A new trend has emerged in online auctions: vigilantism. People are banding together to report auction fraud and are coordinating their efforts in contacting law enforcement officials.
Our story begins with Mark, the high bidder on an auction for a Toshiba Protege 2000 laptop computer on eBay. On August 10, 2006, Mark says he sent a cashier's check for £455 to eBay seller Tech-Surplus.
By September 1, after corresponding with the seller several times, Mark became concerned that he would never see his computer. He emailed other winning bidders to see if they had received their items from the seller. According to several buyers, it quickly became apparent that something was wrong, no one had yet received their computers.
Karen Christian replied to Mark that evening and volunteered to create a Web site to publish information about the seller, whom they worried was operating in bad faith. Karen had also purchased a laptop computer from Tech-Surplus on August 15 and had not yet received it.