back to article Bloke flogs $40 B&W printer on Craigslist, gets $12,000 legal bill

A Massachusetts accountant has vowed never to sell anything on Craigslist again, after getting embroiled in a nearly seven-year legal fight over the quality of a printer he sold online. In 2009, Doug Costello sold a monochrome printer to Gersh Zavodnik in Indiana for $40, plus about $25 in shipping charges. Shortly afterwards …

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  1. ckdizz

    Jesus Christ.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Yep. People like this are why we can't have nice things.

      1. Dadmin

        HIs mistake was not selling to a local user. This way you can make sure the purchaser is happy with their new device or not, then if problems persist you can deal with the offender using a very inexpensive baseball bat. This way; everyone's a winner.

        1. Darryl

          No, his mistake was living somewhere that something like this is even legally allowed to happen.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

            Let me add, even after the Indiana's Supreme Court described the idiot as a "prolific, abusive litigant"...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

              What I don't understand is when you start accusing the judiciary of this sort of corruption somewhere with a functioning legal system that doesn't habitually paralyze itself you'd normally expect to get yourself thrown in jail if you can't produce hard evidence. Don't get why that hasn't happened here.

              Also not for nothing but it's a fairly clear case (as described at least) of malicious prosecution; for sure I know what I'd do in this case and also what I'd do if the courts didn't agree with me. There's ways, y'know?

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: His mistake was living somewhere that something like this is allowed to happen...

              Let me add, even after the Indiana's Supreme Court described the idiot as a "prolific, abusive litigant"...

              Zavodnik isn't an idiot (though he is a crank, as his various court filings demonstrate). He's a crook.

              It's also worth noting that the laws in question are pretty sensible. If someone doesn't respond to legal filings, at some point the judicial system has to decide what happens with those filings. Indiana law says that, in a case like this, there's an implicit declaration because the filing went uncontested; but there's an opportunity to withdraw that declaration.

              The Court of Appeals makes it clear (read the PDF) that the Marion Superior Court special judge should have allowed all the implicit declarations to be withdrawn, and misinterpreted the applicable law. Well, that's a thing that happens: judges make mistakes. Then higher courts clear them up.

              Obviously Costello should not have been dragged through all of this. But any system under which that would have been impossible is also a system under which someone with a legitimate complaint would have a much harder time pursuing it. You can't have it both ways; no one's created a system of civil justice that magically distinguishes valid cases from bogus ones. The courts have to determine that, and in Costello's case they have done so correctly, every time but the one (where Edens incorrectly allowed the $30K claim to stand).

              The Indiana Supreme Court told Zavodnik that they'd impose restrictions if he continued to abuse process, and likely they will this time - eventually. The wheels of justice necessarily grind slow (and certainly aren't helped by idiot grandstanding "tough on crime" legislators clogging up the courts with unproductive criminalization of everything).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            His mistake was selling anything to a yank.

            1. Thaumaturge

              "His mistake was selling anything to a yank."

              Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond. So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II.

              1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                "maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II"

                The one that was paid back in 2006 do you mean? Which was made generously to allow commonwealth and Europeans to die in the US interest?

                1. Thaumaturge

                  "The one that was paid back in 2006 do you mean? Which was made generously to allow commonwealth and Europeans to die in the US interest?"

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan#Repayment

                  Minus the $8.5 billion we wrote off and the 90% discounts on postwar lend-lease.

                  I'm not advocating for the US to try to collect that. It just irks me when snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                  1. werdsmith Silver badge

                    I'm not advocating for the US to try to collect that. It just irks me when snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                    You should be just as irked by people who learn their history from Hollywood and get their information without context from Wikipedia.

                  2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                    No worries, we can always call in the 210.6bn that the US owes the UK in deficits....but we'd be joining a queue, as we're only 8th in the list of countries that the US owes debts to.

                    http://www.davemanuel.com/us-national-debt-clock.php

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    >Minus the $8.5 billion we wrote off and the 90% discounts on postwar lend-lease.

                    Problem with our (UK) governments is lack of economic foresight - China sold off $18 billion (of the $4 Trillion+ the US owes it) for less than a tenth of value last year. If we'd held out a few more years we could have paid off the entire war debt for a handful of billions as China refinances your imaginary economy.

                  4. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    This from someone no doubt wanting to elect donald drumpf - the dictionary definition of a snot nosed brat

                  5. Naughtyhorse

                    snot nosed brats thumb their noses at us.

                    so now you know how the rest of us feel ALL THE TIME

              2. William 3 Bronze badge

                Whilst I disagree with the person who riled you, I feel I must point out that we paid off those loans a while back.

