Man ordered to pay £12,000 after cancelling sale of vintage Studer tape recorder

The seller, Mike Godden, says he pulled the listing when he realised it was faulty.

Studer Tape Machine

Image: Alamy

A man has been ordered by a German court to pay damages of almost £12,000 after he pulled the listing of a vintage Studer A80 tape recorder on eBay when he realised it was faulty.

As reported by The Mirror, Mike Godden, a retired music studio manager, listed the machine with a starting price of 99p, and bids rose to £1,380.

He says he pulled the listing with eight days of the auction remaining when he realised that the reel-to-reel hardware was faulty. Shortly after, Godden started to receive messages from a man based in Germany, who had placed the highest bid before the listing was removed, who demanded that the machine be shipped to him.

As Godden cancelled the auction more than 12 hours before its finish time, he ignored the request from the bidder, in the faith that eBay’s rules would allow him to do so due to the nature of the fault.

The bidder took legal action against Godden, and the case ended up in a German Regional Court where it was decided that due to an EU contract law (Rome I Regulation, which is still recognised in the UK after Brexit), Godden was contractually obliged to sell the item.

Consequently, the court ordered Godden to pay the man £7,551, rising to £11,600 including legal fees and costs. This is reported to cover the cost of the bidder buying an equivalent tape recorder.

eBay gave a comment to The Mirror which reads, “We discourage sellers from ending auctions early, as listing an item and accepting bids from potential buyers creates a contractual obligation to sell the item.

“However, we understand sellers may occasionally need to cancel an auction and there are legitimate reasons for them to do so, including if the item is lost or broken. If they do end an auction early, sellers need to make sure they have proof of a legitimate reason.”

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