’re going”

          “To the bathroom?”

          “No you’re not, you only asked if you could go to the bathroom.”

          “*sigh* MAY I go to the bathroom?”

          “Yes.”

          “Stupid bitch.”

          • Julia789 says:

            Oh my God, my mother-in-law has done this to me for YEARS.

            Then she smirks and laughs when I refuse to rephrase the question “May I” vs. “Can I.” I won’t do it. Now I purposefully ask “Can I.”

          • crashfrog says:

            If the teacher doesn’t let you go to the bathroom, then technically you can’t go to the bathroom, and she lied when she said “yes.”

      • JennQPublic says:

        They created two separate contracts, one via Ebay and one via email.

        In order to receive compensation, they would need to show damages. He could do so easily, since (presumably) there were other bidders on eBay, and by not paying after winning the bid, he could not sell the tickets until eBay’s dispute resolution process went through, which would be too late to sell the tickets, leaving him with a $600 loss.

        She can’t show damages, as she had already obligated herself to buy the tickets, and (presumably) would not be able to show that him failing to buy the tickets from her for $1100 left her out anything. She had not been attempting to sell them to anyone else, so she had no other buyers lined up. She’s out nothing.

        In the end, the only one who breached the contract was him, but as she suffered no damages, there’s nothing to sue for.

        IANAL, but I watch a lot of Judge Judy, which is practically the same thing.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          What contract? It was an email. I can back out of what I say in an email pretty freaking easily. Hell, I’ve practically made a career out of it.

          This is why eBay has accounts and makes you agree to a terms of service – because legally, they need you to.

          • JennQPublic says:

            A contract is merely an agreement. It doesn’t have to be written down, or be in any fancy legalese. All “verbal contract” means is that you agreed on something out loud.

            • Papa Bear says:

              An offer to purchase does not make a contract. The contract is not in place until that offer is accepted and delivery is made. Until then, there is no contract.

    • Jerim says:

      There is “theft by deception.” He basically lied to get her to buy something. No different than a salesman showing you a car and you want to go home and think about it. Later the salesman has a buddy call you and pretend to be interested in the car but was told that you had first dibs. They offer you a large sum for the car. You buy the car thinking you can make a quick buck.

      He could have just gone after her in small claims court, but he decided to trick her out of her money. Who knows how a judge would have ruled. He may have decided that purchasing something on eBay does not constitute a binding contract. Whether something is a binding contract or not, is up to the courts. No one can just decide on the spot that it is a legal contract, even if previous rullings said it was. The lady could have gotten away completely free, or the courts could have decided that the value of the item was far less than what she agreed to pay. It would have been far better for everyone to let a court handle it. Now the lady may be entitled to damages and seller could be in a lot of hot water.

      • coren says:

        Except that she was obligated to buy that item to begin with. If she was only thinking about it I’d agree more with you

    • pambie says:

      Yeah, I can only IMAGINE how much it would cost to go after this woman in small claims court. Not to mention the fact that the seller would get NO WHERE working with either eBay or PayPal. He did what he had to do. There are no real protections when you sell on eBay – they’re not about THEIR customers (the sellers are the ones who pay eBay’s fees and therefore their customers).

  3. wyckedone says:

    That is pure win!

  4. Amnesiac85 says:

    This is awesome. I don’t fault him at all, this was an ingenious way to go about getting his money. A little unethical, mayhaps, but certainly not illegal. It was her fault for bidding on something she couldn’t afford.

  5. Mike says:

    What goes around comes around.

  6. RobHoliday says:

    Kudos… Smart thinking.

  7. sonnyjitsu says:

    She deserves it, period.

  8. simonster says:

    Otherwise, he was going to be out $600. What he did was unethical, but what she did (bidding $600 and not at the very least notifying him ASAP that she wouldn’t pay) was unethical as well. His actions maximize utility, since at least she can attend the event.

    • shamowfski says:

      He bought the non-refundable tickets originally though. So he should have made sure he could go before dropping the kind of dough. I applaud what he did, but he was only going to be out $600 because of something he chose.

      • LocalH says:

        Yeah, pesky events that happen outside of anyone’s control. He should have time-traveled forward to ensure that nothing would happen to prevent him from being able to go before he actually bought the tickets. What a loser.

  9. Jevia says:

    I could have contacted the second highest bidder and asked if they still wanted the tickets.

    • LightningUsagi says:

      He said he’d already been turned down by the other buyers.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      Clearly you didn’t read the linked text

      “I first tried explaining that I wouldn’t have the time to resell the tickets (I already got turned down by the losing bidders)”

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        If even the losing bidders didn’t want the tickets, why did they bid?

        • skylar.sutton says:

          a) Because they won another auction when they didn’t win this one
          b) They changed their minds after they were no longer contractually bond to the item
          c) Because they bought crappier seats at the box office
          d) Should I keep going?

          Start thinking your comments through man, your comments consistently make me think you have no “brain to finger” filter.

          • El-Brucio says:

            Not to mention if I was approached in such a fashion after losing an auction, part of me would be suspicious that the bidder who backed out at the last minute was instead a shill used to drive up the price.

            • djanes1 says:

              Yes, this is a common Ebay fraud thing right? You lose a bid, and then someone hacks the auctioneer’s account, and asks you if you still want to buy. Just wire the 1200$ to Spain…

  10. edicius is an acquired taste says:

    That guy is my hero today. That’s what she gets.

  11. rpm773 says:

    Yes I like pina coladas….

  12. houseboat says:

    Unethical? Illegal? Who cares? It’s f’ing awesome!

  13. TooManyHobbies says:

    I might do the same had I thought of it. She’s lucky she’s only out the $600; he could take her to small claims court and she’d be out court costs too, because she’d certainly lose.

  14. Blueskylaw says:

    Clever tactic. Many, many years ago when I was in high school I worked in a grocery store where a woman had bought a lot of groceries with bad checks. She came in one day with more groceries and tried to pay with a check. Management noticed her and said you have to pay cash if you want the groceries, so she paid the cashier but the manager still wouldn’t let her have the groceries and said the cash was going towards her debt. She was mad as hell but she didn’t fight it.

    • donjumpsuit says:

      This would never fly on judge judy.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        That’s why she doesn’t take cases with no entertainment value.

        • Azzizzi says:

          I’ve seen her make some bad judgments, too. In one case, she favored the wrong side because she didn’t understand the difference between “invoice date” and “today’s date.” The guy argued that he had sent the original invoices to the woman he was arguing against. Judy kept telling the guy she wasn’t stupid, each time, sounding more stupid.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Thank God – I would hate to have HER responsible for “legal” decisions. You can’t issue a legal decision based on “Because I said so”

      • Alexk says:

        Judy’s not a judge. She’s an arbitrator. And a rude insane one at that. Of course, even the “loser” on her show gets his judgment paid BY the show, so it’s all theatre without real meaning.

  15. Zowzers says:

    The issue I see is that she breached a contract which could be proven in a court of law, and presumably force her to pay by that court.

    What he did instead is Fraud. Which in and of its self is a prosecutable offense.

    The end result may have been the same, but the rout he took could land him in jail. The ends do not justify the means in this case.

    • Zowzers says:

      Amend-um: Breach of contract is a civil issue, and as such can not carry the penalty of jail time. Fraud is a criminal issue and can carry the penalty of jail time.

    • jrs45 says:

      He didn’t do anything different than she did, really.

      • Zowzers says:

        you don’t see the difference between a civil and criminal offense?

        She never received the tickets, she simply did not pay. That = Breach of contract.

        He conned her out of $600, that = Fraud.

        One ends with a court ordering her to pay, the other ends in jail time.

        you see the difference now?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          How did he con her out of $600? At best, he conned her into abiding by a legal contract she agreed to in the first place.

          • cape1232 says:

            There was no harm, therefore no crime on his part.
            In order for there to be a crime, you have to show someone lost something. He can show that she’s not out anything.

        • PupJet says:

          Fraud nothing.

          She OWED him $600. Just like a collection agency, he went out of his way to obtain the money OWED to him.

          As the article stated, it was unethical the way he went about it, but by NO means was it fraud.

          What I don’t get is that he wanted to purchase his tickets, but yet he ended up getting the money. Even though I read the article, I’m still perplexed in a way. Maybe I am missing something in the article.

          • Billy says:

            No jurisdiction would support obtaining owed-money via a criminal act. In fact, there’s a perfectly good and legal remedy he could have pursued: law suit. This is very-much frowned upon, legally.

            When a collection agency does illegal things to obtain their money, it’s illegal too, no matter if they are, in fact, owed the money.

          • Billy says:

            No jurisdiction would support obtaining owed-money via a criminal act. In fact, there’s a perfectly good and legal remedy he could have pursued: law suit. This is very-much frowned upon, legally.

            When a collection agency does illegal things to obtain their money, it’s illegal too, no matter if they are, in fact, owed the money.

        • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

          How did he con her out of $600? She agreed to buy two tickets for a total of $600, ultimately she paid $600 and received two tickets correct?

