The listing for Jet Art Aviation's British-built Harrier Jump Jet T-Bird Aircraft XW269 wasn't up for auction when it originally went live, but instead sold the aircraft for a fixed "Buy It Now" price. The unnamed over-zealous boy simply clicked on the "Buy It Now" button to make the purchase.
After discovering the transaction, his father quickly intervened by calling the company to express his apologies, explaining that he and his adolescent son didn't have the funds to back the purchase. "His dad rang up and profusely apologized to us, so it's still for sale," said a spokeswoman for Jet Art Aviation, of Bradford, central England. "We've put it on as an auction now so that won't happen again."
Strangely enough, the boy's false purchase actually reeled in more money for the aircraft. According to Chris Wilson of Jet Art Aviation, potential bidders took an interest with the initial story and loaded up the eBay auction to make their offers.
"We have currently had over 80 bids from 59 different bidders," Wilson said on Wednesday. "In a way the 7-year-old did us a big favor with the re-listed jet having received over 120,000 hits since Friday and generating considerably more interest than we expected."
The British jet was last flown in 1997 after 26 years of service for the Royal Air Force. As one of six of its kind to remain in the world, the vehicle can't fly in its current state. Wilson said that for "legal reasons" the company couldn't sell a functioning jet, but with "millions of pounds," the winning bidder just might have the antique up and running again.
As of this writing, the Harrier jet is presumably sold, as the listing no longer appears on the eBay UK site. While the winning bidder is unknown, the jet was shipped and reassembled locally or internationally at the buyer's expense.
So what have we learned here? Always assign a password to your user account and log off when not in use (or set the screensaver to kick on after a few minutes), whether it's Windows, Mac or Linux. This method of security protects your documents, hides your porn and keeps the kids from purchasing yachts, jets and other outrageously expensive vehicles on eBay.