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eBay and After the Auction Contracts

You purchase a car on eBay, you discover something is not right and all attempts to resolve the issue are unsuccessful. You decide to sue the seller . . . but wait a minute; there is a clause in the purchase agreement that says you cannot sue, you have to arbitrate. Was the deal done when the seller made an offer and you accepted it. Not so according to U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck. Judge Houk has ruled that a purchase agreement, signed after the online auction, will prevent you from suing the seller if the purchase agreement contains an arbitration clause.

Be very wary of anything you sign after an online purchase. Although arbitration is designed to be cheaper, faster, and fairer, I personally have not found this to be the case. For me, taking the other party to court, has proven much more expeditious in resolving the matter quickly and efficiently. Indeed, I purchased a vehicle online, had a dispute with the other party and was unsuccessful in coming to a resolution. I sued the seller in federal court and the issue was resolved in a matter of weeks. If I had signed a purchase order mandating arbitration, resolution could have taken years and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

If you win an auction for a high dollar item, before you sign anything, contact a lawyer with experience in online contracting. Paying an experienced lawyer a few dollars early on can save you tens of thousands of dollars and much heartache down the road.

Brett Trout

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