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Friday, April 30, 1999 Published at 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK

World: Americas

Teen on eBay spending spree

Bids are being taken for this Fisher Horizon airplane on the eBay site

By Jane Hughes in New York

The world's biggest online auction company, eBay, is coming under heavy criticism after a 13-year-old boy from New Jersey successfully bid for more than $3m (£2m) worth of goods through his computer.

Jane Hughes: He spent an enormous amount of money
Andrew Tyler apparently developed a taste for on-line auctions when he offered his best friend, Caston, up for sale on the Internet as a slave, warning that he was ugly and smelt, but worked hard.

There were no takers, so he then set up an account with e-Bay and began bidding for things himself.

[ image: Andrew has been banned from using the Internet]
Andrew has been banned from using the Internet
He quickly ran up a bill of more than $3m, placing successful bids for things like a replica Viking ship, a Van Gogh painting, a couple of classic cars and one of Canada's national treasures - the bedroom furniture which once belonged to the nation's first Prime Minister, John Macdonald.

Once eBay realised it was dealing with a 13-year-old, it cancelled the sales, infuriating sellers who thought they'd found themselves buyers.

eBay is now facing legal action.

As for Andrew Tyler, his parents have banned him from the Internet.

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