Considering your legal options with a non payer

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There are several guides on here offering best case scenario when tackling a non payer on ebay. These rely heavily on the threat that a bid on ebay is legally binding and can be enforced in a court. Although this may stand in theory, it is not that straight forward and favour is weighted heavily towards the buyer.

The idea is that when all communication with the buyer is lost and you have given adequate notice to them, you can apply online to the courts (MCOL) and issue them with a summons. In many cases the sight of this landing on the doormat will scare most in to paying up as with the best case scenario we read about. The problem arises when the buyer does not rise to the bait and files a defence. This is what happened to me.

I sold a car on ebay for less than £1000, the buyer placed two bids out of three. I followed the usual proceedure to arrange payment and collection - and nothing. I never heard from him again. Not being the first time this has happened to me, i followed advice and issued him with a summons costing £60. Right on the deadline a defence arrived, the worst ive ever seen. It was flimsy, untrue and gibberish, but a defence non the less and of course the defendant exercised the privilage to have the case transfered to his local jurisdiction, 150 miles from me. I completed the forms and compiled my case. Four months later the court replied saying that there was nothing in his defence that referred to any ebay rule that would exempt a buyer from paying once a bid has been made. He was given more time to amend his defence, failure would see the case struck out. Great i thought. Two months later this was extended further. All this time i was contacting the court to find out why it was taking so long. Finally a hearing date arrived for a further four months away, almost 12 months after the ebay auction ended costing a further £80. After getting some advice, i then learned that he would not be expected to pay for the car in full if he says he cant afford it. This then goes in to a credit check and then baliffs all costing more and in the end it might be that i recieve £10 a week. In the end i gave up and resold the car, which is what i should have done in the first place.

I know its a nuisance when buyers mess you around on ebay, but thats nothing compared to how much you can get messed around with the courts, not to mention the financial gamble. The best you can hope for is the that they pay up on recieveing the court summons after that its the long haul with no guarentee of full payment. The courts are busy enough without dealing with ebay disputes, so its low priority to them.

Ebay offer little support on this, you can report a non payer who will recieve a non payment strike, three for a suspended account. As soon as you go the legal route, ebay is out of the picture.

So consider the options before you act. Is it worth the hassle even of you win - eventually?

Good luck, i hope this was helpfull.,

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