Shill bidding as its called is the practice of bidding on your own ( or a friends ) items just to bump the bid price up, you can not do it from your own account but many have two accounts or just get a friend to do it.
if it looks like they are going to win either cancel thier bid before 12 hours before the sale end or cancel the sale at the end. So is it LEGAL ? .
No of course not, Its obtaining money be deception, FRAUD.
So Ebay being helpfull etc they (say they ) take this fraud seriously,
case in point:
A seller in todmorden, west yorks sells items, has a good feedback etc, looking at the bid history on his completed items you will notice a bidder who has zero feedback who has made over 100 bids in total and when you check the bid history you notice that they have only ever bid on items from that seller but never won anything, Now im all in favour of buying local but when you look into it further you notice that on some of the items his bid has been cancelled by the seller (his mate / wife / brother etc) as he was winning and was getting near the end of listing. I bid on a generator and it was getting expensive when i check the bids there was me and this other "bidder" so i though let him have it ... next day i get a email saying i had won the item. checking on this the other bidder had retracted his bid saying entered wrong amount. this is when i realised the price had been bumped up and instead of buying it for £20 had won for 49. so i contacted the seller and said i know whats going on and cancelled the sale.
I informed ebay by phone ( 3 times ) and the operative agreed with me something was not right with the seller and other bidder. A week later i checked the seller again and was still doing the same thing, some poor sod paid well over the odds for a item as they were shill bid. i rang ebay again, i contacted the buyer of the item and they agreed they had been had and were going to cancel the purchase and report to ebay. so far i know of 3 people who have reported the seller for this and what have ebay done.
Ziltch - nothing
the seller is still doing it, and why dont ebay do anything?? MONEY..
as long as a seller is making them money they will just email the seller and say "we have had a report etc etc and ifyou are doing this you should read our seller policy etc etc etc ..."
SO THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS CHECK A SELLERS COMPLETED LISTINGS AND SEE WHO HAS BEEN BIDDING, IF THEY ARE BIDDING ON THE ITEM YOU WANT DONT BID COS YOU WILL GET SHILL BID AND THE PRICE WILL GO UP UP UP...