stories filed under: "auctions"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 31st 2007 2:21pm
For many years, various luxury brands have had problems with people selling counterfeit goods on eBay -- leading to a variety of lawsuits. Of course, most of these lawsuits are incorrectly targeted. They're usually filed against eBay, rather than the seller of the goods. eBay doesn't inspect the goods or make any claim to the authenticity of them. That should be up to the buyer and seller to work out. However, a few months ago, it appears that a German court felt differently, and told eBay that it may be liable for fake Rolexes being sold on the site, even if eBay has no real way of knowing what's real and what's fake. The court seemed to indicate that eBay should be able to tell from the price, but that's not necessarily true. In the meantime, it's not clear why this isn't a problem that the market will start to work out by itself. For many, many years you've been able to buy fake Rolexes on the streets of New York City, but Rolex doesn't sue the New York City government for letting this happen. It recognizes that most people know that the Rolex you buy from a street vendor probably isn't real. Along those very lines, Rolex has introduced programs to designate legitimate Rolexes on eBay already -- so this seems like the type of "problem" that could work itself out without making eBay liable, but apparently it's too late for that.
Wed, Jul 18th 2007 8:32pm
from the A++++-seller-fast-shipping-and-free-pile-of-cash dept
We've had stories about the world's angriest eBay seller, but perhaps now we've found the world's worst eBay seller. A kid in England won an auction for a Playstation 2 for 95 pounds, but when it was sent to him, it also included 44,000 pounds in cash. The kid's parents have turned the money over to police, who are investigating the matter. The PS2 was also supposed to come with two games, though they weren't included -- but somehow we imagine that, even in the UK, 44 grand should be enough to pick up a few replacement copies.
Wed, Jul 18th 2007 11:57am
from the zoon-economicon dept
In an attempt to gain a better understanding of human economic behavior, a group of economists studied the buying patterns of eBay auctions. What they found was that humans are not always rational, at least in the econ 101 sense of the word. One of their most surprising realizations was that bidders would often pay a higher price than the "Buy it Now" price, presumably because they got so caught up in the heat of the auction. This is an odd quirk, though its discovery was hardly needed to demonstrate that humans don't always operate in a purely rational manner. Another thing they discovered was that bidders didn't pay much attention to shipping prices, and that they'll typically opt for an item that can be won for less, even when shipping costs eat up any savings. Ultimately, there's more to auctions than simple price discovery. Not only are they successful because they help arrive at an equilibrium price for goods, but participation in them makes for a fun, game-like experience. Thus, it shouldn't be a surprise that those involved aren't always shining examples of homo economicus.