          If he somehow got her to pay him $600 for nothing or the tickets were counterfit I’d toally agree it’s fraud. In this case all he did was trick her into honoring the original contract which she was in violation.

          I guess you could argue on the other side he’s at fault of breach of contract for offering to pay $1100 for them, but ultimately she suffered no damages so you’d enforcing breach of contract.

          • kujospam says:

            You are not allowed to con people into honoring contracts either. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. You generally are not allowed to break the law even if you are doing something “good”. What happens if judges, or prosecutors usually wave the charges because it looks bad on them if they go through with it. So is anything going to happen with this guy? No, chances are no. Was she legally responsible for that contract? Yes, but if she backed out would she have to pay the full 600 dollars in court? maybe not. And if she wasn’t responsible for the full 600 dollars, he did gain by it. Which makes it fraud. If you email someone and say I want to buy something for 1000 dollars with no intent on actually buying it. That can be fraud. It is the intent that makes it fraud, not how you communicate. You can do it by phone, email, love letters, what ever.

            It’s truly amazing the lack of common sense people have.

            • Kitten Mittens says:

              +1….shockingly.

              (not because of you, but because of all the gun-slinging internetz lawyers missing this important point).

    • eccsame says:

      I don’t think it’s fraud because an email isn’t binding.

      Just because he didn’t say who he was (the eBay seller) doesn’t make it fraudulent. She didn’t have to buy the tickets. She could have said “I’m not purchasing the tickets, so here is the email address of the seller. I’m sure he would be happy to sell them to you for $1000″. Instead, like in any good scam, she was greedy and thought she could cash in.

      • Zowzers says:

        Your confusing Fraud with Breach of Contract.

        fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain, which is what he did through Email.

        Breach of contract is a legal cause of action in which a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract. which she did by not honoring the Ebay auction.

        (Definitions from Wikipedia)

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Except he wasn’t trying to gain anything. Previous to the puppet e-mail he was already owed $600. Lying in this e-mail only perpetuated him getting something he was already owed, not any additional funds.

          Had the man claimed he would buy the tickets for $1000 and then sold them to the woman for $800, THAT would be fraud.

          • jefeloco says:

            I fully agree with your standpoint on this. That said, you are arguing with an “internet lawyer” who quote wikipedia. This guys is repeating his same (wrong) statement again and again.

            Zowzers is power-trolling.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              Ohhh, a new web term! (for me)

            • Zowzers says:

              clearly; would you rather I quoted the federal statute on wire fraud?

              USAM Chapter 9-43.000, specifically 941 18 U.S.C. 1343—Elements of Wire Fraud

              Wikipedia just offers a Lay-mans description.

              here’s a link for ya
              http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/crm00941.htm

              • tmac40 says:

                You clearly don’t understand what fraud is. Sending an e-mail with a offer to buy something and then not buying it is not fraud.

                • Zowzers says:

                  Emailing her offering to buy the tickets for 1k was not fraud. But it became fraud once money was exchanged and he reigned on the emailed offer.

                  Let me be perfectly clear here, it was not fraud until monies were exchanged.

                  • maggiemerc says:

                    Question. If he’d called me up and I made the offer and then backed out of it and she still paid him for the tickets would it be fraud? No.

                  • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

                    How can it be fraud when she was simply giving him money she owed to him for a purchase? There was no additional personal gain on his part. She was giving him money she legally owed him. It would be one thing if she didn’t have a binding contract to buy them already and he just wanted to get rid of them, so he lied to get them off of his hands.

                  • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                    What on earth are you talking about? The only money that exchanged hands was the complete the legal transaction of $600 for tickets.

                  • wholefnvo says:

                    What you and some others fail to see that the woman got REAL tickets. It would be fraud if he sold her fake tickets and misrepresented to her that they were real tickets. She got something of equal value out of the transaction. Besides, why didn’t she just forward Payback’s e-mail to the seller? Because her greediness got the best of her. She could have just hooked up seller with “Payback” and not be the middleman. She wanted to be the middleman. IMHO, she got exactly what she deserved.

                • stock2mal says:

                  Exactly. When she received the email from the seller offering $1000, at that time she was supposed to have taken legal ownership of the tickets, as per the agreement with Ebay that winning bidders pay the seller. If she were to claim that the only reason she paid for the tickets was because the seller contacted her under an assumed name and offered her $1000, that doesn’t matter because she was already supposed to be the legal owner of the tickets at the time of his email from the spoof address. Assume someone else emailed her and offered her $1000 for the tickets, prompting her to pay the seller $600 for them. Would they be responsible for her purchasing the tickets, which she already had a legal obligation to do anyway? Absolutely not.

        • Kate says:

          If that’s true, there are a lot of guys on the net promising love to women that are guilty!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      An e-mail expressing an interest in purchasing an item is not fraud, nor a legal grounds for prosecution.

      Did he misrepresent himself? Yes. But he did not misrepresent himself in the course of legal proceedings. He signed no papers, swore no oath, and broke no law.

      • Zowzers says:

        Thats exactly what a con, and thus Fraud is. You think those emails claiming to be Princes of Nigeria are not fraud simply because they are an email?

        The proper course of action would have been taking her to small claims court for Breach of Contract. Instead he decided to commit a misdemeanor offense.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Lying in an e-mail is not Fraud by the legal definition. Simply stating you are willing to purchase something is not Fraud. Failure to exchange money for goods you have received is also not Fraud – it’s theft. And it’s what the woman initially committed.

          If you care to disagree, please provide evidence that lying in an e-mail is Fraud when no money has exchanged hands, no contracts signed, and no goods have been received.

          • Gulliver says:

            HE HAD NO RIGHT TO SELL THE TICKETS ABOVE FACE VALUE. It is an ILLEGAL contract, therefore unenforceable and if she sues him, she will get her money back.

            • DarthCoven says:

              What was the face value of the tickets? I don’t think I saw that in the article? I believe you are allowed a certain percentage above face too, depending on the state.

            • slim150 says:

              you have no idea what you are talking about. it varies state to state.. and if it is an interstate transaction theres no limit

            • coren says:

              Depends on state. In Washington, you can do just that. I know it’s not the only state where scalping is legal.

          • Zowzers says:

            Lets clear some things up.

            1. Woman reigns on contract putting her in breach of contract.
            2. Man sets up fake email account and offers to buy the tickets. (Knowingly not intending to buy them back)
            3. Woman then complies with contract by paying for the tickets, with the intent to sell them.
            4. Man decides not to buy, as planned.

            Step 2 & 4 is what turns this in to fraud. Had the person in step 2 been someone neither person knew then it would not be fraud. However the ticket seller, being both the original seller and Fake emailer, Knowingly defrauded the Woman in an attempt to get her to comply with the contracted eBay sale.

            • Zowzers says:

              grrr. thats suppose to be reneges not reigns.

            • Red Cat Linux says:

              I guess I’m not seeing fraud. She win the tickets. She backed out. He opened another eBay account (not some random e-mail, peeps) and sent her an message through eBay telling her how he’d love to buy the tickets from her for $1000 if she was willing to part with them.

              She gets back to him and inflates the price to $1100. He “agrees”.

              She goes back to the seller and says she’ll pay. *HE* inflates the price $20 because she wants him to drive to her house NOW so she can pay for the tickets (Now, btw is midnight).

              She throws the bills at him and he goes on his way until she contacts his throwaway account looking to make her tidy little profit. He declines, using the same wording she used to back out of the original deal.

              She is SOL.

              THIS is why The Sting is one of my all time favorite movies. When bad things happen to bad people, it’s hard to shed a tear, but fraud? I dont see it.

            • UnicornMaster says:

              Is it fraud in the sense that he is misrepresenting himself? Yes. Is it criminal? No. Regardless of whether or not the ebay sale was a binding contract, agreeing to buy something over the phone and then backing out, is NOT fraud or breach of contract. There’s just no sale. You don’t give them your money and you don’t get their tickets. You can’t be compelled to buy something and the contract is the exchange of money for tickets. If there’s no exchange, there’s no transaction.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Since you are so insensed to use web definitions:

      http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fraud

      “Finally, the false statement must cause the victim some injury that leaves her or him in a worse position than she or he was in before the fraud.”

      She legally owed him $600, and he got the legally owed $600. Not fraud.

      • Gramin says:

        You’re too focused on the original situation (her refusing to pay for the tickets). That actually doesn’t matter.

        To quote a different commenter on reddit:

        “The format is identical to the con. The difference is only one of sunk cost, which does not have any effect on this. The existence of the purchase contract frees the OP from any allegation of theft, but the central part of the scam (fraud with the intention of monetary gain) stands. This is a circumstance, possibly the only i have ever heard, of this confidence trick being used for a purpose other than theft.

        The method of getting her to pay IS the scam. The thing being paid for is ultimately irrelevant. It was beautifully done I must add, but the OP should not have made that last phone call outing themselves, since that could possibly lead the buyer to go to the cops for real.”

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Then why can police officers lie to me during interrogations? It’s fraud for the purpose of upholding the law. They can lie, coerce, threaten, and intimidate. All of it legal, even though it’s a bunch of half truths and double talk.

