A buyer bought an item (buy it now) but were so rude to me I cancelled the sale. The buyer is threatening to sue for damages. Is this even possible?

I should add there were a number of other factors involved here, including the fact that the buyer was based abroad (and I have my account limited to preventing sales outside the UK), they got around this by providing a UK address to ebay (which may or may not be real - see edit - almost certainly fake), but they wanted it sent abroad.

It listed as a "collection in person" item, and the buyer insisted on sending their own courier.

In short, I was TOLD to package it up, which I refused to do as it was not a small item and would have taken considerable time to pack properly, but it was very low value -in short - not worth my time.

Edit: I note now the buyer has changed their ebay address from UK to US, although ebay believes they are based in a 3rd country. I suspect they buy or attempt to buy from different countries, changing their ebay address each time to get around the sellers' rules.

  • Did your listing say that the item could be shipped where the buyer wanted it to? Or was it explicitly UK only?
    – Greendrake
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:00
  • As stated the item was explicitly marked collection in person only. As far as location of buyer is concerned, ebay do that automatically - I just flag to them that I will ONLY sell to a UK based buyer - although this can be circumvented as the buyers registered address on eBay is easily changed and has no bearing on where an item should be sent to - that's always the registered address with the payment processing company.
    – user32353
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:23


From clause 7 of the Ebay agreement:

When you enter into a transaction you create a legally binding contract with another user, unless the item is listed in a category under the Non-binding bid policy.

You have a contract, if you don't fulfil your obligations under it you can be sued.

You can only terminate a contract a) if the contract provides for termination and the relevant circumstances have happened, or b) due to a breach of a condition (but not a warranty) of the contract by the other party or c) some very limited and highly technical circumstances at law. The fact that the other party is rude doesn't fit within b) or c) and, barring some very unusual contract terms, won't fit in a) either.

Make good on your legally enforcable promise.


the item was explicitly marked collection in person only

You only must honour the sale if the buyer arranges for the item to be collected in person (e.g. books a courier for pick up) — no matter how rude they are. If they do so and you refuse to sale, they indeed have a case and good chances of winning. Whether it is reasonable/worthwhile for them to sue, and, therefore whether they are likely to do so is a separate question.

However, if the buyer insists on you shipping the item anywhere (UK or abroad), you are entitled to cancel the sale and forget about it.

  • Courier? ebay.co.uk/help/buying/postage-delivery/… The whole point of collection in person is for the seller to avoid having to package it.
    – user32353
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:40
  • @tonydev314 Who says you have to package it?
    – Greendrake
    Jul 10 '20 at 11:47
  • Aside from the fact that couriers wouldn't touch an item that WASN'T packaged, according to both Ebay and Paypal - the seller is responsible for the item until the buyer receives it. And I'm quite sure a buyer rude enough to assume I'd package up a £10 item for them when I've specifically stated collection in person, would be VERY quick to demand a refund if it arrived damaged.
    – user32353
    Jul 10 '20 at 12:48
  • 2
    @tonydev314 It would be the buyer's worry to find a courier/agent that will pick the item up as is. Whoever picks the item up will be the buyer's representative, so as soon as you hand it over the buyer will legally have received it. That said, however, if the buyer does not figure this out and keeps insisting on what your listing did not provide for, you are free to ignore them.
    – Greendrake
    Jul 10 '20 at 13:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy