Join Date: Oct 2003
The latest form of FRAUD!
well, I thought this practice has already been abandoned but yet I have been outbid "out of Ebay" on an ULTRA RARE AMIGA game I would like to question this again and hopefully we got a good discussion here.
What disapointed me the most is, that the guy who did it,is part of this board and a 400+ poster.
In short: An item on Ebay has been cancelled due a private offer by one other Ebay member. All other bids had been cancelled to saying "item no longer available".
I will quote a friend here so you will notice what I'm talking about. I need to hear your thoughts on that - mostly from the collector's like me around here.
The Latest Form of Fraud
Okay, everyone please bear with me. I'm about to rant for a bit about something that has been boiling my blood for a few weeks now, and I'm probably going to make some people mad.
As you've probably noticed, this spring has seen a disproportionately large number of rare items showing up on eBay and closing at high prices. That's good, it means our hobby is alive and healthy. But I've also noticed a disproportionately large number of rare items showing up on eBay... and then suddenly going away. The auctions close early, any bids are cancelled, and there was either an "error in the listing" or the item is "no longer for sale".
We all know what's really going on here. People are contacting the sellers, trying to get them to sell the rare items privately, knowing they'll likely be outbid if they try to win the auction using the normal method. So they offer the seller a price that sounds high to them, but to most other collectors would be a bargain, to convince the seller to close the auction early and eliminate the competition. The eBay term for this is "auction interference". The buyer gets the item at a discount price without having to bid for it, the seller gets what he considers a premium, everybody wins. Right?
Well, except for the honest bidders who still try to win the old-fashioned way.
No doubt some of you who engage in this practice are reading this, thinking, "Ah, this has happened to Forman, so now he's having another hissy-fit because he hates to lose." Which I suppose is true to some extent. I mean, nobody likes losing auctions, but it's a fact of life. Nobody wins every single time, so we learn to deal with it. I lose items every week because people who are willing to pay more outbid me fair and square. But what's worse than losing is never getting the opportunity to win. When someone sneaks around working deals behind the scenes, it robs every honest collector of that chance. It is a form of cheating.
To the SELLERS who engage in this practice:
You are being TRICKED. The only reason someone would want you to end an auction early, the ONLY REASON, is because they think they can get the item for LESS than they or other people are really willing to pay. Think about it: If their maximum was really an "outrageous" price, they could just bid that amount normally and they'd win for sure. It's the ones who think they CAN'T win any other way who are trying to con you into accepting a lesser amount.
Don't fall for it! Leave the auction up, no matter how many off-eBay offers you get. Those bidders aren't going to ignore your item just because you declined to sell it to them privately. They want that game, and they're going to snipe their TRUE MAX for it (which is almost certainly going to be more than the "high" offer they make to you). How do you know some other bidder isn't lurking in the shadows, just waiting to go even higher in the last 10 seconds? If you end your auctions early, YOU ARE THROWING AWAY MONEY. Look at "hopey" and "swmoretp", two sellers who have listed a large number of highly desirable games lately. They never end early, and they're making an absolute killing!
And don't listen to the argument about "avoiding high eBay fees". The truth is, for big-ticket items, eBay fees are not that expensive. A $150 close only costs you $4.75 in final value fees. The level of exposure eBay brings and the extra money you'll get from snipers are almost certainly worth that. Further, eBay offers some small recourse if the winner doesn't follow through, allowing you to leave a negative comment and get those FVF's back. And when you sell on eBay you know when your auction ends. When the clock runs out, it's over. Whereas if you're negotiating privately with several people, you can get counter-offers dragging out for weeks, and people not responding, and now the second-highest doesn't want it anymore... Save yourself the trouble. (God, I never thought I'd hear myself advocate selling on eBay, but there you have it.)
To the BIDDERS who engage in this practice:
You may get a game or two at a bargain price now, but in the long run, you are just going to end up hurting yourselves, and the hobby overall. Don't think for a second that you're the only one who's thought of doing this. Someone else is bound to have seen that auction too, and when it ends unexpectedly they are going to realize what happened, and they will contact the seller and make their own offer. You've got to understand that the people who sell their rare stuff are "normal". They aren't used to the swarm mentality of us collectors. When they get ten or twenty e-mails offering amounts they never would have dreamed of, it freaks them out. They wonder just what they have that's so valuable, and how high it might go, which only leads to wiser sellers and higher prices: "This guy is offerring $100 for one game? Wow, that's great! I think I'll check completeds, ask around, research prices in a lot more detail now that I know old games can be worth this much!" Before we know it, we've got twenty rare items up, every one of them with a reserve so high nobody wants to meet it, because the sellers have got it in their head that the game is always worth that much, and they won't settle for less.