Pennsylvania Sues Woman For Selling Goods On eBay Without A License

from the if-we-don't-understand-it,-it's-probably-illegal dept

A few years back we wrote about states that were passing inexplicable laws requiring anyone selling goods on eBay for others to get an auctioneer's license, something that can be quite costly and sometimes requires a long-term apprenticeship. It appears just such a law is being used in Pennsylvania to go after a very successful eBay seller (via the Agitator). The story in that case is even more ridiculous, since the woman in question only began selling goods on eBay in order to be able to stay at home with her young daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Even though the woman stopped (and got a job outside the home) as soon as the state notified her that she was illegally selling goods, the state is still moving forward prosecuting her. While the state told the reporter that the maximum fine the woman faced is only $2,000, her lawyer read the charges in a way that suggested she could be on the hook for up to $10 million. The whole thing seems pretty pointless. Selling on eBay is quite different from running an auction house. If anything, laws like these seem designed to limit competition in an effort to protect an incumbent industry. As another eBay seller facing similar charges notes in the article: "It's like the buggy-whip manufacturer's deciding whether these newfangled automobile manufacturers can do it without a buggy-whip license."

Filed Under: auction license, pennsylvania
Companies: ebay


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  1. identicon
    Tax Shafted Again, 4 Feb 2008 @ 12:05am

    Yes another example of the Gov't double, triple, q

    ...dipping.

    If I sell something I own, without a business license, that means that I paid sales taxes on it already. I also paid income taxes on the money that I made so that I could purchase said item. So by the time I own it, I've already been taxed twice on that money.

    Now, if I want to sell it, I'm being told that I should for out for taxes AGAIN? I thought this country stood for FREE TRADE.

    Make no mistake, requiring me to get a license, pass a test, take a course, or anything of the like is a TAX like any other. The state doesn't use licenses to regulate garage sales in Oklahoma, they use the $5 to line the pockets of state government as another TAX.

    What it all comes down to is how much are the American People willing to be nickel and dimed by their own government before they speak up and say "TAX ME ONCE SHAME ON YOU, TAX ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME."

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