                Strange isn't it though. After the war you just gave money to Germany, but demanded we pay up.

                With friends like that eh.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Strange isn't it though. After the war you just gave money to Germany, but demanded we pay up.

                  Not strange at all, if you believe the stories of paranoia about the Soviet Union and communism in the US and that they were shit-scared that a broken West Germany would succumb along with the East.

                  1. Nigel 11

                    Not strange at all, if you believe the stories of paranoia about the Soviet Union and communism in the US and that they were shit-scared that a broken West Germany would succumb along with the East.

                    the UK government also believed it, and as far as I can judge I think they were right. In 1947(*) Germans would have been starving to death, were it not for the food from the British Empire that the UK government diverted to Germany. This, at a time when wartime rationing was still in effect in the UK, and when public sentiment would happily have seen Germany starve. So it was kept ultra-hush-hush at the time and is still not well known. I'm proud that my country did the right thing rather than the politically expedient thing.

                    (*) 1947 was the harshest Winter of the century, Worse even than 1962/3 which I can just about remember. Snow four feet deep. Actually, it wasn't that deep. I'm recalling it through the eyes of a six-year-old.

                    1. DropBear Silver badge
                      Joke

                      "Snow four feet deep"

                      ...well just stop standing in it on all fours!

                      1. well meaning but ultimately self defeating

                        Well done sir/madam.

                        well done

                2. Naughtyhorse

                  yeah butthey got verner von braun...

                  and all his paper clip buddies

                3. HausWolf

                  Was going to leave this alone.. but you are correct, perhaps we should have made Germany agree to pay everything back, we could have made them sign this agreement oh.. maybe in a railcar.. that way it would remind them to never try anything like that again.

              3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Calling in Debts

                That would I am sure trigger the rest of the world to call in all the debt that the US owes.

                How much is that again?

                How much does it rise every second?

                Now that would trigger a 20+ year depression all over the world.

                Maybe that's what President Trump wants to do? (Just a thought)

                1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
                  Boffin

                  Re: Calling in Debts

                  You don't know much about debt & bond markets.

                  Most US Government Debt (66%) is held by US institutions. Furthermore, US Government Debt obligations cannot be "called" by the debt holder. All a debt holder can do if they want out is sell the bonds on the open market. The bonds can be traded on the open market, and their price can drop lower then the discount rate if too many are traded at once, but that only means the holders of the debt obligations lose money, not the debt issuer. (And if that drop is really large, the bond issue might even buy those bonds back on the open and retire the debt, thus saving money.) The debt issuer only feels the effect of it's issued bonds trading lower when they issue new bonds, as they may have to issue ones with higher interest rates. But that in itself puts downward pressure on the trading price of the pre-existing (lower interest) bonds.

                  Bonds & debt obligations: They are complicated. They were also designed by bankers & lawyers, so the last person to be screwable is the debt issuer.

              4. John Bailey

                "Yeah, we're all just a big bunch of jerks on this side of the pond."

                Yep. Nic of yo to admit it though.

                "So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II."

                Well.. yes, you could do that, if we hadn't paid them off already a few years ago.

              5. martic

                The Anglo-American Loan Agreement was paid off in 2006.

              6. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @Thaumaturge

                >So maybe we ought to call in all our loans to UK going back to WW II.

                Corporal Jones: The only thing the Americans ever charged in WWI was thein interest on the loans.

              7. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                The UK WWII loans to the UK were paid off

                The loans from the US to the UK were paid off in 2006. Its interesting that the "defenders of the free" made a profit from WWII and allowed Germany to not pay back all the damages, the UK had to pay every cent.

                1. Nameless Faceless Computer User

                  Re: The UK WWII loans to the UK were paid off

                  Demanding that Germany pay damages from WWI lead to WWII.

              8. Wolfclaw Silver badge
                Trollface

                We paid all your loans back + interest and if your going to label us all, nothing like arriving late to two World Wars, have no idea how to fight a modern war until we showed you and then you take all the credit for winning it and any major invention along the way.

                Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !

                North v South - Win / Loss

                WW1 - Win - Was it worth turning up and your military sucked in a modern war.

                WW2 - Win - Late again

                Korea - Draw

                Vietnam - Loss and major a$$ kicking

                Iraq - Loss and illegal

                Afghanistan - Loss and illegal

                USA, USA USA - SUCKS !!

                1. Roger Varley

                  "Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !"

