East Stroudsburg (PA) – A local school district in Pennsylvania had purchased seven trailers for use as expanded classroom overflow needs grew during school construction. Each trailer cost $46,000 to buy, and another $14,000 in transportation and setup. After being used for three years, the school decided to sell the trailers on eBay, expecting to get $5,000 to $10,000 each. However, due to improperly listing the trailer, one of them sold for $1.
District superintendent Rachel Heath reported that school officials tried to back out of the sale, but due to eBay’s legally binding contract rules, could not.
The eBay error was not due to a systems fault, but rather an auction which enabled something like the BuyItNow feature with a $1 bid — something the school mistakenly set up. Said Heath, “Was I aware that there was no reserve? Absolutely not. Was I aware it could possibly sell for a dollar? Absolutely not”.
When someone purchased the trailer for $1, they walked away with an expected $5,000 to $10,000 trailer (which would’ve cost $60,000 to purchase new and have transported to their location) for such a minimal investment.
As a result of the error, the school district will not be using eBay to sell the remaining six trailers, with Heath being quoted as saying, “No I don’t think we will go that route again.”
The sale is now under investigation.
See the broadcast news story at WNEP.