So, it was no surprise when Amanda turned to Samantha for help with a problem related to eBay. Everyone knew that Samantha was the eBay expert and many people had openly expressed gratitude for her help. The Deal That evening, Amanda described her situation to Samantha. She had been searching for a car for under $10,000, which was all she felt she could afford. Her father had suggested that she look at the Volkswagen Golf TDI (Turbo Diesel Injected). He thought the car was very reliable and incredibly fuel efficient. On eBay, Amanda found a seller with exactly what she was looking for. The car was a 2005 Volkswagen Golf TDI with minimal miles. It has all the options she wanted: sunroof, rims, Monsoon CD stereo system, and heated seats (see FIGURE 1 for a description as it was posted on eBay). However, there was a problem with the seller. He had no feedback at all, no positive and no negative feedback. In fact, he had not made one previous purchase or sale on eBay before offering this car for sale (as indicated by the zero after the seller’s user name in the “meet the seller” part of FIGURE 2). Amanda had looked at other cars and thought the car was definitely worth at least $15,000. She placed an initial bid for $9,000, thinking that she would unquestionably be quickly outbid. Very shortly, several higher bids appeared. Amanda was not surprised, but did not try to outbid them, since she could not afford more than $10,000. She forgot all about the auction. A few days later, she received an email from the seller stating that the highest bidder was not able to get a loan for the car and that she, as second highest bidder, had now won the auction. Samantha examined the eBay page showing the auction after it closed (see FIGURE 2). Amanda was excited and happy to have won such a nice car for a price well below what she would have thought possible. However, since the seller had no feedback and because the deal seemed a little too good, Amanda did some more research. On autotrader.ca, she found cars of the same type listed for prices that ranged between $20,000 and $24,000. This made the price she had been given seem even more suspicious. She replied to the seller stating that she would take the car, but expressing her concerns about the transaction. She asked for some verification that the transaction was on the level. Amanda showed Sam a copy of the email she received from the seller (see FIGURE 3). Amanda had looked at other car auctions on eBay. The free shipping and the three days of inspection were not offered on any other sales. Still concerned, Amanda had responded to the email from the seller asking for further details about the terms. She explained that she had never purchased a car before and did not really know much about the process. In addition, she had requested the seller’s phone number, thinking that a
conversation might help her feel more certain of what would happen. Two emails came in response (see FIGURE 4).
- Fall '10
- Accounting, Auction, Volkswagen, Online auction business model, eBay Motors, Proxy bid