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Lachenal On Ebay - Metal Ends G/d


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My view is that everyone should think very carefully before putting a concertina on ebay.

I think after the shenanigans you've been exposed to, I would have to agree. Use the Buy & Sell forum here (and pay Paul the small percentage), should be a fair bit safer.


I see that Chris bought it with a last minute snipe. Not criticising, it's a legitimate technique, but the only way to combat it I've found is to decide how much you want to pay and then let eBay bid for you. Or did the prior bidder try that and it got lost in the mess?



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The guy that was second couldn't understand what was happening last night with the bidding, his bid dropping and cancelling etc. He got worried and left it alone - shame cos he was a nice bloke and would have bid more I'm sure but he was scared off.

Ebay do need to sort this out.

thanks again

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An economist writes...


Reneging on bids is a well known problem in auction theory, with some infamous real life examples, such as an Australian auction of TV licences that lost a minister his job: bidders applied bidding rules to the letter to (a) make lots of different bids, and then (B) renege costlessly on all the bids they made, apart from those ones which were just sufficient to beat the surviving opposition.


The standard solution to the reneging bid problem is to force bidders to put up a deposit related to the maximum size of bid they are permitted to make (the sum of all outstanding bids), for example, 5% of their maximum amount of all outstanding bids would be typical for an auction for goods, and much larger deposits (30%, even 100%) are required in certain other cases, such as government concessions and commodity futures. Bidders will still occasionally walk away from their bids, but it becomes much more painful for them to do so, and the auctioneer gets the deposit in full or partial compensation for having to resell. Examples of painful deposits retained: National Express Group walked away from a deposit of about $AU150million when they discovered that they had overbid for a concession to run some Melbourne commuter rail services; and a consortium including BT walked away from a deposit of several hundred million euros they had put on an auction for an Italian mobile phone licence, when the consortium became unable to agree on their next move.


I can understand why ebay doesn't want to go down the line of requiring deposits from bidders, as then it would then get much more deeply involved in the transaction, in the way that, for example, Christies and Sotheby's are (charging about 25% commission), but ebay is not.


Reserves are a tricky business. Set it high, and it might not sell and you still have to pay ebay commission; set it low and you might have to sell it cheap.


So it's a rough world in ebay's giant car boot sale. There is no costless way of dealing with rogue bids. The seller here discovered the risk of cancelling a rogue bid late in the auction: you end up going back to a low bid with little time to drum up business in genuine bids, and the genuine bidders are confused by an auction that seems to be going backwards. The alternatives are (a) let the fake bid stand - when the bidder doesn't pay you lose the sale, but you can still try to sell it again, though you might suffer from some unpleasantness at the hands of the fake bidder trying to get the goods out of you without paying, etc, (B) refuse to sell the concertina to the final bidder, on the grounds of the prior hanky-panky, though this could have other unpleasant costs (reputation, ebay penalties). Any other suggested strategies?

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As an adjunct to all this, there's another plague for sellers on eBay - I like to think of them as the "heartstrings buyers". I sold a really good trumpet on eBay a year or so back - thankfully it went to a music student at a sensible price, so everyone went home happy - but I had no end of emails containing sob stories, and "would I be prepared to sell it for less than the auction starting price, as I'd love to own it but can't afford it?" etc. etc.


The answer has to be "no", of course, but it's worth being aware of these characters, especially if you're not such a hard-nosed cynic as me :D

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I am suprised that no one has pointed out the other side of bid reneging, and that is shill bidding. There was a recent news story in the US press about fraud arrests involving a group of ebay sellers who bid up each other auctions to raise the selling price on each others items.


Certainly an ebay seller who is victimized by a fake bidder should consider seeing if the second highest bidder is still interested in buying. But that buyer needs to be cautious as well.


If you are a second winner you really should look at the entire bidding history and see how you "winning" bid occured relative to the top bidder and others as well. If you think that you ended up at the final price because of insincere bidding, then I think it is best to take a pass. If your "second winning bid" would have prompted you to "buy it now", then why not make the deal.


The fact is that Ebay has been around long enough that major problems are increasingly frequent. Their premise that people are basically honest might indeed be correct, but it only takes a few people to take advantage of a system based on that premise. I hope that Ebay works out better auction procedures because it is a great service that I'd hate to lose. But for now, it is best to be cautious.

Edited by madden
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