Please stop the 44, 111, and 311 buyout scam.

    • Please stop the 44, 111, and 311 buyout scam.


      Problem
      The 44, 111, and 311 buyout scam is a type of deceptive pricing practice where the seller add an extra digit to their buyout price and hope the buyer won’t see it. They often choose 44, 111, and 311 as their buyout prices because common, uncommon, and rare cards in the auction house have a minimum buyout prices of 4, 11, and 31 platinum, which look like 44, 111, and 311. If you miss the extra digit, then you are paying an extra 40, 100, or 280 platinum. It works, for example:
      • Someone accidentally bought 2 copies of Mentor of the Wind for 111 platinum each on March 7, 2017.
      • Someone accidentally bought 6 copies of Mentor of Oakhenge for 111 platinum each on March 5, 2017.
      • Someone accidentally bought 1 copy of Glorious Pegasus for 101 platinum each on March 1, 2017.
      • Someone accidentally bought 2 or 3 copies of Wolsey Wabbit for 311 platinum each on December 17, 2016.
      Some examples date back further, which means this scam is at least several months old.




      Solutions
      This scam takes advantage of bad typography and the minimum platinum prices. I suggest Hex improves the typography, remove the minimum platinum prices, and/or punish the scammers. Solutions 1-3 are common typographic solutions and are very easy, while 4-5 are specific to Hex. These solutions are separate and complementary, which means you can implement any combination, and they are better together.
      1. Use a monospace font for numbers. All modern word processors and spreadsheets, like Microsoft Word and Excel, use a proportional font for text and a monospace font for numbers by default. Monospace fonts take the same space per character so the number of digits is more obvious.
      2. Align numbers to the right. All modern spreadsheets align numbers to the right by default. Hex’s auction house aligns numbers to the center for some reason.
      3. Put the current price and buyout price in separate columns. So we can easily sort by buyout prices too.
      4. Remove the minimum platinum prices, because they only help scammers and opportunists. People who know about them would check the gold price, and people who don’t would overestimate the platinum price. They are:
        • . . 3 for common
        • . 10 for uncommon
        • . 30 for rare
        • . 50 for legendary, and
        • 100 for promotional cards.
      5. Punish the scammers. Suspense or ban them from the auction house or the game. (Suspensions are less permanent than bans.) Pick whatever punishment is fair.
        • If Hex hasn’t tracked auction house sellers, then do it now. Take a snapshot of all auction house sellers now, and then you can decide whether and how to punish the scammers later. The sooner you take a snapshot, the less time scammers have to cancel their auctions and destroy the evidence.


      Updates
      March 17, 2017. Hex made the the auction house sort by lowest buyout by default in patch 1.0.5.039, which reduced most of the scam. It's a simpler version of solution #3. Thanks to Eraia, GobBluth, and Funktion's suggestion.

      The post was edited 4 times, last by Perandus ().

    • I definitely agree that these AH tactics are pretty shady. We've been told that the AH is being worked on, so I can only hope that these issues will be fixed. If the AH is heavily improved, then all of the issues of cheapest buyout, shady tactics, etc will incidentally be fixed.


      I know this has been belabored before but I among many others have been asking for this (so I'll write it again)

      1) Remove bidding - I don't know anyone who really appreciates this over just buyout
      2) Only allow a person to buyout the cheapest option (though show all the options in case people are trying to gauge price density)
      3) Allow for an ask system, so that people can quickly sell cards

      Alternatively, look at GW2 "trading post" for what seems to me to be one of the best implementations of a system I've seen.
    • Or if we want a much simpler short-term solution to this whole thing....

      default sort by lowest buyout.

      (Don't get me wrong, I would love a full AH redesign like Zed suggests, but in the meantime, can we please just get the default sort changed? Please?)
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • This sort of scam tactic is extremely common in EVE Online, the game with a true functioning economy.

      Players would routinely add extra digits because the sell values were in the billions or millions and that would sometimes screw someone out of 100 billion instead of 100 million because the seller claimed it was being sold for 100 million in chat. It's a lot easier to lose the money in EVE though since contracts can be linked in chat and one click purchased. One of the innovations to combat this that the developers came up with is ensuring that the written text summary of the value was present next to the value. So if your contract is for 4,100,000,000 then next to that it would say (4.1 billion) and players would immediately be able to recognize a scam.

      However, EVE deals with 10 digit numbers for prices. I don't see how anyone can fall for this scam when it's the difference between 2 and 3 digits (or in the screenshots, 4 digits). Buyer beware? Read the prices.
      "Do your homework."
    • Zantetsuken wrote:

      Buyer beware? Read the prices.
      On a whole I agree with you, and there is no valid reason to punish these people...

      but at the same time, Hex could make it a lot harder for people to scam each other and it would probably be good for the game long-term.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Eraia wrote:

      there is no valid reason to punish these people...
      Sure there is.

