Monday, February 9, 2009

Ebay Shenanigans

You want to know something that's strange about the Blog People? So many of them are from Wisconsin and are Brewers fans. I wonder why that is.

So, I'm on ebay trying to stock up on Brewers cards so I have something to trade with people and use in packages other than 1986-1989 Topps. Seems like a good idea to me, even if I'm still months away from actually getting a package out to someone.

I come across this auction for 475 brewers cards including inserts and stuff. I'm hoping it has a bunch of goofy stuff. It seems promising. It would definitely take care of most of my Brewer needs.

$10 is a little high for the shipping, but not ridiculously so. If I can get the thing for $12-$15 it works out to around 3 cents a card. Very reasonable. So far there is one bid and it's at $0.99.

Like usual, I keep my eye on it and bide my time. With a few hours left, there is another bid and it now stands at $1.05. (I thought you had to increase the bid by more than $0.06 at a time but I guess I was wrong.)

I have $3.50 in the bid box and I'm hitting refresh, waiting for it to get down around 30 seconds left (Yes, I'm one of those people). All of a sudden another bid comes in and it's $23.09! Are you kidding me? What the hell just happened?

The only thing I can figure is that the seller didn't want to sell it for that little and used different accounts to increase the bid at the last second. He made the second max bid around $22.80 and the third max bid at the last second to make the price jump over the $23 dollar mark. I know that this doesn't even make much sense but it's the only way I can explain it.

Unless, the second bidder bid over $20 even though the auction was only at $0.99. and the third bidder somehow knew he had to bid well over $20 even though the auction was only at $1.05. Why would someone wait until the last second and bid $25 on an auction that only stands a little over $1? Especially when the lot is CLEARLY not worth over $30. It doesn't make any sense.

So, I'm calling shenanigans, unless someone else can explain this a different way. I wouldn't be surprised if the same auction appears again.

Does this stuff happen often? Because it's a first for me.


scubasteve144 said...

It's happened to me. Only I got lucky bc I didn't realize the shipping cost was super high so when I saw that and was the high bidder I was hoping to lose. Sure enough the price sky rocketed and I lost. Not 5 minutes later did I get an email from the seller trying to offer it to me at my high bid. I kindly told him where he could stick his offer.

Unknown said...

That seems to qualify as shill bidding, which is illegal. I would report the seller.

Anonymous said...

It's not that unusual. If I really want an item, I'm going to bid the highest amount I'm willing to pay, even if the current bid is low.

If I wanted that Brewers lot that bad, I don't think it'd be odd to bid $25 at the last second, as that essentially is the point of sniping.

--David said...

I believe the word is 'sniping' and it is all legal. Remember, you may not be the only one hitting refresh... Plus there are snipe sites that you just put in the item number and the amount you want to bud and when there are 15 secords or less on it, the program bids for you.

My advice to folks bidding on ebay is this: always bet your max amount first. Then walk away. If you win, great. If not, you live to try another item... :-)

And if you're REALLY lucky, you win everything and end up with 20,000 'extra' cards to trade/giveaway! :-)

Motherscratcher said...

Yeah, but the point is it went from $1.05 to $23 IMMEDIATELY. That's a 2,300% increase. With no steps in between. Really. Who the heck does that? Not to mention that the end result is 475 random Brewers cards at about $0.70 per card! Who in the world would pay that? That's higher than Beckett prices!

I'm so confused. I guess it's possible, but you'll never convince me that this was just some random Brewers fan who HAD to have this lot.

Motherscratcher said...

David, That's intersting about the snipe sites. I hadn't heard of that before.

I think you are right in your approach. I'll probably try to follow your advice from now on.

deal said...

I'm with David. unless time is a factor (you need the item now), chances are most cards will come up again.

The items I regret are the ones I add to my watch list and then forget to bid on.

JoshSamBob said...

I'm thinking there were two snipers, one of whom had set up a snipe for $22 and the other set up a snipe for more. Something along those lines would produce such a result.

Gary M Photo said...

The eBay "proxy bidding" thing is tricky, and can look like bids are faked, but what happened is the guy who outbid you probably bid $22.09, his max price, plus 9 cents to break any potential ties. BUT he only needed to exceed your $.99 bid, and the increments over $1.00 are a nickle, hence the $1.05 "outbid." Then, a third person came along and bid say $25, which pushed the second guy's bid automatically to its top end ($22.09) and added a buck because the bid increment over $20 is $1. Hence $23.09.

That's how proxy bidding (or silent auctions) usually work... the top bidder gets it for $1 more than the second place bidder's max offer.

The other day, a non-eBay friend wanted me to get a lunchbox for him. It had a 99 cent opening bid, or a buy it now of $35, which he was willing to pay, but I didn't think it was worth that. So, I placed a max bid of $34.99, which removed the "buy it now" option, and only one other person showed any interest, so I got it for $2.55 plus shipping, even though my maximum bid was $34.99. This is why auctions sometimes work for the benefit of the buyer...the chance to get a bargain if no other bidders are interested.