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HP Forum Archive 08

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Are people making "Conspiracy Theory" a-la Mike about sheating om E-bay, well I dont think so!
Message #1 Posted by HP-Freak on 1 May 2002, 2:06 p.m.

This is the Story of how an E-bay seller blew his cover:

This happened to me last month:

Story Begin

I bought several items from this guy in the US (Seller-A). Without being aware of it at first I also bought things from another seller (Seller-B) living in the same town. I don't know why, but I started to get suspicious and when I checked past auctions including my own I saw that those two guys (well actually a female and a male) was repeatedly bidding on each other auctions. Also noticed that they were ALWAYS bidding early and also making many bids in the same auction spread over several days. (Having been on E-bay for a few years I know that to start a bid war is a very good way of teasing others to bid higher.) Also noticed that they most of the times came as runners up or lower. Another important observation was that they NEVER bid in the last minute. (Mind you, they actually bid in the last minute when they bought things from other e-bayers in other parts of the US) (E-bay Observation: Last minute bid will increase your probability of acquiring an item at a reasonable price. Bidding early will only make you win if you are willing to pay several times the expected value or in the rare case the item was overlooked by others because of spelling mistakes in the listings.)

Further investigation made it probable that five(5) E-bay user names was being used in this scam. I could confirm that three of the user names were from the same town. The other two was repeat bidders but I could not confirm their location. But one funny thing is that one of these unconfirmed location bidders was buying a very rare collectable of which I had observed one of the first sellers (Seller-A) buy! I have never seen anybody else buy these things before so I found that increasingly suspicious.

{if you already are equipped with a healthy skepticism to obstinate people}

then Go to Story-Continued

Digression: From my past history here in Europe (going back 10-20 years) people of different political opinion felt themselves being kept under surveillance ( harassed in many ways, phone being bugged, followed around, secret house searches, ....) During that time everybody that brought up these suspicions to the public eye were ALWAYS being attacked by certain people as being PARANOID and making all these CONSPIRACY THEORIES and all. TODAY we know the truth. Because they left so much information in their archives that they were not able to get rid of it before it was to late. The surveillance conducted against people of different opinion went far beyond their imagination. Many people have been able to look in to their "SECRET" files and were absolutely choked by the detail of the information. Some found that people they were close to had been constantly reporting on them. And who do you think up through the years were the ones calling other people paranoid. THEY WERE THE ACTUAL PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE ILLEGAL SURVEILLANCE.

Based on the E-bay story above MR Mike (ipscone@msdsite.com) her would call these facts share coincidences and refer to me as paranoid. Sure he can call and refer to me with whatever he likes but I would simply refer to him as an E-bay SELLER.

Story-Continued:

Some weeks ago it happened so that one of the items in a batch of several (from Seller-A)was misplaced and he had to send an xtra package nearly two weeks later. (Be aware that for each item I buy on E-bay I put a unique personal identification code for easier handling) It so happens that to my great surprise Seller A had mixed things up and ACTUALLY put the code used for an earlier transaction made for an item bought from Seller-B.

THIS IS A 99.99% CONFIRMATION THAT SELLER-A and SELLER-B (operating with two different addresses but in the same city) IS THE SAME PERSON AND ALSO BIDDING ON HIS/HER OWN AUCTIONS.

I am sure this proof is once in a e-bay usertime (/lifetime) and I will never again get a confirmation of cheating as obvious as this.

Storry End.

Moral: I want people to question those people that scream up against others being paranoid. On the other side you should NEVER accuse anybody of cheating unless you can prove that your suspicions are true. In most cases (95%?) you will not be able to proove faul play.

I also believe that E-bay should use more money and resources on the protection of the buyer. A SELLER SHOULD NEVER BE ALOUD TO LEAVE FEEDBACK AFTER THE BUYER. That should help a lot for a starter.

As for myself I am happy with more than 90% of the transactions made on E-bay USA and have met some really nice & friendly guys over there. And not to forget, I LOVE THE HP-MUSEUM!!!!

