A seller noticed that a valuable vintage item they had sold several months ago for a winning bid of over $150 was resurrected on eBay with a Buy It Now price of under $30 from a zero-feedback seller in China.
By searching the category and sorting by price (lowest price first), we were able to find numerous zero-feedback sellers from China engaging in the same suspicious manner: listing duplicate items for a fraction of the price the originals had recently achieved at auction.
The Chinese duplicates use the exact same titles, descriptions, and photographs from the original listing.
The only differences aside from the item location and shipping information are that the duplicate listings use only one photograph from the original listings, and the Chinese sellers add a short code to the end of the listing title.
And amazingly, the items described as being located in China are listed with free shipping.
"If anyone thought these were legitimate they would have been immediately purchased as the prices are a fraction of the real price," the seller told us.
The seller also said they reported the listing twice to eBay, "but apparently eBay no longer looks at reports," they surmised.
The seller wasn't sure what the end game was for these sellers. Some possibilities: they could be trying to convince any would-be buyers to take the transaction off of eBay (and PayPal). Or they could be trying to collect contact information of eBay buyers (for a host of reasons). Theories welcome.
It isn't a new problem, and Etsy sellers have also experienced the problems
in the past, calling such incidents, "invasion of the listing snatchers."
While we were working on this post, the seller wrote back and said, "by the way I did not find this, another eBay member sent me the link to the new auction saying someone had stolen my listing."
Collectors may be spooked by eBay's inability to police its site against such suspicious practices.