Shill bidder sentenced: £5k fine & 250hrs community service

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An eBay seller, believed to be the first to be convicted of shill bidding, has been fined £5000.00 and sentenced to 250 hours unpaid community service work.

It appears he got off reasonably lightly as he was found guilty of ten offences, each of which could have attracted a £5000.00 fine and Judge Benson who heard the trial that if there had been previous convictions he would have ordered a prison sentence.

eBay said that while the case was not solely about shill bidding it highlights how seriously they consider the practice of artificially increasing prices. They emphasised that shill bidding is not only prohibited on eBay but it is also illegal.

9 Responses

  1. This made me laugh, eBay are so full of double standards…Giving it the big almighty when they used to advise you to shill bid, outrageous.

    As for a prison sentence, well I think that any judge locking up a shill bidder when burglers, muggers and druggies get CS, they would need shooting.

    Shill bidding is wrong but taking everything into account…it’s not that wrong.

  2. I like the way eBay are trying to take credit for something that was only discovered when Trading Standards started going through the fella’s eBay dealings.
    From The Independent – Vanessa Canzini said “We will always work closely with law enforcement agencies to ensure that, on the rare occasion someone attempts to follow in Barrett’s footsteps, they will be stopped and will face the consequences.”

    Yeah right. One person’s been found guilty and that’s only because he sold a clocked motor.
    His two accounts had the same contact details and IP address yet eBay’s £6 million a year technology didn’t catch him or stop him and he did it at least ten times. If the mileage on the vehicle he sold was genuine he’d probably still be doing it today.

    There’s no need for me to point out the obvious re. shill bidding boosting eBays income via FVF’s is there?

  3. I suppose given that the old “We’re only a venue” excuse has worn itself out ebay had to try and claim credit when its painfully obvious that only a disgruntled buyer and trading standards did any real work in getting this con artist stopped.
    Maybe if ebay was losing money instead of gaining it via the actions of shill bidders they would take action but as it all helps the greed machine,don’t hold your breath.

  4. This is the joke that is becoming ebay.

    So still no word from them why their system did not see this, or maybe it did but they chose to ignore it.

    In reality ebay do you think this news story is going to send shivers down the spines of those scumbag sellers that are using their alias accounts to shill bid, attack their competitors, or to continue to clean up their feedback, as no matter what way you try to spin this, your system failed to catch this person and as said above if not for one mistake then they would still be going, as all the others using the same techniques will still be going.

    I just wish you would admit that you would not know a bad seller if it jumped up and bit you on the behind.

    But the question if this person was a bad seller is still in question as I noticed their DSRs have disappeared and their feedback is 100%.
    There is also the question of what came first, the shill bidding or the second account created to try and clean up their feedback so they can live up to the unrealistic expectations of ebays feedback system.

    Which ever it was I am afraid in this case ebay you will have to take 1 star for performance, as you failed to protect the basics for those poor buyers that were being scammed just so that you could get a few sense more, I hope the money was worth it.

  5. I don’t think this is as big a problem on the site as the media would like us to believe.

    The fact is that it’s far worse offline than online, and in the online world it’s so much harder to get away with, and easier to counter that that trend will continue.

    I’ve written some more expanded thoughts on our blog (Chris / Sue – let me know if ok to put a link here – Ta)

  6. It is harder to get away with online, but for some reason ebay have no idea how to stop it, or no inclination to stop it. i mean this person was not using anything to hide it, like changing IP’s or using a friends computer they used their own computer for both accounts, which is possibly the least requirement for a six million dollar bit of software to prevent.
    Maybe things will have to change now and ebay will have to turn the software on.

    What I think may change that ebay may worry about is that now the buyer has an outlet in the trading standards, that will at least try and do something when they suspect they have been had by a shill bidder and the ebay buyer tends to be enough trouble to make use of it.

    I don’t know, I have been watching a lot of sellers making use of this to clean up feedback so this may have a bigger effect than we suspected if their buyers begin to realize this

  7. I read the blog on shilling and it comes across as a seller in panic mode “please don’t desert me” kind of thing.

    You are blatantly ignoring too many factors, Sellers having more than one sales account, in fact some of them have at least ten, and they are not that hard to spot.
    You keep seeing them set their sales and/or their feedback private while their busy cleaning up their feedback so to stay in the top sellers rates. There items constantly relisted after being sold ten times with glowing feedback
    The seller in question had 100% FB so feedback is no guarantee, and those buyers and ebay had no idea what was happening so should be the major concern, that ebay have made it too easy by hiding bidders.

    The last part of people contacting ebay did make me smile, as I have seen it in peoples feedback where they have stated they have contacted ebay, as they were another user last week but the sellers are still there. making you wonder why ebay have not acted.

    I understand that it is in your best interests to try and reassure the buyer but I am wondering, as they will be wondering at what cost? Ebay are going to hurt your sales by doing nothing no matter how much you reassure customers

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