This completes my post from a faraway country. Buy for now! ;-)

      
Re: Are people making "Conspiracy Theory" a-la Mike about sheating om E-bay, well I dont think so!
Message #2 Posted by Tom (UK) on 1 May 2002, 2:40 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by HP-Freak

This is(was) always possible with ebay, criminals are not always stupid! My highest bids for what I consider realistic prices for HP calculators are well below ebay 'market values' now so I simply have not bought anything from ebay for ages. Who actually enjoys paying top dollar for HP calcs anyway?

This is old advice (and I think Dave has put some of this on this site) but this is what I follow on Ebay and I've only been half caught out once:

The ONLY way to protect yourself on pricing is to set your own limit on what YOU want to pay and STICK to it. This way, even if there is a scam, you have not spent any more than you were prepared to spend (it's still criminal to push prices up by bidding against yourself and you could try to claim back some money but this way your limiting your losses).

Early on make sure you ask at least one question if the item is likely to be expensive (sensible anyway ir it's only to confirm a detail). The style of the answer can be as revealing as the answer itself sometimes.

NEVER bid early as this only pushes up prices and lends confidence to others who are thinking of bidding (as if one guy is convinced it's a good buy then I'll join in too). Bid as late as you can, you can then see what bidding tactics have been going on and what the price is rather than being drawn in to bidding up and up because you like to see your name at the top.

If ANYTHING looks fishy DON'T BID, there are plently of items on Ebay, just wait for the next one to come around. Things to look out for are reluctant answers, stolen photo of item, vague discriptions etc.

Be VERY careful if the seller contacts you after the end if you are not the highest bidder with either a 'I've found another item' or 'the highest bidder pulled out' story to try and sell to you. As they may have bid against you with a 'false' id to see how high your top bid was. What little protection ebay gives to the buyer does not apply if you are not the highest bidder

The feedback system is not a very good indicator of what realy goes on, so don't rely on 300+ good feedbacks as a guarantee of a good trader.

Hope this helps, Tom.

      
Re: Are people making "Conspiracy Theory" a-la Mike about sheating om E-bay, well I dont think so!
Message #3 Posted by Frank on 1 May 2002, 2:50 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by HP-Freak

Please email the detailed info if you can. I have had similar experiences but ebay has not been interested in investigating. Before they locked out email addresses, they were easier to detect, I could find one a week I was billing on with clear shill bidding, let alone indirect which as you indicated is harder to find. Ebay did take action when I had them red-handed on an auction I was bidding on at that time. Friends in other cities and countries would be even tougher to detect.

      
I would report this entire story to eBay
Message #4 Posted by Mike on 1 May 2002, 3:33 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by HP-Freak

You have far more proof than is necessary. eBay will cancel both bidder accounts. I'd bet on it.

      
About a year ago I got about 80 accounts deleted on ebay
Message #5 Posted by Dave Hicks on 1 May 2002, 3:35 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by HP-Freak

Basically, I saw 10 accounts running dozens of auctions with the same style and language and they were all bidding on each other's auctions. Ebay replied that yes, indeed, it was blatant and they cancelled all his accounts.

A few days later, I looked again. Identical auctions being run. 10 different user names all bidding on each other (all with above-zero feedback by the way.). Contact ebay again same result.

Repeat 6 more times.

A few days later, looked again. Identical auctions 10 more user accounts. At this point I figured he had more energy than I did and eBay really shouldn't require my free services to track down such obvious cases so I stopped.

By the way, besides the shilling, his auctions were all fraudulent. A typical auction title would be something like "HP Makes the BEST Calculators" with pictures and specifications for an HP49G all in huge colorful fonts. Down at the bottom in a tiny tiny font in light grey it said something like "10fx". 10fx turned out to be the model number of some 4 banger that sold for $7.95 at Target. Another ad would make you think you were bidding on a 21" NEC monitor but in fine print was the OEM model number of a Korean 14" monitor.

Oddly enough it was only the fraud in his auction descriptions that made me look around and find out he was shilling himself. The guy was actually pathetically bad at covering his tracks. He could have easily eluded me with some differing description styles and somewhat less cross-shilling. It made me realize how fragile ebay could be if someone was actually good at this.


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