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Thu May 14 2009 22:15:57

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has revised a controversial new policy that required buyers to destroy items they believed were non-authentic. As reported in AuctionBytes Newsflash on Wednesday, the new eBay Purchase Protection Policy stated that: "When buyers file a claim alleging that the item is not authentic, we require the buyer to destroy the item. Once a buyer confirms destruction of the item, we will reimburse the buyer or provide an eBay coupon."

Late today, eBay came out with an announcement that it is now requiring that sellers give assurances to buyers concerned about authenticity, and, if they are still not satisfied, buyers must return the items to the sellers. However, the seller may not relist that item on any eBay site, and it appears the seller may also get a strike on their record. And there are still some circumstances in which eBay would require the buyer to destroy an item.

eBay has been researching answers to my questions about the Purchase Protection Policy I sent early this week, including whether the original provision applied to all sellers, and whether there were cases where eBay would instruct a buyer to destroy an item without having it authenticated.

This evening, after eBay announced the revisions on the Announcement Board, eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski told me, "Ina, you raised questions, and we looked at them very seriously, and realized, I think, after examining the policy very closely, that revisions were in order to ensure that the policy was, in effect, providing an equitable solution to protecting our sellers - to protecting sellers and buyers."  

I'm waiting to hear back on several follow-up questions, including under what circumstances eBay would request the destruction of the item by an authorized third party, and who that third party is;

And whether a dispute over authentication would mean the seller gets a strike - In the Announcement Board post, it says, "Covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded will count as a violation by the seller of our prohibited and infringing items policy."

Why did eBay come out with the original policy in the first place? I heard from sellers there was "quite a stink" raised after our article exposed the policy, particularly by those selling on consignment who could ill afford to have authentic items that did not belong to them destroyed! I think eBay heard loud and clear that the "destroy policy" was untenable and would force some sellers off the site.

I will be publishing more on this policy as information becomes available.

eBay Announcement

Revised User Agreement

eBay's New Policy Instructs Buyers to Destroy Fakes - AuctionBytes Newsflash, May 13, 2009







Comments (95) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: JoeS

Thu May 14 23:10:31 2009

You would think a company of this size would closely examine this policy BEFORE it is released and NOT after the fact. Just more of the same little thought out policies. They couldn't spin this one as it was just too insane to implement with the potential abuse.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Patricia

Thu May 14 23:20:19 2009

"This evening, after eBay announced the revisions on the Announcement Board, eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski told me, "Ina, you raised questions, and we looked at them very seriously, and realized, I think, after examining the policy very closely, that revisions were in order to ensure that the policy was, in effect, providing an equitable solution to protecting our sellers - to protecting sellers and buyers."  

Is the total and complete absence of a brain a requirement for policy making positions at Ebay?  It certainly seems so!!!

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Harriet

Thu May 14 23:24:25 2009

For such a huge company, they are so sloppy with so many things. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

How could they make a public policy in such a slipshod manner, and then have to retract it.

Are the managers asleep at their desks?

And are young kids running the show there?

Very unprofessional!!

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Jim

Thu May 14 23:28:02 2009

Yea, they are interested in the sellers after all and are somewhat responsive.  

The problem I see is a lack of inviting all stakeholder to look at the rules and just putting rules out there because they can.  

Maybe the stock price, seller and buyer decline in numbers has had an effect finally.  

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Fruity

Thu May 14 23:54:52 2009

That message is totally made to be confusing and I can't even believe you're not calling them on it.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: ebay policy monkey

Fri May 15 00:03:40 2009

What are seller's appeal rights if fraudulent claims are going to affect their account?

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: bagelchip

Fri May 15 00:22:05 2009

YAY Ina! What would we do without you?!
But wouldn't a thunk that eBay might have figured this out for themselves??
Nahhh, I guess not, these days....

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: RicRoe

Fri May 15 00:29:21 2009

So now a seller's competitor can purchase an item, challenge authenticity and have a strike placed against their competitors eBay account? Maybe have two friends make similar purchases and claims and have the competition eliminated?

Will the rules apply to Diamond sellers as well or will they have exemptions because of their listing volume?

The boneheaded rules eBay invents make less and less sense as they continue to make changes for the sake of making changes.

Placing a strike against a sellers record without any verification of a buyer's claim is typical Donahoe mentality; find the seller guilty and immediately punish them without any basis of facts.

This revision will serve to further thin the ranks of already dwindling numbers of sellers on eBay.