          Again, he did nothing to her except get her to pay a debt she’s already owed. No judge is going to go along with your reasoning.

          • Zowzers says:

            That’s an nonequivalent argument. Police lying to you in an interrogation room is an attempt to get you to admit to something illegal that they believe you did. What he did would be more equivalent to entrapment, where he coerced her in to doing something that she otherwise would not do; which is also something the police are not allowed to do.

            as others have stated on reddit, this was a variation of the Glim Dropper scam.

            • calicopaisley says:

              ” What he did would be more equivalent to entrapment, where he coerced her in to doing something that she otherwise would not do; __which is also something the police are not allowed to do__.” (emph. added)

              Three words… “Admission Against Interest”.

              I can’t decide if I agree with you or not about the fraud issue. On the one hand the eBay auction was a pre-existing contract; and I’m no lawyer, but I tend to think that would trump any kind of contract arranged through the e-mail follow-up. eBay auctions also have legal precedence and a clear terms of service. The e-mail was an agreed-to offer, but it doesn’t quite have the same safety nets especially in light of the woman’s behavior.

              Absolutely though, he should have simply brought her to court to cover his backside. How risky is it to meet someone in person over a dispute like this, then turn around and (as other people have pointed out) embarass them on the net?

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          “…but the central part of the scam (fraud with the intention of monetary gain) stands”

          See, that’s the part that I think gets him off the hook, actually. He really isn’t getting any monetary gain at all as the emailer offering to pay $1000. The “version of him”, if you want to think of it that way, that was already legally owed $600 is getting the $600 and nothing more. I’m no lawyer either, but it seems that if someone actually wanted to prosecute this, they’d have to demonstrate intent to gain money besides the money he would have already eventually received (through arbitration, small claims, whatever), and there is no such intent.

          She can’t demonstrate damages, and a prosecutor can’t demonstrate inappropriate monetary gain.

          • Papa Bear says:

            He can be prosecuted for fraudulent collections. Even if you are justly owed the money, you cannot use trickery or deceit to collect it.

    • tmac40 says:

      He made an inquiry about purchasing something. He didn’t make a binding offer. He decided he didn’t want to buy the item later. It makes no difference that he didn’t identify himself as the original ticket seller. He took no money from her. She has no loss that she could prove to a court. You should not be accusing people of fraud since you obviously don’t know what it means.

  16. Destra says:

    An email can absolutely create a binding contract. Ben Popken needs to check the law before making statements about it. The woman could sue the eBay poster to make him pay the $1000 for those tickets.

    Not that she’s not a scumbag for trying to back out of a contract herself.

    • eccsame says:

      So if I say to someone in an email – “I’ll buy your house for a million dollars” I’m legally obligated to buy their house?

      That doesn’t sound correct

      • Thyme for an edit button says:

        Possibly , but might not be enforceable under statute of frauds (not sure if an email is a signed writing, but it could be.)

        As every first year law student knows, if you did it on a napkin in a bar, it’s binding.

        • lemur says:

          And every student of law knows that *in general* a contract does not need to be in writing or signed. There only need to be an offer and and acceptance.

          Sending an email saying “I will buy such and such for X dollars” and getting the answer “Okay, I’ll sell it to you” constitutes a contract. So as much as I admire the ingenuity of the ticket seller, it appears that he did breach a contract. (I say it “appears” because we are getting a condensed version of the story. Crucial facts may have been omitted.)

          Now, (as has been mentioned already by someone else here) there are some kinds of contract which by law must be in writing and signed, but these are special cases.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            I refuse to believe that a communicated and unsigned agreement to purchase an item is legally binding. There is a reason home sales have 30-page contracts stating when I can and cannot get out of my contract to purchase. Until someone is detrimented by the belief of sale, it is not legally binding. Since she was legally require to purchase these tickets regardless of subsequent resale, she has not been detrimented.

            You can’t tell me that if I walk into a furniture store and say “I’ll buy that couch there” that I am now legally bound to buy it even if I change my mind before the purchase. Sorry, no.

            • Thyme for an edit button says:

              I often refuse to believe the speed limit on the freeway is 65 mph. I bet that will be a good defense if I get a ticket.

              Some contacts have writing requirements, some do not.

              • Dodger88 says:

                Somehow I doubt the second “contract” was actually a contract. She agreed to sell something that she did not have/own. She appears to have misrepresented to the sham-purchaser that she had the tickets and could deliver them. She obviously had no idea that sham-purchaser was actually the original seller, so she had no way of knowing if she could even satisfy the “contract” with the sham-purchaser. What if the original seller had actually found someone to take the tickets? If the sham-purchaser had actually been a third party and tried to sue her, she probably would have had a defense of legal impossibility since you cannot legally enter into a contract to sell something you don’t own. Otherwise, I would be glad to sell you my next door neighbor’s home for a GREAT price!

                Bottom line is that this woman seems like a real A**hole. This is the main reason that I still refuse to buy/sell anything on eBay to this day.

                • Billy says:

                  “She agreed to sell something that she did not have/own.”

                  It’s still a contract. I can contract with you to buy your car for $10,000 with a time clause in it (after I get my paycheck next week) b/c I actually don’t have the money right now. If, at the time of execution, I still don’t have the money, I have breached the contract…but it’s still a valid contract.

                • MadMolecule says:

                  “She agreed to sell something that she did not have/own.”

                  This happens all the time. Buying on margin is one name for it when it’s done in the stock market.

                  And to everyone who thinks an e-mail can’t create a binding contract: Please stop thinking that. You are wrong. An e-mail is a valid writing in the eyes of the law just as surely as a paper-and-ink writing is. And in this particular case, a writing wasn’t even necessary. A phone call could have created a binding contract.

                  This thread is a good demonstration of why non-lawyers should be very careful discussing the law.

                  • Dodger88 says:

                    “This happens all the time. Buying on margin is one name for it when it’s done in the stock market.”

                    Buying on margin can only be done if agreed to in advance in a written contract where collateral has to be put up and margin calls can be made and money pulled out of your account. I’d suspect that if you didn’t have a margin contract and didn’t have money in your account at the time the trade settled you’d probably be violating Reg T.

                    “And to everyone who thinks an e-mail can’t create a binding contract: Please stop thinking that. You are wrong. An e-mail is a valid writing in the eyes of the law just as surely as a paper-and-ink writing is.”

                    I don’t think the question is whether an email CAN create a binding contract, but whether the email in THIS case did. It could have just been viewed as a negiotiation, offer – counteroffer. Given the follow up phone call, it is not clear that all of the necessary terms of the agreement were finalized (an agreement to agree perhaps?) until they spoke and agreed to terms.

                    “And in this particular case, a writing wasn’t even necessary. A phone call could have created a binding contract.”

                    If the email wasn’t sufficient (not saying it is or isn’t, just saying IF) then the phone call would not have been sufficient. Many have mentioned that the statute of frauds covers sales of real estate. But it also covers sales for goods or services over $500.

                    This thread is a good demonstration of why non-lawyers should be very careful discussing the law.

                    Agreed. lol

            • cmp179 says:

              Who was your contracts professor in law school?

            • Billy says:

              >>>I refuse to believe that a communicated and unsigned agreement to purchase an item is legally binding.

              In this case, the offer and acceptance was written and probably electronically signed. Perfectly legal. In any event, there’s also promissory estoppel and detrimental reliance which might satisfy any any contract issues here.

              >>>There is a reason home sales have 30-page contracts stating when I can and cannot get out of my contract to purchase.

              Right, but those don’t necessarily have to be there for there to be a contract. Additionally, Some of those are state laws that only apply to real estate transactions (not the case here). They don’t really effect pure contract law. Most of the clauses in those contracts, too, cover ambiguities that aren’t clear from simple offer/acceptance/consideration contracts (when is the closing, is there an inspection, etc). But if I remember from Contracts, there, apparently, were tons of contracts for sales of land which were simple statements of sale. Per contract law, they are fine as long as there is O/A/C and written and signed (per the Statute of Frauds).

              >>>Until someone is detrimented by the belief of sale, it is not legally binding.

              Contract law places emphasis on the objective acceptance, not subjective. This only makes sense b/c otherwise there would be no certainty in ANY contract.

              >>>Since she was legally require to purchase these tickets regardless of subsequent resale, she has not been detrimented.

              That’s plainly a separate issue as there were 2 contracts here. As I noted before, self-help via illegal or fraudulent means as a way settle disputes is not held in high esteem by courts. Settling these things is a court’s job. That policy runs throughout our legal system.

              >>>You can’t tell me that if I walk into a furniture store and say “I’ll buy that couch there” that I am now legally bound to buy it even if I change my mind before the purchase.

              Apples to oranges. Per contract law, you might be legally bound to buy the couch, but there are other state laws which might allow buyers to back out of retail contracts. Besides: if you walked into a store and said “I’ll buy that couch there,” at what point WOULD you think that you were legally obligated to buy the couch? Per contract law, you’d probably be bound, no?

              • Billy says:

                One other thing. Your couch situation is further delineated by the whole “invitation to bargain” wrinkle in contract law. The facts of this case simply don’t apply to the couch situation.

