CHOICE membership

Ebay bait advertising (apparently perfectly ok)



Ha! Just doing a general ebay search for “wrecking” comes up with hundreds of results exactly the same. Mostly from the same few wrecking yards from a quick look. Oh well. eBay can sort the rest out themselves if they cotton on to it. :sunglasses:


I’ve just reported a couple. Wonder if anything will happen to the listings? Ebay claim they check every listing to make sure they are fully compliant with laws (which I doubt they do), so it shouldn’t be hard for them to flag all these sort of listings and remove them automatically.


This ad for a car does break Ebay’s rules by selling items outside of the platform. I suggest reporting it.

And yes, I am sick of those Ebay ‘$1 for this mobile phone… stylus’ ads.


I did, a few days ago. This and other similar $1 wrecking ads, mostly from the BNE area. ebay does not seem to consider it any priority or perhaps they actually don’t care.


Nothing i’ve ever reported has been taken down. I’ve often received a message that they’d take care of it but they never do. Probably why sellers have worked out they can get away with anything.


Ebay are losing money with these $1 items with $30 postage as it circumvents their fees.


While the ads referenced clearly circumvent fees, it is not because of a cheap price and expensive postage. ebay some time ago changed how their sale fee is calculated to be “The fee is based on the total amount paid by the buyer (item price + postage and handling charges).”


If you read some of these listings, they warn the customer not to click on the buy button, but call the seller instead, so they are never expecting to sell anything at all through ebay directly and therefore will never have to pay any fees.


Exactly, and it is curious ebay does not seem interested in policing since even with reports the offending ads remain unchanged and in place days later.


Excuse my ignorance, but I hadn’t used ebay for 15 years. I joined up in april 1996 where it was a marketplace for collectors, but some time later it devoloped into an online $2 shop.


Not to worry Peter. The business model has been steadily moving toward online merchandising ala the $1-$N model where most things are increasingly buy it now rather than auctions, and individuals selling old things are being pushed aside. The fees have moved with that business plan.

Some commentators note that ebay bought gumtree some years back and has been trying to shift the amateurish and not-business ads there to “enhance” the aura of ebay, like refurbishing a shopping centre and putting in new and more upscale shops if that makes sense.


I’ve reported sellers months ago for breaking ebay rules, but the same listings are still there. Looks like ebay either doesn’t care or doesn’t want to admit that anything is wrong.


I have found Ebay to be quite reasonable in responding to complaints lately. I had one complaint about a seller in the UK who sold me an unlawful copy of software - he is no longer registered. Another recent complaint resulted in a change to someone’s listing behaviour.

They probably won’t tell you what they have done/are doing, but it is worth watching to see if ‘stuff happens’.


I don’t think they do, since the postage costs are included in the calculation of the fees>


Ebay are quite active when it comes to copyright items, because they are liable if they don’t show that they do something about it. But when it comes to misleading advertising, I have to agree, they do very little.


I have been seeing the following example of these offending advertisements in daily Ebay spam (with which up I put, as it sometimes has good bargains).

This turns out to be more misleading than the normal item to which one browses, as it states one price and one phone model - there is absolutely no indication that anything else is being sold other than an iPhone 6s+. And so, keen for a bargain, one clicks through to the listing:

The cheapest iPhone 6s Plus is $540.49!

At this point I hit the “Report Item” button (warning - this button is very hard to find), and trawled through the menus for an option that looked roughly like the problem and would allow me to specify details. I then sent Ebay the following (one or two formatting changes have been made, while a tracking link has been removed that could be used to identify me):

Dear Sir/Madam,

In the last few days, promotional emails I have received from Ebay have included an ad for “APPLE IPHONE 6S PLUS + FACTORY UNLOCKED 16GB 64…”, with a ‘Buy it now’ price of $229.69 and “Free postage”. I am delighted by this offer, and click on the link (REDACTED).

This takes me to a listing at , which has the full listing text: “APPLE IPHONE 6S PLUS + FACTORY UNLOCKED 16GB 64GB 128GB GRAY GOLD SILVER ROSE”, and displays the same price.

