Ethics and eBay Book Buying

Scot Kamins kamins at
Sun May 29 14:21:29 EDT 2005

On May 29, 2005, at 10:33 AM, rchrist5 at wrote:
> Interesting ethical dilemma. What I might do is contact the seller,  
> let "hir" know that the book in question is not quite so valuable  
> as it is described. If the seller doesn't respond  either to me or  
> with a quick addendum to the auction, then, I would have no  
> compunction about telling the buyer.

I love the ethics of this, of course. But Robert Sanger's excellent  
comments have me worried.  I don't care if I'm tossed from eBay, but  
the thought of litigation scares the heck out of me. (I never claimed  
to be courageous.)
> Even contacting the buyer AFTER the sale is acceptable, I think. If  
> the seller is honest and reasonable, then "s/he" would certainly  
> offer a refund. And hopefully an apology.

Well, here you're probably on safe grounds legally. The auction is  
over, so there's no interference to worry about.
> Here's a question, though, with regard to your above story––but  
> with a twist: A seller is selling a Don Quixote illustrated (in  
> perfect condition) with a $15 BUY IT NOW. ...what do you do as a  
> knowledgeable ML collector/buyer/seller. Do you let them know it is  
> worth considerably more? Do you offer the same "conscience" to a  
> seller––who, most on eBay are not professionals...Just a thought.

Cavat emptor - caveat sellor?

- Scot Kamins

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