UK eBay seller Paul Barrett is the man who bid on his own auctions to boost the final selling price of his goods, landing him a fine plus expenses totalling UK£5,000 and 250 hours of community service.
Selling items on e-commerce bidding site eBay, Barrett created two different usernames and would post items for sale from one account and then log in from the other account to bid on his own items in order to push the price up and make it appear that there was more interest in these auctions in a practise known as shill bidding.
Barrett’s fraudulent bidding activities were uncovered while he was being investigated for selling a clocked minibus and was reported to the Trading Standards Officers. It was found that the username selling certain goods and username bidding on these goods were registered from the same IP address and using the same contact details.
The judge presiding over the case, Judge Peter Benson, said: "This sort of conduct strikes at the heart of that trust which is vital if this very, very useful commercial medium is to continue to operate successfully," as reported in the Telegraph.