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Thread: Poor, poor Ebay is catching it again...

  1. #1
    Too_Many_Tools Guest

    Post Poor, poor Ebay is catching it again...

    San Jose-based eBay has overcharged hundreds of thousands of consumers by artificially inflating the price of goods sold on its Web site in order to boost its transaction fees, according to a class-action lawsuit.

    The company's actions, ``require restitution in excess of tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars during the past four years,'' according to the suit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

    EBay spokesman Hani Durzy issued a statement Wednesday saying the company's executives were unable to respond in detail to the accusations because they hadn't seen the lawsuit. ``But from what we have heard, it appears that the plaintiffs misunderstand the functionality of the eBay bidding system,'' his statement said.

    The suit, which was filed last week, seeks a court injunction halting eBay from inflating the prices of its auctioned goods and demanding unspecified damages for consumers. The plaintiff is represented by Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, a San Diego firm well-known in Silicon Valley for filing securities fraud cases on behalf of stockholders.

    The eBay suit named only one consumer, a man in Pennsylvania who had allegedly been victimized by the inflated prices. It claimed the overcharges typically amounted to only a few dollars per transaction. Nonetheless, the suit said, the amount of the losses could be enormous, considering how many people use the site.

    Posting revenue last year of $3.3 billion, eBay is the world's biggest online auction site, with 135 million registered users and millions of items listed for sale each day.

    All together, those sales translate into a lot of money for eBay because of the transaction fees it charges sellers. EBay gets $1.31 for an item sold for $25, for example, and proportionately larger fees for products selling for larger amounts.

    The lawsuit likened the way eBay handles auctions to a shill bidding scheme, where buyers are duped into paying more than they had intended for goods.

    When consumers bid on an item on eBay's Web site -- -- they specify the maximum they'd be willing to pay for it, say $100. EBay automatically compares that bid with what others offer for the product. If the next-highest bid is $99 or lower, the $100 bid wins.

    In many cases, the suit claimed, eBay tricks the person offering $100 into paying more. It said the company often sends them a note informing them that while they currently have the highest bid, they should consider upping it in case someone else offers more.

    As soon as the person states a higher maximum bid, the suit claimed, eBay declares them the winner. But instead of charging them $100 for the item, it said, it bills them $102.50, even though the second-highest bid remained less than $100. The amount of the inflated charges vary, according to the sale price of the product, the suit claimed.

    Ina Steiner, editor of AuctionBytes, a Massachusetts publication that tracks auction Web sites, said she has heard gripes from some people who think the prices they paid for eBay items were too high.

    ``Occasionally we will get complaints where people feel they bid against themselves because of how the eBay system works,'' she said. But those problems may simply stem from confusion over eBay's auction policies, Steiner said.

    Lerach, Coughlin also filed a class-action suit last week accusing computer manufacturer Dell of using bait-and-switch techniques. But Reed Kathrein, who helped file both suits, said the two suits were unrelated and not part of an effort by the firm to target technology companies with consumer cases.


    So guys, does this sound familiar?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Toledo, Ohio


    Yes. If successful, the company and buying public will foot the bill, the complainants will make a dollar three eighty and the lawyers will walk away with the rest of the millions that might be awarded.

    Class action suits are infinitely more evil than eBay ever will come close to being, Nigerians and all.
    Jim H.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Including, but not limited to, nude, legal,
    dyslexic, lesbian, skydivers belonging to organizations promoting human rights, dignity, fair trade, fair play, fore play (golf term?), replay and play-it-again-Sam.
    Barry Milton

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    East Coast, USA


    This doesn't make any sense:

    "As soon as the person states a higher maximum bid, the suit claimed, eBay declares them the winner. "

    The auction has to end before you get declared the winner... I only WISH Ebay would end an auction early before all the mad inrush of bids comes in at the last 5 seconds..

    It sounds like someone didn't know how Ebay works but went and filed this lawsuit anyway.

    Work hard play hard

  5. #5


    This is exactly the type of lawsuit that needs to be regulated. They are fishing for dollars. Lerach/Coughlin is well known for filing suits that have little to no merit. Somehow, they are able to scare companies into settling or risk being nailed by a jury in a sympathetic court.

