View Full Version : eBay plays down 'shill' bidding allegations

tlr online
24-02-05, 16:54
Giant auction site eBay is being sued for allegedly using "shill" bidding against its own customers to force up prices and increase the fees it's able to charge. The class action lawsuit filed in the California Superior Court in Santa Clara was brought on behalf of a Pennsylvania man who maintains he fell foul of eBay's "shill" bidding practice on at least two occasions.

In one case Glenn Block claims his bid for a Xerox Copy Cartridge was increased from $111 to $112.5 despite the absence of any real competing bid. In another auction Block claims eBay's intervention raised his bid from $75 to $75.55.

Although the sums involved are only small, multiplied by eBay's huge customer base they could add up to millions of dollars, said lawyers Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP in a statement.

The allegations centre on eBay's used of computer-generated responses that encourage the high bidder for an item to raise the ceiling on his bidding to ensure that he is not overtaken by another buyer.

"Despite having been notified that he was the highest bidder, eBay raised the buyer's bid without any further competing bids. In these cases eBay effectively acted as an invisible shill bidder so as to pump the auction price higher," said lawyers acting on behalf of Block.

eBay spokesman Hani Durzy told Reuters: "Based on what we know about what's being alleged, it appears the plaintiff completely misunderstands the functionality of the eBay bidding system."

www.theregister.co.uk (http://www.theregister.co.uk)

tlr online
24-02-05, 16:58
Now. Im my opinion, eBay should have just come clean, because "shill" bidding (as El Reg puts it) has been going on ever since online auctions began. It's common practice on practically every auction site I've ever been on.

I once knew the owner of a very large UK auction site that shall remain nameless, and I witnessed "shill bidding" first hand on numerous occasions.

It seems anyone can sue for anything in the U.S. If a women can win a lawsuit against McD for burning herself on "hot coffee" (I mean, how else is coffee supposed to be served!?!?!?) then just about anyone is fair game.

24-02-05, 18:16
Yeah i have noticed it loads of times, penny here penny there, although i have read in there policy that they use rounding.

I am not to moan about a few pence, they can have it for all the cheap stuff i have bought off there site.
If it were more then a pound or few i would have something to say though. Its 5p listing today i went mad and put all my old clothes up i have never worn, plus a Belkin Router i am still trying to get rid of because i bought the wrong one. I needed wireless and that isnt, lol.