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Ebay seller faces £50,000 fine after bidding for his OWN sales to raise prices

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 944497
United Kingdom
04/20/2010 09:03 AM
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Ebay seller faces £50,000 fine after bidding for his OWN sales to raise prices
[link to www.dailymail.co.uk]

An eBay seller faces a fine of up to £50,000 after bidding on his own goods to raise prices on the auction site.

Paul Barrett, 39, is the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for the offence.

He increased the value of the items he was selling - including a pie and pasty warmer priced at £127 - by bidding on them under a separate user name, in a practice known as 'shill bidding'.

He also added positive feedback comments from a secret account held under a different name.

Barrett, from Stanley, Co Durham, pleaded guilty to ten breaches under consumer protection laws but said he wasn't aware he was acting illegally.

Each of the ten offences carries a possible £5,000 fine.

Barrett, who runs a minibus hire company, was investigated by North Yorkshire Trading Standards after a complaint that he advertised and sold a minibus that had its mileage reduced illegally.

Officers found he was selling goods under the account of ‘shanconpaul’ and then bidding for them under his other identity, ‘paulthebusman’.

Among his bogus bargains on offer were mobile phones, a cash register, a digital camera, a Mercedes car and a Range Rover.

Trading standards officer Claire McKinley told Skipton magistrates on Friday: 'Mr Barrett placed bids on items he himself owned to raise the price and left positive feedback on his own eBay site, leading buyers to believe his reputation was better than was the case.'

Barrett's account has been suspended and sentencing, by a Crown Court judge, was adjourned.

'eBay let me open up the second account and I gave all my personal details and home address to do so,' he told Skipton's magistrates' court.

'I realised the price was too low on some things and put the prices up using the second account. I've never been in trouble before and would like to apologise.'

He added: ‘I made a mistake in the advert. I put a bid on it to put the correct price I wanted. I didn’t realise I was doing anything wrong but now I do.’

The new laws governing online trading were brought in two years ago to bring Britain into line with the EU and tackle internet fraud.

A spokesman for eBay said 'shill bidding' was illegal.

'It is important for people to understand that there is not, nor has there ever been, room for illegal activity on the site.'
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 948143
Canada
04/20/2010 09:04 AM
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Re: Ebay seller faces £50,000 fine after bidding for his OWN sales to raise prices
Shill bidding... like shills on GLP bumping their own threads...
Anonymous Coward
04/20/2010 09:04 AM
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Re: Ebay seller faces £50,000 fine after bidding for his OWN sales to raise prices
Good. I hate bitchez that do that.

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