eBay: Please Crack Down on Listing Price Fraud
Many customers the world over shop at eBay to find great deals on the merchandise they want to buy. Unfortunately, a form of fraudulent "listing pollution" runs rampant and is making it more and more difficult to find the best deal. Here's how the scam works:
- The customer searches for an item (just for example, and this is a real one, a cross-body "messenger bag"), and elects to sort search listings by price + shipping, lowest first.
- eBay returns results, such as (again, a real one) "Mini Casual Sport Travel Outdoor Chest Crossbody Bag Messenger Shoulder Bag -- $2.85 + Free Shipping." This may happen on-site or in subsequent "you were browsing things like this, we recommend ..." emails to the customer.
- When the customer clicks through to the listing, there are indeed such bags for sale -- but none of them at the listed price. The item listed (and pictured in the ad) actually costs $7.19 in each of four available colors. At the bottom is a tiny nylon "digital storage collection" bag (not included in the listing title or in the photo returned in search) for the listed price.
The seller has successfully lured the customer to his item by advertising a price he or she is not actually offering for that item. The obvious reason for the fraudulent pricing is to game search results and get the item near the top and into customer emails. This wastes a valuable resource -- the customer's time. It also makes it much more difficult for the customer to find the desired item and the best deal on that item. And it costs eBay revenues when the customer doesn't buy the item for inability to find the actual best price on it.
Please, eBay -- explicitly ban this behavior in seller guidelines, and strictly enforce that ban by deleting reported listings which, and sanctioning sellers who, violate the ban. Your customers -- and your honest sellers -- will be grateful.