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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 17 2012 22:30:48

eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Friday's EcommerceBytes newsletter includes a news story about high-profile eBay drop-off store owner Corri McFadden who was accused of shill bidding on eBay by a poster on the PurseBlog.com discussion boards.

McFadden's company, eDrop-Off Chicago LLC sued both the poster and PurseBlog.com. Twice, first on Thursday and then on Friday.

It filed the first lawsuit in California where the courts have a generous anti-SLAPP law, the second the next day in Illinois where its anti-SLAPP law is viewed more narrowly.

McFadden is an interesting person - she has been profiled by eBay on several occasions and now appears on her own TV reality show about her eBay consignment business.

If the defendants make it to trial and have the resources to defend themselves fully, I imagine they will try to show that the seller was indeed shill bidding - it will be interesting to see what records eBay will surrender about the bidding activity on eDrop-Off's auctions.

One of the most interested aspects of the case is a letter McFadden's account manager wrote testifying that eBay had investigated her account and found that she does not engage in shill bidding - "we at eBay have thoroughly investigated the eDropoff account and currently have no reason to believe that a Shill Bidding violation has taken place."

It's unusual for eBay to vouch for a seller's reputation!

eDrop-off also wrote in its Illinois lawsuit that it believed the defendant, "BeenBurned," previously operated under the handle of "bargainprincess" and has "self-styled herself as a scambuster and detective of auctions on eBay. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that due to her unauthorized attacks on, and cyberbullying of, legitimate Internet companies, BeenBurned has been banned from eBay and her account was involuntarily deactivated some time ago." (I'm curious who informed McFadden of BeenBurned's alleged history and alleged ban from eBay.)

Can you tell without a doubt if a seller is engaged in shill bidding? Or is accusing someone of shill bidding on public discussion boards "cyberbullying"? Let us know what you think!

Update: See Judge Grants Restraining Order against eBay Sellers Critic
Reading EcommerceBytes Blog: eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
Comments (126) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: kbk This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun May 20 22:08:49 2012
this one particular auction got my attention:

AUCTION: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270982258622#ht_286
2wt_1041

BIDDER:
http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBidderProfile&mode=1&item=2
70982258622&aid=j***e&eu=DqFGraCRy3WGhR1HtZfa6qwCbovORqD%2B&view=NONE&ssPageName=PageBidderProfileViewBids_None_ViewLink

http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBidItems&userid=juliebeanyz&completed=1&all=1&rows=200&sort=3&_rdc=1

All
this information is publicly obtainable, easily connected and yet ebay says "no shilling"??  

Anyone have an ideas how to obtain a faithful buyer such as this?
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon May 21 01:01:37 2012
Trust and Safety would like us noise to know that there's nothing happening here so move on.

A dozen ebay executives couldn't figure out how to tie their shoes unless their consultants demonstrated it to them.

EBAY LIES. Every day in every way.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon May 21 08:11:41 2012
Someone call Gloria Allred and get her on the case.  She loves taking on the big boys.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: Winkle Me Evilbay This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 12:46:01 2012
Ebay would like us to move on to another topic so they can take action without acknowledging that they've done it.   They hate to admit when they're wrong, like reporting Auctionbytes for phishing just to silence them.

Nice thing about this story is that it won't go away.   Chicago Tribune is reportedly working on the story and by now the Illinois Attorney General (who has generally been anti Ebay) has copies of all the bidding activity of the seller.

It would be nice to see someone in law enforcement make an example of this seller if they find that shill bidding is occurring.  And call Ebay personnel to task for their contribution, starting with Chris Von Waggoners statements submitted to the court.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
       
Mon May 21 13:08:39 2012
This has gotten so far out of hand as to be shocking - even considering that it is ~Ebay~...

If several people here can uncover what appears to be shill bidding as quickly as they have, then this is a topic ripe for the picking...

Let's define ''appears'', shall we?... For the purpose of this conversation, it is evidence that - at face value, is so obvious, that it would be incumbent upon a jury or administrative judge to determine that there is a presumptive offense of  Title 18,Part I :Chapter 63, § 1343.

The only remaining question is to what degree Ebay was involved. ( Sorry PigPen, PenPal, whatever your name was - the FACT is that this seller stated that she is involved in shill bidding - move on ... )

It is almost certainly going to be impossible to show criminal negligence on Ebay's part...  Were they complacent?  Absolutely looks that way, but complacency does not meet the burden of criminal negligence, which requires ~Intent~...