                The linked-article has more info about what was actually said between the parties.

          • Thyme for an edit button says:

            Such as contracts for the sale of real estate, which is what the commenter I replied to mentioned.

        • axhandler1 says:

          Not if you were drunk at the time!

      • dnrobert24 says:

        “I’ll buy your house for $1 million” is an offer. However, it is an offer to sell real property, so it must be in writing to be enforceable by statute (Statute of Frauds). “I’ll buy your tickets for $1,100″ is also an offer. Unlike an offer to sell real property, it is enforceable so long as it is accepted. Acceptance can be made paying consideration. Consideration is made either by taking some action that is to the benefit of the other party or taking some action that is to your own detriment. She did the latter. Open and shut year one law school example of a unilateral contract. Yes, it is binding.

        The dude’s bigger problem is he also defrauded her. He made an intentional misrepresentation of material fact with the intent of inducing her to take an action to her detriment, which she relied on. Unlike breach of contract, intentional fraud carries the potential for punitive damages.

        • putch says:

          I think the dude’s biggest problem is that he turned around and bragged about it on the internet.

        • Luckier says:

          Aha! But her fulfilling her eBay contract was a prior obligation, so it can’t also be a detriment to her as consideration. Boom – defense lawyered. ; )

          • stock2mal says:

            Exactly, I pointed that out earlier. She was already supposed to be the legal owner of the tickets, so the offer of $1000 should have had no bearing on her decision to pay for the tickets she had already agreed to purchase.

          • dnrobert24 says:

            How about this? According to the Reddit post, she agreed to meet the guy outside the event to give him the tickets for $1,100. We don’t know if she went or not. Maybe she went halfway and got the call, maybe 1/4 way, but it doesn’t matter, so long as she offered some level of performance of consideration towards accepting the unilateral contract other than just paying the previous debt owed. The con got her to at least agree to do more than she was originally able to do. Thus, she DID accept his offer.

            The more important question might be, what’s the jurisdiction?…

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        Mytwo bits.

        If I remember contract law, first a person has to make the “Offer”, then there is the “Acceptance” and then “Consideration”. You cannot give an acceptance to an offer that was never made. I believe that is called “past consideration”.

        Let’s say that you offer to buy my house and I say yes, that’s putting the acceptance before the offer and I don’t think that is legally binding and even if I say to you, I think I can get out of it by changing my mind. Of course in the real world this may be different especially before a judge.

        And for “Past Consideration”, I think that is like you shoveling my driveway and then coming to me and requesting $20.00. Sorry, I wouldn’t have to pay because I never offered you the job first.

        It’s the ole “Sufficient then Necessary” equation. Sufficient comes first, then Necessary, not the other way around.

        Anyway, I don’t really know (obviously).

    • Billy says:

      Yeah, I don’t know why an email contract wouldn’t be considered a binding contract. What would be the difference between an email contract and any other written or oral contract? What is the difference between an email and any other type of electronic commerce (like Amazon). Being written, or memorialized, and electronically signed (electronic signatures have been upheld since the time of telegraphs and their use with computers was even codified around 1999) even satisfies the Statute of Frauds.

      • Destra says:

        An email can absolutely create a contract, just as much as sitting down face to face and writing one up can. There is offer, acceptance, and consideration (although the man could argue that since she didn’t have the tickets at the time there was no consideration), and the Statute of Frauds is met by it being in writing. Seems like a strait up contract to me. And the fact that he made the contract without intention of following through could also be fraud, though I admit my knowledge of fraud is much smaller than my knowledge of contracts.

        Although the woman doesn’t seem very intellectual, and perhaps she won’t realize that she could peruse this in court.

        • Papa Bear says:

          No performance. She did not deliver the tickets. Until performance it is not a contract. She may well recover under the doctrine of promissory estoppel, but not breach of contract.

  17. ClemsonEE says:

    Considering I recently got screwed on a winning bidder deciding they didn’t want to pay since they already won a bid on a similar item, this is an awesome tactic. Too bad I didn’t think of it, I just filed a report and relisted the item, thankfully it sold and I didn’t miss out on the Christmas sale!

  18. Darrone says:

    Anyone who thinks this is smart thinking needs to read up on the Glim Dropper technique. This is a very popular scam. (not that i disagree, i’ve been an ebay seller, and non-paying buyers are scum)/

    • eccsame says:

      Ah, the glim-dropper a.k.a. antique violin scam:

      The glim-dropper scam requires several accomplices, one of whom must be a one-eyed man. One grifter goes into a store and pretends he has lost his glass eye. Everyone looks around, but the eye cannot be found. He declares that he will pay a thousand-dollar reward for the return of his eye, leaving contact information. The next day, an accomplice enters the store and pretends to find the eye. The storekeeper (the intended griftee), thinking of the reward, offers to take it and return it to its owner. The finder insists he will return it himself, and demands the owner’s address. Thinking he will lose all chance of the reward, the storekeeper offers a hundred dollars for the eye. The finder bargains him up to $250, and departs. The one-eyed man, of course, can not be found and does not return.

  19. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Unethical? He tricked her into abiding by a legal contract she was already legally bound to. Not sure how that is unethical. Doing it to someone who did not legally agree to pay (as in to try to evoke a sale), that would be unethical.

    • Gulliver says:

      It is not a legal binding contract. You can not sell event tickets for more than face value. That is a crime

      • human_shield says:

        He didn’t. He sold them for $50 each. The rest was a “Convenience Fee”.

        • Powerlurker says:

          The other fun one you see on eBay is where someone sells a minor item like a baseball cap with a high minimum bid and the cap comes with two “free” tickets,

      • Darrone says:

        Not true, those regulations are governed state by state, and vary wildly. Only 11 prohibit it ouright for more than 10% of face value. Not to mention he never says he was selling them for more than face value.

        http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0761.htm

      • DarthCoven says:

        Please point out where in the article the face value of the tickets is listed.

        Also, ticket resale laws vary from state to state. Some states allow you a percentage on top of face value.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Not sure it’s unethical? Lying is surely unethical and convincing someone you will buy something is unethical. This is a case of two wrongs trying to make a right. He conned her into living up to her agreement…that is unethical (even if I leave the illegal argument in the thread to the lawyers).

      She wasn’t exactly ethical either, but that isn’t in question.

  20. doomsdayZen says:

    My friend told me a somewhat similar story. Some years ago, his business was given an $80K check and that bounced and the guy who wrote it refused to make good on it. My friend then went to the bank and found out the account had $60K in it. He then deposited $20K into the guy’s account so that it had enough to cover the check and then cashed the $80K check. His reasoning was that he’d rather get $60K than nothing from a deadbeat.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That is incredibly ingenious.

    • Gramin says:

      Bad bad bad. The account holder could actually sue the bank. Banks are strictly forbidden from releasing account information to anyone other than an authorized individual on the account. I can tell a check holder whether or not a check will clear but I cannot tell them how much money is in that account.

      • greggorthechamp says:

        Back in the day, you used to be able to call and verify if a check was good, via an automated system. You could put in any amount you liked, and that would give you a rough estimate of what is in their account.

      • rijrunner says:

        Actually, given a legal check properly signed and endorsed, you should be able to inquire at the bank whether sufficient funds exist to cover said check.

    • IGNORE says:

      How did he learn what was in the bank account?

      • Snowblind says:

        It is printed on the check, of course.

        • Gramin says:

          It is not… ???

          His check from the account holder listed $80M. However, it did not state that the account holder only had $60M in his account. To get that information, he asked a bank teller. A bank teller is strictly forbidden from providing such information; and not only forbidden, but it’s actually illegal.

          • Azzizzi says:

            Can you deposit money into someone else’s account without them knowing it?

            • Fujikopez says:

              Yes. It’s been done to me (by my mother, but nobody really cared).

            • Gramin says:

              Yes. You can deposit money into anyone’s account. You still won’t know how much is in there though. You’ll just know it’s “x + your deposit.”

            • XTC46 says:

              Yes, deposites can be made by anyone. The teller will then ask for ID if you request the balance. Although Id bet when making a huge deposite like 20k the teller would make the assumption that you are legit and tell you without the ID.

              If this actually happened, I think its awesome.

    • Joeypants says:

      That never really happened, did it?
      It’s a good story though.

  21. emax4 says:

    In this case, the woman was wrong by getting out of a binding contract set by eBay. The guy then took matters into his own hands and pulled some tricks into getting her to pay.

    This may be along the lines of “two wrongs don’t make a right”, but if you omit the action of him sending the anonymous email, it comes out that she paid for the items she won. All is right!

  22. guymandude says:

    Legal hell… I’d like to buy the guy a beer.

  23. Mystern says:

    HAHAHA! As an eBay employee that’s the funniest, dirtiest trick I’ve ever heard of, and it’s super effective. The woman should have known that no random eBay user would know her email address unless they were already involved in a transaction. I say good on the seller for getting it done so well, and the buyer should not have bid if they didn’t intend to pay. We suspend eBay accounts for not paying for items.

