The last seven days watching the goings on in the reggae vinyl sales sections on ebay.
One of the most bizarre things about the reggae auctions on ebay are the activities of fake bidders. There have been time wasters on ebay since the site first opened but the activities of one individual, a Mexican by the name of Carlos, have become almost legendary for all the wrong reasons.
It’s almost hard to believe as there is absolutely no logical reason for it, but for the last few years Carlos seems to have devoted a huge amount of time and energy to wrecking ebay auctions by registering under false names, placing fake high bids on reggae records and then not paying. His activities have had to become increasingly sophisticated including opening mulitple accounts, registering accounts in different countries and in all liklihood using proxy servers to hide his true IP address. The vast majority of auctions he targets are for late 60’s/early 70’s “skinhead reggae” items.
Many regular sellers have got wise to the activities of Carlos and block lists of id’s he is known to use from bidding, block people with low or no feedback and so on. He still manages to create his own bizarre brand of mayhem though, consider the following:
A few days ago I was shocked to see that the rocksteady tune Get Ready by the Alpines on the UK Double D label, had made Â£454 ($703). But if it looks odd then it probably is, not only did Carlos bid stupid amounts on this record but in order to ensure the damage was done it looks like he used a second fake account to bid against himself! The seller will be gutted when they realise that the highest genuine bid was a far more sensible Â£78.00.
The Meditators – Look Who A Bust Style (UK Success). This is a fine Rupie Edwards production but has never been particularly rare, all the same the price is gradually rising as it seems to frequently reach around Â£40.00. Carlos saw the copy last week and bid it up to Â£68 ($105), again he used two account to artificialy inflate the closing price, the last genuine bid was Â£37.00. The seller vinylweb will not be happy as this item had already been relisted after Carlos wrecked the last attempt to sell the tune.
The Slickers – Man Beware/Mother Matty is a superb early reggae double sider, perhaps one of Joe Gibb’s finest moments from that era. This UK copy attracted Â£131.99 ($204) courtesy of Carlos this week. Admittedly a genuine bidder offered Â£129.99 but the genuine second bid was Â£63 so it’s in the region of this price that the bidding should have stopped.
It’s not always necessary to bid huge amounts to wreck an auction. The UK Jackpot issue of Dave Barker’s Girl Of My Dreams made Â£26.00 ($40) last week, but you guessed it, Carlos was the “winner”. Likewise Young Gifted And Black by Bob And Marcia on Jamaican Harry J, but even Carlos couldn’t do much with this as there was little interest and his “winning” bid at Â£10 ($15.50) wasn’t a huge jump over the start price of Â£6.50. Not that this will be much of a consolation for the seller who will now have to relist the tune.
It’s hard to understand why Carlos does this all this, he can’t benefit financially and whilst he causes a significant amount of inconvenience to sellers he must waste a huge amount of his own time too. Given the fact that so many of ebays customers are having their time wasted and often suffering finacially due to his behaviour it’s hard to understand why the company haven’t intervened by taking some kind of legal action in Mexico. Though it’s the individuals and small businesses who will continue to suffer on a day to day basis, ebay will also take a knock as their business model continues to be brought into disrepute by the irrational behaviour of one individual.