Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 2 months ago

Is it illegal to sell items before you’ve actually bought them?

For example, if I were to list an item on a website (say a watch for example) for like $10 before buying it myself. Once the item has been bought I go onto the website that’s selling the watches for $5 and order it to the persons address who thought they were buying it off me? Or is that illegal? I guess I could say that the item is shipped from our suppliers around the world, but what if the item comes with a receipt and they see that it was actually $5 when they spent $10 on it? Could I get in trouble for that? I live in Australia if that makes any difference. 

10 Answers

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  • 2 months ago

    It's not illegal at all. Businesses do it all the time.

    Have you ever bought (and paid for) something online only to be told it's not in stock?  That's the business selling stuff to you before they even have it themselves.

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  • 2 months ago

    There is no law in that regard. It is not done because of the incredibly bad reaction one would expect from the buyer. That is true in spite of the obvious retail practice of buying an item at one price then selling it as a higher (marked up) price. It is also a fairly common practice of selling an item before the seller has actually purchased the item (not illegal).

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  • 2 months ago

    Perfectly legal, happens all the time. If someone wants to pay double to you for something they can easily find for cheaper, that's on them.

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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It is not illegal and lots of people do that, however you would need to ask them to email/send you the invoice and send the watch without an invoice in the packaging to your buyers address.......

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  • Chiaro
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Dropshipping is a real thing. There may be an unethical way to do what you are talking about, so to be safe, just read a good book on dropshipping. Most of them are short.

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  • keerok
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Middleman? I see no problem. The Chinese are good at it.

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  • TB12
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    If you haven't actually bought them then you don't own them,,, right.

    So,, is it illegal to sell something you don't own.

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      It's only "illegal" to transfer title of something you don't own. Since US laws don't generally transfer title until merchandise is actually delivered, it's USUALLY perfectly legal to enter into a contract to sell things you don't yet have.

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  • 2 months ago

    It's legal but if there's a receipt showing 5 bucks then you'll never get a repeat order.  

    And if the item arrives faulty or needs returning for some other reason, things might get complicated.  

    Or the buyer will ask to return yours and then buy it directly from the shipper themselves using the shop details on the receipt.

    If you cannot guarantee no receipt is sent then I say don't do it.

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  • 2 months ago

    Is it illegal? No.

    Can it be done? If you register with the seller as a dropshipper, then maybe you can do it.

    The problem is going to be when you order a your watch for several people, and the seller refuses the transaction due to the multiple "ship to" addresses.

    Also - you will have issues if the item gets lost in the delivery. And you will be on the hook if the item is damaged upon delivery.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Sounds like fraud. 

    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      It's not fraud.

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