    • squablow says:

      That’s what I was thinking too. Now you can’t even see who the high bidder’s user name was, so either this happened a long time ago or the deadbeat buyer just didn’t think it through. Either way, glad it worked.

  24. sirwired says:

    An e-mail is just as much of a binding contract as the eBay bid. An actual lawyer would have to unravel the layers of unclean hands and contract breakage to figure out who would be left holding the bag at the end.

    The proper venue would have been to sue the woman in small claims.

    That said, that was a pretty clever idea.

  25. Benzona says:

    Upboat

  26. JohnDeere says:

    sounds like something i read in the satanic bible when i was a kid. “Do unto others as they do unto you”

  27. danmac says:

    People here may judge the OP for scamming the woman, but she got what she deserved, in my opinion. Not only did she reneg on a contract to buy the tickets, carelessly putting the OP in a time-sensitive financial situation, but she was also willing to profit at his expense by upselling his tickets for a profit. She could easily have said, “Hey, I couldn’t use your tickets, but there’s someone here who wants them and will pay you more.” She didn’t, however…she was greedy, and her greed ended up biting her in the end.

    No sympathy here.

    • KarbonKopy says:

      Totally agree.

    • SonicPhoenix says:

      There’s an excellent Dilbert comic that illustrates that sentiment. Dilbert asks Dogbert whether he ever feels guilty for scamming people. Dogbert responds that he only scams people who would have scammed him if they were only smart enough to do so. Dilbert accuses him of using arrogance to cancel guilt and Dogbert agrees that the system has worked well for him thus far.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      I also think the fact that she responded to his $1000 offer by saying I can take no less than $1100 is very telling of her character. Most people would be content with a $400 profit.

      • lucky13 says:

        Exactly! I think if she had accepted the $1K offer without marking it up further, she’d have had a stronger case. Since she didn’t possess the tickets at the time she accepted the offer, she’s not really out anything other than what she’d previously contracted to pay because they weren’t her property to sell. Not to mention that she could have relisted the tickets after taking delivery in hopes of selling them herself. Her greed is what tripped her up and that’s the basis of every successful con.

        Since he didn’t actually win a bid on eBay with her as the seller it’s technically not an eBay transaction. Did the guy commit fraud with his email and verbal acceptance? Maybe…would a prosecutor be willing to try the case? Probably not.

        She should take it as a lesson learned (with a small price to pay) and just admit the guy was much smarter than she.

  28. Mpowered says:

    Legality, if addressed in the most traditional sense (i.e. Criminal Legality) depends not on whether the TOS is a binding contract or whether an e-mail is a binding contract, but depends on the various statutes and common law concepts in the jurisdiction. Some states recognize a crime known as Larceny by Trick, where by the perp obtains possession of the property through fraud or deceit. (In other states, Larceny by Trick was subsumed under the general theft laws).

    It seems to me that under these facts, the uncooperative buyer is guilty of no crime (breach of contract is not a crime), though the seller could have probably sued her for damages (before he eventually “won”).

    The seller, however, is probably guilty of Larceny by Trick, since he used fraud and/or deceit to obtain unlawful possession of the 600 dollars. The reason I say unlawful is because once the buyer sent him an email telling him she was not going through with the contract, it was terminated. Only after his fraud and/or deceit did she agree to reinstate the contract (it could even be argued that this is a new contract), and thus the seller was in the process of committing Larceny by Trick.

    That said, it is a just crime, and it would be crazy if a prosecutor even brought charges. Just, but not ethical. The ethical route would have been to 1) attempt to sell the ticket to someone else and 2) sue buyer in small claims court for damages.

  29. BigSchem says:

    “I first tried explaining that I wouldn’t have the time to resell the tickets (I already got turned down by the losing bidders). She said, “… that’s not my problem. It’s eBay, not a car dealership. I can back out if I want.” I still don’t understand the car dealership reference.”

    This lady had it coming…plain and simple

  30. friendlynerd says:

    Her greed brought her down. I love it.

  31. cf27 says:

    There’s no reason two exchanged emails can’t form a binding agreement.

    So, she backed out of the deal — that gives him the right to sue her, but he still has to try to sell the tickets to somebody else, and can only sue her for the difference between the $600 and what he eventually sold them for.

    The email and his subsequent reneging on that deal are fraud. If she wanted to sue him for $1000 now, she’d have a pretty good case.

  32. dnrobert24 says:

    Not illegal in the criminal sense, but he could face civil liability, including punitive damages for fraud. Even a “conservative” lawsuit for breach of contract could require him to pay the woman $1,100. He could file a counterclaim for $600 and she’d come out ahead $500.

  33. denros says:

    Ah, the good ‘ole fiddle game. Really, what makes this less “evil” is the fact that it only works on dishonest people.

  34. Chris W. says:

    Hmm. I applaud the ingenuity at least. But, I think its quite possible he committed an actionable fraud.

    She broke the binding contract via Ebay certainly, but I can’t help but wonder if he engaged in (criminal? legally speaking…not necessarily morally) fraud by offerring the $1k for it to which she accepted (another contract, however formal). And then not he didn’t complete the new contract himself.

    Further, making the arrangements he made was some kind of stupid personal safety-wise: go there at midnight? To a stranger whose already comitted fraud herself? To engage in a arge cash transfer??? He’s lucky there wasn’t a robbery of the cash she gave him-or worse.

    That said, the woman seems an awful witch from the link, and I don’t feel sorry for her in the slightest.

  35. IGNORE says:

    How did he learn what was in the bank account?

  36. D0rk says:

    He probably didn’t go about things the right, ethical or lawful way, but damn do I respect this man.

  37. MuffinSangria says:

    LOVE what the guy did. She deserved it.

    However, making a statement that emails are not binding contracts is absolutely false. Maybe it’s not in this case, I don’t know the full extent of the law. But in many cases, especial in business and government, an email is a binding written contract. Making that blanket statement is very misleading.

  38. Gramin says:

    Ben, are you familiar with Google? Check out this: Uniform Electronic Transactions Act of 1999.

    In short, emails are legally binding contracts that will hold up in court. And note the date. This has been around for over a decade.

  39. samonela says:

    Genius. Pure genius.

  40. msky says:

    Good job!

  41. nffcnnr says:

    Beautiful justice.

  42. brianisthegreatest says:

    It’s $600. Understandable if something comes up and you can’t afford it anymore. Obviously it becomes much more valuable if you’re going to make a profit off of it. It wasn’t like he acted as another seller with a close but lower price and she agreed. She was going to get a huge profit.
    It’s not like someone can’t re list something. They provide feedback ratings for things like this. It was time sensitive, and the man was a lot more shady than the woman who was not able to purchase the tickets. So my sympathy is out there for the woman. Situations change. eBay is srs.

    When I was younger I wanted to buy something on eBay for $80, and I won the auction. I had paypal, but it wasn’t backed by a secure credit card which was required for the purchase (which i did not realize), so they would not accept. I did not feel bad not completing the transaction.

    I wonder if anyone payed the $100,000 for that boxee messenger bag.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t think so. It doesn’t look like she ever told her husband her intent to buy the tickets. She could have stopped bidding but she won the auction fair and square and reneged on the binding agreement (upon winning the auction) that she would pay the price. $600 is not pocket change; she clearly never intended to pay because her husband wouldn’t let her.

  43. Supes says:

    The lady was scammed, I have no doubt about that.

    But, like most scams, I have very little sympathy by a victim who’s loss was a result of their own greed. The worst scams pray on a mark’s goodwill, definitely not the case here.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      She didn’t lose anything. She paid $620 for tickets and delivery charges. Tickets she felt were actually worth more than that. When her buyer fell through she still had the tickets. She could try to sell them again or attend the event herself.

  44. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Scammer gets scammed. Warms my little heart during the holiday season.

  45. earthprince says:

    I have no problem with this. If you can’t buy it, don’t bid on it.

  46. nutbastard says:

    Unethical? Not in the least. What’s unethical is committing to buy and then reneging, especially on a time sensitive item like event tickets. The woman had no qualms about hanging him out to dry, so he conned her right back. And you know what? It’s true, you can’t cheat an honest man, which is why his scheme worked.

  47. Why is this on Consumerist? says:

    If he words the email to her correctly, and doesn’t actually promise to buy them, but just says he would be interested in buying them, or something like that, isn’t he in the clear?

    • Bsamm09 says:

      Why would he be interested in buying tickets he was trying to sell. He misrepresented himself. It’s clever but could end up costing him way more than $600.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I created a new eBay account, “Payback” we’ll call it, and sent her a message: “Hi there, I noticed you won an auction for 4 [sporting event] tickets. I meant to bid on these but couldn’t get to a computer. I wanted to take my son and dad and would be willing to give you $1,000 for the tickets. I imagine that you’ve already made plans to attend, but I figured it was worth a shot.”

      At 11:30pm she responded to Payback: “I’ll do it for $1,100, no less. I can meet you at the game if you agree. I need your phone number.”

