When is an eBay auction not a binding agreement?
Would winning the car you want on eBay at below list be your dream come true?
This may be becoming more of a possibility as more dealers begin to use the web and in particular eBay motors. But what if you are successful and the dealer then refuses to honour the auction.
It shouldn't be an issue as the eBay User Agreement states that : 'While using eBay sites, services and tools, you will not not use our sites, services and tools if you are not able to form legally binding contracts.'
However deeper in the small print of the User Agreement you will find the following : 'For certain categories, particularly motor vehicles and Real Estate, a bid or offer initiates a non binding transaction representing a buyer's serious expression of interest in buying the seller's item and does not create a binding contract between the buyer and the seller'.
This clause is probably designed to protect buyers from making expensive mistakes rather than protecting naive sellers but it raises doubt as to whether there is a binding contract at the ends of the auction.
There have been several recent situations where the seller has refused to honour a motor auction. The most recent of which relates to a 2009 Nissan GT-R Premium which was won for $55,100 versus the Kelly Blue Book value of $68,170. The dealership maintained that the sale was a mistake and tried to negotiate with the successful bidder. Things got messy and negotiations between the parties broke down with the situation unresolved!
So buyers using eBay motors beware... !