How To Spot Shill Bidding On Ebay
If you are a user of eBay then the chances are, that you have already come across the term “shill bidding”. Shill bidding, is bidding that is used to artificially inflate the price of a certain item. Shill bidding usually takes place when the seller of an item wishes to increase the price, or generate interest in the item. The seller would usually get a friend or family member to bid on the item in question so that it looks like the item is more popular than it actually is, sometimes the seller may also use a second eBay account to increase the price of the item.
Shill bidding is prohibited by eBay and rightfully so. In my time I have been the victim of a shill bidding eBay scam. I was bidding on a digital camera and was surprised to see the price increase dramatically every time I made a bid, each bid that I made was followed by a new bid from an eBay user without any feedback. I thought this was very strange so I contacted eBay, they confirmed to me that the seller was using a second account to increase the price of the item, in the hopes that I would keep bidding and be made to pay a higher price. The listing was pulled by eBay and the seller had both of their accounts suspended. I was lucky but unfortunately many others are not so fortunate.
Shill bidding is a huge problem on eBay and you may have already been a victim of this scam without even realising it! Hopefully after reading this guide you will be able to spot if a shill bidder is bidding on one of your auctions.
The first step to take if you feel you have been a victim of shill bidding is to look at the “Bidders List” for the item that you are bidding on. Usually an account that is used for shill bidding will have very little, if any feedback. The account could even have been created within the last 30 days with the sole intention of shill bidding for the seller, you can see if the member is new as they will have a small orange icon next to their user ID.
You should also do some research into the sellers other sales. Look at the sellers other sales via their feedback profile and see if the shill bidder was bidding on those items as well. If the shill bidder was bidding then the chances are that the seller is using a second account, or the account of a friend to shill bid.
Finally, another favoured method to spot a shill bidder is to look at how much the bids are increasing by. Usually a shill bidder will only place a “Nibbler” bid, this is a bid that is only slightly higher than your bid but then puts the impetuous on you to bid on the item again. The shill bidder will keep on bidding until you stop, they will then retract their final bid leaving you to pay for the item at a higher price than you should have paid!
If you believe that you have been a victim of a shill bidding scam or think that an eBay member may be shill bidding then you need to contact eBay. You can contact eBay using the contain form on their site, if eBay finds that the user has indeed been shill bidding then the all of the accounts associated with the shill bidder will be suspended.