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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys-

I'm sure we all know eBay has its faults despite it being the only option for many of our hard-to-find restoration pieces, however, I thought I'd share a very suspicious auction in hopes of alerting others of what to watch out for when bidding on an expensive item.

I've been in the market for a road bike (gasp!) to train with, and had decided on a Cervelo Super Prodigy. However, they're all gone at this point in shops being so late in the season, so my search went to eBay where I found a nice example with low miles.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=3689890917&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

Watched the auction and was prepared to make a bid until I examined the bid history a little further.

Auction start time: Jul-20-04 19:16:55 PDT

First bid placed: Jul-20-04 22:36:58 PDT

That's pretty early, considering it usually takes at least 5 hours according to eBay for the auction to be entered into the database.

This bidder (maxwhiteknight) had 0 feedback.

Next two bids over the following two days, ALSO from 0 feedback bidders.

Three legitimate bids, then again a rash of bids from three different 0 feedback bidders.

Two more legitimate, then a final bump by a 0 feedback to try and make it higher, but unfortunately, he went too high.

INTERESTINGLY, these are the usernames of the 0 feedback bidders, and their registration dates:

maxwhiteknight Nov-10-01

youngb3 Sep-30-01

johnypenguin Apr-28-04

bdstansberry Jun-11-02

breezeboat Jul-13-04

Now tell me, why would someone be registered since 2001, and still have 0 feedback rating? ALSO, if you are new to eBay, such as the "breezeboat" user, why would your first bid on your first auction be $1,398.50??? Wouldn't you start out with something cheaper, get a feel for how things work first?

I dunno guys...this seller also had an auction for another bike in May that received many bids from 0 feedback accounts. At the end of the day, he may very well be legitimate, but I refuse to participate in an auction where the price is artificially high.

Buyer beware~!
 

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I dont know. It could be legit. i'm an ebay seller of bicycles and most of my bidders seem to have less than 5 feedback. most of the time is OK but once in a while i get burned by them. once i place my ads i usually get bids within 10 minues so there really is no wait period by e-bay. i have been accused a few times by people saying im doctoring my prices but really there are just a lot of new e-bayers out there buying bikes. also its the new e-bayers that bid over and over again in bidding wars. the more savy e-bayers seem to avoid these bidding wars and just place a single bid. certainly if you feel a wierd vibe from this person stay away! there will always be other bikes on e-bay to buy. good luck with your bike search and dont be ashamed to buy a road bike. really, you should have at least 1 of every kind of bike! road, vintage, mtb hardtail, mtn dual sus, mtb freeride, singlespeed, cyclocross, bmx, unicycle, art bike, and touring bike. just to name a few.
 

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Most of my early bids are from novice bidders as well....I'll bid early as a 'place holder'.
But...what I think EG is saying is that this seller (or his friends) are bidding up the price so that the legit bidders will have to pay more...bids beyond that of an inexperienced newbie.

Go with your gut EG.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks...

Thanks for the info guys...I guess I just found it strange that so many bidders with zero feedback bid on the bike...on top of that, you'd think that if you had an account since 2001, like two of the zero feedback bidders, you'd have at least won an auction or two?

Anyhow- yes, too much money not to go with my gut feeling! There's always another one...

-Chris
 

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Endless Goods - New listings appear much quicker these days as eBay recently enhanced their system. The number of zero bidders would worry me a little as I wouldn't want to feel as if I had been fleeced either. One I've seen in the UK (not necessarily with bikes but selling a couple of mobile phones) is that rival sellers will place high (overpriced) false bids on your items to ensure they get the sale and you don't.

Rumpfy - There's no real need to use placeholders anymore as eBay lets you "Add to watch list" (top right link on any listing) and then view them all in your "My eBay" main summary page.
 

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manitou916 said:
Rumpfy - There's no real need to use placeholders anymore as eBay lets you "Add to watch list" (top right link on any listing) and then view them all in your "My eBay" main summary page.
No, no...I meant a place holder so other mtbr/ebay vintage mtb buddies knew it was something I'm interested in.
I'm familiar with the 'My eBay' page...I usually have over 40 items I'm watching at any given time. I appreciate the thought though! :)
 

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A great apple tree but always a few rotten apples

vdubbusrider said:
I dont know. It could be legit. i'm an ebay seller of bicycles and most of my bidders seem to have less than 5 feedback. most of the time is OK but once in a while i get burned by them. . . . .
One good method to try is to search the past buying records and auctions of bidder names on the bidding list. Print out the list of bidders in play for the auction your interested in and then go to the advanced search feature in EBay and do a search based on each bidder's ebay name. Make sure you check the check box option for "include auctions that are over or they are no longer high bidder" when using this search technique.

See if you can match up the same bidder names on two or three different auctions. Also search the main seller's id and again study the bidding lists. If the same ebay names keep coming up under different auctions, then the red flag goes a bit higher up the flag pole. That said, it's common for regular bidders to all find them selves at the same auctions where the good stuff is selling. I think I've bid or been out bid by every one of my buddies on this forum at one point or another.

That said, it's unlikely new buyers that haven't bid or bought anything will show up on the same auctions together more than say 1or 2 times. If you can find the same two zero feedback folks on two or more auctions when you do this cross searching ... then trust your bloodhound nose from scotland yard and buyer beware.

This may seem like a lot of work, but for a high dolar item, it's worth the extra effort.

As for dishonest folks on ebay I don't mean to scare folks, and I've foud that 99 percent of the folks you find are trust worthy after over 200 auctions I've done, but there are definately a few creeps lurking on ebay too. it was just last week that a fellow ebayer spotted a suspiscious auction and sent me an email. Sure enough it was picture of one of my very own rare bikes that someone bozo had stolen a picture from my website and posted to try and host a fake auction with. He even stole the text decription of my website too! The fact the seller only took money orders or cashiers checks was a immediate red flag. Good news is ebay will shut these down pretty quick if you spot one that's definately fake.

-mtnwing
 
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