A word of precaution on private bidding



#2

I stupidly entered an auction on eBay that kept the listing of the bidders private. Now, private auctions (ones in which the bidders' names are kept secret) have their purpose. However, the one I entered in really had no reason to be kept secret -- it was a lot for 6 HP48's that were broken in some way (eBay #260049798574).

After already placing my bid, I suddenly realized that I should not have placed with a lot of time remaining. Why? By placing my bid early, I could have been shill-bidded up to near my max without being able to know since the bidder's identity is hidden. Anyway, I asked the seller if I could see the list if I happened to win -- and s/he replied with an emphatic "NO!"

So generally speaking, should one either just snipe or stay away from private auctions if there is no apparent reason for the auction to be kept private?


#3

Quote:
So generally speaking, should one either just snipe or stay away from private auctions if there is no apparent reason for the auction to be kept private?

Is there any other reason than just not having access to the net at the end of the auction to not snipe it?

Ok, often, I don't have the cojones to wait for the last seconds but sometimes it shows: Other bidders outbid me in the last second allthough they already placed a lower bid before mine. This is a last second bidding war.


#4

Hello!

Quote:
Ok, often, I don't have the cojones to wait for the last seconds...

I dont think it needs "cojones" to sit in front of ones computer in the middle of the night and enter figures at the exactly right time. It rather takes cojones to do it my way: Enter the amount you are willing to pay for an item when you first see it and forget about it for the rest of the week :-) If everybody else would do it that way, there would be no need to snipe and in the end, the number of successful bids would be the same...

Greetings, Max

NB: One of my principles is to never bid on items with "private" bidding lists - or auctions from sellers with "private" histories.


#5

I agree with avoiding auctions containing "private" bidding lists or private histories. Trading online is based on tust. Honest sellers have nothing to hide. As for hiding the bidder' list so they are no approached by others wanting to sell them a similar item, well I don't really think is a paramount reason--maybe a slight convenient.

Namir


#6

Hi!

Quote:
As for hiding the bidder' list so they are no approached by others wanting to sell them a similar item, well I don't really think is a paramount reason--maybe a slight convenient.

I am bidding on quite a few calculators and other collectables (just "shot" an hp-46 at a very, very reasonable price without needing to snipe or anything ... can't wait to get it and try it out!), but I rarely get approached this way, surely less than 5 times per year. So this can hardly be the reason behind keeping the bidders names private!

Greetings, Max

#7

Quote:
It rather takes cojones to do it my way: Enter the amount you are willing to pay for an item when you first see it and forget about it for the rest of the week :-)
Ok, I understand it would be hard for you to track all your bids, Max ;-). Seriously, sometimes I have to do that but noticed that I get only half of what I usually get when sniping, especially when there are just a few participators. You always find someone who adjusts his own bid just to be ahead :-(.
#8

A lot of people are making auctions private to avoid bidders being contacted with fake "second chance offers".

It is also done to avoid bidders being informed that they are being scammed. A unique piece of artwork that I am familiar with (since I own it) regularly appears on Ebay. Invariably it is listed as private, with seller in the UK. No way to inform the bidders of the scam, and Ebay allows the auction to complete despite being informed of the fraudulent listings.


#9

Quote:
It is also done to avoid bidders being informed that they are being scammed. A unique piece of artwork that I am familiar with (since I own it) regularly appears on Ebay. Invariably it is listed as private, with seller in the UK. No way to inform the bidders of the scam, and Ebay allows the auction to complete despite being informed of the fraudulent listings.

This was my main fear after I placed my bid. That is that the seller could easily be bidding on his own listing. He could drive the bid up to near the maximum of the highest bidder, and if he manages to outbid his max bidder, well, he can just resell it and pay whatever eBay fees he incurrs (since he likely presumes he will make it all back when it does actually sell).

As for the artwork you have -- I misread your post originally but that is quite interesting that your unique artwork is being sold by someone else all while it's in your possession :-D


Edited: 13 Nov 2006, 2:47 p.m.


#10

Han, you keep saying "bid up to near the maximum" but the seller has no knowledge of your maximum so how can s/he shill bid up to your limit? S/he runs the very real risk of outbidding you and being left with the goods. If you bid odd amounts rather than round figures then that is even more likely.

