I was trying to resell this item, which I purchased a few years ago from California from a NJ seller. The item page says the item cannot be resold, but I guess I forgot.

The store I bought it from sent me a message telling me I cannot resell it, and that they can take the listing down from the website I'm selling it on.

I do not mind taking it down to comply, as I would prefer remaining in good terms with this seller and not be refused business in the future. However I would very much like to understand on what basis I am not free to do what I please with this item that I rightfully purchased. There is no intellectual property involved that I know of.

Can it be legal to forbid the resale of a product?

  • 2
    Laws vary around the world: what country/canton/state are you in. Did you enter into any kind of contract beyond simply purchasing the original item?
    – TripeHound
    Commented Feb 4 at 7:21
  • You entered a purchase contract. The question, then, did the item page become part of the contract, and if so was that contract legal? There are jurisdictions where consumers are protected from abusive terms of service.
    – o.m.
    Commented Feb 4 at 8:12
  • If the product a thing or is it software?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Feb 4 at 9:30
  • 1
    @ohwilleke that seems to be an experimental film item that expired years ago due to films having a best before date.
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 4 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


They cannot. Not in your case of a private person selling their private purchase to another private person. It would be a big pandoras box otherwise. What if you gift the item to your friend and they put it on sale? Your friend never had any contract with the seller at all.

Commercial reselling can be restricted in the contract. And that is valid. You can find a rather lengthy explanation of it here: BGH 2008 (AZ I ZR 74/06). It is actually about commercial reselling, but shows what is and isn't commercial reselling.

But you cannot restrict a private person to resell their property once they bought it.

If a ticket is personalized for example, the seller has to offer a way to change that personalization, given that the old and new owner agree and take part in that process. This is supposed to keep so called "scalping" down and make it harder for commercial platforms to be a middle man.

So if you sell this on your private ebay account, once, probably for less than the original price, that is totally legal. If you use a commercial account, sell more than one regularly, or make huge profits, that are indicators that you are doing it "commercially" and you may get sued.

I'm not entirely sure what your options are regarding your good connection to the seller. They aren't required by law to sell you something, so... insisting on your right to do this might seriously jeopardize your "good relationship" and they might take all legal steps available to them, which may include never selling you anything again.

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