    I have two checks sitting here from class action suits I apparently was awarded funds from. In both cases, Lerach/Coughlin was the class action laywers. Their fees were in the hundreds of millions. My cut, for being a consumer so 'badly' injured by Exodus Communications ($0.27) and the other was some random company I had no idea I was a customer of ($0.13). Both cases, it cost more to send me the check than the check was worth.

    My bet: The court throws this one out. Auctioneers are agents for the selling party, and are supposed to get as high a price as possible for the goods being sold.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northeast Oh-hi-Owe


    You know this is funny... but this just happened to me. I bib $100.56 on a item... was noticed as the hight bidder. Seen that I was only .06 up and went to up my bid to $103.57.

    Your current bid: US $100.56
    Your maximum bid: US $100.56
    Current price: US $100.56

    Had to leave so I shut off putter.. when I get back look at mail... I "WON" but look at this.

    Sale price: US $102.50
    Quantity: 1
    Subtotal: US $102.50

    No more bidders just me... they proied my own bid. Honest to God I even made a notice of this to the seller when I asked for total.

    From email sent

    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Hi final purchase should of been $100.56. I up my min... after bidding and the freaky ebay proxy system somehow bid against my own winning bid. I had to leave and just noticed it.... boy ebay will do anything for a few more pennies on the final value fees.
    Any ways please send me a total and I'll send payment. Thanks Tim</font>
    This is not a spoof... I'm not pulin' your legs... it really happened just like that. Oh well the gears and 59B chuck are worth the money... all the other bars and tool holder I don't need I list and sell back. Maybe I'll get a buck or two more from the next guy... it'll all work out in the end if the legal vermom would just let it.


    Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Hey Tim,

    If, when you placed your 1st bid you were only $.06 above the previous bid, then your bid wasn't at the next bid step. When you rebid, your bid was automatically bumped up to the next bid step. For example, If the bid was $99 and you bid $100.06, and the previous bidder had proxy bid $100, then you would have the high bid at $100.06 even though the next minimum bid amount might be $102.50. When you up your bid it takes it on up to the next bid step. If the previous high bidder had bid $100 and that was where the bidding was then your high bid would have had to be $102.50. I am not very good at explaining this but what happened to you is perfectly normal and was not Ebay trying to dupe you. I am not sticking up for Ebay, Lord knows they have messed me around enough in the past.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    EBay has minimum bid increments that many bidders aren't aware of. Under $10.00, it's 10 cents. $10-$100 is $1.00. $100-$1,000 is $2.50. Over $1,000 is $25.00.

    I bid only during the last few seconds & always bid an uneven amount (like $109.89). That way a bid at $112 or $113 will lose. But $113.40 will beat me.
    Barry Milton

  9. #9


    &lt;rant ON&gt;
    Sure eBay is chock full of greed, but the thing that drives up prices and fees much worse than the nickel and diming that eBay might try are the goofballs that start five hours before an auction's end to place their bids. They aren't shills either, just dumbasses. They place a bid, notice an hour later that they were outbid so increase by $5 increments until they're the high bidder again (by $1 I guess), notice later that they are again outbid (surprize, surprize .) and do it again. They'll do this until the last couple minutes, so why not just wait and snipe? Why drive the price up for yourself or others out of stupidity? It's good news for the seller, so at least somebody's happy, but I've seen it cost the buyer a couple hundred dollars or so more than it otherwise would have. Sometimes these jugheads win.
    I don't get it. Quit shooting yourself in the foot. Try filing a class action suit against the bidding ignorant who help eBay make more than they ever could by trying to conciously shave a few more cents off the top. eBay is just a wealthy target for lawyers.

    OK not really. eBay's greed sucks too, but still...

    &lt;rant OFF&gt;

    [This message has been edited by vinito (edited 02-26-2005).]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003


    While its appreciated that bidding early can effect final prices those who reside outside the USA may have to bid early either beacuse of time difference or often unreliable net connections, can be out for many hours. While I bid on little in the US there are some small items (larger ones cost too much in postage) that we simply dont see below the equator. The internet has internationalised many aspects of everyday life.

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