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EBay Restricts PWCC’s Selling Privileges Over Shill Bidding

EBay Restricts PWCC’s Selling Privileges Over Shill Bidding

Ben Burrows

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from PWCC.

EBay announced Tuesday that PWCC, one of the largest marketplaces for sports and trading cards, has had its selling and listing privileges on the platform restricted due to shill bidding.

In an email to users who purchased items from PWCC listings, eBay wrote 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.”

The Action Network’s Darren Rovell reports that PWCC is the largest seller of trading cards on eBay with over $150 million in sales over the last year.

According to eBay, shill bidding “occurs anytime someone bids on an item to artificially increase its price, desirability, or search standing.”

EBay’s full statement is available below, unedited:

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.

Sports Card Investor’s request for further comment was declined by eBay.

Several hours after eBay’s announcement, PWCC released a response, saying it has no knowledge of PWCC employees participating in shill bidding.

“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 wrote in the release. “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.”

PWCC’s statement is available below, unedited:

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.

PWCC is proud of the work it has done over the years to improve eBay’s own processes and to ensure that the platform is one that users can trust. These efforts went well beyond the measures that eBay takes to ensure legitimate auction processes. For example, PWCC worked tirelessly with eBay for over 10 years to remove the bid retraction option for buyers, eliminate forced return policies for sellers, and reduce the Significantly Not As Described (SNAD) window from 30 days to 3.

While PWCC became the world’s premier site for the sale of trading cards using eBay’s platform, in recent months, eBay’s increasingly competing interests prompted PWCC to begin the process of moving on. Today’s unilateral action by eBay simply hastens PWCC’s move to its new platform.

The new platform will be live on the PWCC website very soon. The August Premier Auction will still close on August 21st and the September Premier Auction is scheduled to launch on September 1st. PWCC is excited about the future, looks forward to launching all marketplaces on its new platform, and is confident in the benefits that will bring to buyers and sellers.

On Wednesday, PWCC sent an email to users with more details about what’s next for the marketplace while doubling down that it had no knowledge of shill bidding.

“PWCC has never engaged in nor condoned the practice of shill bidding or manipulating the card market,” the company wrote. “PWCC is proud of our work to ensure a trusted marketplace and unequivocally deny eBay’s claims regarding shill bidding.”

PWCC added that its new marketplace will be the “foundation for the future Monthly Auction, Flash Auction, and Fixed Price Marketplace.” The company noted that eBay’s accusations have forced the move sooner than expected but an official launch should be coming soon.

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