      At 11:35pm, Payback wrote: “Deal. Here is my number…” (Thanks Google Voice for the throwaway number). She called a few minutes later and made Payback “promise” to go through with the deal. She emphasized that she’d be out a lot of money if Payback backed out. Payback swore he would never do such a thing.

  48. Jennifer says:

    I think there is a pretty good legal argument that the guy is either guilty of a crime, or liable for breach of contract.

    However, in order for him to be convicted or to be found liable for damages, you’d have to find 12 jurors to take that woman’s side. Good luck with that! Any lawyer who thinks that woman could actually win at trial is probably too stupid to find the courthouse. She won’t find a lawyer to take her case, and she won’t find a prosecutor who wants to waste time on it.

  49. Erik_says_this says:

    I say more power to him. eBay is rigged in a fashion that doesn’t punish non-payers. As a seller, you can’t leave negative feedback, and she was obligated to pay for the tickets.

  50. seamer says:

    Yeah, unethical. She screwed up by reneging on a contract; he screwed up by touching upon a money-order scam. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    Don’t confuse legality with ethics; lawyers don’t. :)

  51. Jimmy60 says:

    I’m not putting together fraud myself. Doesn’t a fraud victim have some loss? She got the tickets so she isn’t out any money. The deal to sell them may have fallen through but she still has the tickets. She has suffered no loss.

    Am I missing something?

  52. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Classic con, executed to perfection. Well done.

    I don’t think this is illegal. If she can back out of a binding contract, why can’t he back out of a non-binding one?

  53. oldtaku says:

    What he did might (might) have been illegal but it certainly wasn’t immoral. She bid. She won. On a time sensitive item, even. Whatever works to get her to pay up – and she was happy to pay up once she thought she had some other sucker on the line – is fine.

  54. dollarmenu says:

    I am fine with this. She acted purely in greed. When she was contacted by the fake account she could have easily said, “I didn’t buy them, but you should contact the seller and probably get them for less than $1000.” When she recognized she stood to make a profit she jumped on the chance.

  55. sweetgreenthing says:

    My day just got sunnier! I love it when greedy jerks get what’s coming to them. What, lady? You bid on stuff you never asked your husband if you could afford? Clearly he’s holding the purse strings here, maybe a quick, “hey husband can I spend $600 on this?” is in order?

  56. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I think it’s great that this lady got what she deserved.

    However, only an idiot would brag about committing fraud on the internet when it’s so easy to trace it back to him.

  57. homermad says:

    This was a story on Reddit. Read the post from the guy who actually did it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/em01h/how_i_got_an_uncooperative_ebay_buyer_to_pay_for/

  58. Gulliver says:

    It is criminal behavior to sell sporting event tickets above face value AND a violation of EBAY policy. An illegal contract is UNENFORCABLE. You can not force a person selling cocaine to honor his contract

  59. The cake is a lie! says:

    It is illegal now that he has told everybody about it. It was legal before he confessed to fraud. He had a contract, though, so the legality is one of those grey areas that a jury would have to decide. The law justifies his actions, but a jury could decide otherwise. it won’t ever see a courtroom though.

  60. GregoryMoose says:

    Clever on his part but a really bad idea to post about it online. Some things you should just keep to yourself. Electronic evidence will get you!

  61. Akuma Matata says:

    That. Is. Awesome.

  62. jjcraftery says:

    Very clever, I think!!!
    I’ll have to remember that one!
    Hey…if you sell something, and someone backs out, it’s THEIR fault. Not yours.
    You gotta get your money somehow! (if it’s legal and safe, etc…)

  63. GC says:

    DELICIOUS

  64. spinrod says:

    nobody seems to mention that with ebay privacy you cannot get a hold of the high bidder via email unless you are the one auctioning the item

  65. AngryK9 says:

    Clever. Veeeeerrryyyy clever.

  66. chemmy says:
  67. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  68. Pax says:

    Serves the woman right, and BRAVO for the seller’s quick thinking.

  69. reddfredd says:

    On the bright side she can still go use the tickets. In my opinion this guy did not do anything wrong, although it does stand within a moral gray area. I tip my hat to this man.

  70. Deacon says:

    An email surely can be part of a binding contract. This one was. It’s basic first-year law school contracts: offer + acceptance. She can sue him for $1,000.

  71. sopmodm14 says:

    well, she kinda screwed him over first unethically

  72. Jane_Gage says:

    You have to go to court with clean hands, and this woman doesn’t qualify.

  73. lonestarbl says:

    awesome

  74. ahoythere says:

    This is definitely illegal. It’s called “fraud.” This is also a very well-known confidence trick, described as “The Lost Ring” by Darwin Ortiz in his book, and in some variants is done with a pedigree dog. The key to the scam is the division of labor: one person establishes value for a worthless object by offering to buy it (or saying there is a large reward for its return), and the other person sells it and takes the money.

    In this case, due to the magic of e-mail, the redditor was playing both roles himself.

    Now, there’s no question it was illegal, and MORE illegal than the lady backing out on her bid, which was at worst a tort and not a criminal act (i.e. she could be sued for breach of contract, but she wouldn’t be charged criminally.)

    ETHICALLY, it’s a different story, and I am inclined to be sympathetic with the redditor who cleverly and accidentally recreated one of the oldest con games to save his ticket sale.

    • Putaro says:

      It’s not quite the same. The value was established before he sent her the fake offer to buy them. If he had then upped the price she should pay (and he did by $20 but that’s pretty trivial) then it would have been more of a scam.

  75. MalcoveMagnesia says:

    I wanna find out if she gave him a “negative” eBay feedback rating…

  76. duncanblackthorne says:

    1. Ebay sucks. It didn’t used to suck, but it sucks on ice now.
    2. #1 being said, if you agreed to the terms, and they’re legally binding, then you agreed to the terms.
    3. Unethical? Sure. Illegal? No. Crafty? Definitely. Saved himself the trouble of taking her to court, and he would’ve won anyway.

    Would I trust either one of them? Never.

    • failurate says:

      E-bay is a cesspool. Both the buyer’s and seller’s behavior is evidence of this.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Sellers have no rights on eBay…at all. eBay enthusiastically endorses and enforces the abuse of sellers by buyers.

        • Red Cat Linux says:

          Buyers arent much better off. EBay doesn’t give a crap about what’s sold on their site, and make token noises about protecting the buyer. So much so that feedback has become a joke and completely unreliable.

          My credit card protects me, but you are limited to the number of claims you can make in a year. I used to be able to pick a good seller, but that’s gotten so difficult now it is more trouble than it is worth. I probably buy one thing a year on eBay now.

          Even then, I’m never 100% sure it’s not counterfeit.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            BS. All a buyer has to do is whiff at eBay that they’re unhappy with a seller, and *bam* – seller gets negative hits, their PayPal account is robbed of money to send back to the buyer, and that’s that.

            The seller can’t leave negative feedback for the buyer, or take any action against them at all. No way for a seller to warn others that a buyer is a scammer…none. The feedback system is a horrific joke…when you create a system where one party can not ever leave the other negative feedback, you get abuse. And eBay is happy to let the buyers abuse the sellers.

  77. mythago says:

    I wouldn’t want to be his lawyer or anything, but I have to admire the scheme.

  78. skylar.sutton says:

    Can you guys stop stealing stuff from reddit already? This is the third or fourth post I have seen in a weeks time that originated on reddit.

  79. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Excellent. I wholeheartedly approve. So many people on eBay are absolute scum…and with eBay’s policies endorsing and enforcing the abuse of sellers by buyers, it’s nice to see the good guy win for once.

  80. The Marionette says:

    Well look at it this way. She bid for the tix, hubby finds out tells her no (after she won the bid). Since someone else wants to buy the tix (ie: the fake email the seller sent) then to her she can buy the tickets from the guy (he gets his money) and sell them to someone else (she gets money + some ). To me the seller seems more at wrong than the woman was. Her reason for not being able to buy the tickets after all is reasonable, the seller trying to con her out of the money after is what’s wrong. But I guess here that doesn’t matter?

    • travel_nut says:

      She entered into a legally binding contract to pay for the tickets. She is therefore *legally required* to pay for them. Yeah, he was pretty devious and sneaky in his tactics, but what was the end result? She was forced to uphold her end of the contract. If he’d have taken her to court, he would have gotten the exact same outcome. This way was just quicker, easier, and less messy for everyone involved.

  81. TabrisLee says:

    I read the story, and the lady that bought the tickets sounds like the biggest d-bag c**t I’ve ever heard of. That’s how karma works – you screw someone over and you get what you deserve. I can’t imagine the guy in this story would go to so much trouble over a smaller eBay transaction, but when he clearly stated the rules one would expect them to be followed. Screw her.

  82. Geekybiker says:

    How is this different than a debt collector lying to you to get you to pay? If this went the other way you’d all be screaming for blood. He’s exposed himself to some legal liability by his actions most likely.

  83. Zen says:

    It looks like her loses are $20… Let her sue.

  84. carefree dude says:

    Whether it was legal or not, can we all just agree that what he did was awesome, and that she deserved it?

