This is a very interesting observation made when using the eBay iPhone application. You look at an item on eBay, you check the seller out, the feedback, ratings, item descriptions, seller descriptions and more. You decide the item would match your requirements and you add to your checkout. Here lays the issue… when you check the item cost in your checkout/basket/shopping cart, the price has instantly risen by a few pounds. What could this be, an eBay Checkout Basket Price Hike Scam?
Firstly, it is important to note, this does not happen on all items and this has been witnessed on specific items, specific sellers, or more specifically the Apply iPhone app.
However, it is very puzzling as to why this would be happening. Let me explain the situation in a litte bit more details so you understand exactly what I am referring to here.
The Checkout Price Hike
I was on eBay specifically using the Apple iPhone app from the app store. I was searching for a new ‘Soldering Iron Kit’ due to my particular iron not supporting the solder connections I need for a project.
Searching eBay the usual way I normally would, I search for a specific term and instantly filter out those options to United Kingdom based only (this rarely works because cheap Chinese companies declare their location as UK based (drop shipping)), I filter for new products only (this was required to make sure the soldering tips were in perfect condition), sort by ‘lowest price + postage’ costs. This is my general search technique when wanting to buy something new but also try to find a bargain too.
The search listings show a number of products but one stands out because it has a built in ‘heat blower’ which will help with the other tasks. The exact item was called, ‘2 in 1 750W Hot Air Gun Soldering Desoldering Station Digital Display Soldering’ (you think the seller is plugging the keyword, ‘soldering’? haha!). I won’t go into the technical specifications of the item but rest assured, it suited my requirements for my projects.
Great, I checked the prices, the sellers, feedback, descriptions and more as this is a must to protect yourself from getting screwed over by eBay Scammers. I noticed the price of the listing was British Pounds £45.98 + Free Postage. I was willing to pay this much because of the features of the product. I decided to add this item to my ebay Basket (the eBay Checkout) within the app.
This is where I instantly noticed something… the price was different. I thought, maybe I had clicked on the wrong item accidentally. I removed the item instantly from my eBay Checkout and went back to the search list and added the item back to eBay Checkout (basket) making sure I clicked on the correct cost of £45.98. I checked my basket (eBay Checkout) and yet again, the price had changed. The new price was £55.18 for no reason at all.
This was certainly very strange behaviour and I considered the slim possibility that the seller had just increased their price at the same time I had tried to add the item to my checkout. This has been done in the past and just because an item is in your eBay Checkout Basket, does not the mean the price will stay the same. If the seller increases an item price whilst it is in your basket, the item in your basket will increase to reflect the price change.
How do I rule this out? I thought I would remove the item from my basket yet again, close the app down, and reopen the app and search for items again. Sure enough, there was the same item from the exact same seller for the lower price of £45.98 + Free Postage. I again, added this item to my eBay Checkout Basket and sure enough, the price in my eBay Checkout Basket had been price hiked (surely this cannot be some form of scam?).
I decided to search for another of the same item but from a completely different seller. I had removed all items from my eBay Checkout Basket to make sure, closed the app and started again. I found another of the same item from a different seller and attempted the same process.
This time, the item cost on the listing stated British Pounds £40.99 + £6.00 Postage. I thought, a very similar price with the postage included so why not. I proceeded to add this to my eBay Checkout Basket and BAM! The price hiked yet again to British Pounds £49.19 + £7.20 postage bringing the total to £56.39.
This was confusing me now because the items were from two completely different sellers, costing different listing prices with different postage costs. Yet, when I added both items to my eBay Checkout Basket, both the items were price hiked. Even the postage cost price hiked on the second item. I did not know what to make of this as the behaviour is very strange. So here I go, I start all over and find the same product available in the search listing, the same seller at the lower price. I add the item to my eBay Checkout Basket and BAM! The price hiked again to the higher costs.
This is getting frustrating as I certainly do not want to be paying more for an item than the official listing price. I refreshed the listing, the search results, closed the app, restarted it, even shutdown my phone and restarted my phone. Still, this issue of eBay Checkout Basket Price Hike was not resolved.
I thought, right… one more time with a different item seller but the same item that I had decided upon.
