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If I received notice from a Penny Auction site that I won the auction I was bidding on are they obligated to deliver the item?

Sacramento, CA |

I was bidding on a penny auction site offering a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card progressive auction and the site went down during the bidding. (how convenient for the site as there wasn't much action). I then received notice Congratulating me as the auction winner. I read comments on a social penny auction forum that the site had gone down for repairs and the auction I was bidding on was was scheduled resume in 8 hours. (Time conducive to more bidders) I never received any further email stating that there was a mistake or error regarding the previous email declaring me the winner. When I tried to pay it wouldn't let me stating payment period expired even though the site policy was 7 days and I was trying 3 hours after receiving the email. The site owner says I didn't receive such an email and suspended my account.

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Filed under: Internet law
Attorney answers 2


1st thing to do is review the site's terms of use to see how auctions are operated ans well as how disputes are resolved. 2nd thing is to realize that you can use their site only if you follow their rules, and if you don't, you should expect them to kick you off their site.

I'm reasonably sure their policies make them not responsible for outages, and aso maintain discretion to determine when and how an auction begins and ends.

Here, there were irregularities with the site, including the email informing you you won the auction, but you tried to take advantage of that, and they decided to suspend your account.

Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


While I agree with Ms Koslyn's answer, sometimes the threat of taking action will get you some results.

There are some steps you could take to continue to win your auction.

Please feel free to contact me for a no charge consultation. I am experienced in Internet law.


Andrew M. Jaffe
Attorney at law

(330) 666-5026

This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.

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