Shill Bidding and Scams

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There are numerous dodgy characters on eBay as I have found to my cost.  One way to protect oneself is to use PayPal funded by a Credit Card which gives 120 days Purchase Protection if the goods cost over a certain amount (£50 or possibly £100 depending on the company).  If the deal then goes bad one does have recourse to action even if the eBay protection period has expired.  (Local Pick Up Only items are likely to come into this category as unless one owns a jump jet it will usually be inconvenient to make a round trip of hundreds of miles just for one thing)

Some sellers do Private Listings.  OK the idea is that the burglars won't know who has bought the star item that is highly sought after.  The downside is that Private Listings are a shill bidders paradise so beware.  Some people bid overtly hours or even days before the end of the auction but IMHO this practice is likely to start a bidding war.  Nowadays I slam my bids in just before the end just like one does in a public "outcry" auction.  The purists may argue that this isn't really an auction but more like a game of spoof or the travellers game "flash you for the most", nevertheless this is a perfectly legal practice.

One very common stunt regarding Local Pick Up Only is for the item to be no longer there once the eBay protection time is over.  This happened recently with a 3.5 ton gross trailer that was bought for moving boats.  The problem was that my old 4x4 could not be repaired by myself in sub zero winter conditions and getting a fresh MOT was going to be yet another palaver.  Another 4x4 a runner with MOT was purchased to do the job but when the Essex trailer seller who said he was always in or never more than half an hour from home, was contacted he said that he was on holiday in Scotland (this was in February!  Duh!) No trailer, no boat, and £120 per month marina fees looming mucho wasted time and fuel.  There are some right stars on eBay that's for sure. If  the credit card 120 days are over as happened with a .com laptop selling company, one has to resort to the Small Claims Court.  In this case I had suffered from a burglary and an exploding car gearbox and these two upsets knocked me back almost to the stone age.  When I  got sorted and visited the company on the south coast the manager claimed (1) The woman who does the accounts was away and wouldn't be back until Monday and it was Friday. (2) I didn't have any receipt or ID - not true actually.  On my next trip up-country I had the PayPal receipt printed out and my passport but now the charlatan claimed "According to our records it has already been picked up".  This firm really really needs kicking-off eBay.  Once court proceedings were initiated they refunded my money and court costs very quickly indeed and I also claimed £10 towards each wasted journey which they also paid.  Grrrrr!
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