Man Selling EA's Humble Bundle On eBay Tells Kotaku: 'Business Is Business'

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.


Comments

    they're still bell-ends. both of em.

      Drop ship sales are the heart of ebay. Normal business no matter what the goods are.... example you see a good price for a nice high end camera on some electrical website. Then you list that camera with say $130+ added to it on ebay with regional shipping and stipulate a shipping time greater than the time it'd take you to order it yourself and mail it to them... depending on the item some people even list the delivery address of the client to the original seller and simply collect. People will do this with anything and everything both tiny and large value.

    I work with a bloke with the same name, brought it casually up in conversation to see how he would react, he had no idea who EA was haha.

      I wouldn't think there would be too many Michael4851's out in the real world. Are you sure he wasn't lying to you? :P

        Haha I was referring to Jazz Singh funny man xD

          i worked with a Jazz Singh too....... are ... are you me? It's not for a poly pipe company is it?

            I can only assume one of us has gone through a tear into the others reality (can you tell i've played Bioshock Infinite recently?). Nah, diesel engine company :]

    Wait, so someone is using EA's tactics against them? How amusing.

    Edit: I was referring to EA sometimes being a bit of a twat, and having particularly bad/dubious business practices (microtransactions, am I right?)

    Last edited 20/08/13 10:13 am

      EA's only tactic here was to put up a whole bunch of decent games for sale and give the entirety of the proceeds to charity. I'm unsure what you're referring to in this instance.

      This is why we can't have nice things.

      There's nothing wrong with microtransactions if they're not pay-to-win.

        I call bullshit to that on a full retail release. The temptation to create a grind must be overwhelming.

          DLC != Microtransactions.

            No one here thinks this is a ploy to get Origin on more computers? :P

              *raises hand*

              I did! That was the only reason I didn't buy a bundle (as tempted as I was xD) cbb getting Origin xD

      The Kotaku down-vote brigade has arrived! What a circle-jerk this place is.

    Don't hate the playa, hate the game.

    .... Nah, fuck 'em anyway.

    wow that michael ass hat posted keys publicly on the page in response to someone that didn't understand how to activate them...

    he also said "These keys need to be redeemed in steam" listing Battlefield 3... and the other ORIGIN games...

    so not only is he an arsehole... he's also a moron...

      He can replace the keys for $0.01 if he wants, what does he care?

        $1 is the minimum for Steam keys (I think it got changed from 1 cent a few Christmas' back when people were using the Humble Bundle to get coal for crafting.)

    If they don't own the product... then take money and go purchase the product to give to the person at an inflated price...

    That constitutes price fixing doesn't it? Or at least a variation of fraud?

      No it doesn't. You can sell anything to anyone for any price they are willing to pay. That's how an open market works.
      Price fixing is where you have 2 or more companies providing a product, usually something essential like fuel, power etc... and agree to all raise the prices. This basically removes competition from the market.

      What this guy is doing is basically scalping.

        Then there's the fact he doesn't own the product at the time of sale. Thats my main issue with it. Scalping is indeed the more accurate term, however this is akin to 'Hey... that bridge over there... wanna buy it?'

          This is actually pretty normal. Literally every time a store orders something in for you, they don't own it yet.

            More like buying a game from EB, than the guy in EB walking down to Big W to buy it and pocketing the difference.

              That's a poor comparison. First, businesses do this all the time - most small businesses buy their coke from Woolworth's because it's cheaper than buying direct from the supplier. Second, in the EB example that would be a breach of the employees contract. As it stands he is:

              - Selling you product X
              - Buying it from seller Y

              He doesn't owe either group anything in particularly other than the transaction he agreed with each party. The order is actually pretty much irrelevant as long as his obligations are met to each individually. This is something that is legal and is done all the time.

              The real question is whether he's meeting the terms and conditions as outlined by the Humble Bundle. While that's certainly an interesting question, its not necessarily an ethical one.

                Having done a lot of commercial kitchens I do find it hilarious just how meny small businesses buy from Woolworths than from Coke. You'd think Coke would wise up and sell it to them at a decent price rather than gouge them and send them to Woolies.

          Well you could look at it as someone placing an order.
          Does every ebay store have all the stock they claim to have? You place an order, they go make/buy/acquire the item and send it to you.
          This isn't much different than any other shop obtaining stock from a supplier or distributor.

