Shill bidding or what?

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  1. I've wanted to purchase a navy blue Fossil Maddox zip wallet to match my recently bought navy Maddox satchel. Two came up this week on ebay, listed by the same seller. I sent an ebay message asking whether she'd inadvertently listed twice, but she replied and said she had two identical wallets, and was listing them separately but with the same photos. Okay, fine, it meant I had two chances of winning a wallet.

    I won the auction that finished first, but I became suspicious when I noticed that both auctions had been bid on by two zero feedback bidders.

    This is the auction I won:

    Notice bidder 8***o and g***o are zero feedback bidders.

    Here's the second auction for the second wallet.

    Take a look at the bidding history of this seller's other recent sales:

    The same zero feedback bidders seem to either win or manage to bump up the price on all the auctions, eg:

    I have already paid for the wallet I won, but I feel as though I should call ebay and have them investigate whether I won the auction fairly. I suspect the price was inflated through shill bidding.

    Any thoughts? Sending a generic 'report this item' to ebay seems insufficient. What would you do? I really want the wallet, but don't want to win an auction based on 'dishonesty'.
  2. Hi, I am not so sure should you escalate. But why not consider this: (usually this is how I try to 'talk' to myself)

    1) do you think the deal is fair? Price is fair?
    2) If the price is inflated, what is your next step? Return the wallet? But do you really like the wallet?
    3) Is it worth the hassel to pursue the matter?

    Hope it helps. :smile:
  3. I only won the auction 6.5 hours ago, so I do not have the wallet yet.

    My main concern is that it looks like ALL of this new seller's auctions are suspicious due to the same zero feedback bidders. I don't feel comfortable with thinking I'm happy with the deal I got, and dismissing the fact that dishonest shill bidding could be going on. It could affect many future buyers. Dishonesty needs stamping out.

    I have no intention of backing out of my purchase, but I do feel that ebay needs to investigate because there are signs that these auctions have similarities that could equate to a violation of its policies, which in turn hurts honest buyers and honest sellers alike.
  4. Your messages sound as if you really have a conscience and I say good for you!

    If you think it was a good price I would go ahead and keep the wallet. But I would report it to ebay, and let them handle it. Previous discussions here on tPF suggest ebay turns a blind eye to shilling, because it is profitable for them, but you are doing the right thing.
  5. Sadly, my suspicions seem to be correct. All the items that I suspected of being 'won' by shill bidding have been relisted.

    I find it very sad that ebay do not stamp out this practice when it's so blatantly being used, but as Lizmil already mentioned, ebay gain financially out of it, so why would they? As soon as I receive my item, I will be making it very clear to the seller that I am aware of what she is doing and that ebay have been notified.
  6. Have you called Ebay?

    How can the deal be 'fair' if you end up paying more than you would have if the auction was honest? If the seller wants $xx.xx for their item then list it at that amount.
    Personally I wouldn't pay for the wallet. I would never be able to enjoy using it knowing that I was lining the pockets of a dishonest seller with my hard earned money. I do not believe in rewarding bad behavior.
  7. poopsie2, I couldn't agree with you more and I guess that's why I'm not leaving this situation alone, more so because I don't want others to be ripped off. I've already paid for the wallet and in the big scheme of things the price was reasonable and it was a price I was prepared to pay. However, knowing that the seller was dishonest in reaching that price is what galls me.

    I reported the shill bidding on ebay, but I will be calling them, but would prefer to do so once the wallet has arrived (it's in transit) and check that the condition is what I expected (brand new) or else I'll have other issues to complain about.

    I do wonder whether the best result in this whole situation would be to leave feedback warning others to check this seller's items for shill bidding (because it is obvious when you look at all her items and bidders). That may be the better option, so that potential genuine bidders who check feedback know what's going on, rather than me just think about myself and back out of the transaction and not be able to leave a warning for others. Does that make sense? Maybe I'm just a fool. LOL.
  8. Agreed!!
  9. I think that's a good option. Then it's up to the buyer to have a flick through feedback before they bid on anything. You won't be able to leave negative feedback though, since they haven't done anything wrong. I'd just leave positive feedback with a 'Warning: this seller may use shill bidding' in it...
  10. Hi, I once was up against what I believe was a shill bidder.

    I was bidding on a jacket which really should not have been all that expensive. But I think that the seller could see how much I wanted the jacket from my multiple bids.

    A ZERO feedback "bidder" kept driving the price up and up, particularly in the final minutes of the auction. Finally the price reached $400, which was more than I would have liked to have paid. But I was stuck. I was the "winner".

