Money & Banking

Fri, 14 Sep, 2018Danielle McCarthy

“Price jacking”: The brazen new way Aussies are being ripped off

 “Price jacking”: The brazen new way Aussies are being ripped off

A new report has revealed that eBay shoppers are being ripped off by a widespread pricing scam known as “price jacking”.

Price jacking involves sellers artificially inflating the original price of an item during a sale, to make it appear like shoppers are getting a decent saving.

However, consumers are instead being ripped off by the illegal practice.

Last week, Life Hacker revealed Allphones’s eBay store was recently advertising a 20 per cent off “sale” on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

The phone was listed as $1619.99, which is a $120 markup on the recommended retail price.

An eBay spokeswoman has since confirmed that the seller has been removed from eBay’s 20 per cent off tech promotion for being “in breach of our retail promotion terms and conditions”.

“We have measures in place to ensure sellers aren’t artificially inflating their pricing — specifically to benefit from the sale discount,” she said.

Many Aussie shoppers have since come forward, sharing their experiences of falling victim to fake online sales.

“Price jacking during discount promotions on eBay is common practice, eBay knows this ... and do nothing,” one reader claimed.

Speaking to, Queensland University of Technology retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer said the practice was unethical.

“You can’t advertise the price of a product that has never been sold at that full price,” he said.

“As a hypothetical example, you might have a rug retailer selling a rug and saying it was originally $500, but that the price has been slashed by 80 per cent.

“For that to be a legal ad, they must have sold at least some inventory at that original price point.”

He explained that shoppers could expect that some “rogue sellers” would “misconstrue the original price of items to indicate a bigger discount”.

“It’s certainly not done by any reputable retailer because it’s an illegal practice,” he said.

The eBay spokeswoman explained in a statement that eBay takes price jacking very seriously.

“All sellers who take part in our retail promotions are subject to contractual terms and conditions that prohibit the inflation of pricing to take advantage of discounts,” they said.

“We will continue to enforce these as part of our ongoing commitment to ensuring genuine value is offered by our sellers.

“We also offer Best Price Guarantee — our commitment to buyers that if they find a cheaper price on another site, we’ll not just match the price, we’ll beat it by five per cent.

“eBay is built around the idea that people are inherently good. We encourage our community of buyers and sellers to let us know if something doesn’t look right.”

Have you experienced price jacking online? Tell us about it in the comments below.