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  1. #1

    Default Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    I am posting this for general information purposes and to remind everyone to be careful on eBay. I caught a dishonest seller(s) in China on eBay night before last. The seller is using more than one I.D. and is very actively shill bidding. Seller does not sell perfume, so no worries there, but I reported it to eBay, and they have done nothing.

    Ebay claims it has shill bidding totally under control, but this is NOT true. The only thing eBay will do is check the ISP address to see if bids are coming from the same ISP address, but that is hardly effective. Sellers can have friends, family, associates bid from any ISP in the country and/or outside of the country, and eBay can do nothing to confirm it and/or stop it.

    Just be careful is all.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  2. #2

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    The thing I don't understand about shill bidding is that by driving the price up, they often run the risk of not actually selling their item (with one of the shill bids winning). So why bother?

    Another annoying thing is selling on eBay and all these weirdo buyers sending me messages accusing me of shill bidding just because they've been outbid on an item. I think buyers are very paranoid about this, irrationally so.

    Overall it seems sort of like a lose-lose practice, I'm surprised it's so widespread.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    I couldn't care less about it. If I have a top price I'm willing to pay, then anything under that is a bonus. It does seem silly trying to attract bidders with a low price instead of attracting bidders who are willing to pay the price you want.

    What I've been suffering lately is a slew of cancellations after winning something. It goes for less than the seller wants, so they just cancel on you and refund the payment, no explanation.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    There is no way for Ebay to investigate one's friends, family or acquaintances ISP's to determine if they are complicit in shill bidding. Yes, anyone doing this risks not selling their item(s). Anyone reneging on selling after running an auction with no minimum bid is guilty of violating Ebay's rules and may be suspended.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by stuigi View Post
    Anyone reneging on selling after running an auction with no minimum bid is guilty of violating Ebay's rules and may be suspended.
    eBay don't care. The sellers just select "Lost or broken" and hit refund.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Suspended View Post
    I couldn't care less about it. If I have a top price I'm willing to pay, then anything under that is a bonus.
    Pretty much feel the same.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Buysblind View Post
    The thing I don't understand about shill bidding is that by driving the price up, they often run the risk of not actually selling their item (with one of the shill bids winning). So why bother?

    Another annoying thing is selling on eBay and all these weirdo buyers sending me messages accusing me of shill bidding just because they've been outbid on an item. I think buyers are very paranoid about this, irrationally so.

    Overall it seems sort of like a lose-lose practice, I'm surprised it's so widespread.
    When a shill bid wins, the next highest bidder will get an email with a "second chance offer". It's just a way of checking the ceiling on exactly how much you'll pay. I steadfastly refuse all second chance offers since I don't care to be manipulated. Unless it's vintage No. 22. Then I say, Oh, thank God, take my money.
    A bull in a china shop doesn't take damage. She delivers it.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Buysblind View Post
    The thing I don't understand about shill bidding is that by driving the price up, they often run the risk of not actually selling their item (with one of the shill bids winning). So why bother?

    Another annoying thing is selling on eBay and all these weirdo buyers sending me messages accusing me of shill bidding just because they've been outbid on an item. I think buyers are very paranoid about this, irrationally so.

    Overall it seems sort of like a lose-lose practice, I'm surprised it's so widespread.
    Shill-bidding is like card-counters playing blackjack. If you have the math, the math is with you.

    Shill just enough, but not too much, and they optimize their winnings.
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
    / blog:// https://cologniac.com / raging for the machines

  9. #9

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Agree with I know my top bid from the start.

    Now last year(not perfume), I bid on a makeup item and no one else bid until the final hours. I didn't up my bid and left it. The strange thing is next day the seller had the item for sale again, so I bid again and would you know it just a few hours before the end the same bidder as before bid higher than me! The game went on for a few times then I just got bored and stopped bidding. I did know the shiller would bid each time, but no one else ever tried to bid so they where just stupid even tryin to do it.
    DONNA

  10. #10

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Shycat View Post
    When a shill bid wins, the next highest bidder will get an email with a "second chance offer". It's just a way of checking the ceiling on exactly how much you'll pay. I steadfastly refuse all second chance offers since I don't care to be manipulated. Unless it's vintage No. 22. Then I say, Oh, thank God, take my money.
    I agree with your approach, but sometimes a seller has more than one of the item and it's a quicker way to get rid.

    We used to run a fashion label and would sometimes sell old stock on eBay. If something sold for well over the odds, it made more financial sense to offer it to both bidders than to start another auction where the competition could be lacking.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    Agree with I know my top bid from the start.

