first off, thank you to a few guildies and friends of mine for scoring an enchanted lantern for me. *hearts* secondly... well, how about a short story to start?
i heard about this only after the fact. a couple other guildmates were in the process of acquiring an enchanted lantern for me, but due to a botter on the neutral AH, they lost the pet and the gold spent to get it. (thank you, nonetheless for trying! *hearts*)
after hearing about this, i feel it's necessary to warn others about the potential risk in using the neutral auction house for transferring faction pets back and forth.
let's face it: bots exist. everywhere in the game, someone is using a program to exploit the game or find a way to make it easier on themselves to do mundane or profitable tasks.
the neutral auction house is no exception. it's a prime target for botters since many will use it to transfer items from one faction to another, and in most cases, often place their items for low prices to avoid spending a lot of gold. most botters and bot programs are set to scan for cheap and low prices since many players and alts use the neutral AH to avoid spending an arm and a leg on opposing faction items. if a bot has caught onto a low price item, it will likely snatch it up before you can even hit "refresh search" for said item. and once the item is bought out, it's gone. whoever the bot belongs to will be free to do whatever they will with the item.
it's unfortunate, deceitful, and unfair, but there's really not much we can do about it other than report the issue to a GM. there's no absolute proof, so whether or not they take any action after that, it's really hard to say. and as sad as it is, i have yet to hear of a GM actually restoring an item stolen by a botter, even if it is a true and legitimate botting situation.
so does this mean everyone should avoid the neutral auction house like the plague? absolutely not. there are a couple precautions you can take to make the neutral AH slightly safer for you and your pets.
a good way to check if the bots are active on any given day is to "test the water" so to speak. how to do this is fairly simple. gather up a few items of varying quality level (grey vendor trash, white common, green uncommon, etc.) that you either don't want or won't be sad to part with/send off to the opposing faction. next put it up on the neutral AH for a low price, say 1 to 5 gold. do a search for the item you just placed on the neutral AH and if it's still there after a few minutes, move onto the next item you have. i suggest doing this multiple times while increasing the quality of item after each test as some bots can be programmed to search for only uncommon or higher items.
after you've put up a satisfactory number of listed items without having them bought out instantaneously, you can then proceed to place your intended pet up. i would still be very careful, though, and coordinate with a partner to buy it out as quickly as possible.
if this is still a bit too risky for you, another trick to avoid the bot programs is to place a companion on the neutral AH for a high price. it doesn't have to be something drastic like 10,000 gold, but something more than what most would consider in the realm of "swapping" or "trading" faction items.
my guildies who were successful in obtaining an enchanted lantern for me used both of these methods to get the horde enchanting pet across. first they tested to see if there were any bots buying cheap things out quickly, and after it was apparent that either the bots were not present that day or preoccupied with other auctions, they placed the pet up for 101 gold.
keep in mind that none of the above is foolproof and botters can and will find ways to ruin a useful tool such as the neutral AH. be aware of the risks and take some precautions. test the neutral AH first before setting up your companion on it. place some miscellaneous items of different quality for cheap and low prices to see if they are instantly bought out. if they are, there's a high chance that a bot program is active and you should stay clear of the neutral auction house for a while. additionally, to lessen the risk even more, you can place your pet up for a higher than normal "trading" price to fly under a bot's radar. lastly, make sure you coordinate well with someone that you can trust.
good luck to everyone seeking to trade an opposing faction pet, and i hope you never meet the fate of running into one of these bot programs on any auction house.