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Thu Apr 8 2010 00:19:57

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

By: Ina Steiner

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German watchdog group Falle-Internet.de said eBay was found negligent and will have to pay damages to an Austrian buyer who purchased gold bars from a German PowerSeller on eBay in September 2007. The case highlights the line eBay straddles between being "just a venue" in legal disputes, and as a safe marketplace when enticing consumers to shop there, a line that the court seemed to recognize has become blurred.

Cases like this are also why eBay has shifted much of the risk to sellers, with 21-day holds and rolling reserves.

Users have accused eBay of banishing any discussion in which users point out fraud on its site. In this case, even as eBay argued in court that the victim should have read its discussion forums to research the seller, it deleted some posts in a discussion thread about the trial.

The wrangling carried over to Twitter, where eBay Germany tweeted in defense of removing posts on a discussion board thread about the trial (see @falle_internet and @eBayDE). eBay Germany tweeted that documents were related to the court file and were not public. (Note, you can use Google Language Tools to translate from German to English.)

eBay users are good at spotting shady behavior, and it was quite common years ago for them to make an effort to clear the site of fraudsters and abusers But eBay has made it increasingly difficult for sellers to identify and to discuss such behavior on the boards.

The Austrian case is described in more detail in Thursday's AuctionBytes Newsflash and makes for an interesting read.




Comments (35) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: scaredto say

Thu Apr 8 00:50:50 2010

Just spent 1.5 hours getting some one to speak English (yes, I am in USA) regarding a scammer that was attempting to beat me for a hefty sum.
I would say who I am but I know that those paranoid ebay idiots monitor this venue and seek vengance against anyone caught disparaging them in any way, especially if the comment is true.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Wake-Up!

Thu Apr 8 00:57:56 2010


Finally! A judge that couldn't be bought!

Now, if they could just do something about all that illegal shill bidding!

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: ebay nonsense

Thu Apr 8 01:03:35 2010

I think ebay's "just a venue" dike sprung a leak.

ebay has moved T&S support offshore to increase their bottom line and is using 21 day holds and rolling reserves to cover themselves and their lack of acting on obvious fraud reports.

Sad.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: just a peon

Thu Apr 8 01:15:33 2010

ebay started to seriously lapse on maintaining a safe site in 2002, it was all about the fees and one giant money grab. By 2005 they had stopped "fighting" fraud entirely, thus giving themselves and every decent seller on the site a bad name.

I'm overjoyed that they finally got called to the carpet and lost.

If only the FTC, SEC and AG had the stones -- and morals -- big enough to investigate them and bring them to justice for their crimes.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: ebay nonsense

Thu Apr 8 01:16:37 2010

The google translated article.
Seller scammed over 1 million euros! Wow!

http://tinyurl.com/ybr9jaa

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: GazLanNaThai This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Apr 8 01:25:12 2010

A large part of this stems from the fact that eBay clings to using LiveWorld to supply and moderate their user forums.

The forum engine LiveWorld supplies is prehistoric in functions compared to the current technologies available.

They already have "private" boards for PowerSellers and the like, therefore they could (and in my opinion should) provide "tiered" access to a series of trust and safety boards, graded by a combined factor of total time using eBay, total time logged in and active across all eBay sites, buy/sell activity density, DSRs (don't shoot me on that one), overall feedback percentage and so on.

Then they could have several layers of open and uncensored discussion regarding the frauds and scams that go on, away from the mass readerships and only amongst the dedicated users who are only thinking of improving the marketplaces.  

eBay would then have a "reliable" community policing of their sites that could be used as an early warning system.

That they don't do this is a reflection that -
a. they simply never thought about it
b. they don't want to give credibility to their users
c. they don't know how to best use the technology
d. they are incompetent
e. they are wilfully negligent
f. they hove lost focus of the founding core values
g. they have no clear vision of their future

Take your pick of any one or more of the above.

The wholesale global banning of forum users, and censorship of posts, tends to lean widespread public opinion towards eBay simply sticking their heads in the sand regarding the real problems in their marketplaces, whilst simultaneously attempting to shift all blame and liability onto all sellers - they remind me of toddlers in a playground pointing fingers to the other kids when blame has to be apportioned.

Gaz

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 02:00:31 2010

Well, well, well....I guess this is what happens when you no longer can hide behind being ''only a venue'' because you have your hands deep into everyone's business!  I think from here on Ebay is going to find they wish they were still only a venue...and sellers ain't seen nothing yet - I'm afraid they're all going to pay for Ebay's stupidity and mismanagement!

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 02:05:31 2010

@Gaz - trouble is the fox is guarding the henhouse.  Big moneymakers with their juicy final value fees have always been protected on that site.  That's the name of the game....Ebay's revenue.  They are oblivious to how tarnished their reputation has become - it remains to be seen what changes they'll try to put in place now that they've been slapped down good!

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

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

Thu Apr 8 03:23:07 2010

“Tiffany & Co and eBay Continue to Battle Over Infringement”
http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries
/media/tiffany--ebay-continue-battle-infringement/

“EBay
argued to the court that it has spent as much as $20 million annually to rid the site of fraud, including buyer protection programs and employees whose sole job is to monitor infringement issues.”

