Zak McKracken for FM-Towns on eBay!

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Relying on eBay

Post by Radien »

Hi there... I wanted to drop by and say something is not often considered, so I registered to that purpose.

After getting burned a few times by eBay, I realized that using eBay to estimate the value of big-ticket items is often an INCREDIBLY inaccurate method. When you put stock in "world record eBay bid" rumors, you may be building yourself up for severe disappointment.

If you read up on eBay's members rules, you'll find that buried DEEP within their user agreements are few facts people don't usually think about:

1. There is no easy way to force a fraudulent bidder to pay up after they've "won" an auction, especially if they enter fake credit card information.
2. Even though eBay emphasizes that a bid is a "binding legal contract," the most severe action eBay will ever take towards a fraudulent bidder is to ban their account. (You have the right to sue them, but few people ever go that far, and good luck tracking them down...)

So: with a very small amount of preparation, even a 10-year old could come up with the means to make fraudulent bids with no risk of repercussion. The result: HUGE final bids that sometimes even make the national news headlines, even though no money ever actually changed hands.

It's very easy to get excited about an eBay auction where someone sells a video game for, oh, let's say $50,000. However, the buyer and seller are effectively anonymous, and most people NEVER check to see whether the transaction completed successfully. You can keep tabs on feedback to see whether they were both happy afterwards, but if a fraudulent buyer teams up with a fraudulent seller (most likely the same person), then they can fake an entire dialog and fool people into thinking that something newsworthy has happened.

To sum up:

1. Don't trust outrageous final bid prices. Use the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't.

2. Don't, I repeat DON'T trust any "record eBay bid" that makes the news. Modern news networks never use effective journalism practices when reporting on eBay auctions.

3. The only way to avoid fraudulent buyers is to allow only one form of bid: "Buy It Now - require immediate payment with Paypal." I hate Paypal, personally, but this is the only failsafe method to sell big ticket items.

Anyway, good luck, sellers... I guess. Personally, I think buyers who spend more than $150 on a normal video game are insane... although I have done business with a couple of them (most notably when I sold my copy of Suikoden 2).
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Re: Relying on eBay

Post by PsYcO »

nice info, its especially nice to see that someone actually took the time to read the terms and conditions.

while on an ebay related note this post reminded me of something, a while ago the BBC done a program on ebay they spoke to this man(couldn't have been no more than 20 at the time). he was an ebay fraud at something like 14 who had made so much money that he employed a small company, for something that i cant remember. eventually he realized that fraud was a crime(i don't believe he got convicted) and stopped. its kinda weird but everyone that i spoke to afterwards about it said they had huge amount of respect for the guy, and i must say i agree with them.
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