eBay Trumpets The Catch Of One Scammy Seller

from the now-go-find-some-more dept

There are plenty of underhanded techniques eBay sellers can use to inflate the prices buyers must pay for their items, with one of the most common being phantom bids placed by the seller or their agent to drive up prices. A New York jewelry seller’s been busted by the state’s attorney general for doing this sort of shill bidding, and forced to cough up $400,000 in fines and restitution, and it’s been banned from participating in online auctions for four years. It’s a little interesting to learn that the AG’s office got involved only after eBay went to it with some suspicious bidding patterns on items listed by the company. eBay tends to move quite quickly when high-profile groups want certain items yanked from the site, or to block competition. However, it’s also seen its reputation take something of a hit as people grow weary of scams and other tricks and catches many sellers on the site use. The company says it’s cracking down on these issues, and perhaps this case is supposed to be evidence of that. However, eBay went to the AG in late 2005 with this case, so it hardly seems like things are moving very quickly. While it’s nice to see one less scammer on the site, it’s just one out of a sea of tens of thousands more, and it’s going to take more than one high-profile case to restore confidence in the site.

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Comments on “eBay Trumpets The Catch Of One Scammy Seller”

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Neal says:

No surprise

Fraud is rampant on Ebay, worse now than ever, and Ebay isn’t working to make in better but insituting measures that make it worse but hide it.

Hidden bidden ids that prevent anyone outside of Ebay’s limited staff from looking for evidence of shilling or other fraud; paypal rules that are implemented without thought and cost innocent buyers and sellers alike huge sums – sometimes to scammers, sometimes to paypal’s coffers; creaping featuritis that makes it difficult to block malicious code in auction pages or even ebay messages; the list goes on and on.

I refuse to buy from most sellers these days and I decided against selling my own surplus valuables after reading the daily horror stories in the ebay forums.

The golden rule on Ebay is no longer “Buyer Beware” it’s “Beware Ebay”

Ajax 4Hire (profile) says:

The worst eBay tactic is the inflated

cost of shipping&handling.

So many times I find something reasonably priced only to see outrageous S&H. For example, $10 for S&H of a CD. So many times I have refused to bid when I find overpriced S&H.

Shill bidding is also a problem but if you are aware, you can usually avoid.

I would think that eBay would be more on top of the ultra-inflated S&H because eBay only gets a cut of the purchas price.

Steven Snyder says:

Re: The worst eBay tactic is the inflated

I’ve written EBay a couple of time asking why they don’t allow Buyers to set a maximun shipping under search options ? They already have an option for Free Shipping, this way it could be set to zero or at least a reasonable amount; besides they already have an option for choosing the maximun distance an item is located from the Buyer. The maximum shipping would work the same way !!!

Jean Smith says:

Ebay shipping fees

I’ve noticed that a lot of ebay sellers inflate shipping costs. It’s to cut down on ebay fees of course. If you are buying something for 1c and you are paying $10 in shipping, you have to ask yourself if you can get it any cheaper anywhere else It’s no use being horrified over shipping costs when you are getting a bargain that you couldn’t get anywhere else that cheap. On the other hand, if you would rather pay $9.00 for something that has a $1 shipping fee, that’s okay is it?

dobestpossible says:

Re: Ebay shipping fees

I’ve found eBay experience to be awesome for deals on items. I usually buy computers used or refurbished from sellers for a bargain price. I carefully choose whom to do business with.
Some do offer low price on item and put an excessive shipping and handling fee on it. Ajax4Hire’s comments are correct, when the price of shipping is inflated, the bargain savings of the item is reduced, if not completely lost. Jean Smith misunderstood and began arguing over semantics, its not the price of each (the item and it’s shipping) that is of concern, its the total price after sale. If the total price on an item at eBay (with s/h) is lower than total cost found elsewhere for same product, than it is a deal.

Dietrich Murphy (user link) says:

Ebay Shipping Fees

I found that sellers understate the price to get their items at the top of listings. Also, I have written Ebay suggesting that they list a final cost (price and shipping) column and allow sorting on this column. Ebay has refused to do this. They like the appearance of low prices if you ignore S+H.

I consider this unethical on Ebay’s part. Many other shopbots allow comparisons of products using price and S+H.

Brian says:

Re: Re:

Wow…never thought of that one. Just yesterday I was looking to get a deal on the Matrix HD-DVD box set and found one for $35 with $25 s/h. What’s wrong with these people. I thought eBay had a policy in place forbidding excessive shipping costs. There is almost not a deal to be had on that crappy site anymore. Shame…I loved back in the late 90’s.

tweak says:

Re: Re: Re:

They do have a policy forbidding excessive shipping. They even have a form buried in their “Help” section where you can report auction numbers that charge excessive shipping rates. eBay rounds up all of the reported auctions and does- well… nothing.
But at least reporting them makes you feel better.

