How can you be sure the price of your latest eBay buy wasn't shamelessly inflated by some faceless shill bidder? Well, there's always the ad hoc investigative skills of Australian retiree Philip Cohen. Cohen recently posted a nearly 8,000-word shill-bidding case study to the online forums at AuctionBytes, as part of a, shall we …
My god! People still using eBay? Wonders will never cease
Call me old fashoined, but this weekend I managed to spend a small fortune on clothes (all at amounts I was happy to part with) AND I had the stuff in my hand within seconds. Another bonus was being able to pick up, hold, feel and often put back items before I committed to a purchase. All thanks to an almost forgotten concept called ‘The High Street’.
Its sites like eBay that are slowly breathing life back into our previously troubled town and city centres.
Personally, I’m happy to let those with the stock offer me discounts, while the profiteering masses try to make as much as they can from some spuriously acquired or otherwise tired, unwanted crap.
In previous experience I have come to realise two things;
1) eBay sellers are nearly all bent (crooked, not gay)
2) eBay bidders are tight-fisted, lily-livered, slack-jawed pikeys who can’t seem to make it out to of their own front door to purchase goods for a price that is, more often than not, LESS than the shite in the auction (after delivery).
£15 UK delivery for a memory stick!!???? "HOW 'ABOUT NOOOOO!!!"
In the UK shill bidding is a Criminal Offence "Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Act 1969" occasional Shill Bidding is difficult to prove, but the criminals often get greedy.
ebay's new 'private' bidding now make it difficult if not impossible for the general public to spot.
I wonder if they report those they catch to the Police. IANAL but don't they have a legal obligation to inform the police?
Never once have I bid on a shill and won one at eBay. The whole thing is a swizz!
@ Philip Cohen
Re: OFT, etc.
It's a real shame that the government agencies who are meant to stop this sort of thing take no interest. As far as I can see there's blatant dishonesty and conning happening on eBay, and eBay turn a blind eye at best or are complicit at worst.
Perhaps the answer is for all of us to educate our newbie friends that eBay really is, in every sense, a "tat bazaar".
Consumer Affairs Offices
Joe 3, You have to appreciate that the activity on eBay contributes some to GNP; that maybe why governments are loathe to put pressure on them; who knows. And then there is always the possible attitude that if not many people are complaing, then there can't be much of a problem ,,,
I just thought...
If shill bidding gets you banned, what's to stop someone from shill bidding an enemy/business rival's auctions to get them banned?
@As we know, eBay don't want to know!
Wow, someone at eBay must read TheRegister as it' s now been removed !
Attack a rival seller
"If shill bidding gets you banned, what's to stop someone from shill bidding an enemy/business rival's auctions to get them banned?"
Nothing, I guess. Once again it comes down to effective verification of users, or the apparent lack thereof if one does not sign up for PayPal. That's probably why many sellers expressing their views on the eBay forums use a separate "posting" ID.
Oldest trick going
Come on, people, shill bidding is the oldest trick going. And it can so easily backfire on the seller: if they sell the item to themself (or their confederate), they end up keeping the item and paying for the privilege.
The solution is simply never, ever to bid even one penny more on an item than you'd be prepared to pay and not moan about the price. It's not as though there won't be another one along sooner or later anyway .....
[AJ] The *trick* is to decide how much you want to pay, then use a sniping service. Of course, you have to pony up your eBay password...
..... or know a little bit about scripting, so the precious password never leaves your clutches. Bet there's even a perl module to do most of it for you.
I used to spend a lot of time and money on ebay, but ever since they came up with the "SMI" "shilling Made Invisible" quite a while back, I have not used the site once. No buying No selling. Rarely research. I never ever will use it as long as they have that policy. I don't care if they do have 'buy now'. It is plain dishonest and ebay track record for the truth is non-existent.
I also tell everyone I can that ebay is full of fraud these days, better to go elsewhere.
Now they even hide the winning bidder ID,
Crooked crooked crooked...
Thanks to Mr Cohen for his dogged pursuit of this, and to the Register as well.
Another Scam to be aware of!
In addition to the "shill", there is another scam, yet this time the scam is from the would be buyer.
As a seller, you put up a mobile phone, or a laptop, or another piece of decent piece of electronic equipment for auction.
The item is finally won buy a determined buyer, who may pay up and beyond £100's for the item. The seller post's out the item after receiving payment, and ebay take their share too.
The buyer receives the item, and then puts in a dispute, claiming either that the goods were not as described, or that there is damage to the item, or that is does not function. Ultimately, ebay recoups the buyers fees back from the seller, and then the buyerr will either not return the item from the auction, but lay claim to have done so via standard post, or the buyer will return a duplicate which is damaged in someway to the seller.
The seller in question no longer uses ebay and does not encourage anyone to use ebay because of the scam.