This is so stressful! Any lawyers out there?

  1. Oh, dear! In October 2006 I foolishly bought a Balenciaga bag for £450 from an e-bay seller. A month later I bought the real thing from an authorised retailer and realised my e-bay purchase was a fake. Lots of e-mails but no refund later, I made a statement to the police. They investigated and surprisingly the seller was arrested and fake handbags were seized from her home. In the meantime, I completed dispute resolution on e-bay and have received a sum of money back (not the full amount, though), since my purchase was determined to be SNAD.

    The police and trading standards advised me to consider a civil action against the seller to ensure that I get my full money back. This I did, fully expecting the seller to concede and disappear into the unknown. But, no! She has now challenged my action, claiming all innocence and the court case will be heard in her local area, putting pressure on me to travel long distance and to spend more money on this case. There is also no guarantee that I will get my money back and I could even lose the case, if she puts on a good act in court.

    All of this is happening alongside the criminal investigations, which may result in her being charged with deception and which may mean another court appearance for me. It also appears that the civil action will run its course almost detached from the criminal action. She can say whatever she likes in the civil action and until she's charged and found guilty, I cannot use the details of the criminal action to support my case i.e. she is innocent until proven guilty. I am worried that I may not have been given good advice about running a civil action alongside a criminal one, but it's too late now to withdraw.

    This is so very stressful that I'm tempted to give in and walk away from it all with my sanity still intact. What do you all think? Any views and advice for me?
  2. Are you in the U.S.? What state?

    I'll tell you (I'm not a lawyer ... yet, so this is NOT legal advice, just advice from my own experience on eBay with shady sellers) my story. I bought a pair of True Religion jeans ... they got to my house, and were SHORT! I checked the auction--no mention of short inseam.

    I researched. I emailed the seller and told her that I wanted a full refund, or I would file an action in my county (for an internet sale in my state, you can file in your home jurisdiction; you don't have to file in the seller's county).

    Did you file the small claims action? You should consider contacting a local legal clinic. They can help you decide what you need to do.

    You probably want to pursue her in her jurisdiction anyway. If you have a criminal conviction against her, use that as evidence. Get a certified letter from the Balenciaga ... this will be tough due to evidentiary rules; however, if you're in small claims, they might be more lenient with you. You need to prove that her auction misrepresented the item, and resulted in fraud.

    This is tough. Again--this is NOT legal advice! (I'm applying for the bar, and I don't need any more trouble than I already have with this dog and pony show.)
  3. Did you pay with a credit card? What about Paypal? Any protection there?
  4. Not a lawyer but surely as the police found fake bags there, she will face charges & that will be proof enough for you to get your money back?

    Regarding if you want all the hassle & expense of travelling to courts you have to decide if it is worth it.
  5. How far will you have to travel?
  6. Thanks, legaldiva. She didn't accept paypal and so I had to send her a personal cheque. So I'm afraid that I've no protection here.

    I'm in the UK and I have filed a small claims action against her, but I just worry that she'll lie in court, may well be very plausible and I'll end up out of pocket. She has always contested that she never sold me a bag and that her accounts were hacked into. I've got a different story from the police, but I'm not sure that my stating this will stand up in a civil action. Perhaps I should seek to slow down the civil action until the criminal investigations have been concluded?
  7. Thanks, Roz. You are right and it's a tough call to decide whether to take this case to the bitter end. The satisfaction that I will get from this case is that she's no longer trading on e-bay. That's not a bad thing.
  8. About 90 miles, but the cost will be about £50 and I'll have to take a day's leave or else lose pay. If I win the case, I will be able to seek these costs from the seller but if she's no money, then I'll lose out. It's a hard call.
  9. Yes & she will be prosecuted so sometimes you have to weigh up putting more stress on yourself against letting it go & moving on.
  10. I AM in fact a lawyer and go after sellers like this constantly. In fact, I have done it for myself b/c I have been scammed before too. Send me a PM or let me know if you have any questions. I am more than happy to help! Do you currently have a civil suit filed?
  11. lizziecat

    You said you paid by cheque, so how can she deny that she sold you the bag. The cheque was mde out to her and she must have paid your cheque into her bank account.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  12. Is there some recourse you can take with the bank since this person is a criminal?
  13. In the U.S. you could ask her about the criminal conviction. IF she lies, then you can introduce it as evidence to show she's lying.
  14. I'm in international civil law field ( will become a lawyer 1-2 years later ). Normally, if you win the case, you've right to ask remedy-you'll be able to ask her to cover all of the cost you already spend but I think our country may have different law system.
  15. She can say whatever she likes in the civil action and until she's charged and found guilty, I cannot use the details of the criminal action to support my case i.e. she is innocent until proven guilty.

    As long as you've evindence that she sold you fake ( get evidence that she's the one who sold you & evidence for fake stuff ), don't worry about what she'll say in court!

    Thought there's law fiction, right? You know or not you abuse law, you still responsible for law enforcement.