Todays workshop on Safeguarding Members’ IDs was dominated by discussion of shill bidding, with participants failing to be reassured by eBay’s statement that they have invested in new shiller-detecting systems. Sadly, it failed to communicate any of the positive aspects of eBay’s recent changes.
“Shill bidding going to ruin someone’s Christmas” was one of the wilder statments made: just how, exactly? Shill bidding cannot push your bid any higher than you have bid. It does not leave you having paid out the entire bid amount with absolutely nothing to show for it. There were calls for SCOs to be discontinued, which would only cause the scammers to focus their attentions elsewhere. It’s worth noting that spoof SCOs have been around for longer than real SCOs. Buyers who’ve been on eBay for a while may remember emails such as “I saw you were outbid, I have one just like it” or “I’m the seller and I have another”: possibly that’s where eBay got the idea of SCOs from!
Additionally there were concerns about not being able to add bidders to blocked bidder lists. With a limit of 1000 on the list this is not a practical solution, sellers should be using their buyer preferences more effectively. Blocking buyers without a credit card on file, or without a PayPal account cuts out most undesirable bids.
Concerns were raised that it will no longer be possible for the vigilantes to warn bidders on suspect auctions. However to do so is not only auction interference, but the correct action would be to report the auction itself.
The one lesson learned from the workshop is that eBay need to communicate the SCALE of the problem better. The workshop failed to communicate the extent of spoof SCO offers compared to the extent of shilling on the site, or even to throw a spotlight on the positive steps which have been taken by eBay this week.
Finally “How can I be certain that a seller’s Second Chance Offer is legitimate?” offers advice on how to check any second chance offers you receive are genuine.