The first eBay seller to be prosecuted for bidding in his own auctions to boost the price of his goods has been ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work by a judge who also told him to pay £5,000 in fines and costs.
Minibus firm owner Paul Barrett was told by a judge at Bradford Crown Court he would have been facing a prison sentence if it had not been for his lack of previous convictions and the relatively small sums involved.
The court was told how the case, involving so-called shill bidding on eBay, was the first of its kind in the UK following the introduction of new legislation. The judge was told Trading Standards investigators discovered the 39-year-old used two logins — “paulthebusman” and “shanconpaul”.
He would advertise under one but put bids in using the other to boost the price.
The court heard his two eBay identities were set up using the same contact details and IP address.
The items involved included two Mercedes vehicles, a pie and pasty warmer and a Land Rover.