Hot Wheels Mafia Fools eBay.If you collect Hot Wheels, read on.
I collect them too, with my kids.Well we did. I still have the original 16 from when I was 8. I was there when it all started. But once I got the kids into collecting them, the house filled quickly. In less then a year, between us the collection grew to well over 2500 cars from 68 - 200?. Not to mention track sets and accessories.
Like many of us, times are tougher, belts are tighter, and even collections seem pointless with the cost of food these days. ( Food costs way more, so we buy less and it vanishes quicker)
So I check eBay to see if anyone wanted Hot Wheels. And I could not believe my eyes. A red 1968 Custom Mustang, scratched, on auction, and the bids were over $800.00. Cords going for 700+, VW Buses going for 500+ Camaro's in crap condition going for 300+ . "I have these same cars". I break into a Daffy Duck routine..."I'm RicH....I'm RicH...I'm independently wealthy" I thought I found my "Bill Killer"
I had 11 '68 Mustangs in every color, in near mint condition. "These should fetch at least 1000.00 a piece"...I thought. The auction close for that red Mustang at $847.00 + Taxes and shipping.
So I search some more, and the market appeared sizzling hot. And this is as good as any time to make some good fast cash. With the collection I am sitting on, I'll be able to pay off some bills" I thought. The wife will love this." I finally figured out why it's always the guy, who has to sell his stuff first. Because we have the coolest stuff."
So the next day, I photograph, do up listings pages, and put up for auction 8 of my vintage Hot Wheels duplicates. ( More then one of, same color) to start raking in some of this cash being flung around for a 3 inch die-cast toy car.
Lets focus on one auction.
My loose 1968 Red on Red Custom Mustang, louvered rear window, near perfect condition, was up for a 7 day auction.
Within minutes of listing it, the bids started coming.
.......and then it stopped.
AND...there were 8 watchers.
"OK, Lots of time left, still lots of people who collect haven't seen it yet, this is money in the bag". Famous last quote.
The next morning, I check, and the Mustangs bidding still sits at 18.50.
And 4 new watchers. "But this can't be" I thought.
On the day of Auction End, the bidding had reached 32.00
In the last 5 seconds of the auction the selling price jumped to a whopping $37.80
The other 7 I had up for auction did not do any better. But worse.
Up for auction at the same time as my auction, was a Hot Wheels, Ice Blue Classic Cord, and the bids were over 600.00. At the same time my auction ended, mine also Ice Blue, and in much better condition then the 6 hundred dollar Cord, mine auctioned off for under 25.00. WTF?
I'm seeing Hot Heaps and Heavy Weights being auctioned for hundreds, and yet mine couldn't even break 50.00. I could not come up with a logical explanation. From what I really thought I would raise 500.00-700.00, I made $168.00. Packing and shipping my awesome cars was very painful.
So I tried again. I watched what was hot, and listed those same cars expecting similar results. You guessed it....not even close.
This made no sense.
So yes....I tried it again, and again, and again. Well I've managed to pay off a little bit of the interest, on a couple of bills. While I watch other guys pay off this months bills with one auction. And mine in way better condition and "hard to find" color supposedly, are selling for 1 tenth of what I am witnessing the same cars I have that are in in absolute junk condition. OK now I have to figure out what the heck is going on.
So I tried listing some "HTF-Rare-Near Minty-Vintage" Hot Wheels in the "Buy it Now" feature.
Just one Example of many:
1968 Aqua Custom Mustang, "HTF" in near perfect condition. I listed it for $350.00 Buy it Now or Best Offer.
The offers started pouring in, on each of the cars I listed. The highest offer was 35.00
A couple weeks passed when I noticed something. A pattern.
The offers I'd received, were coming from the same small group of guys. The same web names popped up a lot. On my watch lists. The same guys were also bidding.
