[meteorite-list] shill bidding on ebay

From: W&S Schroer <schroer_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 2010 09:30:39 +0930
Message-ID: <E8B201E5FAEF42138E61A8DDE6053914_at_WERNER>

Hi list,
this is off topic. But then again, can anything be off topic that relates to
ebay? ;)


'A British seller on eBay who drove up prices for his own goods by secretly
bidding for them faces fines of up to ?50,000 ($83,000).
Paul Barrett also used a second account on the internet auction site to post
positive feedback. The company said the case, the first prosecution of its
kind in Britain, was a clear warning against the practice of ''shill
bidding'' to bump up prices.
Mr Barrett, 39, who runs a minibus hire firm, admitted 10 charges of false
bidding for items ranging from a Range Rover to a pie and pasty warmer.
He was caught after a separate complaint over false mileage on a minibus
prompted an investigation by local trading standards officers.
Magistrates in Skipton, Yorkshire, were told that Mr Barrett had set up an
account with the user name Shanconpaul. But he placed bids using a different
identity, Paulthebusman.
A local trading standards officer, Claire McKinley, said the ploy had
increased the price of dozens of items, including mobile phones, a cash
register and a Mercedes car.
''He raised the price and left positive feedback on his own eBay site,
leading buyers to believe his reputation was better than was the case,'' Ms
McKinley said.
Mr Barrett said he did not realise he was breaking the law. ''eBay let me
open the second account and I gave all my personal details and home address
to do so,'' he told the magistrate.
''I realised the price was too low on some things and put the prices up
using the second account. I've never been in trouble before and would like
to apologise.''
Under regulations introduced after growing complaints about internet fraud,
each offence can carry a fine of up to ?5000.
A North Yorkshire trading standards official, Jo Boutflower, said: ''We hope
this case is a wake-up call to people who trade on eBay, or other auction
sites. Some people do this either themselves or by getting friends and
family to bid on their items. They may not think they're doing anything
wrong but actually they are breaking the law.''
Vanessa Canzini, head of corporate communications for eBay in Europe, said:
''Shill bidding is illegal and it is important for people to understand that
there is not, nor has there ever been, room for illegal activity on our
''[This case] acts as a strong deterrent to the small minority who attempt
to use our site inappropriately.''
The case was adjourned for sentencing on 21 May.'

Werner Schroer
Received on Wed 21 Apr 2010 08:00:39 PM PDT

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