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Wed May 13 2009 08:49:10

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is requiring that buyers destroy items they believe are non-authentic according to the new eBay Purchase Protection Policy, as reported in today's AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter. But many questions remain over just how eBay will implement the policy and how it will protect sellers from unscrupulous or misinformed buyers.

For instance, under what circumstances would eBay instruct a buyer to destroy an item? (and how would eBay know if the item was authentic or not?)

Are there cases where eBay would instruct a buyer to destroy an item without having it authenticated?

Does this provision apply to all sellers? Or will eBay have agreements with certain trusted sellers so it is understood those sellers would not be subjected to this particular provision?

A doll-seller on eBay's discussion board raised another point - how will eBay define "authentic":

Authentic is not even defined! Does this apply only to fakes and reproductions? Or does "authentic" come into issue any time there is a dispute between the seller and buyer regarding the doll? If a seller sells a china doll as a "covered-wagon hairstyle" and the buyer claims it was instead a "flat top," does that mean the doll is not authentic?

Since eBay needs to train its customer service representatives on exactly how to implement the policy, it should have answers to these questions that can be readily shared with sellers, who are increasingly being forced to bear more risk in selling on eBay.

 




Comments (83) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Leslie

Wed May 13 09:40:10 2009

eBay has charted a course that will continue to drive good, ethical sellers to sell elsewhere. The vast majority of sellers on eBay are honest, ethical, and knowledgeable about the items they sell.  We are now subject to the whims of any buyer that decides that a free item would be nice. Simply claim an item is not authentic (whatever authentic means) check a box that says you've destroyed it, and keep the item; the seller is out the item, the money, and has (no doubt) acquired a black mark from eBay.

There is no way eBay can train reps to make an informed decision - the reps don't even know the policies that are in place now!  
The language say that they only need to "CLAIM"  an item is not authentic.  No proof or detail required.
This seller is looking for another venue before eBay puts me out of business.....

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: ebay=penny stock

Wed May 13 09:48:56 2009

Ebay is a cess pool of unregulated fraud and scammers. One wonders when the government might start investigating.

As for how is ebay going to decide what is real and what is not. Well I would think that the customer service in India and China might determine that as that is where most of the crap is produced.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Wed May 13 09:50:39 2009

I'm so happy I moved to GoAntiques! This ebay stuff is just entertainment for me now! I can't stop laughing at this one, though, it really takes the cake! ROFLMAO!! Honestly, folks, how much more plain can they make it? They are peeling of the sellers in layers, so the investors won't notice a dramatic drop.

I'm sure ebay board of directors want to make sure they get the best selling price for the ebay company when it goes up on the auction block, itself!

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Theresa

Wed May 13 10:08:02 2009

Just when I think eBay cannot stoop any lower, they prove me wrong.  After begging eBay for their blessing, they lifted my account restrictions regarding selling designer items.  So, I invested in some rather expensive items and now I think I need to have my head examined.

First of all, if any buyer wants to lie to eBay and state they bought a non-authentic from me, eBay will swiftly ban me from selling any designer items, leaving me holding expensive inventory.  This action would be based solely on the buyer's statement as no proof is required. As Griff stated, they will trust the buyer's statement.  This of course implies that all buyer's are honest and all seller's lie, regardless of their selling history.

If I understand this new policy correctly, I could now lose thousands of dollars on one sale.  For example, I sell an authentic designer dress for $2000.  The buyer lies and tells eBay it is not authentic.  eBay takes the buyer's word, advises them to destroy the dress and the funds are deducted from my account.  The buyer now has a free designer dress and I have nothing.

How can eBay continue this insanity?  I can promise you this - if eBay ever advises a buyer to destroy my authentic designer merchandise and touches one penny in my account, I will take legal action.

I think all sellers of designer items should stop listing on eBay immediately.  When they lose massive amounts of revenue, perhaps they will see the error of their ways.  Okay - that was a joke - a ridiculous fantasy on my part.  We all know eBay management is much too arrogant and stupid to admit they made a mistake......  



Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Jake

Wed May 13 10:15:41 2009

This is going to unleash a mountain of lawsuits...buyers who say they have destroyed genuine items instead of returning to the sellers are going to leave themselves wide open;whatever stupid ebay management say ...most buyers don't even know how to read..there will be many "well the $250 jeans looked fake"

What about EU/UK law which has distance selling regulations on returns?..or will this be a US only balls up

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: appbout

Wed May 13 10:17:52 2009

This is yet another example of eBay talking out of both sides of its mouth.

In Ina's article dated today, 5/13/09 titled ''eBay Fends off L'Oreal's Counterfeiting Lawsuit'', she writes, ''Retail Week covered the news and quoted eBay's head of trust and safety in the UK and Ireland Richard Ambrose stating that 99 percent of all items listed on eBay are genuine products''. (Since Mr. Ambrose did not specifically state he was referring to L'Oreal products, I took this to mean all items, not just L'Oreal products.)

If 99% of the items sold on eBay are genuine, then why bend over backwards to accomodate buyers and tell them to destroy the fake products?  Why set up sellers to be exposed to unscrupulous byers?  I bought on eBay for about 10 years and not once did I receive a non-genuine or even defective product.  As a seller, I was never accused of not selling genuine products but I had my fair share of unscrupulous buyers who got their money refunded by PayPal for untruths about what they received. Closed my store a month ago and do not plan on re-opening.

Ina--love your daily article, blogs and website.  Thanks for keeping us informed.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Ebay Pays My Bills

Wed May 13 10:39:54 2009

OK

Ebay's lost their mind over this one!

Example: I bought a 2007 Covette on Ebay. I think it's a fake.

Now where do we drive this one? LOL

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Pike

Wed May 13 10:52:04 2009

In the early days eBay stood on the bank of the stream and let the waters (buyer & seller transactions) flow.
Want to sell a gun? No problem.

Then the wading into the waters began.
First just a bit of silt was stirred up.
Now they have waded out up to their noses, and the water is so muddy that they couldn't find their way back to shore, even if they wanted to.

Come on in! The water is fine! LOL

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: shipping out

Wed May 13 11:13:54 2009

the scammers must be laughing their socks off

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: hahaha

Wed May 13 11:13:58 2009

What a coup for the enterprising crook!  A person can buy on ebay, claim the items are fake, get a full refund, and sell the items elsewhere.  I see a new cottage industry springing to life.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: ebay is dead, welcome to hell

Wed May 13 11:19:01 2009

@ appbout

Excellent point... I hope all of the sellers who will be filing suit against ebay are sure to cite that statement at the hearings.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Ray

Wed May 13 11:25:31 2009

eBay requiring buyers to destroy the items they receive......?

Interesting. This is obviously an attempt to circumvent the mail carrier's job.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Patricia

Wed May 13 11:36:22 2009

I see this as a desperation move on Ebay's part.  They're willing to sacrifice good sellers in order to try to keep the buyers who are leaving.  They simply do not understand these and other outrageous policies are what is causing them to lose customers - both buyers and sellers!

''* For covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, buyers are required to destroy an item if they claim it is not authentic. Once a buyer confirms destruction of the item, eBay will reimburse the buyer.''

''* For covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, sellers agree to not hold buyers or eBay responsible for the destruction of an item if it is not believed to be authentic.''

Say I want to sell grandma's Tiffany brooch - its genuine and has been in the family for years. I put it up on ebay and it sells. Well, it seems the buyer only needs to contact ebay and tell them the brooch is a fraud. Ebay says destroy it...the buyer ''destroys'' it by pinning it to her shirt. Then buyer says ''I destroyed it Ebay'' and Ebay then refunds the buyer's money and hits the seller with a bill for the refund! They've come a long long way from the old ''level playing field''.