If eBay shareholders are wondering why sales are declining while Amazon continues to see significant growth, they need only look at the fool hearty policies that have been rolled out by CEO Donahoe and his team.

It is obvious Donahoe and crew continue to implement their seller extinction program.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 15 00:30:27 2009

Let me if I've got this right.

Now all a buyer has to do to is claim an item isn't authentic and the seller gets a strike?

Where's the due process in this? While some items may be obviously fake, what qualifies most buyers, for example, to determine a well made Tiffany fake and a genuine Tiffany?

I can think of several product categories where a great deal of expertise is required to distinguish between a fake and the genuine article, and most buyers wouldn't have that expertise.

The good news in this is that a seller can file a small claims action in their local superior or district court against the buyer for a false claim that damaged your business (a strike).

The buyer isn't likely to show up, and you can request and likely receive a court order sent to ebafia to remove the strike.

In my jurisdiction, it costs $15.00 a and a couple of hours.

Nevertheless, ebafia, buyers are NOT experts in authenticity, and you have NO LEGAL RIGHT to issue a strike that damages a seller's business based on anon expert opinion!

RETRACT THAT PROVISION!

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Richard

Fri May 15 00:42:34 2009

Didn't even get brought up apparently that in the case of criminal counterfeiting and forgery, eBay was actually ordering that evidence be destroyed...

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: disgusted

Fri May 15 00:42:47 2009

Glad someone was able to get ebay's attention, but I think they need to look at revising a little more.

Why can't anyone at ebay think policies through to logical conclusions?  Constant changes for no reason and policies designed to make sure sellers fail seems to be ebay's passion.  

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Amazing

Fri May 15 00:43:41 2009

Just absolutely amazing how ridiculously incompetent a company of ebay's size is at managing itself.

I think if I were still an ebay seller, I would also have to be a heavy drinker just to cope. lol

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: Shadow Fire Promotions, Inc.

Fri May 15 00:47:34 2009

ok, so our business is media.  It's pretty easy to spot someone who is bootlegging media, especially when you know what has and has not been released to DVD.  

So, in this new policy, not only do "you", the buyer, have to pay to return this fake item, but then you have to return it not to ebay, where they can determine if it's a fake or not, but you send it right back to the seller, so s/he can sell it again.  Riiight.

Oh, wait...you're "not supposed to" sell it again.  Well, you're not supposed to sell fake stuff to begin with.  

Every day, ebay's policies make us glad we don't use them for very much anymore.  Between Pay-not your-pal and their own ridiculous, not well thought out decisions, it's amazing that someone HASN'T come along to do them better.  Certainly Pay-not your-pal is far from great, it's hardly good, and any close examination of their user agreement or the multiple lawsuits filed for the theft of funds and the settlements paid would reflect that.  No one would even consider doing business with a company in the "real world" that boasts such a horrible reputation.  

Ebay and their flag-bearing users and supporters continue to amaze us.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri May 15 01:16:09 2009

We don't know who thought up this positively cretinous new policy, but heads should be rolling tomoprrow morning in San HOsed.

But wait! The Ho is basking in sunny Espana trying to convince the Investor Class that buying stock in the Skype 2010 IPO is a dynamite idea. And probably enjoying some fine vintage Spanish vino seco, some Barcelona tapas, and paella.

Yessiree, step right up and invest your life savings in a company who doesn't own the patent that makes the Skype platform work and the people who do own it have told ebay that Skype can no longer use this key patent.

Sounds like the typical crap Wall Street investment advice that these criminal analysts spew.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: jake

Fri May 15 01:52:01 2009

Bottom line is ebays lawyers went over the policy and crapped themselves

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: brecklundin

Fri May 15 03:15:07 2009

Ina,

THANK YOU...thank you for the newsletter with the follow-up up on the policy debacle that was originally put out by eBay.  I honestly have not slept well or been able to relax at all since that announcement.  I have already lost over $15k in sales for antique ivory because of the over night 180 eBay did in that area.  This "scorched earth" policy was the absolute last straw.  I sell mostly antiques and collectibles and have done so for 41-yrs as of this past Monday.  I KNOW my stuff, I also know what some buyers will do and really had gone directly to the worst case scenario on this one.  I did not see any way out of it...to the point of getting a "real job" just to have less stress and relief from this constantly moving target combined with a sense of being in eBay's cross-hairs.

