Are online auctions rigged?

According to eBay, only one auction out of every 40, 000 on their site ends with a reported case of confirmed fraud. That doesn't take into account unreported cases, and it's uncomforting if you're one in 40, 000.

Are online auctions rigged?

According to eBay, only one auction out of every 40, 000 on their site ends with a reported case of confirmed fraud. That doesn't take into account unreported cases, and it's uncomforting if you're one in 40, 000. In fact, auction fraud accounts for approximately 48% of online fraud reports to the FTC. A Missouri man today pleaded guilty to manipulating online offers submitted to the General Services Administration (GSA).

Joe Nolan, a Florida lawyer who has specialized in auction law for more than three decades, said home bidding is legal as long as consumers are informed that the auction contains a reserve. Over his decades as an auction buyer, Sherman has developed relationships with auction houses across the country. At the very least, Akbarpour says, auction designers should seriously weigh the possibility that auctioneers may not follow the rules. Reputable auction houses support your merchandise, and catalogs generally accurately describe items for sale at a given auction.

People looking to sell their items at auction often receive a free appraisal from the auction house. At Sotheby's and Christie's, which hold “rising price auctions where people outperform each other until there is only one bidder left, the law allows auctioneers to increase action by creating fictitious bids.” Bids from those accounts won 293 of the 1470 auctions in which they participated, greater than their share in the bids in those auctions. Image Many advertisers at online auctions suspect that the bid is manipulated. In retrospect, Hudgins said, something seemed strange about the auction because the bid increased dramatically in the hours leading up to the close of the auction.

According to Prado, depending on the performance of other items in an auction, Auction Nation and the seller may reduce or increase the reserve while the tender is in progress. If you've been looking for car insurance, for example, digital auctioneers organize instant auctions where insurance advertisers bid to place ads on the next page that loads. About half of the states issue auctioneer licenses with detailed requirements, according to Mike Brandly, an auctioneer and instructor from Ohio. Auctioneers can use that information to pause and give the person time to act or even communicate directly with the bidder online via audio technology or live messaging.

Online auction sites are full of fake products, says Mark Turnage, CEO of OpSec Security, a Denver-based firm that offers brand protection services to businesses and governments. In fact, the researchers conclude that the two oldest auction designs, the “price up” and “first price” formats, have real advantages in terms of guaranteeing honest auctioneers. The Auction Nation User Agreement informs that the company is not responsible for inaccurate photos, descriptions or information about the products it offers online.

Belinda Moskovitz
Belinda Moskovitz

Belinda writes posts for retail, ecommerce, and online auction sites. She's also a music, travel and technology lover. You might find her secretly watching zombie movies.