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"STROUD AUCTIONS is probably the mother of all crooked auction houses, not only in the UK but also in the world. They run their scams on multiple levels:
By starting the bidding at the supposedly secret "bidder's highest level"
Then collecting the price and shipping fee even when the purchased item has been smashed by their clumsy employees. This just happened to me. I was fortunate that my Credit Card company intervened and cancelled both charges (auction price and shipping) but buyers are at risk.