The thing which had come to mind is if eBay was to require destruction of ALLEGED fake items, that would belong to either me or my buyer, eBay becomes liable for the decision as the destruction would have been without my consent or that of a court, hence eBay would owe ME since they were acting as the owner of the item.  And since eBay could not prove in any way the item was not genuine, remember it is based eBay's decision alone, then eBay would lose every time on a summary judgement.

Seriously, I have been honestly been  ill over that announcement.  I feel better now and know at least I will be able to get done with eBay, for the most part, this year as I had planed...I hope anyway.  

I left the E&R 100 world for less stress of working for myself taking over the family business, and for the first 4-5 yrs it was great...the last 4-5 years, not so much.  

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Fri May 15 03:26:00 2009

See, they do know what they are doing; it just takes a little time, and some trial and error, for them to decide what it actually is that they are trying to do.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: ex-ebayer

Fri May 15 04:14:14 2009

Ina, you rock!

Amazing how eBay officially announced its most illogical ruling in its entire existance (buyer must destroy item if they think it might be fake, seller will pay) in the first place, only to - partially - retract it a few days later again.

eBays YoY growth of clueless incompetance is totally baffling.

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: EventHorizon1984

Fri May 15 06:22:24 2009

Re: ebay policy monkey
RicRoe
Ming the Merciless

For the casual reader, this is the pertinent section being referenced:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/user-agreement.
html

Obligations
when a buyer opens a claim alleging an item is counterfeit:

   * Sellers shall work with the buyer in good faith during the resolution process to provide buyer with appropriate documentation or other assurances to satisfy the buyer that the item is not counterfeit, if such information is available.
   * If buyer and seller cannot agree that the item is not counterfeit, for covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, buyers are required to send the item back to the seller. Cost of return shipping will be paid by the buyer or eBay in our sole discretion, unless otherwise agreed upon by the buyer and seller.
   * Covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded will count as a violation by the seller of our prohibited and infringing items policy.
   * Sellers shall not list, advertise, or cause that item to appear for sale, barter or trade, on any eBay Inc. (including our subsidiaries, joint ventures, and other members of the group) web site or service located around the world.
   * While buyers are not obligated to provide third party confirmation that an item is counterfeit in order to open a claim, in cases where there is written confirmation from the manufacturer that the item is counterfeit, or in additional circumstances where eBay elects to exercise its discretion, eBay may request the destruction of the item by an authorized third party and at eBay’s expense.


Now, condense part of the above down to a more understandable form:

''If buyer and seller cannot agree that the item is not counterfeit'' this ''will count as a violation by the seller of our prohibited and infringing items policy'', and ''buyers are not obligated to provide third party confirmation that an item is counterfeit''.

Got it?


This part is mostly solid:
''in cases where there is written confirmation from the manufacturer that the item is counterfeit''


However there remains more language that eBay's legal team (see http://news.ebay.com/team.cfm Michael Jacobson, eBay Senior Vice President and General Counsel) must clean up.


Let's start here:
''or in additional circumstances where eBay elects to exercise its discretion, eBay may request the destruction of the item by an authorized third party and at eBay’s expense.''

Read it very carefully.  eBay can destroy seller property when ''eBay elects to exercise its discretion''.  This part does not clearly explain ''discretion''.  In less legalize, ''discretion'' could be very very very very loosely replaced with ''whim''.


And something much more clear:
''eBay may request the destruction of the item by an authorized third party''.

Still lacks the explanation of what happens should eBay NOT request destruction.

And eBay's legal team needs to put in the authorized third parties that will be used for destruction.  That is fairly minor though.


This part is not minor:
''at eBay’s expense.''

This CAN be interpreted as, 'eBay will pay for the cost of destruction'.  Fine and still incomplete.

Lets revisit the original issue in the original User Agreement.  eBay makes the buyer whole and pays for destruction of a seller's item, but THEN who ultimately pays for the money given back to the buyer?  That part remains missing.

Remember IN CONTEXT ''at eBay’s expense'' refers to the cost of destruction PERIOD.


Is there more?  Yes.

Time to hit the word processor Michael Jacobson ESQ.



''It's sort of an obsession with me to do the best I can for a client. My clients aren't blameless. Many of them are crooks. Probably a lot of them are guilty. That's not for me to determine.''
Perry Mason

''The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.''
William Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court

eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy   eBay Revises Fakes Policy: Return, not Destroy

by: ex-ebayer

Fri May 15 06:22:32 2009

<:-D hahahaha, found on the ebay boards, that's funny <:-D


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v315/pauladeaniemean
ie/feediestuff/eBayPolicymakers_.gif

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