3.24.2010

Where's 'Hitman" And His Car? (Updated 12:36 PM MST)


The ChallengerTalk Forums have been on a rollercoaster ride the past week: Outrage over a member named "Hitman" being denied the keys to a 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 after a $29,100 winning bid on eBay was disputed by Southern California dealer Glenn E. Thomas Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep....support for "Hitman" when it was announced that he and the dealer were going to sit down face to face last Friday after eBay announced there was no technical glitch, as the dealer had claimed.....and celebration when, just after 7:00 AM PST Sunday morning, "Hitman" posted the news that the dealership "honored the $29.1K auction", along with a photo that showed a key with a Glenn E. Thomas fob atop a Challenger brochure and a handwritten note reading "YES!"

One more post, three hours later...saying he was going to take it easy, read the owner's manual...and since then...silence. At least from "Hitman".  No more posts, no more photos.

From members of the forums? Well, a growing number of posters are questioning whether things are as they seem.  They don't really know "Hitman" (he'd only made two posts on the forum prior to starting the thread about his having won the auction on March 13).

An examination of the bidding record for the auction raises some questions, too. 15 bids were made for the SRT-8, by only 5 bidders.

March 12, a single bidder made 10 bids, ranging from $22,000 to $29,000, with no competing bids in between, in a four and a half hour period. These appear to be automatic bids.

And then comes "Hitman" (or so we're told, since eBay keeps actual bidder IDs confidential by assigning an anonymous bidder name)...who makes his one and only bid of $29,100.

But unless there's a glitch with eBay time stamps, that's weird, too...because the $29,100 bid is shown as having been made at 08:54:13 PST...and the 10-bid streak described above didn't start until 11:00:25 PST...more than two hours later. Which means "Hitman" chose $29,100 as his bid when the standing high bid was $20,100.

A last-moment hail-mary to shut out the competition? Maybe. Except "Hitman"'s winning bid was more than five hours before the auction closed. And eBay says automatic bidders' maximum bids are kept confidential from other bidders.

Open up "Hitman"'s bidding history and you'll find he's no power bidder. He's been involved in exactly four eBay auctions...and the Challenger SRT-8 is the only one where he had the winning bid.

Hey, it could be that "Hitman" is just out enjoying the SRT-8...but his friends in the Challenger community are beginning to wonder if they've been had.

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