Tue, Jun 24, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Man hopes 'life' worth A$500,000

AGENCIES , CANBERRA

It seemed unbelievable when bids to buy a heartbroken man's life in Australia reached A$2.2 million (US$2.1 million) — and it was, with the bemused seller aware his life was only worth a quarter of that amount. Ian Usher, 44, announced in March he was auctioning his life on eBay with the package including his A$420,000 three-bedroom house in Perth, Western Australia, a trial for his job at a rug store, his car, motorbike, clothes and even friends.

His decision to sell his life followed the breakup of his five-year marriage and 12-year relationship with Laura, who he had built the house with.

Usher, originally from Yorkshire in England, launched the unusual auction after announcing on his blog: “I have had enough of my life! I don’t want it any more! You can have it if you like!”

Usher, who moved to Perth in 2001, said he hoped to raise up to A$500,000 to fund a new life.

When Usher went to bed on Sunday night, his life was worth A$650,000, according to bids on the Internet auction site eBay. By early yesterday, it was valued at a staggering A$2.2 million.

“I turned the computer on [Monday morning] and it was 1.9 million and I burst out laughing,” Usher said.

But Usher later realized there was a glitch in the system, with auction Web site eBay allowing offers from non-registered bidders, which took a day to sort out.

“Anyway after a long day on the computer, I have decided to pull all bids back as far as the first registered bidder, and the price is back to A$155,000 as I write this ... we are back in the land of common sense and reality, so it’s over to you,” he wrote.

After 21 bids the amount had risen to A$245,100.

A spokeswoman for eBay, Sian Kennedy, said Usher had to verify all the bidders before the auction to check whether they were genuine buyers and he could delete any he believed were hoaxes.

She said this was his responsibility because the bids were not binding. Usher’s life has come under the real estate section on eBay as his house is the main asset in the sale.

“You need to get in contact with him and he has to verify you are a genuine bidder before you can bid. If he doesn’t think you are genuine he can remove your bid,” she said.

Usher’s auction closes at noon on Sunday.

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