Were their actions so egregious as to meet the definition of reckless?  Probably not as the ''losses'' incurred do not involve anything other than monetary value...

But who cares - at the very least, Ebay was complacent - certainly with this seller, probably a lot more large sellers, and in general and overall for the ten years I've been selling ( we've all had that feeling that we were bidding on an item, against the owner - right?...) and the civil damages for that are - well - nearly limitless.

So forget criminal - nobody employed with Ebay is going to jail ( sorry Ming )... Let's hit them where it *really* counts - the bank account...

Can you imagine the size and scope of a class action law suit?   Literally anyone who has ever placed a bid ( win or lose ) on an item might be a party - even at a settlement of just pennies per class member, that's enough change to put Ebay where it belongs...
 
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
       
Mon May 21 13:17:45 2012
Two things that come to mind for those of us that would like to see justice served ( or just hate Ebay for various reasons - monetary in nature for the majority of us ) :

1)  Get this info out - post the thread wherever it makes sense - this really needs to go ''viral ( first and likely only time I've used / will use that term ).  There is no reason that Ebay's Board should not be suspending the top five execs within the next week or two if we get this info MOVING...

2)  If a legal fund is set up by the parties being sued - donate something - even if it is just a dollar !!  Miss McFadden has inadvertently opened herself and Ebay to more exposure - through ''discovery'' than what ten years of legal wrangling might otherwise accomplish.  
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: kbk This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 14:19:55 2012
What is really perplexing to me is a simple fact: the seller's own admission AND her employees admissions on her TV show.

Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: kbk This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 16:47:54 2012
oh my my. The poor seller!! Her completed rate isn't as high as it used to be. All those damages she's seeking!! Oh but wait, there's more.

Bidders and bids are still viewable. I wonder if that knowledge was available at the time of the mass cancellations. All those faithful followers. It looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed May 19th and decided to cancel everything. Isn't that bad business?

This doesn't prove damages. Not when the seller cancels bids independently.  It's when the item does not sell WITHOUT bids.  

She's stated on TV that she is desiring to open new stores across the globe.  Is she looking for seed money?
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
       
Mon May 21 18:19:10 2012
~Truth~  ( not that one believes that it is true, but that it *is* ) is an absolute defense against slander/defamation...

It would not only appear that the post regarding shill bidding was true, but the ''Aggrieved'' actually admitted to it...

So... There *is* no defamation suit or damages...

That clown can do whatever she wants with her listings - there can ( and appears to, ) be a negative impact on the seller - really doesn't matter as far as the defendant is concerned.

All the ~ Aggrieved ~ has done is opened a really, really ugly can of worms...

This should get really fun - hell - I might even start to care about purses...

( Are there really TWO sites devoted to ~Purses~ out there?...)
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: kbk This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 20:13:30 2012
It appears it was only a one day special. It seems as if it is business as usual. All of it.  
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: Tula
       
Mon May 21 20:36:13 2012
Wow, people really get bent out of shape over purses! I'm female and I don't get it. Maybe I'm just weird, but I think people who spend thousands (or even hundreds) on a bag for carrying stuff are kind of insane. And honestly, Coach bags are *ugly*

That said, libel is a tricky thing. I would hesitate to post anything potentially defamatory without concrete proof. I'm not sure if something from a TV show counts as proof. I'll leave that to the lawyers.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
This user has validated their user name. by: Tula
       
Mon May 21 21:32:10 2012
One thing I wonder about... is is considered shill bidding if one of the consignment store's employees is legitimately bidding on an item for his/her own use? I suppose technically, it would be, but if they really wanted the item.... maybe that's the seller's defense?
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: dsd This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 23:50:33 2012
I don't know for a fact what edropoff has or has not done; however, I don't like the bidding history surrounding them. I'm contacting the network and sponsors to let them know I will not watch their network & I will not be supporting their sponsors anytime in the near future.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: dsd This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon May 21 23:53:55 2012
Tula - It's not shill bidding if someone bids with the intent to purchase. It's considered shilling if there is no intent to purchase. The employees bidding on items (legitimately) are breaking eBay's in house rules.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: Amazon Watcher This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Tue May 22 07:21:02 2012
Ina Steiner asks, ''Can you tell without a doubt if a seller is engaged in shill bidding?''

