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  1. #1

    Default eBay Motors: Auction Fraud Galore …

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...882#post168882
    http://bit.ly/I2gTEU
    15 November 2013; last revised 19 November 2013

    Endemic Fraud on eBay Motors’ Auctions

    Who would have believed it? After all, eBay claims to have “proactive and sophisticated” systems in place to detect and protect consumers from such “shill bidding” auction fraud, and that demonstrably false claim is in itself a fraud by eBay on its consumers …

    The fact is, the making, or the calculated facilitating of the making, of a “vendor” bid without such bid being publicly disclosed as a vendor bid at the moment the bid is made, is fraud. Such fraud is proscribed in most civilised countries, eg, in the UK, the Fraud Act 2006.

    As far as the US is concerned, US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 63, §1343, “Fraud by wire, radio, or television”, is the applicable Federal statute:

    “Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. …”

    Undoubtedly, there could not possibly be a better place to do an analysis for shill bidding fraud on eBay auctions than that of a used car dealer’s eBay auctions, and the lucky dealer nominated for such an analysis is UK used car merchant “carswithnoreserve”:


    You only have to ask yourself, how many people would you expect to see bidding on more than one vehicle—of varying makes and models—in the same thirty-day period, let alone at the same time, from the one used car dealer? And the answer is, very few, if any, which suggests that the great majority of the bidding IDs that appear on this dealer’s auctions (that are in the below-linked spreadsheet coloured red, and also those not coloured but also suffixed with asterisks), are most probably shills. And I don’t doubt that a similar result could be obtained with the same analysis of any of the majority of used car dealers selling via eBay auctions. But eBay—with their claimed “sophisticated and proactive” systems to detect and pretect consumers from such fraud—can see none of this—LOL …

    Additionally, any seller that elects to use—even only occasionally—eBay’s most devious “private listing” auction format is undoubtedly shill bidding on such auctions. Contrary to eBay’s nonsensical claims, such “private listing” auctions have never served any purpose other than to totally obscure any shill bidding and defeat any user analysis of that bidding. (A similar objective was behind eBay’s further anonymising of bidding IDs in 2008 from the previously unique form to a non-unique form: to stop third-party programmatic analyses of individual bidders for historical signs of shill bidding.)

    And, of course, positively identifiable motor vehicles that are “sold” then relisted, again and again, and again—as is the case often with this dealer—is another classic indication of obvious attempted shill bidding fraud—but eBay, even with their claimed “sophisticated and proactive” systems to detect such criminal activity, cannot see any of this—even when it is reported by a concerned consumer, they still can’t see it. Obviously, eBay chooses not to see it—as long as they are getting their FVF cut on every “sale”—real or faux, there is no problem—for eBay ...

    Then there are the auctions showing “in the red” as unsuccessful, with zero bids; in fact they are invariably auctions that have been cancelled by the seller because the genuine bidder—if indeed there was even one—was not able to be shilled to an acceptable price level by the seller’s multiple shills bidding thereon …

    Further, if you examine the individual “30-Day Bid History” lists for virtually any of the bidders on this dealer’s auctions (even those bidders who appear not to be bidding on multiple auctions with this seller), you will see that many are also bidding on different makes and models of motor vehicles with other sellers: some on a few, some on many, some even on only nothing else but varying numbers of motor vehicles, which suggests that there is most likely a substantial group of dealers shill bidding on the auctions of each other—but, of course, eBay, with their “sophisticated” systems, can see none of this …

    UK Trading Standards: I understand that UK Trading Standards has looked at this dealer but, apparently, like eBay, they appear to be incapable, or not interested as in the case of eBay, of doing anything about such endemic fraud, actual or attempted—LOL. Apparently, the problem for TS is that the successful bidder is not obligated to buy but is only then invited to inspect the vehicle with the option to buy at that price. Regardless, if the buyer proceeds with the transaction, they invariably would be buying at a price greater than they otherwise would have had there not been the shill bidding. To my mind, this is still fraud, attempted, or actual if the successful (genuine) bidder proceeds to buy.

    Needless to say, if Trading Standards did find anything untoward, undoubtedly eBay would quickly throw this seller under the bus—and the eBay Dept of Spin would spring into action with a media release announcing to all and sundry how—once again—eBay had co-operated with the authorities to bring a rampant fraudster to justice—LOL ...

    It is a simple matter to demonstrate that blatant shill bidding fraud is endemic on the auctions of probably the majority of professional eBay sellers—particularly on “nominal-start” auctions, but the point I would emphasise is that these many fraudsters are only a symptom of the “disease”—eBay is the knowing enabler, the calculated criminal facilitator, the primary cancer unlawfully gnawing away at consumers’ pocketbooks: it is eBay that has created the obfuscatory bidding system and provides the fraud-enabling tools that allow these many fraudsters to so easily ply (and obscure) their criminal activities without the great majority of consumers, apparently, being aware of what is going on and that, indeed, eBay is calculatedly aiding and abetting such fraudsters to cheat them ...

