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Facebook Marketplace seller must refund buyer over false advertising, B.C. tribunal decides

Facebook Marketplace. (Shutterstock) Facebook Marketplace. (Shutterstock)
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A Facebook Marketplace seller is being ordered by B.C.'s small claims tribunal to repay hundreds of dollars after selling a product under false advertising.

In the Civil Resolution Tribunal decision posted Thursday, tribunal member Kate Campbell explained the applicant, only identified as AF because he was a minor when the purchase was made, bought a head unit – or car stereo controller –thinking it was a Subaru iDoing model. But when he opened the box, he found an inferior Junsun model instead.

Campbell wrote a new iDoing head unit retails for just over $670, while a new Junsun unit sells for about $92. AF bought the unit off Marketplace from Felix Cretu for $400.

In her decision, Campbell admitted that when purchasing used goods, the rule is usually "buyer beware." In this case, however, Campbell found the Cretu's advertising was disingenuous.

"AF provided a copy of the Facebook Marketplace listing, which describes the head unit as a 'Subaru iDoing head unit,' brand new in box," Campbell wrote. "The listing also includes a photo of a head unit, which appears to be screenshot from a website sales listing, under the caption 'iDoing.'"

Campbell said AF confirmed the brand over text and didn't inspect the product when he picked it up because the box was sealed.

"Felix Cretu says the head unit AF bought is 'perfectly fine' and works well. I accept that. However, as explained above, Felix Cretu specifically marketed it as an iDoing brand head unit, and AF’s photos show it is not," Campbell's decision said. "I note that Felix Cretu does not say in this dispute that the head unit is iDoing brand, only that it works and is 'amazing.'"

Cretu said he'd take the Junsun unit back for "an unspecified reduced price," but not for the full $400 AF paid.

However, Campbell determined Cretu misrepresented the unit and ordered him to repay AF $400 as well as about $145 in CRT fees and pre-judgment interest. AF was ordered to return the Junsun unit to Cretu. 

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