Direct from Corri McFadden and eBay.

http://www.powersellersunite.com/post-341306.html


''
Lovely
article -

'House of Consignment' Star Corri McFadden Turns Cluttered Closets Into Cold Hard Cash
by Maggie Coughlan
April 11, 2012
http://www.thefashionspot.com/runway-news/news/173251-house-of
-consignment-star-corri-mcfadden-turns-cluttered-closets-into-cold-hard-cash

Great
article quote -

''What’s it like to be surrounded by designer goods all day, every day? McFadden ensures employees (herself included) get no special privileges. “We have to bid just like everyone else. It hurts when you’ve tried on that Chanel jacket that fits perfectly and you get outbid.”''

Ebay covered this situation -

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/seller-shill-bidding.html
#what

''Restricted
Buying
an item from someone you know, as long as you don't intend to artificially increase its price or desirability or violate our Feedback manipulation or search and browse manipulation policies''

''Not allowed
Bidding on your own items with another account''

Future Court quote -

May 8 2012 Corri McFadden
''No consignor is allowed to bid on their own items and no eDrop-Off employee is allowed to bid on any auctions from eDrop-Off headquarters and must use their own personal ebay account offsite. Both eDrop-Off and ebay take shill bidding very seriously and continue to take great measures to ensure this does not occur within eDrop-Off’s account. We have received verification from ebay that in no way has eDrop-Off shown any signs of shill bidding. Both ebay and eDrop-Off have zero tolerance for shill bidding and ebay would shut down the account of any auction that attempted to engage in any such activity. Also, I do not tolerate such activities which is why we have strict guidelines for our consignors and employees prohibiting any such conduct.''
''

Count the contradictions in Corri McFadden's last above quote.


http://www.powersellersunite.com/post-341306.html>
''
5
Shopping Tips From VH1's Vintage Maven Corri McFadden
by Sarah Devlin
2:08 pm, March 20th, 2012
http://www.styleite.com/media/corri-mcfadden-vh1-shopping/


''With
her business growing and her new show, does McFadden still have time to shop on her own? She does, though it’s mostly online. And she occasionally shops her own inventory, although she says eDrop-Off “is the same as Gilt Groupe — we don’t get to shop pre-sale. If you want something you have to bid on it”, which means McFadden has outbid more than once at her own store!''
''

Let us see links to Corri McFadden's videos with more of the same.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: kbk This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 22 11:10:30 2012
@ amazon watcher-->
Nicely done!  
 
Ebay's response: "We still don't see any evidence. Actually, we can't see anything with our scented blindfolds on. They smell like money!"
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: AC_in_Mich This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 22 15:45:40 2012
LOL - hey, this is a fun game!  Look at her auctions and her bidders for possible (ahem) shills

For example, http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBidderProfile&mode=1&item=2
51063527664&aid=h***6&eu=GfIN7cPhpAyw8rHuMuLqmASqEJ4YhHBK&view=NONE&ssPageName=PageBidderProfileViewBids_None_ViewLink

385
Bids, all with this seller!
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: AC_in_Mich This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 22 15:55:32 2012
For those that want to play - it's a real easy game.

Go the seller's listings

Find an auction that has multiple bids.

Look at the bidders with low feedback scores (unlikely that a bidder with 1500 feedback is a shill bidder compared to a 2 feedback)

Click on the bidder's name to see their 30 day bidding history

Gee, then you come up with samples like

http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewBidderProfile&m
ode=1&item=270978603242&aid=n***e&eu=3JEdH%2FEfQhUwpELtP1j0rOoVZKC1erGa&view=NONE&ssPageName=PageBidderProfileViewBids_None_ViewLink
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 22 16:40:26 2012
You can just go through edropoff's feedback left page, clicking on users with low feedback to see that the *only* feedback they have left or received is by and for edropoff. Literally too many to list.

Hopefully victims who have bought or bid on the seller's items will start making noise and-or filing criminal complaints.

The dollar amounts people have been cheated for must be high, both individually and collectively.
Perminate Link for eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding   eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding
by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue May 22 16:46:52 2012
For even more strong evidence of shill bidding, search by title items which were supposedly won by the accounts which appear to be blatant shill bidders. See how many of them have apparently been relisted.
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