      If your game has a scammer-friendly policy, it will attract scammers. Is that really the community we want?

      There will always be new and innovative scams. If all you do is patch scams as they are discovered, the scammers will just move on to the next scam when it happens. There's no risk for taking advantage of the latest scam if the worst that can happen is that the scam will stop working.

      That's why to deter scammers, you need to punish them.
    • Mach wrote:

      Sure there is.

      If your game has a scammer-friendly policy, it will attract scammers. Is that really the community we want?

      There will always be new and innovative scams. If all you do is patch scams as they are discovered, the scammers will just move on to the next scam when it happens. There's no risk for taking advantage of the latest scam if the worst that can happen is that the scam will stop working.

      That's why to deter scammers, you need to punish them.
      The AH allows people to list items at whatever price they want.

      As long as that is the case, you cannot punish people for doing so.

      I definitely am in favour of punishing scammers, but you can't punish people for utilising the AH and choosing a listing price that is more expensive than the price an item is actually worth.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Eraia wrote:

      The AH allows people to list items at whatever price they want.

      As long as that is the case, you cannot punish people for doing so.

      I definitely am in favour of punishing scammers, but you can't punish people for utilising the AH and choosing a listing price that is more expensive than the price an item is actually worth.
      The chat system lets people say whatever they want. Are you going to argue that they can't punish people for anything said in chat?

      If you want a formal justification, see clause C5a of the ToS ("using or exploiting errors in design").
    • Mach wrote:

      Eraia wrote:

      The AH allows people to list items at whatever price they want.

      As long as that is the case, you cannot punish people for doing so.

      I definitely am in favour of punishing scammers, but you can't punish people for utilising the AH and choosing a listing price that is more expensive than the price an item is actually worth.
      The chat system lets people say whatever they want. Are you going to argue that they can't punish people for anything said in chat?
      If you want a formal justification, see clause C5a of the ToS ("using or exploiting errors in design").
      I am against scammers but if I list howling brave for 111 instead of 11 should I be punished? My answer is hell no, because you cant tell whether I accidently clicked an extra 1. Even if I did this repeatedly, I have a real tough time with the game being able to read my mind and say I am a scammer and not just greedy.

      I sure as hell dont do that stuff, but I would be extraordinarily surprised if it was punished.
    • Y'know I was thinking about making a thread about this earlier this week when they made the currency selling PSA. Something absolutely needs to be done about this. There was a point in the past where this became pretty rampant, I remember that Phenteo was CM at the time and was gathering listings which seemed to make a difference. This is becoming pretty widespread again, can we light the @Dinotropia signal so that we can be saved?

      That said, being reactive to this is not as ideal as being proactive about it. If adjustments can be made in client to stifle this type of thing it would be huge. If I'm not mistaken, when this was originally an issue is the same period where we got the "cheapest only" button. Now that the button is broken we're left hanging again.
    • Pandaemonium wrote:

      I am against scammers but if I list howling brave for 111 instead of 11 should I be punished? My answer is hell no, because you cant tell whether I accidently clicked an extra 1. Even if I did this repeatedly, I have a real tough time with the game being able to read my mind and say I am a scammer and not just greedy.
      I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt if there's a reasonable possibility they weren't intending to scam.

      But if your standard is absolute certainty, you're effectively never going to punish scammers...or other rulebreakers. That amounts to giving a green light for scams and other behavior which harms the game.
    • Mach wrote:

      Pandaemonium wrote:

      I am against scammers but if I list howling brave for 111 instead of 11 should I be punished? My answer is hell no, because you cant tell whether I accidently clicked an extra 1. Even if I did this repeatedly, I have a real tough time with the game being able to read my mind and say I am a scammer and not just greedy.
      I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt if there's a reasonable possibility they weren't intending to scam.
      But if your standard is absolute certainty, you're effectively never going to punish scammers...or other rulebreakers. That amounts to giving a green light for scams and other behavior which harms the game.
      But would it not be better for us to just remove the functionality that ENABLES the scam rather than having to wait until people scam and punishing them?

      I mean, how many people ACTUALLY frequently WANT it sorted by lowest bid most of the time? Everyone I've ever talked to immediately sorts by lowest buyout. And sorting by lowest buyout makes those 311/111/44/etc. bides appear far down the list unless they're the only people listing the item in which case it's most likely not actually scamming.

      If it was sorted by lowest buyout by default, the majority of players would never SEE the attempts to scam them and thus we remove the power of the scammers.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • Eraia wrote:

      But would it not be better for us to just remove the functionality that ENABLES the scam rather than having to wait until people scam and punishing them?
      Of course they should fix the client so the scam is impossible. But there will always be new scams which pop up - take a look at any game with a large, thriving economy if you doubt me. And as we know, patching takes time.

