September 11, 2015
Mercy me, but I watch The People’s Court on TV every day. I record it on my TiVo and watch it late at night. Recently, there was a case that befuddled my sleepless brain. It had nothing to do with either my lack of sleep or any legal complexities the case presented.
As I understood it, the defendant was selling a broken printer on eBay. The plaintiff bid on it and won. The defendant, suspicious that anyone would want to buy his broken printer, canceled the sale. And that was it. The defendant prettied up the defense with accusations of harassment (the plaintiff actually dared to contact him to ask why the sale was canceled) but in the end he won because he had some odd eBay rules on his side.
It was a perfect logical trap. He wanted to sell his broken printer, but he believed that anyone who would want his broken printer would have to be up to no good, and he wouldn’t sell his printer to anyone like that. Given those circumstances it was impossible for him to sell the printer he wanted to sell.
The judge, perplexed by the defendant, asked him if he was still willing to sell the printer to the plaintiff if the plaintiff was still interested in buying it. The plaintiff was. But even after the judge offered to draft an agreement that left the defendant totally without any legal responsibility if anything at all went wrong (And what could go wrong? No one seemed to know.) the defendant still felt “something suspicious” about the whole thing and kept his printer.
Why did the plaintiff want the printer in the first place? The printer was an industrial printer and the plaintiff was a printer repairman. He was sure he could fix it and sell the printer at a profit, so he took the defendant to court to get the sale of the printer reinstated. He went home with nothing.
The defendant kept his broken printer, which he could have sold for $158, and went home with his belief that there was “something suspicious” about the sale.
How do people have time to go to court for nonsense like this? And worse, why would they agree to put this sideshow on TV? I don’t get it.