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Mon Nov 29 2010 23:01:40

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

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How big a problem are counterfeit goods on eBay, and is it doing enough to rid its site of them? The questions are natural following Monday's decision by the Supreme Court in which it denied Tiffany & Co's request that it review its legal loss against eBay.

Tiffany & Co sued eBay in 2004, unhappy with the way eBay handled counterfeit goods, and claiming that 73% of items purchased on eBay in a study it had conducted were counterfeit. It lost its lawsuit in 2008 and lost its appeal earlier this year. 

eBay relies on brands to monitor the marketplace and tell it which items to remove through the VeRO process. Tiffany wanted eBay to do more to prevent the fakes from showing up in the first place.

Should eBay be expected to have the expertise to identify fakes, and would sellers feel comfortable with that? In the past I've observed sellers try to work with eBay to help rid the site of counterfeits and fakes, but I wonder if the same passion is there for users to try and help rid the site of bad listings?

Sellers who list legitimate items on the site are often caught in the middle. On the one hand, they can't compete against counterfeit goods that are priced much lower than the real items. And yet they also find themselves fighting over-aggressive VeRO claims.

The question of counterfeits is especially interesting now as eBay makes deals with fashion designers and big brands. But at least for now it appears its legal tussles with Tiffany are over.




Comments (39) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Nov 29 23:12:21 2010

If eBay knows so much to tell me how to run MY business, then they should certainly be able to monitor and control counterfeit goods. ~~ If they are unable to control counterfeits, then they shouldn't be interfering with MY business and MY customers either.

You can't have it both ways, eBay.

"Just-a-venue", my ass.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: buck efay

Mon Nov 29 23:26:03 2010

Ebay's vero is a joke in this regard: They ignore ebay users regarding real bootlegs, but accept the word of vero members as gold. Vero is abused for price support by many companies, not to remove actual counterfeits in many cases. Ebay should have the balls to defend their wronged sellers, but we know they could care less. They are working to destroy the first sale doctrine on which our businesses are built. We have gotten Veros for legitimate items, and taught many noobie lawyers they don't know much about the histories of the properties they represent. Is Ebay only a venue? Not if they ignore numerous complaints from genuine users regarding counterfeits. The Beatles box set spawned page after page of posts about Ebay fraud on their boards.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Lawrence A Dickerson

Mon Nov 29 23:28:55 2010

Annie.If eBay had to hire the professionals to scour over each item to determine it's authenticity,your fees would be much higher than they are now.It's easy to blame but the seller is responsible for legitimate merchandise and the buyer also shares in that responsibility.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Mon Nov 29 23:36:38 2010

Lawrence A Dickerson

Poor old eBay ..how many BILLIONS profit did they make last year....many FVF and Paypal fees were for Fakes

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Marvin

Tue Nov 30 00:02:02 2010

Actually if Tiffany & Co are really bothered, it would be rather easy for them to use Social Media to advertise that anyone wanting illegal knockoffs should just go to eBay. I suspect that would result if some very quick good faith changes on the part of eBay (for a change.)

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Leesantiques

Tue Nov 30 00:23:08 2010

Ebay, in terms of antiques and collectibles, has never tried to do anything to stop the flood of reproductions, fakes, copies, etc.  In fact, they have consistently fought the efforts of those who would try to stop this flood.  Shame on Ebay!  

Lee

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Google this, see for yourselves

Tue Nov 30 00:27:44 2010

Apple are currently suing Jack Sheng, eBay's number one Diamond level seller for his low quality knockoffs on the following eBay IDs (also, note all the violations that eBay always for his countless duplicate listings, of said knockoff/trademark infringments):

eforcity
eforcity-select
itrimming
accs
tation
accstation-select
everydaysource

eBay
has always made a fortune off ''greymarket'' goods. They take some IDs down, but allow others to flourish....

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Google this, see for yourselves

Tue Nov 30 00:41:19 2010

Oops, please pardon my typos. I meant to say:

Note all the duplicate listings that eBay allows on the following 6 IDs all belonging to one seller:

eforcity
eforcity-select
accstation
accstation
-select
itrimming
everydaysource

In
sum, eBay allows Sheng to have duplicate listings across 6 IDs, all unlicensed goods that Apple are suing to have taken off eBay...make your own conclusions...

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 30 01:14:37 2010

personally i find buying DVDs on ebay, especially sets to be risky.  i don't want a chinese knock-off, but the usage of stock photos and now ebays courting of china sellers has me leary any time i go searching.

so yah, in that category i view it as a problem.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Rupert Pupkin
Web Site

Tue Nov 30 03:16:32 2010

@buck efay:

"Ebay's vero is a joke in this regard: They ignore ebay users regarding real bootlegs, but accept the word of vero members as gold. Vero is abused for price support by many companies, not to remove actual counterfeits in many cases."

Brother, you said a mouthful there.

In October I had a VeRO trademark take down on a book.

My transgression? I used the author's name in my title and description.

I put it right back up transposing two letters in the author's surname in the title and pasted his name into the listing as a .gif.

I thought about listing a couple of bibles but scrapped the idea.

I was afraid the God might file a VeRO copyright beef on them and I couldn't stand the policy hits.

H.L. Mencken wrote that American was a nation of boobs waiting to be led by Boobisimus.

