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View Full Version : Hip Me On Ebay Chicanery



LiveOak
02-06-2011, 07:44 PM
OK...sorry for the silly post title.

I was watching a very nice black Super Adjustable (birth year and quarter), but the seller was asking a minimum bid of $54.99, which I thought was too much. The auction went for days with not one bid, but in the last several hours one bid went up for the minimum and that is what it "sold" for.

Now, I know someone may have really wanted it, but I am also suspicious that the seller might have bid himself or had a friend bid to try and stir some action. I was going to contact the seller and offer a bit less, but no dice now. Is this a typical technique on ebay?

As an aside, the seller has several razors for sale with the same minimum price, which I am hoping bidders avoid like the plague.

amishmotorboat
02-06-2011, 08:04 PM
Explain the logic of a seller bidding on his own items when he is the only one bidding.

Charles Darwin
02-06-2011, 08:04 PM
I am sure there are others out there who have more insight on this than I do. My guess is that, whatever someone says about it, it's just that - a GUESS. There's no way for you to know thier motives and tactics for sure.

My advice would be to ignore it (and this seller), and look for a more reasonably priced razor.

drews50
02-06-2011, 08:06 PM
I am sure there are others out there who have more insight on this than I do. My guess is that, whatever someone says about it, it's just that - a GUESS. There's no way for you to know thier motives and tactics for sure.

My advice would be to ignore it (and this seller), and look for a more reasonably priced razor.

Good advice. There are lots of other razors and sellers out in Bayland.

DavyRay
02-06-2011, 08:06 PM
eBay is almost a perfect market. There are an infinite number of potential buyers. Sellers only need to accurately describe an item, and the market will set the price for that item. I have seen a Maserati automobile initially listed for a 99 cents starting bid, which sold a couple of weeks later for tens of thousands of dollars. If you want a bargain, look elsewhere, or look for badly-described items with lousy pictures.

If an item is "worth" $100 and you see it at auction for $10, you can be certain that someone will bid it up to $100 at the last minute. That is the way of ebay.

Questions?

CapnPanther
02-06-2011, 08:10 PM
I've bid on Ebay items at the last minute and won them at the minimum bid which I did not think was excessive. While I'll don't discount the possibility of sellers bidding on their own items, it doesn't make a great deal of sense. Not only could they wind up winning their own item, but they'd be paying commissions to Ebay for the privilege.

cooncatbob
02-06-2011, 08:11 PM
I would never pay that much for a Super Adjustable, there's jut too many.
I have a client that doesn't have Pay Pal and I score 2 for him for less then $20 in a couple week and they were both in excellent condition.
I got through the listings and put all the suitable razors on my watch list.
When times almost up if they're still in my price range I place my bid with 10-15 seconds to go, if I win great if I don't I move down to the next one on my list.
I don't get involved in pissing wars and I don't bid on razor with out outrageous S&H charges.
I ship all over the world I know whats fair and whats BS.
Now I don't know why somebody with a very high reserve would buy their own razor, they would have to pay E-Bay their fees, if it doesn't sell I believe you can relist for free or a reduced fee.

mtsgsd
02-06-2011, 08:38 PM
I have two friends that deal in antiques on Ebay, and both of them will "seed" their auctions with fake bids. Sometimes, this means that they win their own items, but they just put them back up again. I've had arguments with them for the ethics, but they won't be swayed. They've found that placing a reserve just kills the auction, so they start it at zero, and place a bid for the min. amount they want, plus more bids if they want it to look like people are interested.

Point is, if they do it, I'll bet there's others that do too.

Now that you know that, what difference will it make? :) You'll never know for sure if that auction was honest or not, so I guess the best you can do is try not to dwell on it.

Scott0079
02-06-2011, 08:38 PM
I would recommend starting with the want to buy section here before messing with ebay at all, I've found every razor I've hunted down this way (some fairly rare) and have always been given a fair price.:thumbup1:

amishmotorboat
02-06-2011, 08:46 PM
mtsgst, have you informed your friends that it's not just against ebay policy, but is actually illegal? They can get fined and go to jail for it.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/shills.html

Charles Darwin
02-06-2011, 08:49 PM
I think that Ebay posts might warrant their own forum here . . .

johnmrson
02-06-2011, 08:58 PM
eBay is almost a perfect market. There are an infinite number of potential buyers. Sellers only need to accurately describe an item, and the market will set the price for that item. I have seen a Maserati automobile initially listed for a 99 cents starting bid, which sold a couple of weeks later for tens of thousands of dollars. If you want a bargain, look elsewhere, or look for badly-described items with lousy pictures.

If an item is "worth" $100 and you see it at auction for $10, you can be certain that someone will bid it up to $100 at the last minute. That is the way of ebay.

Questions?

I reckon that's spot on. If a razor is really worth $100, then as long as it's correctly listed and the photos are good, it's unlikely to sell for anything with a variance greater than 10%.
I've bought a number of razors and shaving items on hunches, that were poorley listed or the photos were so blurred you could hardly make out what it was you were bidding on. Most have turned out to be junk but occassionally you strike gold. I got a Mappin Lancet Edge with ivory scales not too long ago for 28 euros because you couldn't identify the razor in the terrible photos. Looking for Gilette or Gillete or even Geelette has also yeilded some good finds. I'm always amazed at the number of people that spell safety as saftey. That is where the baragains are.

insomniac
02-06-2011, 11:48 PM
Explain the logic of a seller bidding on his own items when he is the only one bidding.

Sets a higher market price for their razors and razors in general which they benefit from.

