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Wed May 20 2009 09:22:23

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

By: Ina Steiner

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An interesting issue came to light when eBay testified before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday to urge Congress to pass the Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, eBay's deputy general counsel Tod Cohen told Senators of cases in which manufacturers claimed eBay merchants' authentic items were counterfeit in order to get eBay to remove the items from its site. The newspaper said that, according to eBay, the manufacturer in one case "made it clear that it targeted (the seller's) lists because they were being sold at a lower price."

eBay's VeRO program is designed to protect the intellectual property rights of third parties and allow them to easily report listings that infringe their rights.

An AuctionBytes reader cited the WSJ article and wrote, "Assuming eBay is correct, and I'm sure they are, why would they ever formulate a plan requiring destruction of the evidence?" He was referring to the original fakes provision of eBay's new Purchase Protection Policy that would have instructed buyers to destroy items in cases where the buyer and seller could not agree the item was not "non-authentic." eBay has since revised the policy and will instead instruct buyers to return disputed items to the seller.

Cohen was testifying before the Congressional subcommittee alongside discount retailers about the effect of the Leegin ruling. "Retail price-fixing, as allowed for in the Supreme Court's Leegin decision, is anti-competitive, and is hurting small businesses and consumers," he said.

Link to the Discount Pricing Consumer Protection Act (PDF file)






Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Joe

Wed May 20 09:48:16 2009

Ebay's VERO program is flawed...

I've been VERO'D by Dead People...

However eBay did do the right thing and correct everything when presented with documentation the Claim was false...

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Joe

Wed May 20 09:52:10 2009


@joe
A special thanks to Karen Dudnikov for her help on ebays vero program.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Jim

Wed May 20 10:31:58 2009

I've been vero'd and eBay responded to my counter notice.  Customer service sucked and the counter notice is not documented.  I had to find info on the net.  

Now is it legal to invite folks that issue false vero notices to your local federal court to explain themselves before a federal judge.  I include that notice when I sell software on ebay.  

I also seldom sell software on ebay because of risk and hassle.  

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Foothill Web Design

Wed May 20 12:27:35 2009

As noted above, the seller has a right to issue a counter-notice, in which case eBay will not remove the infringing item.

Ten years ago, eBay was rampant with fakes, especially software and in particular bogus copies of MS Office. Microsoft came in and started to VeROing everything with ''Microsoft'' in the title. Both sides are abusing the system. Not many eBay sellers will stand up to a nasty letter from Microsoft's lawyers.

I think eBay's current solution (mail the item back to seller, seller is prohibited from listing it again, etc.) is unworkable, and blurs the distinction between agent and venue.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Ebay No More

Wed May 20 13:45:58 2009

Ebay's VERO program is very flawed. Also a big thanks to Karen for her work in this area. Even large global corporations are not thrilled at the idea of sending a full legal team cross country to explain themselves before a judge. Reading Cohen's remarks just adds insult to injury. No wonder it's not worth most sellers time to sell on Ebay today.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: nancy

Wed May 20 14:02:07 2009

Yeah, and these are the creeps that eBay has invited to sell their wares directly on the site for -0- upfront listing fees.

They are so paranoid over there at eBay, you would think SOMEONE would have thought "Gee, maybe they're trying to destroy us from within"???

You have to look at this and figure what the collective IQ is in the upper offices.

I suppose the manufacturers missed the article about Intel, and the billion dollar suit they just lost in Europe, for anti-trust.  (against AMD)

I can sell whatever I want to at whatever price I want, and that's how it should stay.  But with the VERO program, even your competetion can turn you in, claiming they own the graphics or text, and no one ever questions them.

Before you even receive the e-mail, your item is ended.

Ebay couldn't care less, really, they had to have SOME response to the lawsuits and threats of lawsuits.

AGAIN, who do you think is going to suffer?? Sellers.

And the policy on destroying supposed fakes? Ha! They knew it wouldn't withstand even one court case.