      That's why if you want to stop scammers, you need a two-pronged strategy. You need to both fix the bugs/design flaws which allow scams and punish the people who exploit them before they can get fixed.
    • As dumb as it sounds the AH is a free market system. I can put a card up for whatever price I want. Things get super weird when Hex controls how I put things up in the AH.

      If nothing else I dont want hex wasting man power or resources trying to figure out if the guy who is putting cards up for 1111 is a scammer or not. Obviously better to just have the AH automatically sort by cheapest buyout.
    • Quoted from another thread I jsut happened to read, but the coincidence is amazing and couldn't pass the chance (Sorry @Transience for draggin you here)

      Transience wrote:

      You have to actually look at it to notice though.

      Yeeeeaaa... mhm... That sums up posts like the OP's real good.

      Also using the tag "Scam" should be enough reason to report this thread (which I would, if this was another forum and we were talking about legal stuff). It's not a scam.
    • I totally agree that it is a poor strategy to push blame onto people exploiting others lack of judgement and meticulousness. It is not technically a scam if people actually read what they are agreeing to...

      However, I also am not in support of people Intentionally abusing a lame tactic to exploit others. Sure, it's not technically illegal to do it, but it doesn't make them a good person for it, and it doesn't make it right. It feels like a grey area serious enough to make examples out of others for gouging attempts. (when i said ban earlier, i meant temporary - or slightly longer-term from AH)

      We aren't allowed to publicly shame others in the community for example, as a forums courtesy rule. I get it, but when it comes to people doing this, I'd love to know who it was. I'd love to filter out sellers from the AH. People with notable bad history that I don't want plat going to ever. But we will never get that transparency, nor is it needed, if people would just stop being ass hats.
    • Since I started playing this game more than two years ago I have seen many similar threads. The answer has always been to change the default sorting to lowest buyout. The fact they haven't made that change after YEARS remains the most confusing decision Hex has made.

      Yes, buyers should beware. But if such a simple fix could solve all these problems why not make it.
    • Mach wrote:

      But there will always be new scams which pop up - take a look at any game with a large, thriving economy if you doubt me
      In the end, I would much rather save Hex's manpower for real scams, not these petty opportunists... people doing this are certainly not the nicest people in the world, but they're hardly worth Hex's effort to investigate and punish.

      I look at it this way:

      If a simple quality of life change that makes things better for everyone will ALSO disable the 'scam', and the scam is minor like this one(I really hesitate to call this a scam personally, but even thus)... why not just fix the reason it is possible rather than going to all the effort of investigating every person who has ever posted something at 111 plat to see if they might be an undesirable element.
      Gamer. Streamer. Photographer. Writer. Anime Lover. Possessor of Stuffed Animals.

      Also... I'm terrible at this game.
    • NicoSharp wrote:

      I totally agree that it is a poor strategy to push blame onto people exploiting others lack of judgement and meticulousness. It is not technically a scam if people actually read what they are agreeing to...

      However, I also am not in support of people Intentionally abusing a lame tactic to exploit others. Sure, it's not technically illegal to do it, but it doesn't make them a good person for it, and it doesn't make it right. It feels like a grey area serious enough to make examples out of others for gouging attempts. (when i said ban earlier, i meant temporary - or slightly longer-term from AH)

      We aren't allowed to publicly shame others in the community for example, as a forums courtesy rule. I get it, but when it comes to people doing this, I'd love to know who it was. I'd love to filter out sellers from the AH. People with notable bad history that I don't want plat going to ever. But we will never get that transparency, nor is it needed, if people would just stop being ass hats.
      This so many times over. Like sure you can parse out whether scam is the right thing to call it or whatever, but that's not the point at all... this is only ever a negative experience for the buyer and there's no argument there.

      -Having the auctions default sorted by lowest buyout would be a HUGE leap forward and it seems to me like that is low hanging fruit. This should be a priority and should be getting worked on right now since there are other issues with the AH that need to be resolved.
      -Even if they don't show you the name of the person, being able to right click on an auction like this and say "don't ever show me auctions by this user" is something that I would absolutely use, and is some nice justice.

      The final point I'll make is that even if the buyer can take the time to look at a auction and see that it is clearly a scam and not fall for it, it is still a scam. Scams work because sure there are people that don't fall for it, but there are plenty of people that do (I feel guilty watching suburban Cubs fans fall for the shell game over and over outside my apartment). Importantly, EVEN FOR THE PEOPLE THAT DON'T FALL FOR IT, those players are forced to spend extra time / thought scanning the auctions so that they don't fall for the scams... this takes away from their enjoyment of the game.

      There's zero reason to push the blame onto the buyers that they should have been more observant. This can be fixed, this SHOULD be fixed and there should be punishment without any sort of warning to accounts that are found doing this on a large scale. It isn't a matter of this taking away from dev time as someone pointed out earlier, run a query for buyouts posted at the commonly abused numbers and if particular accounts are popping up frequently then there you go.