Junk says:

Scam central

I have pretty good luck on Ebay, but I’m not going to give away all my secrets. One thing I will tell you about is Shortship. It’s a browser plug in for Firefox that will show you the cost with shipping.

A great source for ebay tools:

That said, Ebay is scam central and they seem to be making it easier for scammers. I would gladly jump ship if there was anything else worth using. Craigslist seems intent on being difficult and you’ll never get a good price on other auction sites unless you start scamming yourself!

thedb says:

shipping costs

Nearly all of the “isoldit” sites have exorbitant shipping costs, like $12.45 for a less than one pound package. but apparently some do not care. Leaving negative feedback generates an automatic negative for the buyer, never mind that payment was prompt, and deserves a positive. The poor consigner does not get much by the time they take fees, but they make out like bandits with S&H.

Lee says:

Scam.......or business opportunity!

Pretty shrewd don’t you agree. The increasing number of these clowns who sell trivets for nearly nothing, then generate an impressive income from inflated S&H. I’m told it’s the fastest growing Scam ever to hit ebay, and there’s almost nothing they can do to prevent it! It really is a “buyer beware” situation.

Vivian Bedwell says:

Shipping and Handling is outrageous!

Just yesterday I came across a handbag on Ebay that I liked, but the seller was asking $75.00 for shipping/handling….this is for the US too…not even another country. Who does this jerk think will cough up that kind of fees? It may be someone out there in Ebay land who may be dumb enough to pay those fees, but it won’t be this girl. I might be 65 years old and my best days may be over, however, I still have some of my mind left praise the Lord! I wrote to the person also and told the person just how redicious the fees were. I felt better although I’m sure I may not have persuaded her/him to change the shipping/handling fees.

Savage101 says:

eBay "not as described" & s&h cost scam

When an item is received much more damaged than shown or described the seller as an out. Seller will return the cost of the item but not the shipping. Thus too often it is not worth returning item as the buyer is out two lots of shipping costs. Complaining to eBay/PayPal isn’t worth anything. They are both IMPOSSIBLE to deal with directly…they do not support the buyer. I have been burnt twice…only buy if I can physically pick item up these days.

PhilipCohen (profile) says:

eBay introduces absolute anonymity for (shill) bidders

In Australia, the UK, Ireland and the Philippines, eBay has obscured auction bidding to the point that genuine bidders have got absolutely no chance of detecting and thereby protecting themselves from “shill” bidding (a criminal offence in most civilised countries) by unethical vendors. Notwithstanding eBay’s statements to the contrary, this application of absolute anonymity (ie, Bidder 1, Bidder 2, etc) by eBay on these sites serves absolutely no purpose other than to deceive consumers by making even any otherwise obvious shill bidding undetectable; and the same criticism has always been applicable to eBay’s other shill bidders’ facility, “User ID kept private”. Again, notwithstanding eBay’s various pronouncements about shill bidding being banned on eBay, eBay is now effectively (and knowingly) “aiding and abetting” such shill bidders on these sites, at the expense of consumers.

A lengthy critical analysis of this matter appears at:

I apologise in advance for the length of the above-linked “rant”. If you are an unethical shill-bidding seller or a buyer who is not concerned that on the above-mentioned national sites eBay is effectively “aiding and abetting” such shill-bidding sellers to cheat you, read no further.

eBay Member says:

eBay Shipping Fees

Let’s say this item is a great deal, but only if I can purchase it for $20 or less.

If a seller has a “buy it now” for $1, and their shipping fee is $9, then would I be crazy to buy it. I mean their shipping fee is absolutely OUTRAGEOUS. Total cost with shipping included would be $10.

Now, if a seller had a “buy it now” for $9, and their shipping fee is only $1, then does this sound fair. Of course it is, since I am the one buying it, and I could care less if the seller has to pay more to ship the item. Total cost with shipping included would be $10, which is the exact same total as the last example.

The truth is you should just add both the items price and shipping together, in order to make the right decision on how much you are willing to spend. That is what I do, and have no complaints. I simply do not bid on the item, if the total of my bid plus shipping fees, comes out higher than what I think is reasonable. It is a free market economy, and you have the choice to walk away, and do business somewhere else.

Here is one more scenario, so I can be sure you understand the point I’m making.

1. I find this item to be a great deal at $100.
2. The “buy it now” price is only $1.
3. However the shipping fee is $75.

Should I purchase this item, or should I complain that the shipping fee is too high???

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