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Old 08-08-2010
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Default Is this bait and switch fraud (anyone in legal field)?


I had an audiobook (CDs only, no box) which I listed on eBay the other day which had been used and abused for several months. I made it clear that they had been used for several months although they still played. After someone bought it and I packaged the CDs, I noticed that some of the CDs had scatches on them. I tried to play the CDs but they skipped. Others would not even play. When I first purchased the audiobook I remembered that I had ripped the entire audiobook to my computer for backup and so I wouldn't have to keep switching the CDs from my computer to my car's CD changer and vise versa.

So, to try to satisfy the buyer, I offered to send the buyer a "digital" version of the audiobook directly through e-mail as kind of a good faith "alternative." This digital version was practically the same in every sense but instead of audio on physical CDs, it was audio in it's purest form: as MP3 audio files. The buyer would technically not be losing anything because the meat of the audiobook is the audio itself which is what I wanted to send him. I didn't even have the box and I made it clear.

So I offered this to the buyer and he accuses me of "bait-and-switch fraud" (I didn't even know what that was), and then later threatens to report me. I gave him a full refund and have not heard of him since. The buyer seemed like one of these people with a bold authority-mentality, like if he was part of some internet police squad or something, so I would not be surprised if he actually did report me. My question is, is this really bait-and-switch fraud and can I really get in trouble for this?
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Old 08-08-2010
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This is my opinion and in no way constitutes legal advice. Be very aware of this

I don't know about Bait and Switch, but eBay definitely would have a problem with this. They do not allow "backup copies" of media to be sold.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this was just an honest mistake.

But it won't look like that to eBay.

eBay will most likely view this as illegally selling copied media. They will go by the facts, and probably not care about any background explanations. And here are the facts:

1) Seller lists an audio book for sale as used. OK and within the rules.
2) Seller tells buyer to take a digital copy delivered by email instead. HUGE NO-NO!

eBay has no way to verify if you own the original discs or not, and cannot verify your story about only noticing after the sale that the discs are unplayable.

So the facts are that you violated two eBay rules:

1) Sellers are responsible for accurately describing the condition of their items.
2) eBay does not allow the sale of "backup copies" of media.

Violation #2, at the heart of the matter, is considered a SEVERE policy violation. My guess is that if the seller reports you to eBay, they will close your account.

Aside from the possibility of losing your eBay and PayPal accounts, nothing else is likely to happen. Law enforcement does not usually get involved in such matters unless they have reason to believe that you were doing this on a large scale.

Hope for the best, but you may get suspended or terminated. If eBay does this, you could try to explain, but they are not likely to listen.
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