hat constitutes a breach of contract?

I offered a car for sale on ebay. After a potential buyer who lives several states away repeatedly told me I was asking too much,he convinced me to accept $8.5K. I agreed,but he entered $8K as his bid,and unbeknownst to me my wife had set the “auto-accept” amount to take a bid that low,something I wouldn’t have approved, but the auction ended automatically at the lower amount of $8K with him as the winner. I might have honored the sale anyway,but a local buyer came forward with a $9K cash offer before the long distance buyer sent any money and the car was sold to the local buyer. Now the long distance buyer is threatening to file suit in his home state to enforce the sale. Can he prevail and what would I do? The car is gone.

Asked on October 27, 2013 under Business Law, New Jersey

Answers:

Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes. the ebay buyer can prevail in an action for breach of contract.  This is because there was an offer and acceptance.  The only question would be whether the contract was for the sale of the car for $8,500 (the price you two agreed to) or $8,000 (the price accepted in the eBay auction).  Since you do not have the car anymore, he can not compel you to sell it to him.  His damages are going to be the difference between what he can buy a comparable car for and what you agreed to sell to him for.  For example, if he too can buy a similar car for $9,000, his damages would be either $500 or $1000.  


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