  85. Sam2k says:

    So…the Ebay guy likely committed 2 crimes (Ticket scalping and fraud) while the lady committed one maybe crime(breach of contract), which is really not that bad considering the OP could have just gone to the game and sold the tickets at the door like tons of other people do. So we praise the Ebay guy? Weird.

    To the point about suing the lady for $600, the guy would have been obligated to take reasonable steps to mitigate his loses by doing something like I suggested and attempting to sell the tickets at the door.

  86. framitz says:

    Call it a lesson for the woman. She learned how it feels for someone to back out of a deal and leave her holding the tickets. Sometimes you get the treatment you give.

  87. Mr. Pottersquash says:

    We talk legal and fraud. But lets be honest:

    If she were to take any action, he would just explain his side and she would be effed. She can’t claim he failed to fulfill a contract after she failed to do the same.

    Fact is she has suffer no damages, no loss. That she did not make 500 on resale is immaterial giving the only available corrective act is to make him lose the 600 on the original sale. Perhaps theres some societal harm due to him using a fake number and inducement but the cause of those actions are her own. But his actions were clearly the reciporal act of her own bad act, the violation of a contract.

    Plus, how can she argue she was defrauded. She has shown that she doesn’t believe agreements to by are unalterable and binding. You have to have a meeting of the minds on contract, she can not say she thought a proposed buyer was obligated to buy!

  88. u1itn0w2day says:

    Too many episodes of ‘Leverage’?

  89. ovalseven says:

    This whole thing smells like a hoax for 2 reasons….

    1. It’s suspiciously convenient that none of the previous bidders wanted the tickets.

    2. He follows his Reddit post with a plea for money to help his ill grandfather.

    • Mauvaise says:

      I would hardly call asking people to donate to a charity in someone’s name a “… plea for money to help his ill grandfather.”

  90. u1itn0w2day says:

    Can the seller or buyer be put on somekind of do not do business with list on Ebay.

    Doesn’t ebay have somekind of satisfaction policy where you can return the item? Couldn’t this lady say she told the seller she was unsatisfied and the seller wouldn’t accept the return of her purchase which she has in her possession.

    Or give the seller a poor rating or something?

    • shthar says:

      not really. You can block a bidder, but like the guy shows, all you need is another email to start another account.

      You can give a seller bad feedback, but unless he’s only selling a few things a month your rating will mean nothing.

  91. Adam says:

    Epic win!! I’ll keep this one in mind!

  92. JANSCHOLL says:

    Most professional sports teams have a buy back or resale program thru them. I would never go on ebay to buy or sell. Too many scams. I had row one tickets to an NBA finals back a while, and could not go. I donated them to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The Big/Little then sent me a photo of them having a great time. I got a tax deduction and a grand feeling knowing some little kid got to see the game. I still have that photo on my fridge 20 years later.

  93. u1itn0w2day says:

    The buyer not only seems like an ignorant person but an impulse buyer as well. But buyer’s remorse is not a crime or is ignorance. Hopefully a person this impulsive and ignorant won’t press charges. Said she was calling the FBI and police.

  94. packy says:

    I really want to have Consumerist follow-up on this to find out if the woman who was conned into paying up manages to successfully press charges.

  95. shthar says:

    This is either BS or the woman knew nothing about ebay.

    There is no way for you to contact the winner of another person’s auction.

    It’s all anonymous unless you are the auctioneer.

    So only the original seller could have known she was the winner.

    Which would be a tipoff to me, but if the gal knew nothing about ebay then it still would have worked.

    But I’m still a little leery.

  96. Putaro says:

    Ethically, what she should have done was forward the email offer to him (the original seller) with a note like “Sorry I couldn’t buy the tickets but this guy wants to and you’ll make even more”. Serves her right for being greedy.

  97. FiorellaMajumdar says:

    I’ve been skrewed by ebay bidders who “changed their minds,” and no matter what you say about a “binding contract,” you’re out of luck. He did what he had to do to enforce the contract, and I say he was a smart man. Ethical? He defended himself against a fraudulent customer.

  98. Dodger88 says:

    Somehow I doubt the second “contract” was actually a contract. She agreed to sell something that she did not have/own. She appears to have misrepresented to the sham-purchaser that she had the tickets and could deliver them. She obviously had no idea that sham-purchaser was actually the original seller, so she had no way of knowing if she could even satisfy the “contract” with the sham-purchaser. What if the original seller had actually found someone to take the tickets? If the sham-purchaser had actually been a third party and tried to sue her, she probably would have had a defense of legal impossibility since you cannot legally enter into a contract to sell something you don’t own. Otherwise, I would be glad to sell you my next door neighbor’s home for a GREAT price!

    Bottom line is that this woman seems like a real A**hole. This is the main reason that I still refuse to buy/sell anything on eBay to this day.

    • cloudedknife says:

      you do not have to actually possess the consideration for a contract at the time of entering into it, so long as you can deliver at the time required. somehow, I don’t think most people actually have the purchase price of a home in hand before they enter into a contract to purchase one. Generally speaking they don’t even have financing guaranteed until after the contract is entered into.

  99. gman863 says:

    This was pure genius on the seller’s part.

    My advice to the bitch who attempted to screw this guy on eBay: Learn something from this and move on with life.

    If she attempts to sue him or press charges, her name and address will be on the public record. Given she backed out of a legally binding contract and attempted to resell the tickets at almost twice the eBay purchase price, if I were her employer I would notify HR to find any way possible to terminate her. If she screws others like this, what crap is she likely to pull while at work?

    If I were her I would not even THINK about trying any revenge tactics – if this guy so much as catches a cold in the next several months she will be the only suspect.

  100. Alternate says:

    Reminds me of a classic scam that follows the same principle. You convince your target to buy something while a second scam partner offers to buy it covertly from the target (usually illicitly). The target is done in by their own greed and overconfidence. At least in this case there was no real ill intent.

  101. anduin says:

    But how would she ever be able to know it was the same guy, its not like she read that article and is sounding off. This guy wrote it and isn’t divulging who he is either. Sounds like he got away with it.

    • coren says:

      Aside from him essentially telling her by using her quote back on her, the only way he’d have her ebay account is by being the seller to begin with – that information ishidden.

  102. tiz says:

    wow, judging by the email, she is one educated, intelligent woman. she sounds so illiterate i’m not sure she even knew the # for 911, so i really doubt much is going to happen to this guy.

    SERVES HER RIGHT, did she completely miss the “COMMIT to buy” button?!

  103. cloudedknife says:

    a binding contract is a binding contract, whether it be in email form or not. A contract requires an offer, acceptance, and consideration. an offer is the manifest intent to enter into a contract on certain terms. an acceptance is action or words manifesting an assent to those certain terms. Consideration can be pretty much anything.

    Here, the man manifested an intent purchase tickets from the woman on a date, and time, and for a price. These are certain terms. The consideration if you consider this a bilateral contract (he agrees to give her 1000 and she agrees to give him tickets) would be the tickets, and the $1000. The acceptance was manifested by her when she said “yes, I like this.”

    This is what we call a valid contract. While there is a defense to contract formation called unilateral mistake, if it applied at all it would apply to release her, not him from the contract and she would be the one seeking to enforce it, obviously.

    Was she in breach of her contract with him initially? Yes. Did he engage in fraud? Yes. Was it “right?” Yes. Was it illegal? Probably. If she sought expectancy damages against him in a court of law for his breach of contract would she win? I haven’t a clue. Sadly I am neither clairvoyant, nor licensed in any state for the practice of law…yet. I could see a judge awarding nominal damages plus punitives amounting to 3-400 though just to make sure the dude doesn’t go defrauding anyone again.

  104. cecilsaxon says:

    Ebay has turned so scammy I sworn off of it for good. I had been on since 1999 and it is really scammy scammerson out there.

  105. KlueBat says:

    It’s no p-p-p-powerbook, but it was effective. I approve.

  106. OranjeLament says:

    I thought selling tickets was illegal, I could be wrong. If so then neither of them can go to court about it.

  107. maztec says:

    What do you mean illegal, probably not? Inducement via fraud. In fact, what she did wasn’t even a crime, it was a a civil breach of contract. Whereas, what he did was active fraudulent inducement to have her carry out an action for his own benefit. Depending on where he lives, he could have committed a crime.

    To top it off, his action invalidates the contract. While before it was enforceable due to her breach, now he’s finalized it by inducing her to complete it via fraud, and has invalidated the whole thing.

    Come on, if you are going to report and make a claim about the legality of something, you need to actually know the law or have a lawyer do a basic review for you.

  108. Farleyboy007 says:

    Ebay is different b/c they say using their service IS a contract, and you agree to that by making a bid. (their unwillingness to enforce it is a concern) If i go into a store, and say “boy i like this PS3, i’m going to buy it, wait right here while i go to the bank” and never return, that is not a binding contract. They would have to prove damages that stemmed from that. She still has the $600 tickets, she hasn’t “lost” anything. If i tell someone i will buy something from them, and don’t come through, it doesn’t make me a wanted felon, it just makes me a dick. She was trying to do a little arbitrage, and rip off “payback.” She got what she deserved.

