Fake eBay Bidder Fined £5,000

Ebay Front

Ever been tempted to inflate the price of the items you’re selling on eBay? Best think again, as the first person in the UK to be charged with tinkering with their auctions has received a big fine as well as community service.

Paul Barrett of County Durham has been told he must pay out nearly £5,000 in fines and costs thanks to legislation passed in 2008, and was also ordered to do 250 hours of community service, after he admitted 11 breaches of fair trading regulations.

Simple Crime

Barrett had 2 eBay accounts, and auctioned items on the one whilst bidding for those items using the other, inflating the price. On some occasions he ended up winning the items and posted positive feedback on his other account. This wasn’t the only crime he was caught for though; he was caught after a complaint that he sold a minibus with dodgy mileage.

The BBC listed some of the items involved in this “shill bidding” scam; a couple of Mercedes, a pie & pasty warmer (?!), a cash register, a refrigerated display counter, three mobile phones, and a digital camera. So quite a wide range of items.

The Judge stated that Barrett only escaped a prison sentence because he had no previous convictions for dishonesty.

So next time you’re tempted to bid on your own item or getting a friend to bid on it, think again.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ryan Fanshaw Photography

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2 thoughts on “Fake eBay Bidder Fined £5,000

  1. Great post.

    Perhaps I can just add to this that the best way to guard against being ripped off by online sales or auctions of any kind, Craigslist and eBay included—and whether seller or buyer—is to use a *bona fide* online escrow company. Especially for pricier items like antiques, jewelry and autos. Although it does add some cost, it takes the uncertainty out of the transaction, and that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    For my money, the best bona fide online escrow (and there seems to be ten fraudulent escrow sites for every bona fide one) is probably Escrow.com (http://escrow.com). In fact, it’s the only one that eBay recommends, and is the only online escrow company that is licensed to provide escrow services all across the United States.

    Take care,

    Ulf Wolf

  2. What about when you buy a designer handbag from Ebay complete with authenticity card and dustbag only to find when you recieve it….it is not genuine at all.How do you prove that?

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