July 18, 2005
The death of eBay

"eBay it" was the dot-com verb-du-jour for a while. Dump the garage sale and make more money by selling it online. Find bargains in the treasure troves that are other people's rubbish.

I have friends who have successfully pruchased and sold both motorbikes, stereos etc on eBay, but having browsed for both collectibles and valuable items recently, it seems to me like eBay is dying a slow death under the weight of scamsters:

Take a couple of examples: browsing out of curiousity to find the price level of a particular watch (the Breitling Emergency) I found ebay.co.uk inundated with not-really-cheap but too cheap to be true watches. Some sellers making ridiculous claims ("This is an unwanted gift from a Prince in Dubai.") others clearly selling fakes: "This watch has the compass which screws out" (duh - there is no version of the Breitling Emergency with a compass).

eBay takes no action against these scams, even when reported, and refer to their VERO programme, but noone from the trademark owners are monitoring eBay 24/7 (more like never, it seems) and hence it's a free-for-all for purveyors of counterfeit goods on eBay.

Another scam eBay should easily detect is the artificial purchasing of feedback. Easily camouflaged, some vendors sell a bunch of worthless items at £0.99 to someone (perhaps even themselves?), then leaving fantastic feedback for each other, driving the primary indicator of trust on eBay - the feedback rating - artificially up:

I recently purchased an item from a seller with a "safe" 4000+ positive feedback rating, only to be discovering upon receipt that the seller was selling counterfeit goods and leaving negative "revenge" comments to anyone flagging it in his feedback.

Digging deeper in the feedback history of the same seller show rafts of identical feedback submissions over rafts of £0.99 items from a newly registered users. Ho hum... (click to zoom):

vk1067's ebay feedback walton_industries' eBay UK feedback (click to zoom)

A side note: I emailed the seller about the counterfeit goods he was selling but got very negative replies. Then reported the conflict to PayPal, who are "still reviewing it"...

Buyers beware, and pay by credit card!

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Comments

I can appreciate your concern. I use Ebay now and again for the odd purchase but I'm also rather paranoid when it comes to making sure the person I'm buying something off isn't going to rip me off.

It's a good idea is to read the description of the item very very carefully. I'm sure a lot of people are aware of the case of the Xbox Box (not an actual Xbox) being sold for a tidy sum because people were mistakenly thinking the picture of the Xbox box would contain an actual Xbox!

In the past there's also been 'information for a website link on how to get a mobile phone for £20' disguised as a sale for an actual phone. They were so cleverly disguised that one of these sold for over £300! I think Ebay have moved (albeit slowly) to clamp down on these scams.

Perhaps it's just human nature that the more popular something gets, the more people come out to exploit it?

However, I wouldn't say it's not all bad news though, there are some genuine and helpful people on Ebay and I've been able pick up some good bargains! :)

Posted by: alkam on July 19, 2005 12:57 AM

You are spot on -Right now on ebay are about 20 items listed under user ID shar321 -Obviously a stolen id -Selling stuff -all copied from actual listings -Obviously ebay is raking in the dough and cares little about fraud. I am a sleepy old fart and can see whats going on so why the hell can they not pick up these obvious frauds and stop them immediately -This will be the death of EBAY and they are killing themselves.
Julian
See items

Posted by: Julian on August 31, 2005 03:57 AM

You are spot on -Right now on ebay are about 20 items listed under user ID shar321 -Obviously a stolen id -Selling stuff -all copied from actual listings -Obviously ebay is raking in the dough and cares little about fraud. I am a sleepy old fart and can see whats going on so why the hell can they not pick up these obvious frauds and stop them immediately -This will be the death of EBAY and they are killing themselves.
Julian
See items

Posted by: Julian on August 31, 2005 03:57 AM

I agree the reign of ebay is over. What was was once a fun place to go and either sell unwanted goods or score a bargan has deteriorated into either scamters or just another shop front where the goods are not as cheap as you may think. I think it is partialy ebays own fault, when I have reported fraud attempt to ebay (to hell with the fall out) ebay has responded with a lame excuse why they cant do anything about it, even when the seller has admitted the fraud in an enail to me. So apart from there doesn't seem to be anything worth buying anymore on ebay you cant even get to the site to have a look because the ebay server take so long to respond.

I wonder what the next big craze will be?

Posted by: JB on October 3, 2005 05:47 AM

actually, in singapore, when you report fraud sellers, they will remove the listing... some abit too slow though...

Posted by: shing on January 5, 2006 03:58 AM

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Posted by: Drew on January 22, 2006 12:24 AM

I was hoping some of you would tell me what you think about a new payment service I am helping develop.

Itís going to be easy and cheap like PayPal, but have the security of an Escrow service on any size transaction.

Itís not quite ready yet, but when it is would anyone like to Beta test it?

Thanks,

-Jeff

Posted by: Jeff on January 28, 2006 02:37 AM
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