The Samovar

Shill bidders active on ebay.....again

verny - 5/14/2018 at 11:28

I have noticed an increase in what looks suspiciously like shill bidding in operation on ebay. This mostly seems to be occuring where sellers are located in Russia, Balkans, Israel, India and China.

It is perhaps useful for our newer members to run through some of the signs to look for:

For items with high interest and bidding click on the 'number of bids' highlighted on the listing. Bidders will be anonomised but you can view three crucial pieces of information:

1. The number of feedbacks a bidder has.
2. The % of bids with that particular seller.
3. The number of bid retractions.

If the bidder is bidding agressively, shows a high % of bids with this one seller and has say just 10 feedback it could be a sign that the account is a new one created specifically to run up the bidding.
If you suspect this take a look at the other lots being sold and see if the same pattern holds.
Also look at the bidding pattern, often a shill bidder will come in as the 2nd or 3rd bidder and will leave a mid priced bid to see if existing early bidders bite and he can push up the price. Once 2 other bidders are in he may then just pop in once or twice more to feed the frenzy and will often place bids that are just below popular break points - a bidding pattern of say $19, $29, $49 - designed to push the bid to the next level but avoid winning.

Bid retractions is also worth looking at - if shill bidding is going on and the shill bidder gets stuck with the lot through miscalculation he will often retract his bid and the lot will be offered to the second highest bidder as a 'second chance offer'.

If you get a 'second chance offer', before you accept, take a look at who the original winner was and how many bid retractions he has....very few people on ebay 'bid by mistake' and they usually only do so once in a blue moon. Any more than 1 or 2 in 3 months is certainly suspect.

These things might be old hat to the experienced but I have in the last few months seen a number of cases where bidding has been run up by bidders who have had in excess of 60% bids with the same seller, less than 15 feedback and 3 month bid retractions in double figures!........such combinations should set anyones alarm bells going.

As ever caveat emptor, there are bargains to be had on ebay for sure but be careful.