"As a leader in trading cards with 25 years of transactional data, no one
is better positioned to estimate the value of every card ever sold," eBay CEO Jamie Iannone told Wall Street analysts this month, explaining his vertical strategy and mission to turn buyers into lifelong enthusiasts.
But scandal rocked its vaunted Trading Card category today as eBay accused its partner PWCC of shill bidding. Collectors discussing the matter
on social media said they received a message from eBay that read in part:
"...Recently, it was determined that individuals associated with a trading card seller, PWCC, have engaged in "shill bidding," which is prohibited on eBay. As a result, eBay has restricted PWCC's selling privileges and listings, effective today,..."
What may be more shocking to some than the news of eBay's accusation is the report from ActionNetwork
that PWCC reportedly pays a fraction of what other sellers pay in commission fees. "PWCC has a deal with eBay that allows them to give a smaller piece of the pie to eBay. That portion is said to be between one and three percent versus the 10 percent that other sellers pay."
One eBay member wondered
whether the Feds would get involved as they had in other cases of alleged shill bidding.
On Twitter, there were various theories about eBay's message it sent to trading-card collectors about the allegations. One person tweeted
: "How much do you think the eBay / PWCC announcement was eBay trying to head-off PWCC launching their own Selling Platform by saying basically "we've seen the backend... don't trust this company"?"
While another flipped the premise, tweeting
: "How much of PWCCs interest in having their own selling platform is because they knew it was only a matter of time before eBay was going to give them the boot?"
PWCC told Sports Collectors Daily
eBay's move was "defamatory" and indicated it would be "considering all available legal options" in response. Its PR firm provided the publication with a statement that read in part: "To PWCC's knowledge, its employees have never engaged in any behavior that violates eBay's agreements and policies. PWCC goes to great lengths to ensure that its employees follow eBay's rules and PWCC employees do not have access to eBay's bidding records or information."
: PWCC wrote a response in a post on Facebook
on Tuesday, and it also stated:
"While PWCC became the world's premier site for the sale of trading cards using eBay's platform, in recent months, eBay's increasingly competing interests prompted PWCC to begin the process of moving on. Today's unilateral action by eBay simply hastens PWCC's move to its new platform."