Ebay scraps app feature offering a “sat nav service for thieves”


EBAY has scrapped a feature which let buyers zoom into the precise location of items for sale – after angry claims it offered a “sat nav service for thieves”.

Sellers of collection-only items such as motorbikes were shocked that the mobile app let buyers zoom in to their homes.

Ebay was warned that the feature would guide thieves to the precise location of car and bikes worth thousands of pounds.

Within hours, Ebay announced that it was fixing the location function to stop buyers pinpointing the location of valuable items for sale.

A spokesman for the selling giant said: “We are listening to customers and investigating a change in this process so that full postcodes are not visible.”

The changes are believed to already taking effect and some of the locations on motorbikes and cars have already started being changed.

The location service previously showed the postcode of the seller.

The adjustment will mean the locater now only goes to a random point in a broader area, rather than a specific postcode and house.

The function came to light on Saturday when vehicle page, Piston Addictz, issued a warning on Facebook.

They wrote: “Sellers on eBay beware! eBay are now giving out full postcodes and pin dropping your location when listing a vehicle for sale!”

Dozens of followers left comments, shocked at the discovery.

Jack Trimmis wrote: “I thought it was just dealers but I’ve just checked a friends and and it genuinely does show it for private sellers too!”

Phil Shaw said: “Well done eBay, show all the car thieves where our cars will be!”

Declan Rogers wrote: “eBay needs to change that sh** immediately.”

Karl Batts said: “Genius move #b*ends.”

And Dean Spence wrote: “Very bad idea this.”

When viewing a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, priced at £17,300, the app showed the “collection in person” area as Bracknell.

But when users click on “Bracknell”, they were then able to zoom right in to show the precise postcode, starting RG12, and then able to see where the buyer’s house is.

A separate search of a Suzuki motorcycle, priced at £850, listed the area as Ipswich but when clicking on the location, the postcode and quiet street where the item was being sold at is shown.

Last year statistics from the Office for National Statistics showed that car and motorcycle theft was on the rise.

There were almost 358,000 reported instances of thefts from or of a motor vehicle in 2014 alone – with at least 30,000 reports going uninvestigated.

Since then, the number of cars being stolen has risen by a staggering 30 per cent.

The Home Office predicted a total of 30,000 motorbikes would go missing last year.

Priced on average £3,000 per machine, that equates to more than £50 million pounds in value.

Shocking videos have emerged recently showing brazen bike thieves stealing motorcycles in broad daylight while being filmed by members of the public.

One clip last month showed a group of thugs trying to steal a £6,500 bike from a resident in Carshalton, London – who was shouting and filming them as they attempted the robbery.

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