Buying at auction
Consumer guarantees do not cover goods bought at auction, where the auctioneer acts as an agent for the owner of the goods. Goods sold by auction are sold 'as is'. It is the purchaser's responsibility to check that the goods are of an acceptable standard. Read more about buying a used car.
eBay sales are not considered to be an auction as eBay does not act as an agent on behalf of the seller. Therefore, eBay sales are covered by the consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law.
When you buy goods from a private person, rather than through a commercial store, there are no consumer guarantees. This includes any goods you buy from a private person selling through newspaper classifieds, at a garage sale or online (for example eBay).
Private purchases are covered by the common law of contract. However, it is often difficult to prove if a verbal contract has been broken. If you have lost money buying privately, contact a solicitor for legal advice.
Last reviewed 11/04/2013