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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36226
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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About a month ago,I signed up for an action house and won

Customer Question

About a month ago,I signed up for an action house and won bids on two items. When I was ready to check out my purchase, the cashier could not get any signal to process the payment via credit card. They were using a mobile checkout system.
Then, the cashier said that she could use the internet connection of a nearby coffee shop that was located about an half mile way from their auction. I agreed and followed her with my car to that location. I waited for about 15 minutes there, and she still could not process the payment because she was unable to get the credit card e-reader to work. After all the failed attempts to pay for my purchase, she decided to take the items back. She said she would get in touch with me another time to finalize the purchase.
After all this inconvenience, I decided that I didn't want to buy the items anymore. I did my best to honor the deal at the time, but they were not properly set up to accept Credit Cards. They tried to reach me via phone about a week later, but I did not talked to them.
About 2 weeks ago, I started to get calls from a Debt collection agency. Not sure if it is from the Action Company but that's the only thing I could think of.
Could the auctionner add a delinquency against my credit score? Am I legally obliged to pay for those items despite of the situation?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 6 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Unfortunately, you are still liable for paying for the items purchased since the auction bid is a binding contract between you and the seller. Whether you pay by cash, check, credit card, etc. you are still legally obligated to pay for the items. The fact that they were unable to process a credit card wouldn't get you off the hook for the purchase if you have changed your mind.

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Now with that said, if it very unlikely that they will actually take any action legally against you simply because it is too expensive and they run into this problem all the time. But if they have a relationship with a debt collector, and they very well might, then they can turn it over to them and they could report this as a delinquent account on your credit report.

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So you might want to check your credit report and then decide whether to settle up or not if they have reported this on your credit..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Because they were unable to process the transaction they took the items back. I received the call about a week later saying they were ready to sell me the items. The problem is I live about 35 miles away from them and no longer wanted to go through the trouble of getting them at that point. We only registered at the auction site because we they said they accepted Amex cards andexpected to leave with the items at the time of purchase. Under these conditions you believe we are still legally bound to follow through with the sale?
Expert:  Barrister replied 6 months ago.

It all depends on what the stated terms of the auction were. But in every online auction I have ever participated in, and there are many dozens as I bid on foreclosures as well as personal property, the terms say that a bid is a binding contract if you are the high bidder when the auction closes.

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There are no terms that say "If we can't accept credit cards, you are off the hook" that I have ever seen and the bidder is still required to tender payment for the items.

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So unless this is an incredibly unique auction which would allow you to back out if they can't process a credit card, then unfortunately you are still liable for the purchase, even if you have changed your mind or gotten cold feet about the purchase if it was an impulse buy.

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Now that doesn't mean that they will aggressively pursue this...but legally they could if they wanted to.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister

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