Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

A well-known Belleek specialist recently contacted the Antiques Trade Gazette to relate her experiences as the underbidder of a First Period Belleek figure of a lady with a pink carnation.

Her final bid of $4200 had left her second-best in the competition for the rare figure so she was intrigued to receive an email (purportedly from the seller) stating that the transaction had fallen through.

“The high bidder had some problems finding the money for the item so we are not going to make the deal anymore,” said the message. “If you are still interested with my item please email me because you have the opportunity to buy this item at your bid price of $4200.”

It was suggested that the payment be completed through eBay's Second Chance Offer program that aims to unite seller and underbidder in cases when the ‘buyer’ pulls out.

Knowledge of an eBay user’s bidding history is publicly available on eBay and it is possible to email someone through the site without knowing their private email address.

Less technically-savvy Net users have lost out through the scam but on this occasion the underbidder was well acquainted with the buyer and had discussed the purchase after the auction had ended.

She was well aware that the highest bidder wanted to complete the transaction. Suspicions were confirmed by the fraudster’s yahoo.co.uk email address. The item was listed by a US-based seller.

Ebay were slow in responding to the alert but replied later as follows: “The message you received is fraudulent and is not from eBay's Second Chance Offer program.

“Any transaction that does not involve using the ‘Bid now’ or ‘Buy it now’ buttons on eBay is considered an off-site transaction. We reviewed your report and found that although the message you received was made to appear as if it had been sent by an eBay user, it was not.”