Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info

Spring Fundraising Drive In Progress. Please visit our home page to see this and other announcements:     Thank you. --Jody

MMD > Archives > June 2006 > 2006.06.16 > 01Prev  Next

Warning Auction Buyers of Fraud
By Todd Augsburger

As many of you are already aware, there are high risks associated
with buying and selling on today's internet auctions, especially
those connecting individuals who are unlikely to even know each other.
"Let the Buyer Beware" may be a nice slogan, but in real life people
can be greatly hurt by even a single scam or deal "gone bad".

So what happens when knowledgeable collectors know (or even suspect)
that a scam is being run?  How can they even notify the general or
collecting public (or even each other)?  It's difficult!

As a case in point, there's an auction presently on eBay which I believe
to be a scam.  (I mention eBay not because it's worse or better than
other auction sites -- only that it's most familiar to MMD readers.)
The listing is for a reasonably rare organette that should fetch
$3-4,000.  But those like myself began to question the listing because
(1) it sounded familiar, (2) it's a "private" auction where the bidders'
identities are not disclosed, (3) there is no item location other than
a generic "United States", (4) the seller's account has no recent
feedback, (5) even old feedback is for buying, not for selling, and
(6) the reserve is much lower than expected.  Upon observation and
discussion, it was discovered that the pictured item was purchased
a few months ago by a known collector, and is _not_ currently for sale.
(Please email me outside of MMD if any one wants further info.)

Now here's the rub: we have no way to warn prospective bidders that
they are possibly at risk to lose thousands of dollars!  The bidders
cannot be reached because the private auction does not identify them.
Although eBay has been notified, they have not yet (at the time of this
writing) removed the listing.  The seller is expectedly unresponsive to
contact through eBay or email.  A moderated forum such as MMD is at
risk if they publish unverified information that may be later construed
to be defamatory.

So, what can be (or should be) done?  Auctions like eBay (or even
traditional auction houses) don't provide a means so that experts can
advise buyers, do they?  Should MMD?  Should MBSI?  If some Internet
"hotline" was set up, what would the liabilities be, and would it ever

I fear that new collectors will be stymied by the existence of risk
and loss unless we established collectors do something -- I've already
heard too many stories, and can document too many abuses, of Internet

Shill bidding, forged accounts, overpriced items, outright fraud and
scams -- I've seen them all.  Where will it end?

Todd Augsburger - Roller Organs

(Message sent Fri 16 Jun 2006, 23:52:49 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Auction, Buyers, Fraud, Warning

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   

Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google

CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2024 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Please Support Publication of the MMD with your Generous Donation

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

Translate This Page