A Seller Backed Out of a Sale Because of a Pricing Error and That’s OK

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Last week, I was looking at some domain names on Sedo. I saw a one word .com domain name listed for sale for less than $500 The domain name was developed, and it was way underpriced from my perspective. I reached out to the owner to confirm the listing was legitimate and concurrently purchased the domain name on Sedo and made a payment via credit card.

During this short window of time, the owner confirmed the domain name was for sale, and then he told me the buy it now price was an error. It was their first time using Sedo and apparently they made a mistake with their listing. They relayed this information to Sedo and the deal was canceled and I was refunded.

Sedo informed me that the seller stated this was an error. The transaction was canceled, and I was told “You might want to take a legal action against the seller, therefore we have made his contact data available in your Sedo contract.”

I have no doubt that the seller is being truthful. I anticipated that it was an error, but I bought it anyway just in case they simply wanted a quick and painless sale. Mistakes happen. I don’t know how the error happened, but I am confident the owner of the domain name had no intention of selling it for less than $500, so it was no big deal to me.

Several weeks ago, I ran a poll asking people if a seller should be allowed to cancel a deal because of a pricing error. Nearly 100 votes were cast, and about 2/3 of those who voted said the seller should not be allowed to cancel a deal because of a pricing error.

I could pursue the case via legal channels and perhaps even win because of Sedo’s purchase agreement, but I am not interested in being the cause of someone else’s stress. The last thing I want to do is give someone a hard time because they made an error when the domain name was listed for sale. The seller’s error cost me a bit of time, but beyond that, the only thing I lost is the opportunity to  make money on a resale. This opportunity wouldn’t have even existed had the domain owner not made a mistake.

I think this was the right thing to do, and I would hope for the same courtesy from someone else if I was the one who made the error.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I bought a drop via Namejet. Shortly after that, the previous owner (a known domain investor) reached out to explain that he accidentally let it drop and he’d like to buy it back for some reasonable price. I told him that mistakes happen and he could simply reimburse what I paid and I’d push the domain to his acct. I missed out on a good name but I was happy to do him the favor.

  2. “This opportunity wouldn’t have even existed had the domain owner not made a mistake.”

    That is a great way to look at it.

    Good show.

  3. You’re a lot more trusting and gracious than I am.

    Even after the seller confirmed that the domain was for sale, he said it was an error. If I was the seller, I would’ve double-checked my price at this point. Who lists their domain for sale without knowing what they’ve listed it for (especially for a one-word .com)?

    I don’t know, I don’t buy it.

  4. It’s a judgment call every time, isn’t it? When a good single-word .COM is listed for $500, then it’s clearly a mistake. The discrepancy between price and market value is obvious. But what if it were listed for $5,000 or $20,000? That’s murkier. In those cases, it might seem like the seller is just changing his mind on price.

    Honest people don’t want to take advantage of somebody else. It’s not always clear when the seller is honest, though. We’ve all heard a lot of dubious sob stories. But it’s also easy to enter the wrong price by accident. Just leave off a “0” and POOF!

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