D.C. Consumer Protection Act Held Not To Apply Where Plaintiff Purchased Item On Ebay In Order To Resell It
There is a recent pro-defense decision on the D.C. Consumer Protection Act, albeit only from a Magistrate Judge of the Superior Court.
In Nicely v. Jones, No. 9270-03 (D.C. Super. Ct. May 28, 2004), Magistrate Judge Ronald A. Goodbread held that the plaintiff, who purchased a fifty-dollar automatic stapler on eBay, was not entitled to claim damages due to the defective condition of the stapler under the D.C. Consumer Protection Act because (1) the plaintiff was not complaining of "illegal trade practices"; and (2) he was not a "consumer as defined in D.C. Code sec. 28-3901(a)(2). The plaintiff did not purchase the stapler for his personal use, but instead to resell it. Merchants are excluded from the protections of the CPA.
The plaintiff had sought return of his purchase money ($50), plus his lost profit on the resale of the stapler ($16), plus $1500 damages under the CPA due to unfair trade practices, plus punitive damages. The defendant was the individual who had sold the plaintiff the stapler via eBay.
This opinion is not available on line, but was published in The Daily Washington Law Reporter, Vol. 132, Number 208, page 2101 (Monday, Oct. 25, 2004).