    Now last year(not perfume), I bid on a makeup item and no one else bid until the final hours. I didn't up my bid and left it. The strange thing is next day the seller had the item for sale again, so I bid again and would you know it just a few hours before the end the same bidder as before bid higher than me! The game went on for a few times then I just got bored and stopped bidding. I did know the shiller would bid each time, but no one else ever tried to bid so they where just stupid even tryin to do it.
    I've seen this happening a lot.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Buysblind View Post
    The thing I don't understand about shill bidding is that by driving the price up, they often run the risk of not actually selling their item (with one of the shill bids winning). So why bother?

    Another annoying thing is selling on eBay and all these weirdo buyers sending me messages accusing me of shill bidding just because they've been outbid on an item. I think buyers are very paranoid about this, irrationally so.

    Overall it seems sort of like a lose-lose practice, I'm surprised it's so widespread.
    Buysblind, if there was no profit in it, they would not do it, but you are correct that sometimes a shill bidder "wins" the auction. In that case scenario, the seller may offer a second chance to the next highest bidder or relist the item, so shill bidding is not a fool-proof method of driving up bids on an item. In fact, this is how I caught the seller shill bidding on an item I bid on the other night.

    I placed an opening bid equal to the maximum I would pay. The seller or his shill nibbled up my bid until they surpassed it. I did not bid again. Then, with barely 4 minutes left to bid, I suddenly received a notice from eBay of a bid retraction by the only other bidder, and I was now the high bidder. Firstly, my high bid was the max I planned to pay, and I feel in such a situation, if a bidder withdraws, then ALL of his bids should be withdrawn, not just the last one. In any case, I was suspicious and immediately notified eBay. Only a seller could withdraw a bid with 4 minutes left on the clock. After I spoke to eBay, I emailed the seller and told him I suspected he was engaged in shill bidding and reported it to eBay. Seller did not respond; however, the next morning here, whence it was later in China, suddenly I received several bid cancellation notices from eBay making me the highest bidder in each auction. The user I.D.'s of the sellers were all similar and all were from China. I have no irrefutable proof, but I am convinced the sellers were all related or were really one seller using several different I.D.'s. All were selling the same and similar products.

    Shill bidding "works" in too many instances for it to be unprofitable, unfortunately. One of the things that particularly perturbs me is that eBay tells buyers that they have shill bidding under control, and that is completely untrue. It is a bald face lie, and it is another reason I have no respect for eBay. Caveat Emptor, kids.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  13. #13

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by stuigi View Post
    There is no way for Ebay to investigate one's friends, family or acquaintances ISP's to determine if they are complicit in shill bidding. Yes, anyone doing this risks not selling their item(s). Anyone reneging on selling after running an auction with no minimum bid is guilty of violating Ebay's rules and may be suspended.
    Agree with all. However, I do not believe suspensions are either long or often instituted in the first place, and permanent suspension is very rare and ineffective. Banned sellers simply return under a different user name.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  14. #14

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Pretty much feel the same.
    The highest price one is "willing" to pay is not exactly the point. The point is that you may end up paying the highest price you are willing to bid whence you could have purchased the item for much less. That is the result of shill bidding. Personally, I do care very much if the price is driven upward to my maximum price by shill bidders. Take the shill bidders from the equation and see who is left---only the legitimate bidders. If not for the shill bidders, you may have purchased the item for a lot less, and therein lies the profit in shill bidding.

    It is not just shills that are a problem, either. I have had bidders with zero or no feedback bid against me and sometimes win but never pay the sellers, sellers whom I have faith had nothing to do with the bidder. Often these bidders, I have since discovered, are in China. I do not know if it is kids or if it is other buyers/sellers who either want to see how high up they can push the price, out of curiosity or because they have the same or similar item to sell, or just to cause problems either for other buyers or for sellers they dislike.

    For example, there is a very well respected antiques dealer on eBay from whom I have purchased a few times. Once I bid on an item, and every time I placed a bid, another bidder outbid me usually within the hour, sometimes less. This went on for a few days as the auction drew to a close. Finally, I decided if the buyer wanted the item that badly, he could have it, and I stopped bidding. No one else bid, and shortly before the end of the auction, the bidder withdrew his bid which made me the high bidder. I immediately contacted the seller to report it. Seller examined the bid history and decided to cancel the auction right then and there and relist the item. He also blocked that bidder. To this day, I do not know whether the bidder had a similar item to sell and wished to establish a sales price record, or if he simply was finding some sort of perverse pleasure in interfering in auctions. One can never know, but the upshot is YES, I do care about shill bidding regardless whether or not I have a maximum price in mind to bid.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  15. #15

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Shycat View Post
    When a shill bid wins, the next highest bidder will get an email with a "second chance offer". It's just a way of checking the ceiling on exactly how much you'll pay. I steadfastly refuse all second chance offers since I don't care to be manipulated. Unless it's vintage No. 22. Then I say, Oh, thank God, take my money.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  16. #16

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Shill-bidding is like card-counters playing blackjack. If you have the math, the math is with you.