          Your bridge analogy only works if the bridge is up for sale in the first place.... If the bridge is not up for sale and someone tries to sell it to you, that's fraud.
          If it is up for sale and you buy it from someone, they are obligated to give it to you. It's a contract of sale. If they don't own it yet, they have to go and get it in order to sell it on to you.
          There's nothing wrong with that, it's how most shops operate.

          A shop will buy product from a supplier or distributor, who buys it from the manufacturer. In some cases a shop may purchase directly from the manufacturer. You then go to a shop and buy it from them.
          In most cases once JB Hi-Fi have a TV on their shelves, they have paid for it, and then you pay more. The difference is the profit that the store makes.

          I once found an ad at a car dealer down the street from where my car was being fixed offering it for sale. I know my rather unique car, and it had my number plates uncensored. I went and attempted to purchase my own car from this guy. I made some calls to the before detailers (it had just been resprayed after being forced off the road, and through some barbed wire. Why I hate 4WDs) and told them what was up. I told them the buy price was $5000 more than what the dealer was attempting to sell it for.

          I even attempted to get a "test drive" of it these guys became desperate to buy it. Calling me to tell me the price was wrong and why the new higher price was justified. As the price they where being told kept going up they thought they where in a bidding war.

          He was doing a last minute desperate attempt to get the car when I walked in to pick it up. When he saw me he went ballistic accusing me of going behind his back and threatened to sue me. Until the guy who owned the shop stepped in and said I was the owner all along and asked what he was doing advertising a car for sale he didn't have a right to sell.

          Oh and the car yard shut down a little while after that seems the police investigation shut them down.

        No you can't. Look at all the drama over what Apple, Adobe & Microsoft are charging Australians compared to what they charge overseas. Same with how cheap Woolworths and Coles are selling some items, so people go out of the way to avoid shopping at more expensive places. Huge drama, with the Australian Government wanting them to increase prices.

          There may have been a drama, but there was never going to be an legal intervention unless their was demonstrable price fixing or they artificially reduced competition. Changing whatever you want to charge is pretty much a right as long as you don't actively limit competition.

    Technically they're not doing anything wrong. Doesn't mean they're not shitty people though.

      Technically they were, because the licensing and terms of the original Humble offer specifically prohibit reselling. If they could figure out which purchases were his, they could probably invalidate them.

    I didnt get a chance to do it last night but I have a bunch of origin keys. Maybe we put a 1 cent auction up using his images etc but inform people about the bundle. Any money the auction makes then goes to the bundle also???

    To be fair...
    "Every single cent of money raised by the bundle is supposed to go to various different charities, not the pockets of eBay auctioneers."
    This is not true.
    You can select whether the money goes to Humble, developers or charity. You could technically give all they money from your purchase to Humble and none to charity or the developers.... which makes Humble not much better than an ebay auctioneer...

    I'm not defending them, just pointing out a flaw in the article.

    Also, people have been making a profit off other stupid people since the dawn of time, this is no different.
    If someone want's to pay $10 for something that can be obtained for $1 just as easily, that's their problem.
    At the end of the day, Humble still makes a sale for everyone of these ebay sales, so charity isn't really missing out, someone is just making extra money by being the middle man. Perhaps there are regions where the Humble Bundle is not accessible? I'm not sure, just a thought.

      You can select whether the money goes to Humble, developers or charity. Not this one. Only options are charity and Humble tip. Devs/EA are taking nothing for this bundle.

        Well my point still stands, you can give all the money to the website and none to charity if you wanted to.

          The website which only organises events for charity.

            Giving humble your money means faster servers for my 114 Mbps connection ;)

        they're getting players and good PR though, it's done wonders for EA's image on gaming websites, and very likely got people playing at least one game/franchise they ordinarily wouldn't have. i would wager that whichever new recruit to their marketing department hatched the idea is in for a pay rise.

    Have you noticed the top contributor is G2A.com? This guy isn't the only one taking advantage of the charity sales. The total payments is still over $7mill

    The human race really amazes me , a company like EA actualy does a nice thing like thier humble bumbles. (THIS IS A BRILLIANT THING THEY ARE DOING CAUSE THEY DONT HAVE TO).

    And then some lame person takes the good thing and shows just how greed is sometimes not the big company.

      You truly can't be as naive as to think EA did this out of the goodness of their hearts, can you? Because if that was nothing other than sarcastic you truly need to get a check on reality.