They could also be using some kind of coupon code to scam Ebay out of money.

maxman
02-07-2011, 06:13 AM
The worst part and best part of ebay is sellers who don't know what they have. Maybe I should say, they don't know what the item could sell for to those who want it.
I've picked up some great deals because the sellers dont' know what they're called.
I scored a D-1 Toggle in a lot for $65. Worth every penny.
One time I bought a lot of miscellaneous shaving goods for a gold Tech in a case in very nice condition. There were a few straights and some blade packs that I wanted. I can't remember all what was in there.
As it turned out, one of the straights was a Dubl Duck Satinedge in very nice shape. What a deal!

The bad part about that, is if they don't know what they have, often sellers say "I don't know anything about this, look at the pictures". They post crappy cell phone pics or put damaged sides down so you can't see them.

I've paid too much for things and i've gotten some very good deals.
The BST here is a safer bet, but things will sell for what they're worth.
I like the bay for the risk (well when I have extra money to take the risk)

ouch
02-07-2011, 06:15 AM
The auction went for days with not one bid, but in the last several hours one bid went up for the minimum and that is what it "sold" for.

Why would you think it's anything more than just a guy placing a bid for an item he wanted? If you think it was overpriced, that would explain the lack of action. Moreover, you have no idea what the buyer bid- he may have bid $100.

amishmotorboat
02-07-2011, 06:22 AM
Sets a higher market price for their razors and razors in general which they benefit from.

They could also be using some kind of coupon code to scam Ebay out of money.

But he pays 9% on that transaction, and the only rebates I'm aware of benefit the buyer - and then only on transactions that are actually paid for - so tack on another $.30 plus 2.9% in paypal fees. Mr Rebates is currently offering 3% cash back. So you're still stuck paying 9% on a transaction that never happened and razors all around you are still selling well below your minimum bid price.

natchez
02-07-2011, 06:42 AM
Sets a higher market price for their razors and razors in general which they benefit from.

They could also be using some kind of coupon code to scam eBay out of money.

All IMO here, since as noted above, facts are not complete.

Hard to move a market much with one transaction.

Cheating, unlikely worth it, but theoretically possible. But, 9% commission, plus the payment commission 2.9% to PayPal is unlikely to make a $55 transaction worth any coupon code. The eBay buyer protection might be an interesting angle for a potential fraud.

The only time I have heard of sellers having bids put in are by using shills. A shill is a third party who bids to raise the price of an item in an auction. It is also against the rules, but at least that may makes economic sense. Essentially, this can be used to push other non-related bidders up to their maximum bids. Allows the seller to eek out the most possible for an item from the other non-related bidders.

In the OP's stated case, it is likely just a foolish bidder.

There is one other reason I can think of for having shills put in bids and that would be to raise or build a positive feedback profile for a potential scam, alas like the Bulgarian we had here a couple of months back. Theory here-build a good reputation, makes one more credible and then perpetrate a fraud.

Slivovitz
02-07-2011, 06:42 AM
You'll get sellers who think "this is an antique, it must be worth a lot of money", regardless of what they paid for it. Sometimes they match up with buyers who haven't done any comparison shopping, and think that whatever it is must really be worth that much. That could very well be what happened with the Super Adjustable mentioned in the original post.

I can believe in all sorts of fraud occurring on eBay, but the general attitude of distrust can lead to innocent people being suspected in specific cases.

insomniac
02-07-2011, 07:00 AM
But he pays 9% on that transaction, and the only rebates I'm aware of benefit the buyer - and then only on transactions that are actually paid for - so tack on another $.30 plus 2.9% in paypal fees. Mr Rebates is currently offering 3% cash back. So you're still stuck paying 9% on a transaction that never happened and razors all around you are still selling well below your minimum bid price.

Do we know if the "buyer" actually paid? Sorry, I'm suspicious when the same person wins two auctions on what is obviously the same razor (as the same photos were used) and at a $250+ price point.

amishmotorboat
02-07-2011, 07:33 AM
Do we know if the "buyer" actually paid? Sorry, I'm suspicious when the same person wins two auctions on what is obviously the same razor (as the same photos were used) and at a $250+ price point.

Now we're talking about two different transactions, but the same reasoning holds for both. I mention the paypal fees because you mentioned ebay coupons. The best deal I'm aware of is only available to the buyer and only if the item is paid for.
eBay charges it's final value fees whether you get paid or not. If your buyer doesn't pay, you can file an unpaid item dispute to get your fees back. A buyer with too many UIDs filed against him gets booted. A seller with a disproportionate amount of unpaid items becomes ineligible for the final value fee credits.

Shilling is a method for increasing the final price, and typically used when the start price is low. Both of these sellers started high, and in the absence of other, higher bids, shilling makes no sense at all. One of the purchases you mention wasn't even an auction, but a Buy It Now. The final value fee for that one was 12%. $30.

BBrad
02-07-2011, 01:45 PM
Do we know if the "buyer" actually paid? Sorry, I'm suspicious when the same person wins two auctions on what is obviously the same razor (as the same photos were used) and at a $250+ price point.

How about the laundering of ill-gotten gains? A "business transaction" used to legitimize funds being deposited into a bank account?

LiveOak
02-07-2011, 01:46 PM
For the most part I have been very lucky on ebay. I have gotten some great finds. Your posts have cleared up a lot concerning how transactions work.

akira7799
02-07-2011, 06:18 PM
How about the laundering of ill-gotten gains? A "business transaction" used to legitimize funds being deposited into a bank account?

Interesting thought. Since the buyer is the seller (and vise-a-versa) you wouldn't have to worry about mailing cash payments. If you used this tactic on more expensive items it would a faster way to clean dirty cash.

Pkrankow
02-08-2011, 10:25 AM
For the OP, if the seller posts what they want, and it is within the reason of what the item is worth (even if it is a bit over priced) then if it is bid on it is still an honest transaction.

Shilling happens, it is illegal on auctions.

Phil