At eBain, the wait for Boobisimus is over.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 30 03:47:15 2010

Since Grief went on a rampage and basically shut the Shoes, Purses and Accessories board down a few months ago, ebay's really slacked off on pulling fake bags. Even when the seller is disavowing any authenticity in the body of the description - ebay does nothing and the fakes keep selling.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: look around

Tue Nov 30 07:24:47 2010

Why would anyone with half a brain spend more than 5.00 on anything on Fleecebay. Common sense tells you this is a very unstable corrupt site so buying anything is very risky.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: kevin

Tue Nov 30 08:58:41 2010

The problem is the enforcement....I agree knock offs are a problem.  i generally don't sell items that are typically designer, but just last week I had a listing removed....

My wife decided to sell off some purses.  She had a Kate Spade purse that was a couple years old (I really had no idea if it was a Wal-mart brand or designer...I'm a guy!)  I listed it as used, described it as having some wear and used an actual photo.  Didn't use any manufacturer info or photos

Ebay removed it for VERO and / or copyright infringement!  

What do they care about Vero if it's used?

With all the bungling I've seen ebay do though I guess this is just par for the course!  Now they are removing used items for VERO!.  I would have been happy to get $10 for it.  

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Suspicious Sally

Tue Nov 30 09:10:07 2010

Looking at the comments from sellers on ebay's seller central message forum, it would appear that the problem with (so-called) ''counterfeit'' merchandise is at an all time high!

But I think if one looks deeper, it may be instead that only the *claims* of counterfeit goods has increased... but the ACTUAL NUMBER of counterfeit items is not increasing.

Of course this phenomenon can be attributed ONLY to ebay's anti-seller policies that automatically assume a seller's guilt, regardless of any facts that are out there. Sellers are apparently not being given any chance to offer-up their own evidence (photos, invoices, sales receipts) to prove their innocence, and worse yet, they're not allowed to have their merchandise returned to them....a DOUBLE WHAMMY!

Meanwhile, ebay/Paypal tells the tricky slicky buyer to ''destroy'' the item: ''we trust you...wink-wink'' and ''here's your instant refund''

That's no way to do business!

Lookit, I do believe that customers deserve protection! I'm all in favor of that. I'm also in favor of the credit card processors (and yes, Paypal) stepping in to rectify any situation that needs it.

ON THE OTHER HAND... it's inexcusable for PayPal/ebay to provide that type of protection in a way that *automatically* benefits dishonest sellers simply because they SAY SO...and simply because they said so WITHOUT making the slightest effort to inform the seller and try to work things out.

The ''seller-always-loses'' philosophy should NOT be the default judgment.

No wonder people are dropping paypal from their non-ebay selling venues.

Oh dear, this rant has gotten a little off topic. Sorry.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Irene S.

Tue Nov 30 10:16:51 2010

The problem of counterfeits and cheap tawdry look-alikes on eBay is huge.

And the recent business association between a major third-party listing service and a huge wholesaling conglomerate isn't going to improve matters, IMO.
Now it is much easier for users of this listing service to buy these goods straight from the source.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: just me

Tue Nov 30 11:56:02 2010

Maybe it's just me, but I feel it is a much bigger problem than anyone wants to admit.

"COUNTERFEIT MORGAN DOLLARS FROM CHINA CAN BE PURCHASED ON EBAY FOR $3.00!"
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouVgJB42j_Q

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: unusual1
Web Site

Tue Nov 30 14:09:23 2010

Tiffany lost the suit and so did everyone else. When I used to sell on ebay I tried to list some antique items from Tiffany, Gorham, and many other major names. When they were removed I finally found out why after many tries for the information --- I DIDN'T HAVE A PAYPAL ACCOUNT. I said I didn't need or want one, I took my own credit cards. Ebays answer was  - I couldn't list any ''brand names'' unless paypal had my name and address. That is supposed to make a difference??? No question as to qualification??? No question as to how I knew they are original??? SO -- paypal was supposed to be able to verify that I would sell brand names and not counterfeits, (simply because I had an account) what a joke!!! I am a USPAP compliant appraiser and have been for thirty years - but no paypal - can't list, no sale.
JC

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Farmet John

Tue Nov 30 14:53:58 2010

"Ebays answer was  - I couldn't list any ''brand names'' unless paypal had my name and address."

I think that ebay/paypal saw some short-term gains with this 'must-have-paypal' policy. And indeed, it probably did benefit their bottom line.

But, the chickens have come home to roost. Their greedy schemes cannot survive in the long term.

It's something that has bitten them in the aS5 as more and more honest sellers end up saying "screw this!" and "who needs ya?".

For the longest time I was perfectly happy (silly me, what did I know) with PayPal. This year I got smart and dropped PayPal from both my ebay and ecommerce website. From everything I read and hear, OTHER sellers are feeling the same way and are taking similar steps to eliminate paypal from their stores.

How's that policy workin' out for ya now, Paypal? Miss me yet?

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: Rupert Pupkin
Web Site

Tue Nov 30 16:05:59 2010

"How's that policy workin' out for ya now, Paypal? Miss me yet?"

No.

How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?   How Big a Problem Are Knockoffs on eBay?

by: eBay LOVES Counterfeits

Tue Nov 30 17:19:16 2010

You want to know how seriously eBay takes counterfeiters as well as enforcing their own policies?

Look at ebay items: 250688748355, 250688748355, and 270507214711.

These are counterfeit patches of the eBay logo iteself! Yet, eBay does not take it down. It also violates the new restriction on one listing-per-buy it now, as this is the same Bangkok seller, selling the same item under three separate ids (each loaded with counterfeit corporate logos reproduced without permission).

And ebay does nothing!

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