"Many people don't know this but, as a seller, I have a cool feature in my store manager program, that allows me to click the persons name, and see everything that person bought from eBay, and from who they bought it from, along with their feedback. This is why the agencies also have eBay stores.
After doing the math, I discovered there was a small group of people, (11 so far) that had a monopoly on Hot Wheels under the radar of eBay. This was the perfect scam. And eBay does not suspect anything.
Here is the result of my observations.
If any member of this group wants a particular style or color or year of any Hot Wheels, (And most all other die-casts or collectibles) they put one up for auction. The other members of this group begin a bidding war for this toy. And keep bidding until it appears that these are hot and very sought after and selling for lots of money. During the auction, if any "outsider" begins to bid, the other members come to the rescue and out bid the "outsider" And the winning bidder never really has to pay, thanks to features on eBay, that allow shipping transactions to take place off site, and of coarse the magic"Mark as Paid" button. Change the lighting, angel and background in the photos and you can "Fake Sell" the same car over and over. I noticed this by following a little nick on the roof of a Camaro. That same car was in 3 different listings. Simultaneously.
That car is not really for sale. Its bait. To get you to list your "Minty Hard to Find, Rare color, Good Condition Die-Cast" and make you think you had some valuable toys and a chance at some serious pay dirt.. So you jump in, and its always the same 11 guys "Watching" your listing, and only 1 of them will bid on yours while the others are there to out bid any outside bidders. Just so it does not appear like a complete slaughter. And when I check the histories, the same guys getting my hot wheels for peanuts, are the same guys that are getting hundreds for their hot wheels. Some of which they should add Piece of shirt in their desc
6 weeks into this, I start getting these nasty messages from one of these guys in California, about my wrong and stupid desc
Under usual conditions, I ignore people like this, and blast them with my delete button, but this guy would not let up.
So I complained to eBay about this problem child, and I also threw the Hot Wheels scam I discovered, as a bonus. Guess what?
The group quickly changed their names and continued. I recognize their listings. Same cars, different backgrounds, lightings, angle of shooting. Also the Californian stopped bugging me. Great, I thought, let me liquidate in peace. A week goes by and that same idiot starts in with the nasty messages on my eBay mail. So I told him I was onto your little circle scam, that I identified 11 of them, and their scam.....and it went quiet. And the killer auctions stopped as well.
2 weeks later, they return, under different account names, but using the same crappy cars. You guys suck. I'm on to your scam. I will give you credit though. It was a perfect scam. Bait sellers with fake super auctions, and then buy low from the suckers who took the bait.
Then I started to wonder if this "Fake Bid War Auction could be possible in other area's of collecting. Fine Art, Dolls, Vintage Tools...etc...... YUP!
The crazy thing is, eBay still haven't figured it out. Even after I told them. Why?... They get paid from each transaction, fake or not. AND, this little scam is so huge and wide spread through almost every category on eBay, that it would be virtually impossible to stop it, without shutting down the site. And that just wont happen.
So just to warn all of you people thinking about selling your stuff on eBay, if you auction..."Set a Reserve" don't get short changed by one of these scum bag scamsters. And if you sell using "Buy it Now", good luck. eBay sales are way down, way down. The stress on the economy is effecting even eBay. Of coarse they won't admit it because that will scare off share holders and potential sellers. I'm sure eBay's accountants have made the call.....Houston? We have a problem.
Talking with only a few online sellers, the sales averages for each of them has dropped more then 50% just in 2012 alone. They have resorted to lowering prices to near loss, just to attract more buyers to their online store. 2013 looks to be even worse. I'm feeling the economical failure, you probably are too.
So if you plan to sell collectibles, do your research, and sell it, do not auction it. eBay will make more on your item, then you get through auctioning it. Be patient. The right buyer will come along, who is a real collector, and will buy your item for a fair price. And if you will sell your Hot Wheels, then get yourself a TOMART'S Hot Wheels Selling guide. ( Available on eBay) It will help you get a fair price.