A seller offered a diamond ring for sale on eBay for $100,000 using the “Buy It Now” option. A buyer emailed to inquire about the ring and then clicked the “Buy It Now” button, which closed the listing. However, later that evening another person emailed the seller, offering $150,000 for the ring. The seller accepted that offer and informed the original buyer that she would no longer sell him the ring.
The original buyer sued for breach of contract. The court granted him summary judgment on contract formation and, after trial, awarded damages. The seller appealed.
The Court of Appeals affirmed. eBay’s user agreement states that a “legally binding contract” is entered when an item is bought or the buyer has the winning bid, and that, after a buyer clicks the “Buy It Now” button, the buyer is “obligated” to complete the transaction and remit payment within three days. The Court therefore reasoned that, by listing the ring with the “Buy It Now” option, the seller invited anyone who clicked the “Buy It Now” option to enter into a contract. The original buyer then accepted the invitation by clicking the button. The eBay listing provided the relevant terms: the buyer would receive the diamond ring and the seller would receive $100,000. Accordingly, an enforceable contract existed.
Judge Howe delivered the opinion of the Court; Judges Jones and Morse joined.
Posted by: Josh Bendor