I have a strong suspicion that Gio has a number of internal accounts that they use to get the bid up to a certain point. This kind of thing would be frowned upon at e-bay, but this is Gio's own site. If they win a bike by setting a high maximum bid, there is really no loss to them. Its not like they would need to sell the bike to themselves. it would just go up for auction again.
Don't get me wrong, here. I could see right though this method myself in about 2 minutes, but I still decided to buy from the site. The price of the bike was still the best I had seen anywhere. By going about holding auctions in this way, Gio is merely setting a reserve bid at a level where they won't be losing money. From what I can see, there's nothing wrong with that at all. Even if stating that the auction is "no reserve" is a little dishonest, the buyer is still getting value for his or her money. Would I prefer to see the company sell their bikes at a set price? Sure, but that would put them into competition with their own retailers in such a way that the retailers wouldn't be able to compete. This way, the buyers who take the time and do their research get a good deal, the "thrill" of "winning" the auction, and the retailers can still have their retail prices.
"A little dishonest"?
It is completely
dishonest!! While I agree that the "final" bid prices on the giobikes "auctions" may be reasonable, their method for getting
those prices are completely and totally illegal! You cannot legally advertise a sale as an "auction", especially one with "no reserve" when you are shilling to artificially raise the prices! It's now no longer an "auction".
3.6 Shill Bidding. You are strictly prohibited from placing bids or causing bids to be placed on any Product for the purpose of artificially increasing or otherwise manipulating the bidding process on GIOBIKES.com or the bid price of any Product listed on the Site, or influencing user behavior on GIOBIKES.com.
That would suggest to me that no shilling to artificially inflate prices is allowed, no? If so, then why are THEY allowed to do it? The users "Ashaley" and "Tonym63" are automated bidders, there for the specific purpose of shilling the bid prices. For clear evidence of this, examine Google caches of the Giobikes auction pages from weeks/months ago - You'll see the SAME bidders bidding the SAME prices...
I'm going to do a little more research, but I strongly suspect that such blatant practices are completely illegal under Canada's false advertising laws.