Reporting Kurtis Ming
STOCKTON (CBS13) – A perfect game only happens once in about 15,000 baseball games, so when Matt Cain pitched the Giants’ first, Paula Van Laar knew her husband needed a piece of history.
“He’s gotta have something about Matt Cain,” she said, remembering the game.
It took several months, but she eventually found the perfect gift.
Going on Major League Baseball’s official auction website for the Giants in early October, Van Laar bought an autographed copy of the lineup card for $332.92.
“I thought, he’s gotta have that,” she said.
But three and a half weeks later — after the Giants clinched the World Series title — the League called Van Laar to tell her the order had been canceled, and she would be refunded her money.
Van Laar said the representative who called told her the lineup card was now worth more money than what she paid.
But Paula wanted what she bought, she said.
“They can kiss my grits. I mean that’s just not right,” she said. “I thought, ‘I know Kurtis Ming. I’ll just Call Kurtis.’”
So under what conditions can companies cancel confirmed orders?
“Once they accept her offer, they have to live up to her promise,” said Brian Slocum, a contract law professor at Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
Slocum said once the site accepts the offer, a contract is established, and the company should not cancel because of an increase in an item’s value.
If a company does, under those conditions, Slocum said the customer is entitled to his or her money back plus any additional value the item had acquired.
“If it has increased in value, [Van Laar] is entitled to that benefit, to that profit,” he said.
Major League Baseball could not determine if employee comments about the item’s value going up were true, but told CBS13 this issue was actually regarding inventory, not any price increase.
“[The site] mistakenly thought that that the lineup cards were not available,” said Matthew Gould, Vice President of Corporate Communications for MLB.
“This was an isolated incident and did not impact any additional customers,” he said. “As discussed, it was an inventory management issue and we are sorry this miscommunication caused our customer any inconvenience or confusion.”
After CBS13 got involved, however, MLB gave Van Laar the autographed lineup card for free — shipping it overnight to her home — giving her husband another piece to add to his growing Giants collectibles.
“What better gift can you give your husband when you love the Giants that much?” she said.