The only problem here is your mindset: bid your maximum and then relax. If you're outbid then that's because someone values the item more than you. So what? Anything else is "begrudgery".


#11

Quote:
Han, you keep saying "bid up to near the maximum" but the seller has no knowledge of your maximum so how can s/he shill bid up to your limit? S/he runs the very real risk of outbidding you and being left with the goods. If you bid odd amounts rather than round figures then that is even more likely.

The only problem here is your mindset: bid your maximum and then relax. If you're outbid then that's because someone values the item more than you. So what? Anything else is "begrudgery".


Perhaps I was not clear by my example. Suppose I own an item, and make a private listing. Now, I would probably be willing to sell this item at $200. Let's say you bid a maximum of $300. If all the bidding was fair, and true, honest bidders push the current bid to, say, $270, then there is no reason to complain as the auction was fair, and you were willing to pay as much as $300.

But now suppose it's 1 hour before closing, and the current value is only $100. I start to feel that $100 is just simply way too low. You're right, I have no way of knowing your max, but I make small bids on my own auction, say in $20 increments. If I am not too greedy and at $180 I stop, then I have just pushed the current price to $180, which is $80 more than what you'd have to pay if I had been honest. If there were no other bidders willing to pay more than $100, then I have just made an extra $80. You would have no way of knowing, because the bidders' list is private, and I can just space my bids apart so it looks (in terms of time) like many people were making bids. On the other hand, if I happen to push it to $320 because I am even greedier than I could even imagine, then I am stuck buying my own item. Being hypothetically as greedy as I am -- who cares? I just don't leave any feedback, and relist the item with the clause that the previous winner was not willing to pay the shipping or some other false excuse. Sure I'm out of a few dollars for winning my own bid, so what? I relist and try the same scheme again. Heck, I may even be able get away with the ebay fees by creating a separate account for my shill bidding. I file a non-payment against my created account and just relist.

What's there to stop me? I'm not saying I would do this, or that private listings immediately imply the seller is this type of person, but are there measures that prevent such a scheme? That scenario was what ran through my mind. Sure, if I had honestly placed a max bid of $300 and the auction was indeed fair, then I wouldn't mind paying near $300 -- even if I don't know who the bidders are, but so long as I was guaranteed it was fair. And if I value something at $300, but everyone else values it at only $100, then it also seems fair that I only have to pay slightly more than $100 for it (no one should be able to know just how much I'm willing to spend, just so long as I'm spending more than the current demand). But if I'm losing even so little as one dollar because of some unfair practices, I think it's fair to be a bit miffed about it. With private bids, it's hard to say what is fair and what is not.

In sum, I would and _could_ relax if I can see there are real, honest bidder also bidding against me (or at least can convince myself of that). All the secrecy only makes me suspicious that this is not the case.

Regarding the specific listing I mentioned, I was glad to not win, and the emphatic reponse of "NO!" to my request made me even more relieved to not win the listing. Furthermore, the feedback I read indicated to me that the seller was at least one a few occasions very hostile toward his buyers.

Edited: 13 Nov 2006, 5:43 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#12

Just for the record, I do not enter bids always under the suspicion that the seller is out to cheat me. Most of the times I do not even think about the what-ifs; I just assume that everything will just go right and fairly whether I win or lose. You're right that it is just my mindset in that I should just bid my max and trust in the system. However, if I'm willing to be as trusting of sellers, then I should be allowed to demand at least as much from sellers.

#13

I have always thought it would be easy for the unethical person to auction at the highest bid price by having two identies and bidding up everyone until he won his own auction. Then he could just notify himself that he could not, or would not pay. He, of course, would not give himself bad feedback, and would just give the second highest bidder a Second Chance, telling him about horrible winning person who backed out of the deal.

The second highest bidder would probably really be pleased to get the item after kicking himself for loosing by 2.50 or what ever the increment was.

So if you see "NILRUBOC" bidding on all of Coburlin's items you will know what is going on.

#14

I don't think Ebay lets a bidder directly bid on his own items (at one time they could place one bid). All they would need to do is open a another account and and bid under a different Ebay user name or have a friend bid. You would never know it even if the auction was not private.


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