eBay shill bid scammer convicted
Minibus man falls foul of consumer protection laws
Paul Barrett, a minibus hire firm boss from Stanley, County Durham, has been convicted of bidding against items he was selling on eBay in order to drive up final prices.
Barrett, 39, was found guilty of ten offences under consumer protection laws passed in 2008 and 2009 to bring UK law up to European Union standards. He pleaded guilty and said he did not realise bidding against himself was illegal.
Each offence could earn Barrett a fine of up to £5,000. He will be sentenced later.
North Yorkshire Trading Standards began investigating after he sold a minibus which had had its mileage reduced illegally. They found he was selling goods using the name "shanconpaul" and then bidding up prices using the name "paulthebusman".
eBay welcomed the conviction and said it spends over £6m a year on countering fraud on the site. ®
Well they do try....
yes eBay does try. They try to make it impossible for people to spot shill bidding. You just have to look at the bidding for some of the sellers that sell 99% of every item they list. Statistically that is very difficult to do unless you are selling something worth a great deal of $$$ for a penny with free shipping. Not! when the seller is selling something for several times the true market value. While all others selling similar or even the same item sell their for a few dollars or don't get bids at all.
Yet eBay will turn a blind eye to these sellers that use the shill bidding and reserve system to rip off unsuspecting bidders off but pushing the price to just below the reserve so that the next bid becomes the buyer and if they accidentally go too high then it reappears a couple of months later back on ebay.
It would be different if these items were an item where there was several of them but when this seller is selling unique items and they receive the feedback for the item then list the same item with the same blemishes and flaws.
How do I know....
I sold this person one of the unique items that has been sold a total of 6 times in 3 years. This bird bath or feeder is valued at, in even a high end antique store, a mere $39 and we sold it for $30. No only that it was chipped and cracked (makes it easy for us to spot each time). On each occasion this bird bath has hit a magical $350 dollars! EVERY TIME! Then every 90 days it appears again on ebay. The buyer gives feedback praising the wonderful quick delivery and the seller gives feedback thanking them for being great customers.
It makes a mockery of eBay when they say they are spending a piddling little $6 million when they should be spending 10 times that instead of penalizing the honest eBay sellers with seller ratings when they allow the crooks to sell by making the bidding anonymous!
Ebay is as much a party to the Shill bidding as the people that are doing the shill bidding!
ebay might welcome it, but they do sod all to stop it.
This incident was stumbled upon by accident by trading standards!
ebay don't even do basic checks like multiple accounts on the same IP one bidding on an item and the other selling.
They even tried hiding the bidders completely, making all auctions anonymous until there was a huge "you're having a laugh" outcry.
They're on commission after all!
This explains a lot.
When ebay started hiding bidders' IDs, we all thought it was to prevent us from analysing bidding patterns to ID shill bidders.
Turns out, no analysis is needed, they're that thick. shanconpaul and paulthebusman. FFS!