Skip to main content

Reselling brand name item as new, is there a legal definition of new. Does commercial law define this or does the brand owner?

Cleveland, OH |

Here is the scenario, a brand name item is purchased from a major US retailer and purchased within the US. For simplicity sake, lets says its a t-shirt, its genuine and the item carries no warranty. Its taken home and listed on ebay without any changes to the item, ie it is never used. Question - Can this item be marketed and sold as New. Please support your answer by citing similar cases. Please be aware Im not asking if I have the right to sell this item, this is not a question regarding the first sale doctrine. The question centers on how the legal system defines an item as new and how buying an item at retail and reselling might affect that distinction. Im also interested in purchasing a formal opinion from the right expert.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I know of no legal definition of the term "new". New and unused are different. It's an interesting question, heaviliy dependent on facts and your true, undisclosed, goals. Misrepresentation in sales can be unfair trade practices. Interfering with established contracts for distribution can be a problem.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. I agree with Mr. Doland and would add that the more detail you include in the description the better able you are to defend against a misrepresentation or fraud charge. For example, if you can truthfully describe the article as "purchased new from a major US retailer and never used. In original sealed packaging." Etc., you are better off than simply saying "new" because a purchaser is on notice that the item was previously purchased at retail. I am not aware of a statutory definition of "new" in PA, but under Ohio law regulation of auctions, new merchandise is defined as "not previously sold." I am not an Ohio practitioner so I cannot advise you, based upon these hypothetical facts how your situation would be treated in Ohio. Whether the Ohio courts would reason by analogy and apply that definition to your facts is a question for experienced Ohio commercial counsel. I'd recommend you seek counsel from a local lawyer.


  3. I agree with both the prior answers, "new" means not previously sold in the same channel of trade. What you propose is not "new" but rather "unopened and never used". We are not giving you legal cases and I am not licensed in Ohio. You pay an Ohio attorney for that. Look up "consumer law" under find a lawyer tab here on Avvo

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.