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.
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.
Photo credit: Ryan Fanshaw Photography