Court battle looms over e-auction ''error''

30 March 2012

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1 April 2012 | Paul Snell

A toddler’s love of the video game Angry Birds has led to an argument between buyer and supplier which is expected to come to a conclusion in the High Court this week.

It follows legal proceedings initiated by a Chinese business trying to hold a supplier to the price he submitted in an e-auction. But the supplier in question claims the offer should be declared void – because it was submitted by his three-year-old daughter Avril.

Speaking to SM, independent consultant William Sommers said he was participating in the e-auction for project management services on his iPad while working at home.

“I only left my iPad alone for a few moments, and she must have grabbed it while I was answering the door,” he said. “She loves a bit of Angry Birds, and probably thought the e-auction was the same thing. She must have pressed something, and I couldn’t change the bid.”

He said the bid meant would mean he had offered his services for “almost nothing” for a three-month project.

Sommers believes the company is acting unreasonably in trying to hold him to the offer which he says was a “genuine mistake”, but the Chinese firm that initiated the action - Hohhot Axle Industries (Ho-Ax) - disagrees. A court can annul a contract in such a case.

A statement from the UK law firm Jester & Prank, who are representing the company, defended the proceedings. “There is no unilateral mistake in this case. Ho-Ax has the right to obtain the services it is owed. Mr Sommers is trying to use his daughter as a smokescreen now he cannot fulfill what he offered. We are confident in our case.”


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