It was a dumb idea to begin with.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: vero's a joke

Wed May 20 14:59:18 2009

Vero is trash & Ebay will not help you in any way, they keep referring you to the person that filed the claim & repeatedly refused to send the counter notice. If you're going to make nonsense policies, at least enforce them fairly & rid the system of Vero abusing companies.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: On Lies and Secrets

Wed May 20 17:02:49 2009

IMO, the ebay corpoaration itself has a significant amount of culpability for the situation in which it currently finds itself with respect to the intellectual property rights of manufacturers.  IMO, the ebay corporation is no hero in this present issue.  In too many cases in the past, the ebay corporation turned a blind eye to complaints about fakes being sold on their site for years and years and years.  Sellers of authentic merchanidse and antiques would report listings of items that they believed (or in some cases actually knew) to be inauthentic and fraudulent.  In too many cases, the ebay corporation did nothing to determine the autehnticity of goods or to stop the sale of fakes.  The presence of so many fakes in certain categories undermined the businesses of honest sellers many of whom did complain.  IMO, the presence of so many fakes on the site undermined the value of authentic merchandise which did harm manufactueres and IMO the ebay corporation had a hand in this - they are not an innocent party.  IMO, it is hypocritical for the ebay corporation to present themselves as the champion of consumers or of small sellers when they IMO permitted so many fakes to be sold to these same consumers over the years and when they allowed sellers of fraudulent goods to compete with honest sellers on the site.

IMO, the issue of fakes being sold should have been addressed by the ebay corporation years ago.  Had manufacturers not been able to demonstrate to judges that they had been harmed by what the ebay corporation permitted, then they would have no case.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: kevin

Wed May 20 18:12:22 2009

Manufactures use this VERO to hide behind all the time when you are selling below their MAP (minimum advertised price).  We used to be a dealer for under armour and they used VERO for getting all of our listings for under armour cancelled because we were selling their $50 retail cold gear (which they sold at $23.75 to dealers) for $45.  

Ebay would not help even though we provided them with our original dealer agreement (which said nothing about online sales or auctions) that listed us as a manufacturers' authorized dealer.  They told us Under Armour would have to rescind their VERO complaint.  

It's price fixing if you ask me.  We went from moving over $250K a year at a fair and reasonable profit to not selling it at all because of Under Armour's greed and desire to maintain their 110% markup on all their products.  Now you all now the cost to dealers on their stuff! :)

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Powerseller

Wed May 20 18:44:11 2009

I had Hulk Hogan send me a vero notice for a autographed 8x10 I was selling, they claimed it was a fake & even though I had proof I had met him twice & pics of him signing, it was still shut down. Probably did it because I was asking $24.99 (with no bids) and he wants $125 to sign at a fan event. Oddly, he only shut one of the 2 I had up. I have also received Veros e-signed by Eddie Van Halen & Ian Hunter:)And Ebay will do nothing to help but refer you to the abuser. Pretty goofy, but what can you expect from quirky old ebay?

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

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

Wed May 20 23:50:06 2009

Ebay's position in this "discounting consumer" business could be the most hypocritical example I've ever seen of the chasm betyween what ebay says and what they do.

Remember when Tod Cohen claimed that this "price fixing" was putting small ebay sellers out of business?

IMO Ebafia has likely put more businesses out of business than the "macro economy" The HO likes to refer to or "price fixing" ever has.

This clearcut VERO abuse is just another egregious example of one corrupt corporation scratching the backs of their brethren in greed.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Ebay R Scum

Thu May 21 11:59:07 2009

Vero COULD be a good thing, but Ebay's policy monkey can't be bothered to help their sellers fight fraudulent claims & remove serial vero abusers.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Jay Rockford

Wed May 27 21:37:50 2009

VERO is incredibly flawed.  The process needs to be changed as follows:

1) Rights Owner fills out a form with a captcha so it can't be automated, detailing WHAT right is being violated.
2) Rights Owner is required to PROVE how the item in question violates their rights.
3) The listing is not instakilled, but rather frozen pending a timely response from the seller.  
4) The seller then has the option to fill out an online form to file a counterclaim instead of a convoluted fax process hoping it is received.  The seller then indemnifies Ebay from all damages, accepting liability.
5) If the seller files the counterclaim with ebay within 24 hours, the listing is unfrozen and the complaintant is provided with the seller's information to pursue legal action directly.  If the seller does not respond within 24 hours, the listing is deactivated but not purged out of existence so there is nothing to refer back to and the seller gets a strike or starts an education/disciplinary program accordingly.

