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NSW Unpaid Item on eBay - Can I Sue?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by taluh, 23 January 2015.

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  1. taluh

    taluh Member

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    Someone purchased an ticket from me on eBay that I can't resell but didn't make payment. eBays policy states they are legally obligated to pay and I've made several attempts to contact them, but they haven't responded at all, even after I opened an unpaid case on eBay. This is for a $455 item and I would like advice as to roughly how much it would cost me to sue. Do I have an eligible case, and if that option is too expensive (as I have a feeling it might be) under Australian Consumer Law? Is there any official warning/letter I can send them about my intent to take legal action if no payment is made within said amount of days?
    Thank you, any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BurgerMaster

    BurgerMaster Member

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    Wow, I've never seen that side of an eBay dispute before. I've only been on the end where a seller didn't post the item, then proceeded to not reply to any dispute claims, which allowed me to win and get a refund very easily.

    Here's some of eBay's policies...

    http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/event-tickets.html

    http://www.ebay.com.au/gds/Selling-Tickets-To-Events-and-Concerts-on-eBay-/10000000001229812/g.html

    I didn't see anything that applies to your situation there... I cannot give advice price of suing etc.
     
  3. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Send them a demand letter. There are plenty of templates you can find by googling. Also find the relevant Ebay clauses that bind you two in a legal contract and add that to your demand letter.
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Taluh,

    It is best to lodge a complaint/dispute with eBay directly rather than taking legal action.

    This is because (i) it would be difficult to track the buyer down; (ii) the buyer may not be in Australia (or your state) so it is difficult to take legal action and you have an issue of which law to apply; (iii) eBay may have a designated dispute resolution process (e.g. arbitration) or governing law or forum for disputes which make this tricky; (iv) taking action against a private person can be quite expensive

    Generally, eBay has a policy whereby if the buyer does not pay, you are not taken to have "sold" the item and they will relist without further charges to you. This is all quite streamlined. They may also have a compensation fund for items that are soiled due to delay in sale, but this may be difficult to claim from.
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hi Sarah, as the item is a ticket I assumed the event would be over before Ebay's dispute resolution process is finished which means the seller is then holding onto a worthless ticket.
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Before starting anything, it may be useful to know
    whether or not the ticket is transferable ("sellable") or not.
    Thing is, if (as is usually found in the T&Cs between the original ticket seller and the original buyer)
    the ticket is not transferable, or is voidable if transferred, then I am not sure that it can be
    the subject of a valid contract in any event.
     
  7. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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  8. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Tim W's suggestion to begin with the T&Cs between ticket seller and original buyer as one would expect to find a clause dealing with (non)transferability
     
  9. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Is non-transferability legal on tickets these days?

    Could it be illegal under the Australian Consumer Law, Section 22 on Unconscionable conduct? There is no bargaining on the terms with the seller, there is no loss to the seller, the contract is generally a SFOA.

    Or maybe illegal under ACL 'Unfair contract terms'? EG it would cause detriment (whether financial or otherwise) to a party if it were to be applied or relied on.
     
  10. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Rod,
    1. My understanding is that tickets can be sold with non-transferability as a condition of sale. This is because both unconscionable conduct and unfair contract provisions of the Australian Consumer Law require that any condition/s imposed on a weaker party (that is, the consumer/purchaser) is "reasonably necessary" to protect the legitimate interests of the stronger party (that is, the ticket seller). Ticket sellers can likely argue that non-transferability is necessary condition of sale to protect their legitimate interests - event security, prevent inflated ticket prices, anti-scalping laws that prohibit ticket scalping for the major sporting event, etc.
    2. The Senate Economics References Committee released a paper in March 2014 on Ticket Scalping in Australia (PDF). Makes good bedtime reading about the state of the industry!
    Hope this helps.
     
    DennisD likes this.

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