Ebay Class Action Lawsuit?

September 25, 2007

This was found in my Weblog Spam folder. While it may be a valid question, the fact that it originated from an Australian server and the guy is in New Jersey is probably why it got tagged. However, I also found it a little suspicious that his website has a link to Mr. Auction Vendetta’s blog (maybe a friend??? who knows). It’s been four days since a sent this guy an email and have receive no response.

Anyway, here’s his question/comment, followed by my reply.

I came across your website as I am fascinated with auction law and the auction process. I used to sell on Ebay. Since you are into electronics, you may find this fascinating and ripe for a class action lawsuit. Ebay claims they list items for 3, 5, 7, or ten days, but in fact this is not accurate. When a user posts an item, it takes upwards of 4 hours for the item to be found on the auction site. Thus a 3 day auction is really more like a 2 day and 20 hour auction.

Is is possible to be updated as to your new blog posts? Also, as an auctioneer, besides Ebay, would you be able to recommend any good dealers of Star Wars collectibles?

Thanks,
Rick

—My reply—

Rick,

Your post in the Auction Law blog was detected as “spam”. I am assuming that it is because the IP you were logged in under was in Australia (part of the Asia Pacific Network, which has a high rate of spammers). Looking at your website, it appears that the phone number is in New Jersey. So, I guess I’m a little confused, unless you’re using one of the random identity servers.

To get updates, if you are logged into WordPress/Weblog, you will find a “Blog Info” button in the top right corner and you can just click “Subscribe to Blog”. You can also use an rss reader.

I don’t do much on Ebay, except buying occasionally. I’ve listed a few items over the last 10 years, but I’ll usually sell my items through a live auction. Most items tend to do as well, if not better than on Ebay. Of course, there are the exceptions.

As far as my electronics background… while I still find myself fixing my own computers when I have to, I’m trying to forget as much as I can about it. That is my past and while it was a good career, it’s not what I do today. Your idea of a lawsuit based on Ebay‘s posting criteria… I would recommend talking to a lawyer. However, I personally don’t think it would have much of a chance of winning. Keep in mind, it says “days”, not “hours” (you’ve got to think about how a lawyer can rationalize it). So, if it was posted on a particular day, given a “reasonable” period of time for the computers to respond to the massive amounts of data that are being submitted, the listings are still posted for the “stated number of days”. It’s kind of like waking up at 5:00AM or 8:00AM… in the evening, you look back and you still had “your day”. (OK, maybe that isn’t the greatest explanation, but you get the idea.) Anyway… like I said, you would probably want to talk to a lawyer. There’s always one somewhere that will take on just about anything. (I’ve got two in my family.)

Finally… STAR WARS!!!! Sheesh… You already missed it! In the past few months, we have done two auctions with lots of Star Wars (& some Star Trek) collectibles. It’s not something we do regularly… we just happened to have two large consignments come in. Of course, we get stuff like that off & on, but not normally enough to feature an auction. But, then again, it would be a long trip from New Jersey… and one of the reasons I don’t do much on Ebay is I don’t care for the packing and mailing. At least, at a live auction, they just carry it out after they’ve paid for it.

You can also find live auctions listed on AuctionZip.com and search for items you’re interested in.

Advertisements

Auction Laws in the U.S.A.

August 18, 2007

In the U.S., there is no federal law regulating auctions (Thank goodness). Regulation is left up to individual states, as this is how the U.S. Constitution was intended. States have differing requirements on licensing, education, bonding, fees and other aspects of conducting an auction. While, not all states require licensing, most states do have laws and/or regulations covering the auction industry. The Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.) was the original basis for auction laws in all states, except Louisiana which only enacted part of the Code.

The Uniform Commercial Code is often quoted when people talk about auction laws, but the U.C.C. is not actually law. A group of lawyers worked on drafting the Uniform Commercial Code for over 10 years (1941-1951) to complete the proposed statute and get it approved by the American Bar Association. The U.C.C. is just a general “code of commerce” that has become a precedent of law, but the Uniform Commercial Code has no legal significance, except that 49 states have drafted most of the U.C.C. into their own laws. The first state to adopt it was in 1951 and the 49th state to adopt it was in 1967. Why only 49 states? Louisiana law is typically based Napoleonic law, while the other 49 are based on English law. (So, Louisiana just has their own way of doing things.)

You can see what the Uniform Commercial Code says in regards to auctions at: U.C.C. § 2-328. Sale by Auction

In addition to the basic Uniform Commercial Code (or parts of it) in each state’s business law, each state may have their own additional laws, modifications or administrative rules that also govern auctions and may also vary somewhat from the actual U.C.C., as originally drafted. You can find a list of State Auction Laws & Auctioneer Licensing Information in the top menu & right-hand column of this page.

If there is no link to your state, then your state may not have state licensing requirements for auctioneers. However, this doesn’t mean that your state does not have laws regulating auctions. If you have information or links to webpages outlining the laws, let me know and I will update the information after verifying the information.


Introduction to Auction Law

August 10, 2007

The intent of this blog is to help others understand the laws that govern auctions and the standards of ethics that must also be held by those in this profession. I decided to use this as a way to dispel myths, misunderstandings and other false perceptions that plague the auction profession.

Auction Law may be a little beyond my actual scope, as I’m not a lawyer, so nothing on this site is intended to be legal advice, but is for informational purposes only (That’s my disclaimer and I’m sticking to it). However, I am an auctioneer. One thing many people don’t understand is the vast range of laws that auctioneers must keep up with and abide by, so as an auctioneer, I do have a pretty fair knowledge of many laws. Your questions are definitely welcome and I’ll do my best to give accurate and honest answers. But remember, it is only my opinion or understanding of the law and is not considered legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult a lawyer (and no, I won’t recommend one, even though I have two in my family).