  109. italianbaby says:

    this guy deserves a gold medal. kuddo’s to him. she tried to screw him and in the end she got screwed… bravo.
    he just outsmarted her…

  110. iakiak says:

    Although technically doesn’t this mean she honored the contract?
    So the anyone who has actually potentially done anything illegal would be the seller?

  111. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Sounds like the whole story is a bit of Fiction. I’d like more information like how did she figure out that the made up email was from the original seller. I can’t see her or anyone making that far of a stretch as to say it was that guy. I think she made it up so she could convince her husband that she should be allowed to buy the tickets and go when the second deal fell threw.

    • coren says:

      …well he did use her exact quote when he backed out of the second deal…also, why would the buyer have made this up when the SELLER posted it?

  112. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Would have been better if he just sued her in court for breach of contract. Get his $600 dollars…and give her the now unusable tickets. The way he did it…she was out the $600, but still was able to use them….wonder if she did use them…

  113. jamisonfitz says:

    That’s awesome… i cant stand it when people bid and back out or wait a week before paying…

  114. Vitae says:

    NICE. Thumbs up for this guys creativity.

  115. graytotoro says:

    She owes him $600. He got her to pay him $600. Not how I would’ve done things, but it’s not like he conned her out of more.

  116. piayaz says:

    That was great thinking. She shouldn’t be bidding if she has no intention of paying for the item, or needs to get permission from her husband first.

  117. HorseplayEconomics says:

    I love it.

  118. pantherx says:

    You leave out the part how the lady was a complete bitch, to boot.

  119. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Last I remember, eBay rules state the second highest bidder is on the hook. (stupid, I know) Even if you do not win an auction and you bid and win another, if the fist person backs out, the second person has to pay up.

  120. Sumtron5000 says:

    ethical? no.
    awesome? YES!

  121. JoeTaxpayer says:

    I’m very hard pressed to call it anything but the right thing.
    A stereo? Well, go get a new buyer. But the tickets he sold would have zero value very soon. Her winning bid stopped him from selling to others, at perhaps a higher price.

  122. Skrpune says:

    deliciously evil

  123. brianguyy says:

    buyer beware – LOL!

    at least she got to go to the game at the agreed-upon price. it was the husband that got the short end of the stick…

  124. PortlandBeavers says:

    I guess he was counting on the fact that she doesn’t know how Ebay works these days. Nowadays, you can’t see the winning bidder’s user name on a completed listing unless you are the seller. The seller apparently was right that she didn’t know this. You need the bidder’s user name to see what she had bid on. A person who saw the listing and wanted the tickets would have no way of figuring this out.

    It wasn’t always like that but it has been for a few years.

  125. pambie says:

    Beautiful!

    In their gross mismanagement of eBay, all of the power now lies in the hands of buyers. Sellers have no recourse whatsoever against scam artists who never pay or pay for items, receive them and then file unwarranted complaints (paypal/ebay ALWAYS sides with the buyer).

    As both a seller and a buyer I can tell you that, out of the hundreds of sellers I’ve enjoyed buying from over the years and have bookmarked, a scant handful remain selling on the site. By spitting in the faces of their customer base (their sellers), eBay has become a cheap, tawdry site loaded with sellers hawking crap from China.

    Kudos to that seller for taking matters into his own hands. He would have gotten nowhere with eBay.

  126. loosejohnny says:

    I read this Article, and wondered what the legality of the ‘con’ really was. Now Its Ebay rule not to use e-mail’s to conduct business outside of Ebay Auctions, so the ‘offer’ on the e-mail is not part of Ebay and is against Ebay policy.

    This would make sense in the case of the woman offer to purchase the tickets outside of eBay fee’s and such. Okay the 1st winning bid contact is binding, unless the winner can get eBay to cancel the winning bid. This is possible, check the eBay rules for cancellation of bid.

    So the real case is ‘unjust enrichment’ part of the ‘con’ that occurred. The woman clearly stated that She didn’t have money, and established intent on purchasing the tickets to use them at the game at the time of the ‘winning bid’ her intent was to attend the football game.

    Then later when the opportunity arises that she can in fact purchase the tickets, and resell them for a personal profit is not in agreement with the 1st intent (of using the tickets to attend a football game). therefore her intent was not in agreement with the original intent established that she could not afford the tickets, and had no intent to attend the football game.

    because intent was not consistent, the ‘contract’ by e-mail is not valid, because one cannot have a “completed” a contract when the person has no intent to “complete” the contract.

    so there is no unjust enrichment of the buyer and seller in this case.

    Unjust enrichment is a legal term denoting a particular type of causative event in which one party is unjustly enriched at the expense of another, and an obligation to make restitution arises, regardless of liability for wrongdoing.[1]

    Definition:
    1.n. a benefit by mistake or chance. Morally and ethically the one who gains a benefit that he or she has not paid or worked for should not keep it to the rightful owner’s detriment. The party that received money, services or property that should have been delivered to or belonged to another must make restitution to the rightful owner. A court may order such restitution in a lawsuit brought by the party who should rightly have the money or property. [2].

    2. n. A general equitable principle that a person should not profit at another’s expense and therefore should make restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained. [3]

  127. Papa Bear says:

    A couple of questions come to mind. First, did the auction’s time expire? If so, and there were no higher bidders, her bid is a binding contract and his recourse to enforce that contract is via the court system or any arbitration or mediation that E-Bay requires. If the auction had not officially ended, then she has the legal right to withdraw her offer up until the auction for that item ends. In an auction of any sort, the contract is not binding until the hammer drops. Once it drops, the buyer is bound by his or her offer. In the case of E-Bay, once the time limit expires, the highest bidder is contractually bound by his bid.

    Second question that comes to mind is was this actually an auction or did he place the tickets on E-Bay using its classified ad function. If it was a classified ad, then there is no contract until she accepts delivery of the tickets. However, if the ad states payment must be made before delivery and she agrees to that, then that would probably be considered a contract by the courts. The question then becomes what damages did he suffer. He would more than likely only prevailed for the face value of the tickets.

    Another option he had was to sue based upon the theory of promissory estoppel. In other words, because he had relied upon her promise, he failed to accept a higher offer, she might be found to be bound by that promise.

    His proper recourse, especially since this seems to have been a local transaction as he was able to hand deliver the tickets, would have been small claims court. He would have probably been awarded double damages and costs for very little effort. Small claims are pretty easy to file.

    Although his e-mail was not a binding contract, it was a fraudulent offer to purchase. So either it was mail fraud or fraudulent collections. Either of which could constitute a federal crime in the correct circumstances. So he was stupid, to say the least because she has both a civil cause of action and the state or feds may have a criminal cause of action.

    Last question I have is what about scalping laws in his state. He may have broken some sort of scalping law if he was not an authorized retailer

    He was stupid and possibly a criminal on several levels. She broke a contract, but she can now probably sue because of his actions and get her money back and then some.

  128. Papa Bear says:

    A couple of questions come to mind. Did he have a right to sell the tickets above face value? If he was not a licensed retailer, he cannot legally the sell tickets above face value. Therefore, there is no contract because a contract must have legality. i.e., you can’t contract to do something illegal.

    Second, did the auction’s time expire? If so, and there were no higher bidders, her bid is a binding contract and his recourse to enforce that contract is via the court system or any arbitration or mediation that E-Bay requires. If the auction had not officially ended, then she has the legal right to withdraw her offer up until the auction for that item ends. In an auction of any sort, the contract is not binding until the hammer drops. Once it drops, the buyer is bound by his or her offer. In the case of E-Bay, once the time limit expires, the highest bidder is contractually bound by his bid.

    Third question that comes to mind is was this actually an auction or did he place the tickets on E-Bay using its classified ad function. If it was a classified ad, then there is no contract until she accepts delivery of the tickets. However, if the ad states payment must be made before delivery and she agrees to that, then that would probably be considered a contract by the courts. The question then becomes what damages did he suffer. He would more than likely only prevailed for the face value of the tickets unless he could prove that he refused a higher offer based upon her promise.

    Another option he had was to sue based upon the theory of promissory estoppel. In other words, because he had relied upon her promise, he failed to accept a higher offer, she might be found to be bound by that promise.

    His proper recourse, especially since this seems to have been a local transaction as he was able to hand deliver the tickets, would have been small claims court. He would have probably been awarded double damages and costs for very little effort. Small claims are pretty easy to file.

    Although his e-mail was not a binding contract. An offer to purchase is not a binding contract even if it has been accepted by the seller. It was a fraudulent offer to purchase because he had no intent to buy those tickets. However, if she was not damaged by that offer, then there is no fraud, at least by civil law standards. So either it was mail fraud or fraudulent collections. Either of which could constitute a federal crime in the correct circumstances. So he was stupid, to say the least because she has both a civil cause of action and the state or feds may have a criminal cause of action.

    He was stupid and possibly a criminal on several levels. She broke a contract, but she can now probably sue because of his actions and get her money back and then some.

  129. Lee451 says:

    That was an excellent way to get his money. The woman should have discussed the tockets with her hubby PRIOR to bidding/winning them. She got what she deserved.