    The shill had NO Ebay history of either buying or selling. They were a big ZERO that went away right after I won the auction. That is so dishonest!

    At the time I had no idea what to do about it, so I just let it slide. After all, I think it's pretty impossible to PROVE that another bidder is a shill. It's very unfortunate that this sort of thing goes on on Ebay.
  11. Definitely take some sort of action if the seller has a history of multiple items selling for an inflated price based on shill bidding. These dishonest people need to be reported to Ebay. For all I know my shill bidder and seller had done this many times before (I never bothered to check).

    I think that these sellers get away with this dishonesty because most people don't notice it or it just happens to a buyer once and they don't know what to do about it. You will be helping future buyers by reporting this dishonest behavior to Ebay. Good luck!
  12. What do you mean that the OP cannot leave a neg? And, shilling is doing something wrong. Granted, Ebay generally will not do anything about it; they make more money on shilled auctions, after all. But, if they are not someone with, say thousands of shilled listings going on every day, then they may get reprimanded.
  13. I just meant that as far as her transaction goes, once she gets the product and has been happy to pay for the item, as far as ticking the boxes in the feedback goes, I don't really think there is justification for leaving negative feedback. She can comment on her suspicions though.

    If you do decide to leave negative feedback though, the seller has the option to then dispute and comment on your negative feedback, something they can't do for positive feedback with a cautionary comment.

    Also, the seller in question only has 2 positive feedbacks from 2 sold items, a little late now but that would have made me a little cautious to begin with.
  14. I decided to send an ebay message to the seller about my reservations.

    I wish to advise you that I will be contacting ebay regarding what I believe to be suspect bidding on your ebay auctions. On investigation, it appears that you have had many auctions running, which have had the same zero feedback 'buyers' inflating the price, and those items 'won' by the same zero feedback buyer, the items have been relisted again. There is clearly something wrong. I believe that the wallet I purchased was inflated in price by 'shill bidding' and had this practice not been used, I would have won it for $26. I will be requesting ebay to investigate further. I am truly disappointed, since I am an honest buyer.

    This was her response:

    Excuse you but there is no need for this misunderstanding or commotion, the item went on auction for $25 and you was the winner with $38, you only see the information ebay wants to provided but from my end there was 17 people who had it in there watch list not only you, 4 bidders bidding and 8 bids placed and 3 were automatically and you was one of those. Sorry you didnt win the item for $26 as you hope but your not thr only one on the ebay site viewing and bidding on items they want. So please if you want to keep doing your "investigation" you are wasting your time. My items are free to be bid on just as you did i do not know why you are criticizing those with 0 feedbacks they are probably new to ebay I'm guessing. Save your self the trouble, ebay can see the same information i have provided to you as well, i do not have anything to do with those accounts thank you bye enjoy your wallet you purchased.

    I'm not sure why she goes on about watchers, they have nothing to do with actual bids.

    You know, my issue is not with the $38 that I spent on the wallet, I'm okay with it (if it arrives!), but my beef is the fact that I believe she is shill bidding most of her auctions. Out of six wallets set up for auction, ALL of them were won by the same g***w or 8***o zero feedback bidders and ALL six wallets have been relisted again (now what's the chance of selling to six zero feedback buyers round about the same time and all of them didn't go through with the transaction?). Now these two abbreviated bidders' names (g***w or 8***o) are the same in all the seller's auctions, does that mean they are the same two bidders or could they be different zero feedback bidders that ebay have named with the same abbreviations on each auction? Looking at this seller's history, these two bidders have bid up all her auctions, including those won by others. All auctions won by g***w or 8***o (the zero feedback bidders) have resulted in the wallets being relisted.

    What will be very interesting is now that I have disclosed my suspicions to the seller, I wonder if we'll see the two zero feedback bidders bid on the same items again?

    Just to clarify, I'm not after cancelling my purchase or trying to get the wallet cheaper, I've bought the wallet and so long as it arrives and is in the new condition described then I'll be happy with it. I just abhor the practice that this seller appears to be using, in order to inflate the final price of her auctions. It's dishonest and I simply don't want others to be taken advantage of in this way by an unscrupulous seller.
  15. I would absolutely leave her negative feedback and in that feedback write about the "alleged" shill bidding; shill bidding is wrong, it's technically against ebay's TOS (hear that McFadden et al?), and letting the dishonesty continue unchecked is wrong. It's also against the law.