An eBay bidder who pledged £22,100 for a man's entire possessions has refused to pay up.
The vendor, Steven Hartwright, 23, said the anonymous buyer pulled out of the sale 30 seconds before the noon deadline.
The bid withdrawal, which is against the auction site's rules, means debt-ridden Mr Hartwright will get nothing for his goods.
A spokesperson for eBay said it was up to the vendor to take legal action if he wished to do so.
Mr Hartwright, a web designer who lives with his parents in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, put his possessions up for sale to try to clear his debts and make a fresh start. The eBay page had more than 233,500 hits and attracted 135 bids, which soared from £1 to the final £22,100 in just 10 days. The final offer was made by a bidder known by the user identity nickyb25082092.
Mr Hartwright said: "It has been a total nightmare. I have had hundreds of e-mails this afternoon with congratulations and I have had to e-mail back explaining what's happened.
"He cancelled his bid about 30 seconds before it finished because he got e-mails from people saying it was a total scam," he said. "I am actually more in debt now than when I started."
Goods for sale included a plasma screen, a double bed, a carpet, an aquarium and nearly all his clothes. An eBay spokesperson said: "As we understand the situation, the buyer of this listing has gone back on their commitment to make the purchase. Making an offer for an item through eBay is a legally binding commitment to purchase.
"Over 10 million people trade on eBay.co.uk and the vast majority of these listings go through without any problems.
"We have contacted the seller and have explained what his options are. This includes contacting other bidders and offering the sale items at the price those bidders were willing to pay or re-listing his item.
"We hope that the seller finds a buyer for his goods in this way."Reuse content