Right… I found the same item from another seller at a cost of British Pounds £46.99 + Free Postage. Again, around the same price as the previous sellers so let’s go for it. I add the item listing for this cost to my eBay Checkout Basket and BAM BAM BAM! Yet again, the eBay price hiked to a new cost of £56.39 + Free Postage. What the hell is going on here?
eBay Checkout Price Hike Conclusions
After messing around with this for some time getting frustated at the prospect of the costs being price hiked for no good reason, I decided to give up on purchasing on eBay and closed the app down.
However, what could this be? Was it a glitch in the app? Was it a new feature eBay now offer it’s sellers to recognise if a buyer has placed an item in their eBay Checkout and suddenly spike the price hike each time?
I tried different sellers, different listings with completely different descriptions, locations, postage costs and more. I even closed the app and restarted it. I refreshed the listings to check the listing prices had not increased. I refreshed the search listings to make sure the price had not increased. I even shutdown my phone and restarted the thing to rule things out. Yet, when I placed this particular item (from random sellers) into my eBay Checkout Basket, I was being subjected to eBay Checkout Basket Price Hiking.
To rule out this very specific item (even though different sellers were selected as evidenced in the screenshots), I looked for a completely different item. This item was simply, a ‘Floating Shelf’. I chose this type of item because I was staring at my shelves at the time. I searched for shelves and placed multiple ones into my eBay Checkout Basket and every single item remained the same price as the cost listed.
OK! So I had one last go at adding the Soldering Iron Kit to my basket and BAM!!!!!! I was eBay Checkout Basket Price Hiked yet again.
If eBay has developed a tool for sellers to use which allows them to monitor whom has placed an item in their eBay Checkout Baskets, and allows them the facility to instantly price hike to value, then purely shame on eBay for such a development.
If this was a glitch, then why was it happening on multiple sellers of the same item yet not happening on completely different items altogether? I closed the app, restarted my phone, and even refreshed the search listings, item listing and the prices never changed until I added the items to my eBay Checkout Basket.
Closing Remarks – eBay Price Hike Scam
I am generally on top of things like this. Hence, I instantly noticed the eBay Checkout Basket values had been price hiked. All I can say is, I will now be ever more cautious about adding things to my eBay Checkout Baskets, and other online baskets for that matter. It just goes to show how many people could have experienced eBay Checkout Basket Price Hikes without realising before it’s too late.
ALWAYS CHECK YOUR FINAL CHECKOUT BASKET PRICES BEFORE COMMITING TO PURCHASING ANYTHING ONLINE!!!
UPDATE 2021 – EBAY AUTO CHECKOUT BASKET PRICE HIKING
I have come across an article by Sacha Fedorenko published in May 2019 via Tamebay, basically stating a feature was released to sellers allowing them to see whom has placed items in their eBay Checkout Baskets. This feature has been implemented into the website, third-party site integrations, and native mobile applications.
As far as I am concerned, this would be very easy to run a simple script to detect an eBay Checkout Basket entry and automatically increase (Hike) the price as the person is dealing with their basket purchase.
There are also scripts available on the internet that allow sellers to detect if an item is being watched and automatically increase the price. This I have personally witnessed whilst watching items ready to purchase either later the same day or within the next few days. The price increases now you are watching it and the seller is hoping you will not notice.
I have even found sellers increasing the items that are being watched, but creating another listing of the same item at the lower cost within minutes.
EBAY IS SLOWLY BECOMING ONE OF THE BIGGEST SCAMMER MARKET PLACES ONLINE. THEY NEED TO GET THEIR ACT IN GEAR! HOWEVER, IF YOU READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, THE ONLY ENTITY THAT IS PROTECTED IS EBAY THEMSELVES. BOTH THE SELLER AND BUYER RISK EVERYTHING!
Broomstickbabe,. 2017. Price Hike On Item In Basket? [WWW Document], eBay Community. Available at: https://community.ebay.co.uk/t5/Buying-on-eBay/Price-hike-of-item-in-basket/qaq-p/6533578 (Accessed on 03.01.21).
eBay,. 2020. Shopping Basket FAQ [WWW Document], eBay. Available at: https://www.ebay.ie/pages/help/shopping-basket-faq.html (Accessed on 03.01.21).
Fedorenko, S,. 2019. Offers To Baskets Tool Set To Join eBay Seller Initiated Offer [WWW Document], Tamebay. Available at: https://tamebay.com/2019/05/3-new-ways-to-attract-shoppers-to-listings-ebay-seller-initiated-offer.html (Accessed on 03.01.21).