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Weird pattern I've experienced as a bidder on eBay

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by New Daddy, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    I've been bidding for manual focus lenses on eBay for sometime, winning some but losing most. Below is a weird pattern that I've experienced on eBay often enough to call it a pattern:

    My bid, based on my reservation price, is the winning bid until the last minute but gets trumped by a bid that's like a dollar higher than my maximum bid, leaving me in dust. Now that's nothing unusual. But many, far too many, of these lenses become re-listed very soon. On a couple of occasions, I even receive a "second-chance" offer within literally seconds of the close of an auction from the seller. How is this possible? Did the winning bidder decline to pay for the item within seconds of the close of the auction?

    My growing suspicion is that some sellers try to extract the full amount of the reservation price of the winning bidder by ghost-bidding - by creating a second account and use that second account to raise the price. By necessity, sometimes they go too far and overbid my (or the winning bidder's) maximum bid. So they re-list. Or they simply extend a second-chance offer to the genuine winning bidder.

    People say the prices are inflated on eBay, but I'm agnostic as to whether lenses actually do change hands at those inflated prices. Some of the prices may reflect "manipulated" winning price by the seller, which never led to an actual closing of the transaction.

    That's my hypothesis. Any thoughts?
  2. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Seems a reasonable theory to me

    Seems a reasonable theory to me, shady characters are ever increasing in number on eBay
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England

    I'd document a few of these, ESPECIALLY those that come right back with a second chance offer.

    That said. If the auction says "reserve price not met", the seller is under no obligation to release the item.

    Reserver auction cost more to post as the provide the seller with a guarantee of their minimum selling price.

    eBay is pretty sensitive to folks scamming their auctions.. If you have documentation you'll more than likely receive some satisfaction.
  4. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    There are enough lenses out there where you can ignore those sellers. Another thing that is happening is if the item has a reserve and neither you or the other higher bidder goes over that reserve, then it will give a similar result. But that does not explain the second chance offer unless the seller has multiple copies. You can report a seller. Ebay should be able to look at the sellers auctions and see if that is the case--statistics will reveal patterns.

    Have you also tried places like KEH? That gives me an idea of prices. I have sometimes the Ebay price is higher than KEH and so I buy it from KEH. But Ebay can have good deals. If you are looking for legacy lenses, also try the APUG classifieds.
  5. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    It's called shill bidding. It's against the eBay terms and conditions, and in the UK it's actually a criminal offence (the crime being fraud).
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Shill, ghost bidding is very common.
    I made a living a few years back buying and selling high end guitars.
    Many times I would be high bidder but the seller has a friend trump the bid.
    That ends that. Not much can be done but to avoid those guys.

    That explains the immediate second chance bid also.
    The sellers friend wins the auction but has no intention to buy.
    Illegal maybe but a battle ya probably won't win.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Chuckr53

    Chuckr53 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Estero, FL
    eBay Bidding

    I used to experience the same circumstances a lot. It always seemed someone would come in at the very last minute and over bid me. So, in self-defense, I got a copy of an auction snipe software package so I could submit my own bids with little or no time left on the clock, giving the "conspirators" little or no time to react. It worked most of the time, but not always.
  8. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    Wow, there is a software like that? Where can I find it?
  9. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    I wasn't talking about "reserve price" auctions. I'm fully aware of how those types of auctions work.

    In order to report to eBay, I don't even need to document the events. The second chance offers are still in my message box, and I'm sure eBay can easily figure out the timeline between the close of the auction and the second-chance offer if I forward them the messages. Maybe I should notify eBay.
  10. Goofbay - eBay Tools, eBay Misspellings, eBay Typos, eBay Sniper, eBay Bargains

    I don't bother trying to be around at the end of the auction anymore. Just set the sniper in advance and check if you won later.

    It's probable that the shill bidders use the same kind of software to add a late bid. All they are looking to do is to draw you out to your maximum bid, "cancel" the sale to the winning "bidder" and then offer it to you at your highest price. I don't think it matters how close to the end of the auction you put in a bid. Whether the shill bidder comes in before or after they are still going to take you to your maximum bid price.
  11. New Daddy

    New Daddy Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 24, 2011
    Yes, I've bought quite a few from KEH actually. I like them. One thing you have to take into account when looking at KEH's pricing, though, is they usually don't include caps, and caps cost extra $10 or something. So when you are the kind of user who makes it a rule to put caps on both ends of a lens when not in use, like myself, and when you are only after sub-$100 legacy lenses, again like myself, eBay's price is not bad compared to KEH. Of course, that's if you can avoid sellers who're trying to milk you.
  12. eBay can be a bit hit-and-miss about following up complaints. They're not bad when you report fraudulent listings, mostly in the form of hijacked accounts. they tend to be removed quite quickly.
  13. qball

    qball Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2010
    Watch the sellers that do this and see who won their previous auctions. If you see a pattern with a common "winner" and the seller repeatedly relists or has 2nd chance, report it!
  14. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    If I'm serious about an item I bid manually with 15 seconds, or less, to go.
  15. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Brian Ronald
    I set a maximum bid well in advance, and then don't get invested. I ignore all second chance offers, of which I've had very few. In general, I lose auctions, but winning a lot of eBay auctions has its own problems.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. deirdre

    deirdre Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 9, 2010
    See, another reason you should snipe -- keeps that from happening. It's never happened to me, anyway.
  17. If you have a tendency to get caught up in last minute auction frenzies then a sniper removes that possibilty. You set your max bid in advance and then let in happen.
  18. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    I'm with Brianetta - I evaluate what I'd pay for an item, submit that, then look again if I hear I'm outbid. Maybe I bid once more, but often I won't. And I've lost many times but have won too often, as noted by "winning has its own problems" - I've acquired too many and must dump some to even out the camera budget.
  19. VasManI

    VasManI Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2011
    Just Google for "ebay sniping". That said, one of the better ones is JBidwatcher.

  20. Chuckr53

    Chuckr53 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 15, 2010
    Estero, FL
    With the sniper software I've gotten a bid in with as little as 4 seconds remaining. You can set it for less, but I've found it to be hit or miss at that setting.
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