New "Dealing with eBay" FAQs are up

Scot Kamins kamins at
Sun May 29 14:24:28 EDT 2005

Great comments, Robert. Thanks!

"deontological" had me running for my dictionary. Terrific word that  
I can't remember ever seeing before. Thanks for using it!

On May 29, 2005, at 9:56 AM, Robert Sanger wrote:

> Scott and friends,
> Having surfaced from trial in Santa Maria momentarily (we are almost
> done), I couldn't help add an observation or two.
> There are some interesting ethical as well as legal concerns here:
> Ethically, one is inclined to do the right thing.  That may be to warn
> an uninformed, unsuspecting buyer.  This would be particularly true if
> the seller's misrepresentations seemed to be not merely negligent but
> actually fraudulent.  From an abstract deontological standpoint, one
> ought to do what is right.
> It would seem that the consequence of being suspended from e-Bay (or
> banned from the book store) is the sort of thing one might bear as a
> badge of honor if the action were indeed the right thing to do.  This
> would be a personal decision.
> On the other hand, e-Bay has made the corporate determination that it
> would be inappropriate for people to contact bidders directly under
> these circumstances.  I suppose that their countervailing  
> consideration
> is that this practice could be a means for unscrupulous competing
> bidders to undermine the confidence of their competition.  From a
> utilitarian standpoint, this might be a proper decision in this
> community setting.
> Legally (speaking in general terms since these matters could be
> adjudicated in any number of jurisdictions throughout this country and
> around the world), it is a tort to interfere with contractual  
> relations
> or prospective advantage.  There is a risk that even factually true
> statements could give rise to litigation, if not an actual  
> judgment.  Of
> course, false statements could result in an action for trade libel.
> These legal principles favor economic competition for advantage  
> much as
> the e-Bay rules do.
> Having said all of this (and this is not legal advice, just a  
> discussion
> among book collectors), we should exercise caution before  
> interfering in
> someone else's financial transaction.  This is not to say that, if one
> is right, the more noble approach might not be more rewarding in  
> heaven
> (or the non-sectarian or other equivalent thereof).
> Anyway, Scott and everyone, keep up the good work!
> Best regards to all,
> Robert Sanger
> Certified Specialist, Criminal Law*
> Attorneys at Law
> 233 East Carrillo Street, Suite C
> Santa Barbara, California 93101
> Tel: 805.962.4887  Fax: 805.963.7311
> mailto:rsanger at

- Scot Kamins

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