What give with strange anomalous high prices on ebay

It seems to occur in all types of item, especially collectibles. Sometimes it’s a musical instrument that it looks like might have been owned by a famous person and they just are being cagy and indirect.

Is it a business practice to post weirdly high prices so that they will get met by automated or naive human actions?

I see a canadian silver dollars that looks like garbage, for $900+. It has a cert (not the ANA or whoever to be sure) on a little slip, in a plastic envelope. For real. And the things are worth 5-15 dollars in reality.

Wouldn’t the bad reviews catch up with you? As strategy I don’t get it.

Money laundering.

Moron fishing.

Some guys (seen it happen) watch a movie/TV show or go to a guitar show or bike night and have to have “The Precious”

It could be a Harley or a vintage Vette or a stereo. They just have to have one. They will not learn all the ins and outs, so they pay whatever.

Here’s a previous thread on anomalously high prices on Amazon, but it covers Ebay too.

Here’s an article about fake books on Amazon being used to cash out stolen credit cards. The “seller” offers something of little to no real value for a crazy price. The buyer uses a stolen card to buy it. https://krebsonsecurity.com/2018/02/money-laundering-via-author-impersonation-on-amazon/

You might be seeing something like that.

Yeah, that’s the same article I linked to and summarized in the thread mentioned by dtilque.

One allegedly fake author named in that article still has two listings on Amazon (both are Kindle books selling for $0.99), one with content described as:

“Synthesis per year 1000000 tons of THE GEMSTONES with plant’s quality up to 1 Trillion Dollars USA per one ton.
This and else 3000 couplets about magic word A Trillion bring elixir of USD…”

If that’s actually part of a money laundering scheme, it seems inefficient…

With regard to books, I have seen copies of my out-of-print books listed for up to $3000. I assume that that was due to faulty pricing algorithms as mentioned in that thread. I’d love to sell copies at that price, if I thought that anyone was ever actually willing to pay it!

Minor hijack to Amazon pricing.

Amazon allows sellers to price their merchandise based on the price of the same item from another seller. This can lead to crazy loops where sellers base their prices on each other.

ie. Colibri sells a book SDMB for Dummies based on Jackmannii’s price * 1.05. Jackmanni sells the same book based on Collibri’s price * 1.04. Every time Amazon runs through the price update module both books creep up a little bit. If no one notices, the books will eventually get up to the thousands of dollars leading to threads like this one.

Also, a guy who used to do programming work for Amazon once explained that the process for completely deleting/adding a book from your inventory is more involved than the process for adjusting the price, so some sellers when they are out of a book just set the price to something nobody would pay, then lower it again if they get another copy.

A lot of the things being talked about would seem to catch up with someone on ebay after a couple of attempts.

If you’re sucker hunting you can’t get good reviews.

If you are adverting books you don’t have there is something wrong with that but I guess they do it. Not good for your rep.

If you are on ebay to launder money then doesn’t the scheme run into the ground after a bit? You are very visible. All you need to do is search and sort by high prices, and you have a rogues gallery of money launderers.


THis is an example of a common thing. If you are looking for specialty or academic books you will find that there are people who want a weeks salary for a book, as if it was exceedingly rare and they just happened to be there to fulfill yor need. This book is listed with two used copies, but they aren’t real prices.

yes there is some extremely dumb people out there that ask for and dumber people that oblige them for extremely high prices

Theres a farming video game series called harvest moon that tends to be one of the rarest series on almost every system since super Nintendo because its so niche they only make maybe 50,000-100,000 copies of the game in America which is a tiny run in the gaming world
But the 3 holy grails in the series is a complete super Nintendo game with box and instructions the complete N64 sequel and a mint copy of the ps1 versions strategy guide
the book is about 125 mint the snes game is between 125- 200 and the n64 game at one time was going for 500 (you can get them both on the wii-wii u for ten bucks now) but fools who bought them in storage auctions st the goodwill ect were trying to sell them for 1000 bucks a piece ……. or 50 bucks just for the box ect ……
Theres a site and MB for the series and you can see the threads saying " I seen these games on e bay going for one 1k JUST FOR THE CARTRIDGE no box no instructions and the game save battery dead …… a few people have buyers remorse especially when they find out its only worth 20 percent of what they paid for it ……

I read this thread the other day and thought it was interesting but I’d never experienced it, then today it happened to me.

I’m looking for seat covers for my Lund fishing boat. The vinyl is torn due to wear in some spots, and I’d rather not spend the $100+ that Bass Pro and others want for a completely new seat. Cabella’s used to sell seats covers for around $15 - $20 each each, but it looks like they’ve discontinued them.

A google search led to eBay where I found “covers” for Bayliner boat seats. The covers were just pieces of vinyl that still needed to be stitched together but they were listed at near $1000, plus had $1300 shipping fee. That strikes me as ridiculous.

BTW- Considering I can buy car seat covers everywhere, it baffles me that no one seems to make replacement seat covers for boats. (I’ve tried car seat covers and they’re too big). If anyone knows of any sources, please let me know.

I’ve been selling off most of my “rare” video game collection and a lot of the BUY IT NOW prices you see on eBay are 2x the normal cost. I know this because when I put it up for auction they only ever get half of those prices either at auction or as a MAKE OFFER deal. I’m assuming it has to do with people seeing the peak price and then selling it based off that despite the fact video game prices fluctuate pretty rapidly.

My guess is one of two things- some variant on the pricing algorithm feedback loop mentioned by Projammer for the really absurdly high prices or a different sort of moron fishing for lower, almost reasonable prices.

If you list some items in a category above their actual market price, it’s conceivable that you could actually shape that market price by making it seem like the price for an item is higher than it really is. This would affect the less informed consumer and probably more importantly, skew averages and what-not that would affect automated pricing algorithms.

In other words, if you’re selling AA batteries, and you put $12 / 4 batteries as a price via a sock account, some dumbass out there may buy them, some other dumbass may be influenced into thinking they’re higher priced than they are (thereby either affecting auction prices or BUY IT NOW prices), and some pricing algorithm may interpret it as a realistic price and raise their prices a little bit. And then when you set your legitimate AA batteries, you can set them just that much higher than before, which is pure profit to you at only the cost to post the bogus price.

Wouldn’t all of those charges result in chargebacks? I would think that to set up an author account with Amazon, the place where the royalties go would have to be traceable, and reversible in the event of returns or chargebacks.

I know the following happens with video games. People make the prices in the listings so high because they don’t actually want to sell the product. What they are doing is showing off their collection.

Certainly there is the money laundering or fraud examples as mentioned. I do some small amount of collecting of a vintage item and I regularly see items listed on eBay at absurdly high prices. Why? Because there is a sucker born every minute and within the collector community no one would buy it at that price. But to the uninformed who “thinks” he is getting a deal… well, that’s who they’re targeting. Most collectors of this stuff don’t even use eBay anymore, they are leveraging private social media groups, etc.

Sometimes it’s just a decimal point that goes astray. Someone intends to offer an item for $5.00, but they enter $500 instead. Easily done.