Ben Laurie blathering

eBay Scamming

My friend, Ben Hyde, recently blogged about a scheme to use second chance offers on eBay to extract the maximum price from the winning bidder.

Recently, a friend of mine bid on an item with five minutes left to run. As it happened I had monitored several previous sales of the same item by the same seller, and knew that they generally did not sell. Two minutes before the end of the auction she was outbid. With Ben’s comments in mind I advised her to not find another auction to bid on just yet, and to wait for the second chance offer to come through. Sure enough, just one day later, it did. In her case she didn’t pay any extra, because she’d bid the exact amount of the initial bid, but clearly she could’ve ended up paying a lot more.

Interestingly, eBay don’t offer the data that would make this obvious – show a user’s record for not paying for successful bids. I wonder why they don’t? Not doing so makes this behaviour essentially invisible to other users.


  1. In my opinion, eBay does precious little to combat scams. I once ran across an auction that was selling mp3 downloads of various “books on tape.” He had a disclaimer that these were only to be used as backup copies for audio recordings you already owned. Yeah, right. Like somebody is going to go buy a tape of a book, go on eBay and buy an mp3 for a backup copy. I checked the legalities and sure enough, it was an illegal sale (you can’t sell a backup unless it is accompanied by an original). I contacted eBay and they told me that since I wasn’t the intellectual property owner, they wouldn’t take the auction down. “But it’s illegal,” I said. No love…

    To me that’s like seeing someone come out of your neighbors house through a broken window, carrying their TV. You call the police and they say “Is it your TV? No? Well, we can’t do anything about it.”

    Comment by Ebay IP Theft — 21 Sep 2006 @ 18:35

  2. See another eBayer with 98.9% positive feedback who scammed buyers out of their money.

    Notice how the account was only suspended once eBay stopped receiving the sellers fees, all the while buyers where getting ripped off. Common eBay if you want anyone to buy though your site you have to do better!!!!

    Comment by Kevin — 18 Feb 2008 @ 8:09

  3. I too have been scammed on eBay, eBay’s repose has shocked me and I certainly will tell everyone who will listen why you should NOT by via this site.

    I purchased a laptop with a legal copy of Windows XP Pro. I paid and about 3 weeks later the laptop arrived (so much for the 2-7 days postage). The laptop had no COA from Microsoft but was a working copy of XP, after the fist updates from Microsoft the machine would no longer allow me to login so I call Microsoft to be told you are using an illegal copy and face fines…. I lodged a dispute with eBay and after 2 months of broken promises I sent my dispute to the Trust and Security Team. Ha what a laugh, the seller is still trading selling the same to other unsuspecting buyers and eBay lets them trade. They look after the sellers as thats where they get their fees, as long as they are getting fees they don’t give a toss.

    They referred me to the police and this was the polices response. I you bought a laptop from xmart and you have a problem do you come to the police? No you take it back to xmart no mater where they got it it is their problem. eBay seems to think it can get away with allowing these scams to go on and then instead of taking care of the buyer they protect the seller (try get a sellers address from eBay) and try to get the tax payer to fit the bill by sending anyone with complaints to the police. If xmart and all the other store had to do that the police (already understaffed and resourced) would not be able to even respond to crimes.

    So I lost my money but left the seller negative feedback explaining the problem (in the small space you are provided). The seller responded by leaving me negative feedback saying I sell stolen and faulty goods and my 100% positive feedback is ruined. I contacted eBay who said they would not remove feedback even if they are lies but I could apply to have my feedback to the seller removed which would also clear his feedback to me. WHAT???? I must remove my feedback warning other buyers that this seller sells illegal software to remove his feedback which is all lies??? I don’t think so, no wonder he has only good feedback, eBay ensures that by making you remove your negative feedback to the seller in order to clear your name.

    3 months on and this crook is still scamming away on eBay and nothing gets done, a few others have dared to give him negative feedback but some have given in to clear their names, eBay only looks after the person paying them fees and that my friends is the seller.

    P.S. The police case was closed as the police were unable to track the seller via the mobile number and wrong address supplied to them by eBay.

    Comment by Gavin — 18 Feb 2008 @ 8:10

  4. I got scamed on a car from eBay and the guy selling the car had several eBay accounts that had been closed so now when i want a car i use so i can see all the cars the person is selling and even get to see if the car i want has been sold before.

    eBay don’t help when you report trouble and are heppy to hide the scam artists just so long as eBay get their commision

    Comment by eBay buyer — 7 Jan 2009 @ 21:28

  5. I have just been scammed on ebay.. I bought a mobile handset and for two months it worked perfectly.. Just the other day it stopped. I went to a phone repair shop and the guy there told me that the phone has been blocked by the seller, ‘probably’ trying to claim insurance on it by saying that its been lost or stolen.. I asked in another shop and they said the same. I then decided to go to the police station to see if the imei number had been registered with them,and sure enough it is. The police are now trying to deal with the situation,but say its a very difficult to resolve things like this involving ebay.. Great!

    Comment by Natalie — 2 Oct 2009 @ 11:22

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