                  Oh come on, be fair. They did manage an away win in Grenada.

                  1. HausWolf

                    We are 2-0 against the Brits as well.

                    1. David Webb

                      We are 2-0 against the Brits as well.

                      I assume you're referring to the war of 1812 (which no one over here considers relevant in any way, shape or form), the war which resulted in the American national anthem? The war where the US invaded Canada with the intention of making Canada part of the US?

                      How did that go for you? Which number state is Canada now? Oh right, it isn't a state because you lost against the Canadians (bear in mind that at the time we were fighting a real war with a short French dude called Napoleon). So whilst we're fighting one of Europe's major superpowers you decide it's a good time to invade Canada... and lose.

                      Also the war of 1812 is when the British went to DC and burnt down the white house, so if you can consider enemy combatants invading your nations capital and burning down the home of your leader a "win", it's no wonder you consider you won Vietnam. I

                      It ended in a treaty because we really couldn't be bothered with a minor country like the US, there would have been no gain from coming over there with our best troops - we defeated Napoleon during the war - and having a protracted war. We also destroyed your economy by blockading the East, the reason the war started was apparently because the Navy was going onto American ships to get deserters, once we beat Napoleon we no longer needed to do that so we gave you a "get out of being beat to hell" card.

                      Only in America could you consider a failed invasion a win........

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge
                        Mushroom

                        Also the war of 1812 is when the British went to DC and burnt down the white house, so if you can consider enemy combatants invading your nations capital and burning down the home of your leader a "win", it's no wonder you consider you won Vietnam.

                        A lovely song (with great lyrics) called "The war of 1812" by The Arrogant Worms comes to mind here...

                        so if you go to washington

                        its buildings clean and nice

                        bring a pack of matches

                        and we'll burn the white house twice

                    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                      2-0? When you were pushed back to the Canadian border and our navy sailed down the Hudson and burned down the Whitehouse in 1814?

                      Britain and her colonies won that war, but due to commitments fighting Napoleon, felt that defending any gained territory wouldn't be feasible considering we were fighting an actual war against a great power in Europe,

                      Even in the revolutionary war, you only won with French help.

                      Or is that like when you won 1-1 at football?

                2. kain preacher Silver badge

                  I don't know why people keep on saying the US lost Vietnam. The US got a treaty and N.Vietnam surrounded. It was only after the US turned over control to S. Vietnam and start pulling out with no intentions of going back did N Vietnam over run S Vietnam.

                  1. Hans 1 Silver badge

                    >It was only after the US turned over control to S. Vietnam and start pulling out with no intentions of going back did N Vietnam over run S Vietnam.

                    Yes, and the American general in chief, some Klaus something, flew off in his flying slay just after he had kissed sleeping beauty who was, for once, wide awake because Cinderella was making way too much noise cleaning the house.

                    First the French then the Americans tried to stop the commies taking over Vietnam, the French gave up so the US went in and ... eventually "gave up, too", no "ifs", "buts" or "maybes" ... any other interpretation of the events is called "BS".

                    But, to be honest, all that is not the point, what bothers me most is, why is Special Judge Jeffrey Edens still in office, that guy either needs a straitjacket with high doses of specialized medication, or a dope test - something is weird in his decision, does he have a legal background (I mean education)? I cannot believe what has been reported here about his verdict, that simply cannot be true, and if it is, pull him out of office now before he hurts anyone!

                3. James O'Shea Silver badge

                  "Be honest, in how many wars have the US won on their own, NONE !

                  North v South - Win / Loss

                  WW1 - Win - Was it worth turning up and your military sucked in a modern war.

                  WW2 - Win - Late again

                  Korea - Draw

                  Vietnam - Loss and major a$$ kicking

                  Iraq - Loss and illegal

                  Afghanistan - Loss and illegal

                  USA, USA USA - SUCKS !!"

                  Mexican-American War. Win. At the time, Mexico had the biggest, best trained, army in the Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately for them, they also had Santa Ana.

                  Spanish-American War. Win. This would be where the US got the Philippines, Guam (still have it), Cuba, Puerto Rico (still have it) and a few other odds and ends. Teddy Roosevelt got to be a war hero for charging up San Juan Hill; the 10th US Cavalry (Colored) got to make the charge with him and be ignored. Again.

