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Shill bidding: Unlawful, unethical and dumb

MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release
9 August 2011

Shill bidding: Unlawful, unethical and dumb

Trade Me has applauded the conviction of Christchurch business Morrison Car Company for shill bidding on its own auctions.

“Shill or ghost bidding is one of the most immoral forms of behaviour in a marketplace,” said Trade Me’s Head of Trust & Safety, Jon Duffy. “We’re delighted the Commerce Commission took such prompt action on this incident, and we’re equally pleased with Judge Farish’s sentencing which included $45,000 in fines. The Commission was able to make good use of our investigation materials to get a solid conviction.

“Healthy marketplaces depend on transparency and trust and shill bidding undermines both of these. We support such perpetrators being made an example of and hope this sends a clear message. In the case of the Morrison Car Company, not only did they participate in shill bidding, they were also foolish enough not to display a Consumer Information Notice (CIN).

“Trade Me is one of the most public marketplaces in the country. To try to avoid CIN requirements in such a marketplace is not only unlawful, it’s dumb.”

Trade Me has a range of trust and safety tools operating across the site, many of which are focused on misleading or anti-competitive behaviour. Shill bidding is dealt with swiftly and Trade Me will work closely with the Commerce Commission in such cases.


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