A nearly $10 million eBay bid for a car made famous by "The Dukes of Hazzard" seems to have vanished faster than the Duke boys escaping from the sheriff.
The General Lee's owner — actor John Schneider, who played the blond heartthrob Bo Duke in the 1980s television series — is upset that the $9,900,500 winning bid appears to be a hoax. The bid set an eBay record last week.
Schneider plans to list his 1969 Dodge Charger with a bricks-and-mortar auction firm that strictly screens buyers, and may file a lawsuit against the bidder, said Allen Stockman, who runs the star's Agoura Hills estate and has sold scripts, memorabilia and other items on eBay for three years.
"If this guy was just doing it as a prank or to ruin someone else's chances, he deserves to be hit in the pocketbook," said Stockman, who gave the winning bidder a negative rating in eBay's feedback forum.
Schneider, 47, was at a promotion in Las Vegas and could not be reached for comment.
The winning bidder — identified on his eBay home page as William Fisher, or "fishbashr1" — did not return e-mails and did not answer the phone listed for his house in Laguna Hills.
Schneider's plight is the most recent fraudulent bidding episode at eBay.
In December, a Montreal man listed a 40-year-old acetate of "The Velvet Underground & Nico" by Andy Warhol. Bidding began at 99 cents, but after 10 days, 253 bids and numerous articles about the item in the media, the winning bid was $155,401. Within hours, the bid was determined to be a hoax and the item was relisted.
In March, bids on a gas grill said to be owned by Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez reached $99,999,999, the highest bid the Web site was technically capable of listing. EBay pulled the listing after the company couldn't verify the grill was owned by Ramirez.
EBay spokeswoman Catherine England said the company doesn't keep track of how many winning bidders renege.
"There are all sorts of reasons a transaction may fall through, and we have a claims process for both buyer and seller," England said.
When bidding escalated on the General Lee, a customer service agent called Stockman and recommended that he only accept pre-qualified bidders who could prove that they had secured financing. But Stockman said he didn't have the time for credit or background checks.