                  Suppression of the south-western Indians. Win. After removing the top half of Mexico in the Mexican-American War (with a small addition in the Gadsen Purchase) the US inherited Mexico's fight with assorted Indians, notably Apaches and Navajo. It took more than 50 years to finally break them. The last major Indian wars were won by... the 9th and 10th US Cavalry (Colored) Regiments. The black boys broke the Indians where the white boys couldn't. Despite what Hollywood may tell you, there were a total of 12 regiments of US regulars stationed west of the Mississippi between the end of the Reconstruction and the turn of the 20th century. Seven infantry and five cavalry regiments. (Yes, there were more infantry than cavalry regiments. In case you hadn't noticed, Hollywood is full of shit.) Two of each were black. The Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and the 10th Cavalry were the ones who finally beat Geronimo.

                  Suppression of the Moro in the Philippines. Win. When the US stole the Philippines from Spain they inherited the long-running Moro insurrection (400 years!). Among other things, this resulted in the adoption of the Colt .45 model 1911 automatic pistol as the standard US military sidearm; allegedly the standard .38 revolver wouldn't stop a charging Juramentado. And having seven (or eight, if you kept one in the chamber as well as seven in the magazine) bullets instead of six didn't hurt. The Moro shut up. They woke up again when the Japanese arrived in 1941-2, decided that they liked Japan even less than they'd liked Spain or the US, and when Dugout Doug returned didn't see why they should stop fighting just 'cause the Japs were gone. Got suppressed again. US left. They woke up again. Got suppressed again. Al Quida arrived. They woke up again, being Muslim. (The name 'Moro' would be a Clue(tm)) Still annoying the Philippine government.

                  And, oh, during WWI, while the American army wasn't the greatest, except for a few special cases like Alvin Yorke, the Marines were magnificent. See further 'Belleau Wood'.

                  During WWII, the Russians did the heavy lifting against Germany, but it was the Americans who did the heavy fighting against Japan. Slim was the best general Britain had, but he was operating on a shoestring. (Note: one of my uncles was killed in action with the King's African Rifles in Burma. The way Britain treated the 14th Army is a sore spot with me.) The Chinese were busy fighting each other as well as Japan. Britain did show up in the Pacific, in time to provide naval support at Okinawa (and to get hit by kamikazes) and it was a New Zealand Seafire flown of a British carrier which scored the very last air-to-air victory of WWII, but... (Note: An RN Skua got the first British air-to-air kill of the war, and a RNZN Seafire got the last. Britannia rules the waves. Well, ruled the waves, there's no bloody carriers and no bloody carrier air any more.)

              9. ATG

                U.K. Should probably sue the USA for damages from the loss of the colonies in the terrorist action called the war of independence

                1. Tadirr

                  There is a story where the US state dept tried to buy their embassy in London.

                  The owner asked for Virginia back as his family were the original owners

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    @tadirr

                    >There is a story where the US state dept tried to buy their embassy in London.

                    >The owner asked for Virginia back as his family were the original owners

                    The owner of the US Embassy in London is a native American. Just shows, you learn something new every day.

                    Note for the literally challenged, there might be a hint of sarcasm in there.

                  2. HausWolf

                    Actually your Indians are not the same as our Indians so I highly doubt anyone from England is the original owner of anything in the US if you choose to go that route.

                  3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

                    Original Owners

                    So we wanted the land that you stole from us that we stole from Native Americans back?

                    "The Indian has made over 400 treaties with the White-man. He has only kept one promise. He took our land"

              10. omnicent
                Facepalm

                hmm

                You mean the ones paid back in 2006? Good luck with that...

              11. This post has been deleted by its author

              12. Tadirr

                http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6215847.stm

              13. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

                We finished paying them back in 2006. Despite the fact that your congress decided to wait until we were on our own in 1941, then screwed us over with lend-lease because we had no other option.

                It was Americas policy to end Pax Britannia since the 1800's. WW2 was how they finally got their way by leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers. Then they swooped in once we were on our knees, but not before.

                Obviously USA had to step in before Britain was invaded, otherwise they would have no opportunity to attack the Axis powers, except through Africa and defeating the NAZI's was in their own interests.

                Plus attempting to screw us over on the Manhatten project ( taking our research with an agreement to share back anything you learned, but then refusing to do so until we had built a nuclear power plant to generate our own fissile materials .

                If that's not a series of dickish things to do, I don't know what is.

                1. frobnicate

                  "leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers."

                  Ever heard of the Eastern front, where Axes kept 9/10 of their manpower?

                  1. Justicesays

                    Re: "leaving Britain to fight alone as the only remaining power against the axis powers."

                    "Ever heard of the Eastern front, where Axes kept 9/10 of their manpower?"

                    Eastern front didn't open until 1941...

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