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eBay Rolls out Authentication, Escrow, and Fee Breaks for Luxury Watches

eBay Rolls out Authentication, Escrow, and Fee Breaks for Luxury Watches

eBay announced changes to the luxury watch category to appeal to buyers, announcing authentication and escrow services for high-priced watches. eBay pays for authentication on eligible items, while buyers who choose to use escrow must pay for it.

eBay is also appealing to sellers of high-end timepieces with fee discounts, but only for those who are registered for eBay managed payments.

eBay had signaled earlier in the year that it was open to changing its one-size-fits-all approach to categories given the breadth of goods for sale on its marketplace. It has seen its sneaker category under attack with the launch and rise of StockX (now led by the former head of eBay’s marketplace, Scott Cutler) and may be hoping to stave off similar threats.

In today’s announcement, eBay said it ran “one of the largest luxury watch marketplaces in the world” and hosts the “largest inventories of new, vintage and pre-owned contemporary and fine watches in the world — including brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and Panerai.”

Nearly eighty thousand new, pre-owned, and vintage watches will sport the new Authenticity Guarantee badge on eBay.com/LuxuryWatches.

Highlights of Tuesday’s announcements include the following:

  • eBay is reducing seller fees by as much as 35% for active managed payments sellers on watches sold over $1,000.
  • eBay is reducing seller fees by 30% for sellers who are registered but not yet active in managed payment on watches sold over $2,000.
  • The selling fee discounts apply to auction and fixed price listings on the US site, with details to follow on September 9th.
  • Shoppers must look for the “Authenticity Guarantee” badge that indicates a watch’s eligibility. “After purchase and before being shipped to the customer, the piece is routed to a third-party authenticator for thorough assessment. Once verified, it is then shipped via expedited, two-day shipping from the authenticator facility to the customer with signature confirmation upon delivery. eBay covers the cost of authentication, as well as the two-day, secure shipping from the third-party authenticator facility to the buyer.” eBay pointed out, “authentication services are provided independent of the brands sold on eBay.com”
  • Note that in the Authenticity Guarantee terms of use, eBay states sellers are responsible and must pay for shipping their eligible sold items to the authenticator, including appropriate insurance coverage.
  • Note that in the Authenticity Guarantee terms of use, eBay states, “You acknowledge and agree that if the third party authenticator detects fraud or suspects that an item is counterfeit, the item will be confiscated and not recirculated in the marketplace – neither buyer or seller will receive the item; in addition, eBay will work with the proper authorities as needed.”
  • Buyers can choose to use escrow on watches sold for $10,000 or more in partnership with Escrow.com. “Escrow.com facilitates transactions by keeping the payment in a secure escrow account which is only released when all of the terms of an agreement are met. The buyer will have seven days to inspect and examine the watch, before accepting the item. Once accepted, or if the seven-day inspection period has passed, returns will not be available. For sellers, there is no risk of charge-backs or escrow processing fees.”

eBay also launched eBay Channels, a new “content-led experience” on the latest versions of eBay’s iOS and Android apps. “The new experience’s feed includes relevant articles, curated inventory, and spotlights top sellers in the field.”

eBay released the following statistics on luxury-watch sales on its marketplace:

  • eBay sold over 2 million watches in 2019 with nearly 8 million watches sold over the past three years.
  • 54% of eBay’s watches vertical is comprised of pre-owned inventory, and there has been over a 60% increase for pre-owned in eBay’s watch category from 2019 – August 2020.
  • There are over 165,000 daily live listings on average for luxury watches, and since 2019, there has been a 10% increase in average daily live listings for luxury watches
  • Rolex accounts for 40% of luxury watch sales on eBay, and since 2019, Rolex sales have increased 60% on eBay’s marketplace.

You can find the full press release on the eBay corporate website.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

5 thoughts on “eBay Rolls out Authentication, Escrow, and Fee Breaks for Luxury Watches”

  1. “eBay pays for authentication on eligible items, while buyers who choose to use escrow must pay for it.”

    ebay pays for authentication? lol sure they will

    maybe they finally found something for the grifter to do.

  2. @ RL15

    The Grifter will just claim that the watches are all counterfeits and tell the buyers to keep them AND force the sellers to refund. It’s the eBay way.

  3. I am a vintage watch collector and this whole thing is giving me nightmares as both a buyer and seller.

    Here’s a buyer scenario that gets incredibly complicated with the introduction of the eBay middleman:

    Deal of a lifetime watch appears as a BIN and I grab it right as it goes up, before anyone else sees it, ’cause it’s a steal. The not-very-experienced seller claims it has an original dial, but the dial is a refinish. I don’t care, because the watch is so rare, or I have an original dial I can use to restore the watch.

    What happens to my bargain-of-a-lifetime when the deal is cancelled by the authenticator for being listed incorrectly as an original dial watch? Doesn’t look like there is any way for the buyer to be in touch with the authenticator to re-affirm the sale if they find an issue with the watch. So eBay authenticator gets into the middle of my fabulous deal and ruins it by cancelling the sale for authentication reasons.

    That’s just one scenario. I also notice that eBay hasn’t figured out that watch *LOTS* that are above $2000 should not have this authentication service. There is a listing currently up of hundreds of crap watches (quartz, non-running, non-collectible) that has this stupid authenticity guarantee just because it is in the watch category and is listed for above $2000. Sure, the authenticator is going to go through hundreds of Fossil and Swatch and mall watches to guarantee them. [Rolls eyes.]

    Finally, does anyone remember how poorly the eBay vintage handbags authenticity program went? I seem to recall nightmare stories of eBay confiscating totally legit bags, incorrectly claiming they were counterfeit because the authenticators were not properly experienced.

    I am not looking forward to any of this. . . .

  4. The ONLY question for me would be (since Id never sell anything with that high of a price on eBay) DO YOU TRUST EBAY AND ITS AUTHENTICATORS ?

    I know I dont.

    eBay breaks every single rule (law) that it can – and Im supposed to trust them?

    eBay (in our LAST entanglement) told me last time round “we dont care what the law says (US trade agreement that the US was NOT part of) …if party XXXX (skipping their name) SAID so and thats enough – despite “black and white letter law”.

    And thats NOT the only time.

    Ask eBay (if you can, about verowatch.com and the scam they pulled – to kick legit sellers off eBay because a brand they were trying to get onboard with a Platinum level store told them too) see if that flies with the Walmart idiot). That scenario was coercion at its best – and there was ZERO proof that any of the effected sellers had fake goods – zero.

    You trust eBay to “authenticate” stuff? Does anyone remember the violin episode?

    eBay cant even rid itself of the obvious fake goods they have now on site.

    Theres no fool like an old fool – trust eBay at your own peril!

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