    Shill just enough, but not too much, and they optimize their winnings.
    Precisely.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  17. #17

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by Oriane View Post
    The highest price one is "willing" to pay is not exactly the point. The point is that you may end up paying the highest price you are willing to bid whence you could have purchased the item for much less.
    That really is a fallacy of your own mind. The seller has a price in mind that they want and they're never going to sell it for less...the shilling only emphasises this. Morally, there's no question that it's reprehensible, but it is a common and accepted practice on eBay. If you aren't bidding over your limit, I can't see what difference it makes.

    "whence" isn't a substitute for "when". Please, I'm not trying to be rude, but you need to look up the correct usage. It means "from where".

  18. #18

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Whence I need your advice, I shall ask for it.

    ***But do no hold your breath.
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

  19. #19

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    The seller should just set a reserve on their stuff. Haven't actually seen this for a long time but know it can be done. It was a bottle of perfume start price 99p, I bid in the £40s and got the message reserve not met. This gives you an idea of how much to bid if you do really want it and if willing to go higher. No bidding against the phantom menace. I mean seriously I have seen niche start at 99p and some hopeful soul actually bids 99p LOL The auction ended at £100+
    DONNA

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    The seller should just set a reserve on their stuff. Haven't actually seen this for a long time but know it can be done. It was a bottle of perfume start price 99p, I bid in the £40s and got the message reserve not met. This gives you an idea of how much to bid if you do really want it and if willing to go higher. No bidding against the phantom menace. I mean seriously I have seen niche start at 99p and some hopeful soul actually bids 99p LOL The auction ended at £100+
    I think reserved stuff costs more to list on eBay.
    And it is not the same as shill bidding. Shill bidding has a psychological element to it too. Let us say you max was $40 and you were the highest bidder for hours/days. You are watching the auction and in the final few seconds you got outbidded , you may be tempted to go to $45.
    Beauty needs no morality or righteousness.
    It, like nature, does not give a shit

  21. #21

    Default Re: Dishonest eBay Sellers Caught Shill Bidding

    donna255, I agree that setting a reserve price is the proper thing to do, but if the seller is loathe to set a reserve price for whatever reason, then there is the Buy It Now and/or Best Offer options. They are the straightforward, honest options in those cases where a specific sale price is not only desired but mandatory.

    epapsiou, I believe you are correct that it costs more to set a reserve price on one's item, and the question that immediately springs to mind is why should it cost any more to list an item with a reserve price than to list it without a reserve price? After all, setting a reserve price could go a long way (in some cases at least) to stop some sellers from shill bidding. Well, the answer to that question is money. eBay believes reserve prices discourage potential bidders from bidding, so they try to discourage sellers from offering an item with a reserve price by making it more costly for the seller to do so. eBay wants listed items to sell and to sell as quickly as possible. It is, after all, how eBay makes their money.

    eBay wants buyers to bid, to bid high, and to bid often with the "hope" of winning, and they believe the best way to encourage this is for sellers to start prices very low indeed and to allow their auctions to end at whatever prices the market determines. That is certainly the best option for most buyers and for eBay, but it does not always work in practice for sellers whose items may not fetch the prices they believe the items should fetch. The solution to that problem is either to set a reserve or to offer the items for either a set price or a set price with a best offer option. So, why do not sellers choose not to do this? My best guess is that it could take much longer than 5, 7, or 10 days to sell the item if it has a set price, and they do not want to wait that long, so they opt to offer an item at a low opening bid and then to place shill bids. Not all sellers do this, of course. I have purchased from a few very honest antique dealers who sell on eBay and who offer their items for a low opening bid and then let the chips, or the bids in this case, fall where they may at the end of 7 or 10 days. It takes a lot of courage and discipline to do this, but that is how auctions were designed to function in the first place.

    I am afraid there will always be sellers who will try to play outside of the rules, though. These are often the same people or type of people who refuse to play by the rules in other areas of life as well, and it is the rest of us who pay the price, often the highest price imaginable, for their bad behaviour. The example that most readily comes to my mind is drunk driving. These sorts of people do not care about anyone but themselves, and they never stop to think of the consequences of their behaviour, or if they do consider the consequences, they eschew all warnings and possible penalties and proceed as they wish. Shill bidding on eBay is merely one small example of this sort of behaviour. I have often wondered what it might take to eradicate this sort of behaviour altogether. I have never concluded an wholly satisfactory solution outside of a fantasy solution a'la Star Trek where a person's bad behaviour results in the harm they produce coming directly back to them and to no one else. If only that could work in real life, yes?
    Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we never know which one is which until we've loved them, left them, or fought them.

    Gregory David Roberts

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