on 07-18-2017 10:48 PM
I fell for that once. It was very early in my career as a buyer. I was bidding on a designer coat (red flag) from China (red flag inferno) and lost after being outbid to my maximum three times (red flag inferno visible from outer space) after which I immediately got a Second Chance Offer which I naively and gratefully accepted.
It was actually ebay that alerted me to the fact the seller was suspended a week later. My item had shipped by then but ebay told me to refuse it on delivery which I did and got my money back. Normally, buyers aren't eligible for money back if they refuse an item on delivery but this was a result of special circumstances. I had paid a lot of money for this thing. I got that money back.
I become more careful about maximum bids and mysterious opponents on auctions after that. If I ever get the sense I am betting against someone where it seems a little too.... fishy.... I simply quit bidding and leave. That seller can play their games alone, without me. And they do get caught, eventually. There are more items for sale on ebay than there are buyers for them so you don't need to feel like whatever it is for auction is the most important thing on earth. Make a note of the seller and avoid at all costs.
on 07-17-2017 02:54 PM
The usual test is if the shill bids up the item until he is the high bidder, then retracts.
The shill never wants to win the bid, he wants you to win, at the highest price you will pay.
If you are constantly being outbid by another bidder, that's not a shill. That's someone who will pay more than you.
And yes, even if the other bidder only bids with one seller. Still not shilling, just loyalty.
You prevent it by
The mantra is Bid Once, Bid Late, Bid Your Maximum .
on 07-16-2017 04:45 PM
It's called shill bidding. The seller has a friend or friends that bid on the item to increase the bidder price.
Their goal is to bid up the item but not to win it.
This unscrupulous practice is against eBay policy but it is very hard to prove.