Yesterday we discovered that eBay user jazz_singh.88 was exploiting EA’s Humble Bundle for his own profit, buying multiple copies of the bundle at a low price, then selling them on eBay for over twice the price — essentially exploiting a charitable gesture by EA for his own profit.
After we informed eBay Australia, the auction was closed down, but now it seems as though a second auction has opened on eBay using the precise same method. The image, the words, the product: everything is precisely the same. Only the username has changed, and the region.
This time, instead of jazz_singh.88 it’s michael.4581 doing the selling and the auction is based in the UK instead of Australia but, allowing for exchange rates, the price is almost exactly the same: $10 Australian.
We contacted michael.4581, asking him if he was aware of what he was doing. We asked jazz_singh.88 the exact same question and didn’t receive a response. Michael.4581, however, messaged us back.
“[B]usiness is business,” he replied, “plus every time one is bought, I buy one of the humblebundle, which means more money is going to charity.”
Business may well be business, but the fact is both michael.4581 and jazz_singh.88 are exploiting customers, and acting against the spirit in which EA’s Humble Bundle was intended. Every single cent of money raised by the bundle is supposed to go to various different charities, not the pockets of eBay auctioneers.
eBay Australia agrees — while both of these auctions don’t necessarily go against eBay’s policies, it reserves the right to make a judgement call, which it did in jazz_singh.88’s case, by removing the auction.
“The resale of items purchased from charities is allowed on eBay,” eBay Australia said, in a statement sent to Kotaku yesterday. “But we do reserve the right to make judgement calls about them – for example we would hope that our members would not knowingly divert funds away from charities, and we wouldn’t allow listings that somehow suggest that the item for sale is still of benefit to a charity. We have taken many of those types of listings down in the past and will continue to do so moving forward.”
Perhaps the most alarming thing about this situation is the fact that both auctions are precisely the same in content and in product — meaning that either the same person is using multiple accounts, or the auction is part of a larger group attempting the same scam in multiple different regions.
We’ve contacted eBay for comment and will update when we receive a response.