I see it as allowing buyers to run rampant. Most are honest but the dishonest ones are going to have a shopping spree - all at the sellers' expense and under Ebay's protection. Anyone selling a name brand item is at risk under this new policy.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Shawn

Wed May 13 11:39:29 2009

"we assume, with the lack of any evidence to the contrary, that a buyer is honest"

So I guess it follows that they assume, with the lack of any evidence to the contrary, that a seller is dishonest.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Jim

Wed May 13 11:45:33 2009

The way to look at this is as a pure business decision.  First estimate the amount of fraud that will hit you, say 10%, then mark everything up 10% to cover the fraud, just like the retail stores cover shoplifting etc.

Second sell elsewhere.  

I am seeing some buyer attempt to extort partial refunds.  I am looking to other sites and marking up my goods to account for the losses.  

Also getting anger management counseling.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed May 13 11:46:29 2009

They aren't really going to enforce this policy are they?  This poorly conceived policy will ruin the ebay corporation.  It appears that the ebay corporation will allow buyers to determine what is 'authentic' without first requiring that the buyers have the documented expertise to actually make the judgement.  Where is the equity in that?  

Then to make matters worse, they trust buyers to destroy an item. Honor systems can work well, but only with honorable people.  I would say that the old ebay historically was populated with individuals who were generally honorable, but this is no longer true with the new ebay from my perspective. Far too many honest people no longer do business with the ebay corporation these days.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed May 13 11:59:43 2009

@Jim

You raised a good point.  The cost of most poor ebay policies ultimately winds up in the product prices and the ebay corporation has lost entire categories of goods because of this, IMO.  IMO, the ebay corporation has sinply priced itself out of the market for many goods because sellers have too much risk and too little reward on the site.

The other part is that a lot of shenanigans on ebay never make it to the formal system of reporting and are invisible to the ebay corporation because they don't actually show up in site statistics.  From my experience with the site, there is a lot of small scale extortion and chicanery - buyers pressure and coerce sellers off the record in large and small ways.  Many sellers just pay off the buyers  (especially in small scale extortion efforts) simply to get them out of their hair and no one files a report.  A dollar or two here and there and the stress associated with it adds up and is a tremendous burden to small businesses.  This type of rule will make the situation worse.  

IMO, policies impact sellers in an uneven way.  Smaller businesses are impacted differently than larger sellers.  Niche or specialty sellers are impacted by policies differently than general sellers.  IMO, the ebay corporation is losing a lot of niche sellers who have unique goods and small sellers who often provide superior service in favor of large, general sellers.  the problem with this is that you can get goods sold by large general sellers in many places - there is no value added to a buyer to get these items from ebay.

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: voodoo

Wed May 13 12:12:45 2009

Ebay is a joke, something to laugh about over breakfast.

Surprising how many idiots are still selling there and taking the abuse.

I would bet if your spouse abused you like this you would file a police report.

Wake Up Sellers

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: stampman.cowell

Wed May 13 12:20:13 2009

I am a stamp dealer and no amateur has the right to destroy what HE THINKS is a fake, unless he gets a certificate of authentication from a philatelic expert. I have a policy of 100% refund for unhappy clients - don't destroy the evidence. Send it back, you get a 100%refund + postage back, and I find out if it really is a fake. This is a licence for crooks to buy expensive items, say they are fakes, and then say they have destroyed them! No evidence - another free lunch for the dodgy E-bayer!
You do not get 100% feedback by trying to sell fakes! So I suggest buyers look closer at the feedback too before buying & we, as sellers would like more ''honesty'' in the buyer feedback as we can't say a word about them - Ebay are scared we might upset a few dishonest buyers!
John Cowell
Lincolnshire
UK

Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy   Questions over eBay's New Fakes Policy

by: Eddie

Wed May 13 12:30:38 2009

So, does this mean I can buy (on eBay) a nice 2 carat DIAMOND ring from an 'estate seller', receive it, take it to my local 'friendly jeweller' and swap out the stone for a CZ, then get it profesionally appraised, then scream FAKE to eBay, evidenced by the appraisal.

I will gladly crush the ring and send it to eBay or where ever, as I get not only my money back but get to keep the 2 carat diamond the ring originally contained !

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