On Friday, I mentioned an oddity on Amazon that I thought was weird: I could not complete the buying process until I agreed to sign up for Amazon Prime. (I did, then called and canceled). So far, it appears to have been a one time glitch.
The latest online idiocy I encountered involved eBay. Truth be told, I really like Amazon, but — I was never much of a fan of Bay’s auction site. I especially detest their miserable payment process Paypal. This is a bank pretending to be an online service, but they are not kidding anyone — Paypal is a bank, and they absolutely should be regulated like one.
Where was I? Ahh, the latest idiocy: I occasionally bid on expensive items but at prices below fair value. Unlike high frequency traders, I stand ready to buy the item at my bid prices.
My latest was a $35,000 bid for a Maserati Gran Turismo convertible. Its a $100k+ car; I am always willing to buy slick sheet metal $100k off of list price.
I placed the bid and forgot about it. Until the next day, when — WTF? — a used car salesman called me at home about selling me the Gran Turismo. I was surprised, for I had been laboring under the apparent misconception that my bid (as well as all of mt private contact info) were private.
I told the sales guy I did not appreciate the sales call when I was bidding anonymously for the vehicle — he informed me it was common place, that they hardly sell any cars on eBay, but it eventually leads to other sales.
Thus, I learned 3 things: 1) It seems your info as a bidder is far from private on eBay. 2) Sellers apparently see all of your info (or at least enough to track down your home phone number). 3) Some sellers are apparently using eBay Motors as a lead generator.
From an investor perspective, I cannot imagine that this is a good development for EBAY. There are literally 100s of thousands (if not millions) of listings on eBay Motors. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that some used car dealers have decided to go direct, backdooring eBay.
The question is, does eBay know about this? If so, what are they doing about it.