|Re: A word of precaution on private bidding|
Message #10 Posted by Han on 13 Nov 2006, 5:25 p.m.,
in response to message #9 by BruceH
Han, you keep saying "bid up to near the maximum" but the seller has no knowledge of your maximum so how can s/he shill bid up to your limit? S/he runs the very real risk of outbidding you and being left with the goods. If you bid odd amounts rather than round figures then that is even more likely.
The only problem here is your mindset: bid your maximum and then relax. If you're outbid then that's because someone values the item more than you. So what? Anything else is "begrudgery".
Perhaps I was not clear by my example. Suppose I own an item, and make a private listing. Now, I would probably be willing to sell this item at $200. Let's say you bid a maximum of $300. If all the bidding was fair, and true, honest bidders push the current bid to, say, $270, then there is no reason to complain as the auction was fair, and you were willing to pay as much as $300.
But now suppose it's 1 hour before closing, and the current value is only $100. I start to feel that $100 is just simply way too low. You're right, I have no way of knowing your max, but I make small bids on my own auction, say in $20 increments. If I am not too greedy and at $180 I stop, then I have just pushed the current price to $180, which is $80 more than what you'd have to pay if I had been honest. If there were no other bidders willing to pay more than $100, then I have just made an extra $80. You would have no way of knowing, because the bidders' list is private, and I can just space my bids apart so it looks (in terms of time) like many people were making bids. On the other hand, if I happen to push it to $320 because I am even greedier than I could even imagine, then I am stuck buying my own item. Being hypothetically as greedy as I am -- who cares? I just don't leave any feedback, and relist the item with the clause that the previous winner was not willing to pay the shipping or some other false excuse. Sure I'm out of a few dollars for winning my own bid, so what? I relist and try the same scheme again. Heck, I may even be able get away with the ebay fees by creating a separate account for my shill bidding. I file a non-payment against my created account and just relist.
What's there to stop me? I'm not saying I would do this, or that private listings immediately imply the seller is this type of person, but are there measures that prevent such a scheme? That scenario was what ran through my mind. Sure, if I had honestly placed a max bid of $300 and the auction was indeed fair, then I wouldn't mind paying near $300 -- even if I don't know who the bidders are, but so long as I was guaranteed it was fair. And if I value something at $300, but everyone else values it at only $100, then it also seems fair that I only have to pay slightly more than $100 for it (no one should be able to know just how much I'm willing to spend, just so long as I'm spending more than the current demand). But if I'm losing even so little as one dollar because of some unfair practices, I think it's fair to be a bit miffed about it. With private bids, it's hard to say what is fair and what is not.
In sum, I would and _could_ relax if I can see there are real, honest bidder also bidding against me (or at least can convince myself of that). All the secrecy only makes me suspicious that this is not the case.
Regarding the specific listing I mentioned, I was glad to not win, and the emphatic reponse of "NO!" to my request made me even more relieved to not win the listing. Furthermore, the feedback I read indicated to me that the seller was at least one a few occasions very hostile toward his buyers.
Edited: 13 Nov 2006, 5:43 p.m. after one or more responses were posted