BREAKING NEWS: PWCC Accused Of Shill Bidding By eBay

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eBay today announced that it would be restricting PWCC from selling on its marketplace due to allegations of ‘shill bidding’.  

For those not familiar with the term, shill bidding occurs when fake buyers submit bids on items in order to intentionally drive increased activity to a listing.  

The full statement from eBay:

As one of the world’s largest marketplaces, eBay has policies in place to protect our buyers and sellers. eBay was founded on trust, and we work every day to ensure a fair and positive experience for the entire eBay community.Recently, it was determined that individuals associated with a trading card seller, PWCC, have engaged in “shill bidding,” which is prohibited on eBay. As a result, eBay has restricted PWCC’s selling privileges and listings, effective today. eBay’s policies and standards were designed to ensure a trusted marketplace where our community can transact with confidence. If we determine that a buyer or seller is not acting in good faith, eBay takes this seriously and takes action. Our customer service team will work directly with anyone who has a question about a recent PWCC transaction.

eBay is the destination for buying and selling trading cards – built over 25 years with our passionate community of collectors and sellers, as partners, on that journey. Trust is the cornerstone of eBay, which is why we felt it was important to share this information with our community. We assure you that eBay will continue to take actions to deliver on our commitment. 

In this case, it’s not clear if eBay is declaring that those ‘associated with PWCC’ are in fact employees of PWCC or just the consignors to PWCC trying to bid up their card that’s for sale.

Whatever the case, this is a huge deal, as PWCC is the largest seller of sports cards on the eBay platform.  

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Now, the language in the announcement was very LOOSE let’s say. Only that they were ‘restricting’ PWCC’s selling privileges and listings.

What exactly does this mean?

Because currently, PWCC still has a LOT of auctions active, nearly 18,000 active as I’m writing this.

Does ‘restricting’ mean some sort of ban on particular sellers/buyers?

Or does ‘restricting’ mean, ok, we’ve had enough PWCC, as of today, you’re gone. 

I’ve never personally purchased anything from PWCC, mostly because of my concerns in regards to them selling altered cards.

However, there have long been stories of PWCC engaging in shill bidding practices; notably that there is really nothing that prevents a consignor from bidding up their own item under a fake account. 

There have multiple cases where collectors have suspected shill bidding, so it’s good that eBay is finally putting their foot down, even as they know that this is going to cause a big ripple in regards to corporate profits if they do fully restrict PWCC.

It will be interesting to see how restrictive eBay is in regards to PWCC, but if they are indeed ultimately removed from the platform, I can only wonder what happens to the PWCC Vault.

Whatever the outcome here, this is good news for collectors, who can only hope for more transparency in the hobby. 

Have you ever purchased a card from PWCC on eBay?

UPDATE – PWCC posted shortly after I posted this article about the eBay news### 

PWCC was shocked to see eBay’s email today stating that unidentified “individuals associated with” PWCC engaged in “shill bidding.” To PWCC’s knowledge, its employees have never engaged in any behavior that violates eBay’s agreements and policies. PWCC goes to great lengths to ensure that its employees follow eBay’s rules and PWCC employees do not have access to eBay’s bidding records or information.

PWCC is considering all available legal options in response to eBay’s defamatory press release and its bad-faith action to restrict PWCC’s privileges on eBay. PWCC has only just learned of these allegations and eBay has refused to share any details supporting its allegations. Despite eBay’s unwillingness to explain its claims, PWCC will continue to conduct its own internal review to ensure that its employees have not violated eBay’s rules.

Sounds like they may indeed be getting the boot from eBay.  The plot thickens!

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