What would you do?


I happen to have proof that a fairly well known American boutique audio audio company routinely and brazenly shill bids its auctions for audio equipment. Knowledge of this fraud and so many people being ripped off troubles me. Thoughts?
sbach11
I would enlighten my fellow hobbyists as to who this company is if you are indeed sure.
If you are sure you have the proof, then step up and tell us...
First I would tell them of your knowledge unless they already know, and ask them to stop.
If they don't..
Come on man up, and spill the beans! All's fair in love and war!
Interesting that this is your first post on Audiogon and you have no sales feedback. Even if you disclose what you might know, do you think you'll have any credibility? Who are you and what ax are you grinding?
Come on man up, and spill the beans! All's fair in love and war!
My admitted lack of credibility on this forum is irrelevant, as I would not be asking anyone to believe anything I say. I would simply release the data and you would see for yourself.
I have no ax to grind against this company. I'm not even an audiophile. They have done nothing to me except waste some of my time.
And my apologies I should clarify that I only have data on one particular product being regularly shill bid. I have not checked or saved data on their other products, which obviously they may or may not be shill bidding as well.
If you have no ax to grind then you should not have started a post you can't finish. Prove what you are stating, or people will think it's just bullshit.
Inna, that was my thought as well and I called them out on it when I first figured it out. They just denied it.. and it appears have not skipped a beat. I've got data from April 2014 to current, although there are some gaps.
Say no more, the info will be provided. I just need to redact my personal identifiers from the documents..

If someone here has a handle on shill bidding it would be nice if you would volunteer to look at this before it is publicly posted on the off OFF chance I am missing something. I assure you I am not, but nevertheless..
"If someone here has a handle on shill bidding it would be nice if you would volunteer to look at this before it is publicly posted on the off OFF chance I am missing something. I assure you I am not, but nevertheless.."

2 things. First is, giving the info to a self proclaimed expert on shill bidding is probably not the person you want to give the info to, just for that reason. Second, it sounds like you are getting cold feet here. If you don't know what you have and/or you have an ulterior motive, maybe you should drop the whole thing and leave it alone. Walk away before you make a fool of yourself.
Generally speaking, I think that cases like that should be handled by professionals in a professional manner. This means not in open audiophile forum with censorship as a bonus. But in any case, this is your choice. However, bid shilling is a serious violation. If you are going to disclose their names, your accusations will not have much weight unless you disclose your name as well.
You also said that you are not an audiophile, though you didn't say that you don't want to become one. Indeed you might be about to put yourself in uncomfortable position here. Is it worth it?
Do you have any acquaintances who are knowledgeable bidders on Ebay? If so, have one of then look at your data; that place is full of professional shill bidders.
Inna, you are exactly correct again. This is all risk with no reward to me. The safe thing would be to stand by and do nothing. And no offense to any of you but I don't want to become an audiophile. In part, because this experience -- my first potential audiophile level product purchase -- turned me off so much. With that said, if anyone wants to cut me a deal on an Adcom GFA-555 I wouldn't be offended. Just saying.
But really, why does this have to be about me? I just have the information. Frankly I thought one of you would step up to the plate, take the information and do with it what you will. It is your community, not mine.
Put the evidence together and present it to whoever is in charge of the auction site. Let them determine if it's an issue or not.
does anyone really ever buy anything at auction?

in my 15 years on Audiogon and hundreds of transactions I've never participated in or even paid attention to an auction. it's all just 'for sale' stuff......so there is no relevancy to these comments.

nothing here to see, move along
I'm still waiting to read about whom you think the culprit is?
It could be worded as to imply this might be happening.
Too bad you had such a bad experience in audio, most out there are honest, but one does need to be careful more fraud than ever going on.
Audiogon does auctions where audio manufacturers sell equipment? I didn't know that. I thought it was all person to person/ used stuff here..

So to be clear I'm not talking about auctions on this website. This is on another auction site that is, uhm, pretty well known. And the products in question I guess you would call 'audio accessories' although they do make speakers.
Post twice that will help?
Zu Audio?
It's time to put your big boy pants on and reveal the swine! Otherwise the accusations you make bare no fruit! It's time to get yourself a pair of balls!
You know the more I think about this you don't even need my data because there is enough right there on that other auction site to review and see what is going on. I think you have enough clues now to go search for completed listings on that other site and look for repeating bids on each and every auction of a particular product of, oh, I don't know maybe $75 and $99. That is a starting point for you. So why don't some of you put your own big boy pants on and go see for yourself what is going on and stop putting this all on me. If you happen to pick up on any patterns, just know they go back at least to April 2014 and that I have those bidding records saved.
Thank you for the unsubstantiated rumor that could cause people to reach incorrect conclusions about a legitimate dealer, while you claim to have the info needed to let us know about a bad one.

