Live

Watch CBSN Live

eBay's Growing Pains

Scott Wilson lives the saying that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

His friend rescued "Fred," a mounted deer head, from a garbage pile in Boston. He could sell it at a flea market for a few bucks, but if he auctions it off on the Internet, he could make a lot more.

Wilson said he could get "probably upwards of $120 because those antlers look pretty nice."

eBay is the largest auction house on the Internet, offering up nearly two million items every day, reports CBS News Correspondent Stephanie Lambidakis.

Unlike a traditional auction, where you examine what you're buying, online users look at pictures and email their bids.

Buyers and sellers can remain almost anonymous. That near-anonymity is drawing criminals to eBay as well.

People have begun selling illegal items, including automatic weapons, endangered species, and drugs. Several investigations are under way.

eBay says it is doing what it can to shut down the black market. It has banned all sales of firearms because it couldn't make sure customers were obeying gun laws.

"More and more people were selling automatic weapons, commodity firearms, and that is really not what eBay is about," said Steve Westly, senior vice president of marketing for eBay.

eBay started out with a simple idea -- to sell someone's Pez collection. But as it grew, so did its problems. Customers complain they have been ripped off in schemes such as phony bids, fake goods, and sellers who never deliver once the money is paid.

But eBay's problems aren't likely to stop junkies like Scott Wilson. He's going to put the entire contents of his house up for auction, and he's betting there will be plenty of honest takers waiting online.

©1999, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue