Novembr 16-18—COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Annual show; The Columbia, SC Gem and Mineral Society; Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 12-5
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 Post subject: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:15 am 
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This is a perfect example on how EBay is asleep on wheel when it comes to allowing “shell bidding” on gemstones. Why the U.S. Justice Department or the FBI is not investigating this is beyond me. Just take a look of this random example on what is going on October 12, 2014 in the gemstone market. The pictures show a Spinel being bid on 36 times and sold for $1,781.00. Two hours later, same Spinel and same original seller selling it for $4,781.00 with a "buy it now"


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:13 pm 
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I actually can not read the fine print here, but if the seller had a reserve on the stone and the bids did not reach that reserve, he/she is under no obligation to sell it. Reserves protect the seller if no one is willing to pay what they feel the item is worth.

I do not like this sort of post because it does not offer the seller you are accusing of misdeeds to counter.


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:28 pm 
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*Shill bidding.

I've seen this happen a few times with sellers who I've done good business with and who I know to generally be reliable (people who have readily shipped items that I know I must have paid near to or below their cost on, for instance). I know that there's certainly the possibility of it being simple shilling but I wonder if it might also be common for people to bid up and then not pay or try some other shenanigans (possibly even other sellers? Who knows.)
It's a shame when shilling happens, and it certainly does, but I generally bid the most I'm willing to pay (which is usually a lowball on eBay) and do my best to not get caught up in the bidding process. That removes a lot of the potential for abuse.


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:38 pm 
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There was no reserve price for the first auction. See for yourself: EBay item # 311118095978. Interestingly enough, this was not the first time this seller has been accused of "shell bidding". Look at the negative feedback and you will see they have been accused of this before. Any decent forensic auditor can identify this sort of manipulation a mile away. What bothers me is that EBay's fraud software is not picking this up. If the seller was on American soil and was caught doing this, they would be arrested by the Feds. The U.S. Attorney's office has a special section dedicated for auction fraud.


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:02 pm 
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Wouldn't the simplest way of dealing with this be not bidding on items from this seller?

I can understand your frustration, but I agree with Scarodactyl. Determine what you wish to pay for something, if you get it great, if not, oh well.


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:24 pm 
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You are right. There is a lot more stuff out there to buy.


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 Post subject: Re: Gemstones on Ebay; watch out for bidding manipulation
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:28 am 
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And, if the seller's integrity is represented in the shill, would this be someone you would like to patronize....even if the price seemed fair?
Methinks not.


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