Perhaps just lurking is more appropriate for you than dropping a bomb like this and dragging it out.
Jeffb, what part of 'all the info you need is still on the other site' dont you get? And I am wrong for starting a rumor about a dealer when I haven't even named a dealer? And simultaneously I am wrong for dragging this out and not providing the information? And did I say I was a lurker?

Besides, what is the rush? This is not about your entertainment. I'd suggest, if you aren't going to look into it yourself, you give some of the other members here a chance to check this out and report back. I've led you to water and you're complaining that I won't pour the drink down your throat.
"11-01-15: Sbach11
Jeffb, what part of 'all the info you need is still on the other site' dont you get? And I am wrong for starting a rumor about a dealer when I haven't even named a dealer? And simultaneously I am wrong for dragging this out and not providing the information? And did I say I was a lurker?"

You expect him to go to the worlds auction site, ebay, and look for bids on electronics for around $90 that could be construed as shill, and then apply it to a particular brand of electronics that sells cables and speakers? And you make it sound like its an easy thing to do, he'll have no problem finding it.

"I've led you to water and you're complaining that I won't pour the drink down your throat."

That's where you expose yourself as a fraud. If the answer is just a couple of mouse clicks away, like you say it is, what difference does it make if you name the company or someone else does with your "help"? None whatsoever. I wouldn't be worried so much about pouring water down someone else's throat, as I would be of all the crack you're doing.
"You expect him to go to the worlds auction site, ebay, and look for bids on electronics for around $90 that could be construed as shill, and then apply it to a particular brand of electronics that sells cables and speakers?" Basically, yes. Or wait for someone else to that understands its really not all that complicated to do it.

"That's where you expose yourself as a fraud. If the answer is just a couple of mouse clicks away, like you say it is, what difference does it make if you name the company or someone else does with your "help"? None whatsoever." If Audiogon members confirm what I've been saying it makes all the difference, right? Maybe I'm missing your point.

And name calling, really? Didn't think this was that kind of place.
Please stop for a second and consider that just maybe everything I've said here is correct, I have no ulterior motive, and I am just trying to pass along the information about this unfair practice to the people most likely to be harmed by it, while at the same time not trying to take unnecessary risk or cause problems for myself [note what Chayro said in the other thread]. Relax and wait for one of your members to figure this out. This is not about me. I did not buy their product because I saw what was happening before I did. Some of you bought the product though. Its up to you what to do about it.
"And name calling, really? Didn't think this was that kind of place."

You may have a case if it wasn't true.

"If Audiogon members confirm what I've been saying it makes all the difference, right? Maybe I'm missing your point."

You're not missing my point, you're missing yours. You're an Audiogon member yourself. There's no difference if you give the name, or someone else does. If you can't do something that simple would anyone believe you?
It's been common knowledge for years (run a WWW search) and nobody that I know of (aside from you) cares as their cables still sell in the dirt cheap range.

What I do not understand is why they do not simply place a meager reserve price for the auctions, instead of going through the rigmarole of placing shill bids .
"What I do not understand is why they do not simply place a meager reserve price for the auctions, instead of going through the rigmarole of placing shill bids ."

It makes the product look more desirable to potential bidders. 5 or 6 different bidders creates more excitement than 1 or 2.
"You're an Audiogon member yourself. There's no difference if you give the name, or someone else does. If you can't do something that simple would anyone believe you?"

I see what you are saying now, but I just disagree with you. I'm going to listen to Chayro and others that basically said its not worth it. Sorry if that's not the result some wanted. Perhaps the company in question will see how close they just came to being outed and knock it off. I named this thread "what would you do," because I wanted to know what you would do. For those that answered that question, thank you. For those of you buying via auction sites [especially new items sold repeatedly by the same seller] you would be wise to do a completed listing search for the specific product you are buying, then look at the bids, then compare the partially hidden bidders to other auctions for the same item from the same seller for patterns. Does the same bidder bid on almost every auction and not win? Does one bidder seem to bid up the auction early on, and a second bid up the end? Then check the bidder by clicking on the partially hidden name and see if there is a high "% of bids with this seller," and other stats that may or may not be helpful in the analysis. You can then look at the seller's other product listings for bids by the same bidders and/or similar patterns. And don't discount the obvious, for example, do all of the seller's auctions wind up selling for a somewhat consistent price? If that sounds complicated, it really isn't once you get a hang of it. I think I've done my part here. Good luck.
What a waste of time. Big deal. It's less than a hundred bucks. Move on.
Your time may be better spent accumulating "data" on the Adcom GFA-555 that you seem to lust after.

Unless it's been washed from the Internet you should come up with a major retracted review of the unit.