Arizona Attorney General accuses 2 auction houses of deceptive bidding
PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a consumer fraud lawsuit on Wednesday against two Phoenix auction houses alleging them of deceiving online bidders.
Auction Nation and Auction Yard are accused of bidding in their own auctions by using shill bidders, falsely driving up the prices of items and collecting millions of dollars from real auction participants who were unaware of the manipulation.
The lawsuit alleges the companies continued their practices despite knowing about numerous consumer complaints and the Attorney General’s investigation.
“It’s time to bid farewell to disingenuous auctions that are deceiving Arizona consumers and send a message to the industry,” Brnovich said in a press release.
“Auction rules must be clearly stated and strictly adhered to, so all bidders are legitimate and competing on an even playing field.”
Users agreed to terms and conditions that noted the companies were not involved in the transactions between buyers and sellers.
The companies were also able to see bidders max bids on their websites, which could have factored into their scheme to drive up prices.
The lawsuit aims to get restitution for the consumers and both companies could face up to $10,000 in civil penalties for each violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.