Watching Out for eBay Abuses - dummies

By Marsha Collier

If you’re on eBay long enough, you’re bound to find an abuse of the service. It may happen on an auction you’re bidding on, or a seller whose listings compete with your auctions may do something really, really wrong. Be a good community member and be on the lookout for the following:

  • Shill bidding: A seller uses multiple User IDs to bid or has accomplices place bids to boost the price of his or her auction items. eBay investigators look for six telltale signs, including a single bidder putting in a really high bid, a bidder with really low feedback, but a really high number of bids on items, a bidder with low feedback who has been an eBay member for a while but who’s never won an auction, or excessive bids between two users.
  • Auction interception: An unscrupulous user, pretending to be the actual seller, contacts the winner to set up terms of payment and shipping in an effort to get the buyer’s payment. You can easily avoid this violation by paying directly through the eBay site with PayPal.
  • Fee avoidance: A user reports a lower-than-actual final price and/or illegally submits a Final Value Fee credit.
  • Hot bid manipulation: A user, with the help of accomplices, enters dozens of phony bids to make the auction appear to have a lot of bidding action. Let the experts at eBay decide on this one; but you may wonder if loads of bids come in rapid succession but the price moves very little.