Unfortunately, I cannot ‘Buy it now’ until I have selected the appropriate options in three (3) drop-down boxes:
• Model (5 options, from iPhone 5s to iPhone 6s Plus)
• Colour (four options)
• Storage Capacity (16gb, 32gb, 64gb or 128gb).

If I select the cheapest iPhone 6s Plus, I am told this will cost $540.49 - nearly double the advertised price! It turns out that the advertised price is not for the advertised device; instead, it is for a phone that is several models out of date! This ad constitutes misleading and deceptive conduct under Australia’s advertising laws - one is left wondering whether that is the fault of Ebay or of the seller. Regardless, I expect to be able to purchase the advertised product (“APPLE IPHONE 6S PLUS + FACTORY UNLOCKED 16GB 64…”) at the advertised price, and look forward to EBay’s confirmation that I will be able to do so!

I am comfortable with assuming that the reference to ‘64’ is to the number of bits processed at one time by this phone, as no other meaning makes sense; I would prefer the phone to be Rose Gold in colour, but will make do with another colour as this was not specified in the advertisement.

Please advise me as soon as practicable how I am to conclude this transaction - presumably with the seller easyshopping678. If I continue to receive this advertisement I look forward to taking further advantage of the requirements of Australian consumer law as well as notifying the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of this clearly unlawful conduct.


eBay has in turn responded, with:


Good day!

Thank you for contacting eBay and for taking some time to report about your purchased item.

REDACTED, I really appreciate your time and effort for being vigilant about this matter. I can assure you that your report will not be taken for granted as we take these matters seriously.

I have already forwarded the item number you have provided me today to our listing removal team. Please provide us 24 hours for them take action on the item being reported.

These actions can’t be seen by other eBay members, but you can be assured that we have taken action. We take your reports seriously because we do not tolerate actions/activities that undermine the integrity of eBay as a market place. For this reason, we encourage buyers to always leave accurate feedback for every seller as your comments are important to us.

For privacy reasons, details on this investigation will not be disclosed as well. Also, kindly note that our team may only be able to take action on listings listed on website. If the listing is under US site, our US team would need to take care of the report which may take a longer time.

If you see another questionable listing, please report it to us by using the ‘Report item’ link on the bottom right side of the listing.

We appreciate your time in expressing your concern to us. We’re always working on ways to make eBay a better place to shop.

Thank you for your support.

Warm Regards,

eBay Customer Service

(Here I was preparing my fancy ‘redaction’ white letters on a black background, and it turns out that Choice doesn’t accept them :cry:.)

Well you’re gettin’ 'em anyway! (One of them.) I even got out the rack, and ran the word over that! Look how stretchy it is:

So - if you put the effort in it may be rewarded. I don’t see any cheap phones coming my way, and I do still see this phone being sold alongside four other models - but it hasn’t been in their ads to me for the last couple of days. If a lot of us complain loud and long then maybe - just maybe - Ebay might change its ways? It’s working for Europe!

(Maybe that should be my new signature block: “It worked in Europe!” - in some really angry font.)


There are so many of these on ebay now. You will probably find nothing has changed at all with the listing you reported. I’ve had the same thing where I get the spam emails featuring a product that can’t be purchased at the advertised price, but even without any action, they drop off the emails once they system realises we’re not going to buy it within a few days. I suppose they need to try and tempt us with something different then.

I’m also sick of getting the same standard reply from ebay saying they’ll do something, but they can’t tell us what they have done - in my case, always nothing.


Another wrinkle in ‘dodgy’ is that I have found multiple Asian identities are the same company. Order a product from ‘a’ and get an ‘out of stock’ on the colour or version, cancel and order from ‘b’ and get exactly the same ‘out of stock’ message. They freely admit multiple identities when called out.

Each refunds promptly but it is irritating to think you can order a product from alternative identities that are all the same with the same stock, only at a few cents different prices to favour one or the other as if they are really competing against each other. At the end of the day you realise you cannot get the product since none of the identities has it (eg same stock, same warehouse(s), same company) and you have wasted days going one by one.


I’ve had that where i’ve ordered a product from an Asian suppler only to be told it was out of stock. I’ve had to order it from another supplier at a higher price, only to find when it was billed to me, it had the original vendor’s name on it!


You weren’t buying a ticket to a show, were you?