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Inside Move: Blogger bails on bid

Studio covers $4,050 price after bidder refuses 'Virgin'

HOLLYWOOD — An eBay auction for tickets to the “40-Year-Old Virgin” premiere to benefit an L.A. homeless shelter turned into a fiasco after a movie blogger bid $4,050 for the tickets and then refused to pay.

David Poland, who operates MovieCityNews.com, actually got lucky since he set his maximum bid at $3 million, but none of the other bidders pushed things higher.

“I thought it was a joke thing and that other people would bid more than $3 million and it would go to $10 million or $20 million,” he said.

Still, even at $4,050, Poland said, “There is no way I’m paying for this.”

Universal listed the “Virgin” tickets under the headline “40-Year-Old Virgin Still Available” and with a wink and a nod offered “dinner, movie, conversation…and possibly the chance for something more!”

A little lower, the listing read, “You are bidding for two tickets to the world premiere of ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ which will be held at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood” and said that proceeds would go to Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, which provides social services for homeless substance abusers.

Though Poland said that when he entered the bid he thought he was bidding on the virginity of the fictional character in the film, other bloggers who wrote about it had no problem figuring out that it was a charity auction for tickets.

He now blames the small size of the text in the listing. But in an earlier email to Daily Variety, he wrote, “Even as scrunched up as the bottom of the description is, I find it hard to imagine that I didn’t notice it.”

According to eBay’s guidelines, which renders bids legally binding contracts, Poland was on the hook for the full $4,050. But it sounds like U will be cutting a check to the charity instead. “Universal’s last word was we’ll take care of it,” he said.

Beyond covering for the cost of his screw-up, Poland also asked the studio not to comment on the situation, which it didn’t.

But he blames the studio for his trouble and said he feared someone in the marketing department might get fired. “They let this situation happen,” he explained.

And who said studios never do anything for bloggers?

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