Pensioner who cancelled eBay is ordered to pay would-be buyer £11,600

British pensioner, 72, who cancelled sale of vintage tape recorder on eBay after noticing it was damaged is ordered to pay would-be buyer £11,600 as German court rules bid is binding under EU law

  • Mike Godden posted auction for the 1970s recorder and offers rose to £1,380
  • Winning bidder said device was rightfully his despite it no longer being for sale

A German court has ordered a British pensioner, who cancelled the sale of vintage tape recorder on eBay after noticing it was damaged, to pay £11,600 to the winning bidder.

Mike Godden, 72, put an advertisement up for the 1970s recorder on the American auction site, allowing bids starting from 99p. 

The Studer A80 tape recorder is the same make as the one used by Pink Floyd for their iconic 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon.

The device proved to be very popular among bidders and offers rose to £1,380. 

But Mr Godden, a retired music studio manager, cancelled the auction after noticing the recorder was damaged – eight days before the end of the sale.

Mike Godden, 72, has been forced to pay £11,600 to the winning bidder of his eBay auction to sell his Studer A80 tape recorder (pictured)

The winning bidder, a man from Germany, insisted however that the device was rightfully his and sent messages demanding to be sent the parcel. 

Initially Mr Godden ignored the man, but the bidder took the case to court in Germany.

Although the seller had followed eBay’s rules correctly, which states a sale can be cancelled up to 12 hours before closing, the court ruled that EU law overrode the site’s procedures, and sent him a bill of £11,600.

Mr Godden joined online to be present at the hearing taking place at a regional court in Frankfurt.

The court ruled that the eBay bid was binding under the Rome I Regulation, a contract law operating in the EU and retained by the UK after Brexit, adding :’Both parties had made binding declarations of intention at the time the auction was aborted.’

He was ordered to pay £7,551 to cover the cost of an equivalent tape recorder and a further £4,049 for the buyer’s legal fees and bailiff costs. 

He said that bailiffs even paid him and his wife a visit at their home in Southampton, adding: ‘It’s just crazy. This should have never gone to court,’ he said according to The Mirror. 

Mr Godden’s Studer A80 tape recorder is the same make as the one used by Pink Floyd for their iconic 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon. File image

Mr Godden, who has paid the would-be buyer, is now calling for eBay to reimburse him and said that he ‘had not done anything wrong’.

He said:  ‘Losing the money is painful enough. It’s left me in quite a bit of debt.’

A spokesman for eBay said: ‘We discourage sellers from ending auctions early, as listing an item and accepting bids from potential buyers creates a contractual obligation to sell the item.

‘However, we understand sellers may occasionally need to cancel an auction and there are legitimate reasons for them to do so, including if the item is lost or broken. If they do end an auction early, sellers need to make sure they have proof of a legitimate reason.’

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