    Ultimately, the real question that Trading Standards should be asking is, why has eBay not detected any of this rampant shill bidding by this, or any other, professional seller? Why is it that it is only we simple consumers that ever notice this type of criminal activity? That, of course, is a rhetorical question; most of us already know the answer, and it is that eBay does not find it because they do not look for it; eBay is totally uninterested in doing anything about anything that would reduce their revenue—not even the criminal law is allowed to impede eBay’s income stream; indeed, eBay can be demonstrated to be actively aiding and abetting such fraud—see the matter of the ongoing blatant eBay shill bidding seller eDropOff at http://bit.ly/11F2eas

    One can only hope that, on the basis of the facts supplied, Trading Standards will eventually recognise eBay’s demonstrable complicity in such fraud and take their colonoscope to the anus of this criminal enterprise’s corporate body. I have no doubt that such a colonoscopic process will expose John “Fagan” Donahoe and his den of wire-fraud facilitators hard at work aiding and abetting all the great many unscrupulous eBay merchant that are habitually defrauding the world’s consumers. Can we hope that Trading Standards will ultimately bring this most unscrupulous corporate entity to heel, and prosecute eBay for the demonstrable criminal activities of its senior executives in respect to their calculated facilitation of such massive auction fraud on the consumers of the world?—only time will tell …

    In the meantime, take a look at the spreadsheet analysis and form your own opinion as to whether or not there is any sign of shill bidding going on on this car dealer’s auctions—see if your eyesight is any better that eBay’s (and Trading Standard’s)—LOL …

    The “carswithnoreserve” spreadsheet … http://bit.ly/14MkEaY

    And, just for fun, a second spreadsheet containing a sampling of another group of UK used car dealers at http://bit.ly/18Uvlss

    (An explanation of the spreadsheet analyses is available in the “Notes to the spreadsheet analyses” section in my lengthier rant on eBay shill bidding fraud at http://bit.ly/11F2eas)

    This second sampling is based also on eBay Motors UK: Current auctions; Price: lowest first; look for multiple vehicle sellers; then analyse a random sample of their latest completed auctions …

    Without exception, every one appears to be shill bidding; the only thing that I can’t yet explain is, if it is a cabal (or cabals) of dealers bidding on each others’ auctions, why have I not yet found a greater number of common IDs bidding on multiple dealers’ auctions … Well, I suppose it is possible that the cabal is so huge that it will take an analysis of many more dealers before any distinct patterns may emerge …

    One could hypothesize that there appears to be more bidding IDs in the hands of used car dealers than there are in the hands of genuine eBay users … Whenever I hear eBay’s chief headless turkey talking about how the number of active eBay users is ever increasing, I think of all the used car dealers throughout the world constantly renewing their supply of shill bidding IDs—LOL …

    And, needless to say, all those “private listing” auctions contained in this second spreadsheet sampling will undoubtedly be full of multiple shills making competing bids …

    Now, these used car dealers are more cunning than the likes of eBay seller eDropOff; if you look only at the “total bids this seller” calculation on many of these auctions, you could be excused for thinking everything was kosher; but, as previously stated, look at the “Bid History: Details” page for each bidder and examine the “30-Day Bid History” list, and note the last thirty items that have been bid on by the bidder (also noted in the comments column on the spreadsheet): most of these bidders are bidding on an abnormally large number of other motor vehicles; which, again, suggests the probability of a conspiracy between many dealers.

    Indeed, I suspect that if you look at any selection of used car dealer’s auctions you will likely find the same abnormal patterns of bidding statistics—after all, used car dealers have been using shill bidding tactics to defraud buyers at traditional auctions since the year dot, so why would anyone expect the leopard to now change its spots? … And undoubtedly similar abnormal patterns will be found on the nominal-start auctions of a great majority of other professional merchants, no matter what they are selling …

    No doubt any car dealer that Trading Standards ultimately questions will say that all their bidding on other dealers’ auctions is simply their normal activity for acquiring new stock—LOL

    Trading Standards should run an ad in the media inviting those eBay users who have reported to eBay what they suspected to be an incident of shill bidding but have received back from eBay either no response (as I have had) or what the reporter considered to be an unsatisfactory response (as I have also had). Now, that might put the cat amongst the pigeons … the only problem would be, TS would have to employ a great deal of extra staff to handle the deluge of responses …

    As I have said before, TS and the Fraud Squad could keep a dedicated “eBay Squad” busy in perpetuity investigating and prosecuting such fraudsters; alternatively, they could instigate action against eBay to force eBay to cease calculatingly aiding and abetting such fraud by, for a start, making their auctions bidding process more transparent as is suggested in the section “eBay’s calculated obfuscation of bidding statistics” of my comments on eBay at http://bit.ly/11F2eas

    The fact is, eBay Inc. is a most unscrupulous commercial entity and is demonstrably the greatest calculated facilitator of “wire fraud” on consumers that the world is ever likely to know—and they should be brought to book for their blatant criminal activities …

    In the meantime, methinks if all the desperate professional dealers trying to make a living on eBay ever decide to stop bidding on and buying much of their own stuff, the eBay “House of Cards” is likely going to collapse pretty quickly thereafter …

    eBay Inc.—demonstrably the greatest calculated facilitator of auction fraud on consumers that the world is ever likely to know ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 11-20-2013 at 03:53 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe, Legg Mason "Thought Leader Forum" (26 Sept 2007)—The whole interview transcript at http://bit.ly/16McqO1. Ten prizes of a "Mentoring Day With John" for anyone that can read the whole of it—without their head exploding ...

    "Our ambition is to be the strategic partner of choice for every leading retailer, brand and manufacturer across the world ..."—eBay Employment Ad (2013)—Dream on Johnny Ho, Ho, Ho ...

    Some other fun quotes from the eBay executive suite ... http://bit.ly/12xvzyA

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

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