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Dialing for trouble: Buyer faces consequences after backing out of $3.6m phone number auction

By Quan Zhanfu | | Updated: 2023-12-04 20:36
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A bidder in a Chinese judicial auction is facing legal consequences after reneging on a $3.6 million purchase of a coveted phone number.

The 11-digit mobile number, ending with "999999," was auctioned off on Taobao, China's largest e-commerce platform, by the People's Court of Zhenjiang Economic Development Zone in Jiangsu province on Nov 25. The auction lasted 24 hours and ended with a winning bid of 26.15 million yuan ($3.6 million).

The bidder, surnamed Xiao, was supposed to pay the balance for the auctioned number before Sunday. However, when contacted by the court, Xiao refused to make the payment and claimed it was a "mistake," according to a report of Modern Express, a news outlet based in Jiangsu province.

According to the rules of the auction, if a buyer regrets their purchase, they forfeit their security deposit. In Xiao's case, this means losing the 20 yuan deposit they placed before bidding.

In addition to losing their deposit, Xiao could also face further penalties. The Taobao auction page warns that buyers who maliciously raise the price or disrupt the order of the auction may be fined or detained by the court. In severe cases, they may even be investigated for criminal liability.

The specific penalties for Xiao's case have not yet been determined.

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