Feeds

eBay plays down 'shill' bidding allegations

Lawsuit launched

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

Giant auction site eBay is being sued for allegedly using "shill" bidding against its own customers to force up prices and increase the fees it's able to charge.

The class action lawsuit filed in the California Superior Court in Santa Clara was brought on behalf of a Pennsylvania man who maintains he fell foul of eBay's "shill" bidding practice on at least two occasions.

In one case Glenn Block claims his bid for a Xerox Copy Cartridge was increased from $111 to $112.5 despite the absence of any real competing bid. In another auction Block claims eBay's intervention raised his bid from $75 to $75.55.

Although the sums involved are only small, multiplied by eBay's huge customer base they could add up to millions of dollars, said lawyers Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP in a statement.

The allegations centre on eBay's used of computer-generated responses that encourage the high bidder for an item to raise the ceiling on his bidding to ensure that he is not overtaken by another buyer.

"Despite having been notified that he was the highest bidder, eBay raised the buyer's bid without any further competing bids. In these cases eBay effectively acted as an invisible shill bidder so as to pump the auction price higher," said lawyers acting on behalf of Block.

eBay spokesman Hani Durzy told Reuters: "Based on what we know about what's being alleged, it appears the plaintiff completely misunderstands the functionality of the eBay bidding system." ®

Related stories

Euro MPs face scam crackdown
Support for proposed eBay strike fades
eBay backtracks as it cuts some fees
Touts flood eBay with black market tickets
'Integrity of eBay markeplace' at risk - sellers' group

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.