Auction mix-up a lost opportunity, not a direct financial loss

Cards and PINs,
Lee complained that the bank incorrectly dishonoured a credit card transaction. He made a winning bid of $75 at an online auction for a domain name. The online auction house automatically tried to debit his credit card but the transaction was dishonoured, even though he had sufficient funds available. The domain name was immediately sold to the next highest bidder. Lee approached the purchaser a few days later about buying the domain name but was told it would cost him $2,800. Lee did not go ahead with the purchase, but claimed $2,800 from the bank.
October 2021


Our investigation

We found Lee had not “crystallised” his loss by buying the domain name from the purchaser and so had not suffered a direct financial loss. He had only suffered a lost opportunity. Therefore it would be unlikely we could award him what he was claiming.

The bank told us it had not dishonoured the transaction. It said it suspected Lee’s winning bid had coincided with the credit card company’s computer system going offline briefly.


We facilitated a goodwill payment of $1,000 to Lee, who said he would approach the purchaser again about buying the domain name.

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