This would balance the problems and stop VERO participants from exploiting the system & yet still give them an opportunity to address violations to their rights in the proper forum--court.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

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

Wed May 27 21:56:00 2009

In the law, he who asserts must prove.

Simply claiming that a listing is a VERO violation does not a violation make.

A VERO lawsuit regarding ebay's assumption of guilt protocol and third party abuse would end these despicable VERO practices.

DEATH to ebay corp. and their despicable business practices in 2009.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Another Wronged Seller

Thu May 28 01:46:11 2009

About two years ago, I ran into a vero problem myself.

I was selling a product that I Purchased from the largest seller of the product in the US. The manufacturer is based in the UK. I initially got a letter from the attorney for the manufacturer because I offered to ship domestically and internationally and they claimed I could only sell domestically. They never asked for any info on where I obtained the product, they were only concerned that I was selling it for less than they were. It was actually cheaper for customers to buy from me and ship to europe than it was for them to buy the product in europe.

I asked them to forward copies of the sales agreement to my supplier in the US that prohibited me from selling the product at a lower price. I also contacted my supplier that assured me that there was nothing in their agreement to prevent me from selling the product at a lower price since they regularly ran promotions themselves on the product at a power price.

Several weeks later, ebay ended all my listings with a vero violation claiming I was selling a counterfeit product. I forwarded copies of all original invoices proving authenticity. Back and forth a half dozen times with the same form email suggesting I contact the manufacturer. I forwarded invoices, proof of authenticity from their supplier in the US,pictures of the item, copies of the enclosed liturature from the manufacturer, etc.. all with the same form email response.

The supplier I bought the product from is one of the big two Shopping Channels that sell millions of these both foreign and domestic.

BTW, the product is not even a designer product but an ''as seen on tv'' product that sells for under $25.00 in the US but the manufacturer sells for over $50.00 in europe.

No response from ebay or the manufacturer.

I still have about 200 pieces on a skid in my warehouse.

Vero was simply used as a tool to shut down my discounted price. It had NOTHING to do with authenticity and everything to do with the price!

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Fruity's Buddy

Mon Jun 1 03:22:47 2009

Guilty until proven innocent is exactly the precedent set by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which has become the guidebook for all internet-age intellectual property disputes.  VeRO sucks, no doubt - I've been at the wrong end of take-downs, too.  eBay is pretty much boxed in on this one, though.  There's no penalty or risk for eBay knocking down a listing, except the Seller gets PO'd.  There's a potential lawsuit everytime they leave one up, though - so guess which happens?

If you're being unfairly beat up by VeRO - and your product and time are worth it to pursue - then you go to court and try to pull a Tabberone event.  In my case, the profit off a couple dozen Designer Brand Name articles weren't worth pursuing; I sold them out locally.  Such is business life.

Even though eBay is actually doing what is probably understandable overall, they absolutely should be up front in giving sellers basic tools.  The should provide a NOCI counter-file document, and probably the addresses of all the federal courts.  The message should be "Yeah, you can file your complaint and we'll knock down the listing, but we're encouraging sellers to stand up for themselves."

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Tom

Mon Jun 8 12:51:52 2009

This is still happening on ebay and it is sad..it is price fixing anyway you look at it.
I call it dirty pool and ebay is handing out the cue sticks

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: jenna

Mon Jun 22 10:43:39 2009

This is a load of crap.  The vero program had to be installed because of the rampant copies of products, both software and regular items.  Bought several so called "originals" only to get cheap crap that didn't work or broke within hours.  Sellers of bogus merch can't hide behind "I bought the items from someone", make sure that someone is selling real/genuine merch.  The vero program helps protect sellers of real and authentic products.  You can't get an authentic Coach or Gucci product for $10, just as weith software.  The saying "you get what you pay for" is tried and true. As a frequent buyer from ebay, I say we need a stronger vero program.  Just saw a seller selling a nav disk for $6.00, and he had 55 of them, you mean to tell me these are all real and genuine when those cost about $100?  Sure, I put this in my car, and the system blows, then can I go to this seller and get money to fix my system?  Ebay used to be a good resource for items, now there are more copies than real products.

Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?   Manufacturers Using eBay's VeRO to Target Discounters?

by: Greg

Mon Oct 12 13:50:35 2009

For a full discussion of copyright and trademark infringement and how it relates to the eBay seller please see: http://www.Bogustakedowns.com



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