    I don't get what kind of idiot would actually buy this from this guy's eBay auction? I mean he's selling it for $10 - you can just go to the humble site right now and buy it for half of that if you wanted.

      The kind of person who doesn't read kotaku, has never heard of humble bundle and saw a bunch games for a really cheap price

        But surely before buying something off eBay you'd at least do a google search for it to find out what it was and how much it was selling for elsewhere? It would come up pretty quickly there.

          I enjoy your optimistic assumption people are intelligent.

          hahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahhaha
          To be fair anybody who plays games would have a fair idea how much it costs them to buy a game. Or they would check the price at ozgameshop, jb hifi or eb games depending on where they get their games from. The moment they did that they would see this is a great deal and would want to grab it as quick as possible before somebody else bought it

            Really? ANYBODY who plays games? I think you're the one living in a bubble here, not the rest of humanity.

          Having seen several E-Bay auctions go well over RRP, no people who bid on E-Bay are idiots.

          I have a rule personally. Either it can not be available locally (as in my Suburb) or it has to be cheaper than buying it locally including postage.

          If it's a 3 hour drive to the only store that has it, which is only open while I'm at work. Screw it I'll just pay RRP and shipping.

      You'd be surprised how many people - even gamers - are unaware of the Humble Bundles. $10 for all those games is still an absolute steal, so you bet people will buy them.

    Well it is working for him - he has sold 15 already. So he has made a quick AU$75 (assuming the average HumbeBundle price is still $5 to give him the extra games).

    What a bunch of cock-forests.

    damn it. wish i thought of it first.

    I never heard of humble bundle before I seen the EA Facebook post few days ago.

    This article and the prior one annoys me but I guess if Mark S, is going to expose just a single person or maybe two now, why not do it for all?

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/6-Origin-Games-Dead-Space-3-Crysis-2-Medal-of-Honor-Mirrors-Edge-2-more-/111146860764?pt=AU_PC_Video_Games_Games&hash=item19e0de80dc&_uhb=1

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/PC-Origin-keys-Dead-Space-1-3-Crysis-2-Mirrors-Edge-Medal-of-Honor-Burnout/151104425101?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D261%26meid%3D689576922956947934%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D111146860764%26

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/6-PC-Game-Bundle-Dead-Space-1-3-Crysis-2-Medal-Of-Honor-Origin-Key-Codes/130969431611?rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D261%26meid%3D689798550857889762%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D5%26sd%3D111146860764%26

    Single Games

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Dead-Space-3-PC-Origin-Key-/121159667309?pt=AU_PC_Video_Games_Games&hash=item1c35adce6d&_uhb=1

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Burnout-Paradise-The-Ultimate-Box-PC-Steam-or-Origin-key-/251320611405?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item3a83e0324d&_uhb=1

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Mirrors-Edge-Steam-Key-/251320439182?pt=AU_PC_Video_Games_Games&hash=item3a83dd918e&_uhb=1

    And worse of this bloke is trying to profit 50 cents out of it.

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Deadspace-Dead-Space-3-Burnout-Crysis-2-MOH-Mirrors-Edge-Origin-Key-Pack-PC-/321188689936?pt=AU_Information_Products&hash=item4ac8567810&_uhb=1

    Don't get me started linking all the trading boards and steam profiles of people trying to scam/profit from this.

    Last edited 20/08/13 10:40 am

    >A man buys a painting at a charity auction.
    >resells it and makes a small profit
    > totes bad guy everyone omg how could he!

    This guy is no worse than people who administer ngo.

    If I had money to burn I'd set up the exact same auction but for $6 to underbid his, then donate the entire sum to the humble bundle charities.

    Ebay, where's that assbutt button we were talking about yesterday? We need that again.

    That's a thought though. What if you did "undercut" him and sell the bundle for a cheaper price? Or to blur the boundaries a bit more, what if you sold it for EXACTLY the same price you bought the bundle for (thereby netting you $0 profit)? Would that constitute as a good way to distribute the bundle?

    The most amazing thing about this bundle. It's tax deductible.

    Well I send a message to everybody who left feedback on his profile letting them know what they bought. Hopefully they will change their feedback now

      Seriously? Wow. What a waste of time!

    Nobody seems to have brought up the fact that this seller has the proof of purchase for the keys, and can have the keys withdrawn from his buyers when he takes it up with both Steam and Origin Support.

    If he's buying bundles on the average, even with the cut that eBay takes, he's still making just shy of $5 each time.

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