shill bidding on eBay

Shill bidding on eBay is, anecdotally at least, a big problem. eBay’s recent decision to hide the ID’s of other bidders has not helped the community policing. Slashdot has some interesting comments on the issue – including one chap that has the following advice:

1) Never bid on camcorders, computers, automobiles, or any other high dollar item.
2) Always do an extensive check of the seller’s feedback.
3) Don’t bid early or get involved in bidding wars. Snipe instead.

#2 is good advice, but #1 will result in you playing much more at the stores, and #3 is an anomoly of eBay that Trade Me just does not have.

High tech electronics (camcorders, gaming machines, cell phones) may attract more than ther fair share of fraudsters, but the Trade Me community is excellent at sniffing these out and dealing justice. Cars, at least in NZ, are an especially safe purchase, as the physical transfer of the vehicle is typically face to face.

Sniping (last second bidding) is big on eBay, as they do not have the auto-extend feature which is on all Trade Me auctions. If you want to be sure to buy the item you want on eBay (without buy-now) then you’ll need to enlist a sniping tool. Those tools really subtract fun from the buying experience.

One aspect of the problem, it seems, is shill bidders placing bids until the auto-bid of the next highest bidder is exceeded, then removing the highest bid. It’s not so easy to get away with high-bid removing behavior on Trade Me – the relatively small size of the site, the trust and safety measures in place and the Kiwi ethic of being treated fairly all contribute to a much more honest playing field than that of eBay USA.

About Lance Wiggs

This entry was posted in auctions, Internet Business, NZ Business, Trade Me. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to shill bidding on eBay

  1. yabe says:

    Shill bidding is something that eBay refuses to fix. They claim they have “new shill bidding detection software,” which we all know they do not have.

    I’m currently developing a website to compete with eBay, which I just started a blog about it, incase you want to keep up to date with my progress, or have any suggestions.


  2. PhilipCohen says:

    eBay introduces absolute anonymity for (shill) bidders

    In Australia, the UK, Ireland and the Philippines, eBay has now obscured auction bidding to the point that genuine bidders have got absolutely no chance of detecting and thereby protecting themselves from “shill” bidding (a criminal offence in most civilised countries) by unethical vendors. Notwithstanding eBay’s statements to the contrary, this application of absolute anonymity by eBay on these sites serves no purpose other than to deceive consumers; and the same criticism has always applied to eBay’s other shill bidders’ facility, “User ID kept private”. Again, notwithstanding eBay’s various pronouncements about shill bidding being banned on eBay, eBay is now effectively (and knowingly) “aiding and abetting” such shill bidders, at the expense of consumers …

    If you are an unethical shill-bidding seller or a buyer who is not concerned that on the above-mentioned sites eBay is effectively “aiding and abetting” such shill-bidding sellers to cheat you, read no further; otherwise a lengthy critical analysis of this matter at:


  3. Steven Smith says:

    I had the misfortune of buying what I believed was a car from a private seller on eBay but it turned out to be a dealer who had eBay accounts all over the place and after being conned I managed to connect the accounts to eight other accounts using telephone numbers and different cars he had sold and soon discovered other people were also looking for the same scam artist

    In the first instance DO NOT CONTACT eBay as they are particularly keen to hide such activities from the public in an attempt to reassure members that it’s safe on eBay and will hide behind the data protection act if asked for detail needed in order to take action yourself.

    DO REMEMBER TO SAVE OR PRINT the pages relating to any wrong doing before eBay removed them and changed the data in order to claim that you were not in fact the winning bidder as happened in my case and don’t be put off perusing eBay when they suddenly start replying to you complaints in a foreign language such as Flemish.

    You can be sure eBay collected it fees from the person who conned me and have access to IP Addresses and bank details to stop these people opening a new account so from a commercial perspective they are on the side of the criminals however help is at hand with site such as, which helps monitor and catch these criminals.

    If your not convince that eBay are involved in such illegal activities then see that will maybe change your mind.

    Shill bidder are rewarded by eBay and just in case they go too far in pushing the price up then eBay comes to the rescue with second chance offer so get it out your head about eBay helping protect members as they are not the solution when they are part of the problem and remember that the next time you suddenly find you won after all.

    One last little tip is to save your time from complaining on eBay forums as you will soon discover such unfriendly topics are weighted to quickly disappear off the bottom of the screen and don’t believe all them cars that went unsold with no reserve at £0.99 with no bids as it’s a clear manipulation of the data by eBay as I have witnessed this myself.


  4. PhilipCohen says:

    For anyone interested, a case study of a classic, blatant shill bidder on eBay, and a comment on eBay’s attitude thereto see


  5. ebuster says:

    Good news that the trading standards made it’s first conviction against Paul Barrett for shill bidding on ebay and to think it only took them 12 years so you never know they might just manage one fraud conviction this year and this makes you ask what are we paying taxes when the trading standards provides is allowed to provide such a poor level of service.

    eBuster has been asked to find members of the public that live in the UK who would like to take part in a live debate with ebay about shill bidding and can be contacted on the ‘Contact us’ page on eBuster,co,uk


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