Yamatoku-classic. Once a great seller on Ebay, now… something else. If you’re like me and you like collecting and buying retro games, chances are that you bought some on Ebay. I myself bought hundreds there, mostly from Japan. Most of my experiences were great on Ebay, but some have left me sour. One seller in particular, Yamatoku-Classic.
To most people used to buying japanese retro games, they are a well known seller and have hundreds of auctions almost everyday. However if you dig a bit, you can find that not all is well with this seller who has a 113000 feedback score and a “Top-rated seller” status.
Let’s take for example this auction for Beasts and Blades for the Super Famicom:
We can see that the winner won it for 20.50$ US after 7 bids (and that the shipping is crazy high). Now let’s look at those bidders:
There’s three different bidders. One with 283 feedback, one with 7 and another one with 355. Let me tell you something crazy… they’re all the same people. They’re all “Yamatoku-Classic”. They use different accounts to artificially raise the prices of their auctions so that if there is a potential buyer, he will have to pay to now raised price at 20.50$. This is knows as shill bidding. Even though they started their auction at 1$, the real starting price was “20.50$”. Let’s look at what the 7 feedback user’s page looks like:
The important stat here is the “Bid activity (%) with this seller:”. We can see that this user always bid 100% of the time with Yamatoku-classic. Not only that, but he wins most of the auctions too and only has a 7 for feedback. The other two users are the same, between 98% and 100% seller activity with Yamatoku-classic.
Ebay is aware of the problem and I personally sent hundreds of reports on auctions that had shill bidding going on and they do nothing. The higher an auction ends, the more profit they make, so they close their eyes and choose to “ignore” the problem. Here’s some of the recent negative feedback they received:
So what can we do against this problem? Spread awareness. I checked most of their recent auctions and most of them didn’t “sell”. They will later relist these items, even though it’s illegal per Ebay site rules. So if you’re as pissed off as me, spread the knowledge of this scummy seller everywhere you can and never ever buy from them again. I’ve heard reports that other prominent users like Hit-Japan could also do shill bidding, but I have no proof. Always investigate before commiting to bidding on Ebay, it is now a very shady place.
Please feel free to comment and if you have similar stories, share them here so that we can all avoid those frauds.