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Shill bidding , price manipulation and duplicate accounts

(last updated on 5/31/2005)

Although it is a rare occurrence, some sellers will use bid manipulation to drive up the selling price of their auctions. A seller will create a secondary account for the purpose of bidding on their own auctions in order to manipulate the selling price. This is called Shill bidding.

Bid manipulation of any kind is expressly forbidden. A seller is prohibited from placing bids or arranging to have bids placed on behalf of seller, seller's agent or assigns. No shill bidding is allowed. Buyers are prohibited from communicating with each other with the purpose of manipulating the final purchase price of an item.

If you believe that a seller or user is manipulating an auction, please contact Customer Support with the item number of the auction and the username of the suspected bidder. We will compare the item auctioneer and the bidder and see if they are accounts created by the same user, or if there is some link between the two accounts.

To avoid the appearance of being involved in shill bidding activity, family members and individuals living together, working together, or sharing a computer should not bid on each other's items or share each other's passwords. If you are living or working with another user of our web site, encourage that person to maintain a good standing with our web site, including feedback rating, accounting balances, and avoiding illegal activities. If someone who uses the same computer or lives at the same address as you does get banned for violating any of our policies, your account most likely will get banned as well. We cannot always assume that both accounts are by separate people, or that the other person using the same computer will not gain access to your account and begin using it, so we must close all associated accounts.

We do have some security systems in place to try to identify accounts opened by the same user, and we generally close duplicate accounts. We try to close duplicate accounts before they are used for shill bidding.