Well, I was pretty clear in my last post that the zero feedback bidder (or bidders) are causing havoc for IAW and all of us real bidders. They are driving up prices, winning items that they will never pay for, and causing aggravation for us all.

The Solution

Before I get to the problem, the solution is SIMPLE. IAW, go to the “Selecting Buyer Requirements” page and read that. All you need to do is require bidders to have a PayPal account. If you do this, the fraudulent bidder will not be able to have more than one fake account to bid on your items, and after one week, you can ban him from bidding and he will not be able to sign up again.

What is the downside? Well, every bidder who doesn’t have a PayPal account (a very tiny # I am sure) will have to sign up for one to bid. Maybe a few refuse to do so, but no one should be paying IAW other than through PayPal anyway. I mean, who writes checks anymore? You don’t have to USE the PayPal account to pay, but you simply need to have an account. It is one more piece that ties you to your eBay ID by requiring a credit card or bank account.

(Frankly eBay should REQUIRE this, as I have been saying for years. But they are too greedy to care about cleaning up fraud for real and simply enable shill bidding).

The Problem

Well, we have seen now, how devastating the fake bidder (and I do think it is one person) can be. This fake bidder has won 13 of the top 19 selling items over the last 3 weeks! Now if that doesn’t motivate IAW to require a PayPal account, I don’t know will. Now it is interesting that the fake bidder didn’t bid up any of the other 6 items in the top 19.

Why do I say it is one bidder? Every one of those zero feedback bidders has a similar name. It usually has something to do with the lot being bid on and a number. They are all registered around the same time.

Some have suggested that this is shill bidding by IAW but I seriously doubt that. Both Dominic and Colin are great guys and decent folk. They wouldn’t do this and they don’t need to!!!! They are getting great prices for the premium stuff as it is. And why WIN their own auctions? Makes no sense. If you wanted to drive your own auctions up, there are better ways to do it. Whoever is doing this is doing so to be vindictive, pure and simple.

So, how does this affect legitimate pricing?

Now, here is what you need to pay attention to. If the zero feedback bidder wins an item and you are the under bidder, the actual legitimate winning bid is NOT your high bid, but ONE BID INCREMENT above the 3rd bidder.


$ 1,525 winning bid (zero feedback)

$ 1,500 your top bid

$ 1,000 next highest bid

The zero feedback fraudulent bidder’s bids should be eliminated, meaning you would have beaten the $ 1,000 bidder with a winning bid of $ 1,025 (the next bid increment). So, you should tell IAW you want the item at $ 1,025, the fair result.

This is why I say the guy who won the Nemesis Starfleet uniform jumpsuit was SCREWED with a $ 2,375 high bid. The under bidder AND the third bidder had zero feedback and the 4th bidder was at $ 926.07. So he SHOULD HAVE won this at $ 951.07 (next bid increment).

I will be talking with IAW and hopefully have them take the steps they need to today. Note that if they do make the change to require a PayPal account, it will not affect this week’s auctions, only auctions yet to be listed. So, we may have to deal with this again this Friday.

OK, that is all for now, but email me if you need to, and please read the thread on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Forum.


6 Replies to “Zero Feedback Bidders causing problems for IAW!”

  1. I can’t say I agree with your solution. Punishing those who don’t like to use Paypal doesn’t see fair to me (FYI I write checks and have purchased several items so far). The simplest or most “logical” solution is to require all bidders to have a minimum feedback of 10 or greater. Those bidders without 10 feedback will need to clear themselves through IAW prior to bidding. This seems much more simple and fair to me. There are more bidders out there not using paypal than you might think. Please don’t dismiss us so easily.


  2. Unfortunately, that is not an option eBay offers, so your solution is not possible. Frankly, I fail to see why anyone would not have a PayPal account. You have a bank account right? As I clearly said, you don’t need to PAY with PayPal, but you need to have an account. I can’t believe anyone would not have a bank account.

  3. I have to agree with requiring a PayPal Account. This leads to the legitimacy of the bid and the overall experience.

    My personal experience with this new epic dilemma has left me with a bad taste and I have NOT bid on any IAW auction the last couple of weeks…mostly because the couple items I have been interested in have had a zero feedback bidder.

    I have said before on the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Board that it is my belief that IAW is the Custodian of these items and it is their duty to facilitate the transfer of the items from Paramount to the high bidder. I should have added in a fair and honorable fashion.

    Hopefully IAW will take Alec’s hard work and advice as gospel so we can all get back to enjoying a wonderful experience together…well all except for zero feedback bidders :~)

  4. B isn’t the only one who still writes checks. I agree with his proposed solution — if ebay can’t do it now, perhaps it’s something they can consider implementing.

    And believe it or not, I know several people without bank accounts. They have different reasons, some of which being nothing more than they did stupid things when they were younger and now can’t get one.

    By the way, I love your blog and wish I’d found it sooner. Great job, keep up the good work!


  5. 1. you can set up a paypal account and not be “verified” or “confirmed”
    2. min feedback requirements as prev poster suggested is easy to fake, make 10 purchases then dont follow thru on one you do not wish. And IF its shill bidding, no one would really know anyway regardless of high feedback or not.
    2a. IAW would have to block, by manually remove bids from “less than ten” f/b bidders.
    3. using aol or a non static isp blocks ebays ability to track same . Also many legit bidders who may use a cybercafe, library etc can be falsly accused of shill bidding and having false accounts.

  6. Wouldn’t the “unpaid strike” items work (i.e. bidder doesn’t pay for items so he can’t bid on any more)? In any case you may want to study the site http://www.paypalsucks.com before endorsing paypal as a solution. I have a bank account and I wouldn’t want to share that info with paypal given their record in the past. Just trying to keep it fair for everyone. Please keep in mind your bidding preferences are not the same as everyone elses. Not trying to start an argument, just my opinion.


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