And is not that the nub of the problem? eBay is spending (only) $20 million annually to rid the site of “fraud, including buyer protection programs and employees whose sole job is to monitor infringement issues”.

On his way to virtually bringing the eBay marketplace to its knees, one person—the eBafia Don himself—was effectively taking home $20 million annually—and still we can’t get rid of him either …

Let’s face it, anything to do with “customer support” is an expense that the bean-counting toads at eBay have little intention of incurring. And, I keep wondering when they are going to pay stockholders a dividend out of all that cash they supposedly have stashed away overseas. Or is this whole business simply a short-term “pump and dump” exercise for the benefit of the options-holding executives?

For those with a longer attention span, an evening’s entertainment of details and facts on eBay’s deliberate facilitating of wire fraud on its consumers world wide and a list of links to a number of PayPal horror stories is contained in my post at:
http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=6502877


eBay/PayPal:
Dead Men Walking

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Marvin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 03:26:38 2010

True to form ebay puts responsibility for all this on the user for not using  ''discussion forums to research the seller''. Kinda proves in their own words the feedback and DSR systems don't work doesn't it?

All of this is ebays own fault, they have made it so easy for scammers to operate for years by putting policies in place to protect them and cover up what is going on that any scammer would be stupid not to use ebay, it's just to easy.

How a company is run is a direct reflection of the people running it. Honest people will run an honest company, crooks will run a crooked company.

@ebay nonsense - I think ebay's ''just a venue'' dike sprung a leak.

The damn broke years ago there is nothing left but a few feet of stagnant putrid foul smelling water that is not safe to swim in.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: SleepyTime

Thu Apr 8 05:27:41 2010

Marvin-True to form ebay puts responsibility for all this on the user for not using  ''discussion forums to research the seller''.

That's just a stupid comment from Ebay.  Until the 2008 boycott, I didn't even know the forums existed (after being a seller/buyer for over 5 years).  I never had a reason to go looking for it.  If I needed recommendations, I looked at feedbacks.  That is what the feedback system was designed for - until Ebay decided to ruin that also.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Bring It Here

Thu Apr 8 06:30:40 2010

Oh, how we wish we had those German lawyers. eBay would lose ALL their millions dollars and stripped of their holier than thou attitude towards sellers and buyers who have the nerve to complain. Corrupt eBay - your day of judgement will be here in the USA soon, sooner than YOU think!

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Jenns

Thu Apr 8 06:39:53 2010

Guess this explains why eBay is now prohibiting members from sharing information on problem buyers/sellers on the discussion boards!

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Doris Knight

Thu Apr 8 08:00:37 2010

@Jenns --- I've never liked that policy. I often wish there was a popular off-eBay site where people could discuss specific dishonest sellers (and dishonest buyers) without being censored.

As helpful as this information would be, it does however have the potential for abuse by a single disgruntled party who's seeking retribution for an isolated transaction that went bad.

Still, in this case, it shows clearly how eBay wants to have it both ways. "We're a venue, no we're NOT a venue... they're YOUR customers, they're OUR customers... buyer beware, don't worry we'll clear out the bad buyers for you... seller beware, don't worry our automated UPI will solve everything... it's safe to ship this item, as long as you deliver it yourself in person and get a signature and a photograph of the customer opening the item and expressing their 'delight' (sigh)"

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: John

Thu Apr 8 08:04:19 2010

What goes around Comes around

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: AlsoShop
Web Site

Thu Apr 8 10:33:38 2010

The bad part of this for sellers will be ... ebay will raise fees again. They have to pay this somehow. And when the damages awarded affect their bottom line, they will not dig into their coffers, they will raise fees. After all, they have an unlimited supply of wallets to tap.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: buck efay

Thu Apr 8 11:49:11 2010

An unlimited supply of wallets for Ebay to tap? Sorry, not mine. That's why I don't post anymore. I no longer sell there after 11 years as a powerseller with over 20K positives and 4.9% DSR. Even closed my PP acct. Now, I'm only waiting for Ebay to fold.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 8 13:15:57 2010

.

Justice done.

Too bad the fallout will further negatively impact sellers -- sellers who share none of the blame for eBay's greed and ineptitude. One can only hope that that busload of State Attorneys General finally decides to leave the station ... c'mon you guys, it's time for a summer ROAD TRIP to lovely California, home of the eBay Mother Ship.

eBay was smart enough all these years to refuse to edit FB comments, since doing so would increase its liability and exposure to legal action. But eBay long ago forgot that the earth is round. And so for the last few years injects itself in myriad ways into the marketplace, micromanaging and (in effect) making itself a "partner" in every seller's business.

Guess what JD?  Once somebody in the US wins a suit like this and gets written up in the NYT, 'gonna be open season for every two-bit lawyer in the land to add eBay's name to every buyer-seller action.

So much for DSR and all the rest ... eBay should have stayed a venue, and never injected itself so much into being the Big Brother of the marketplace.

- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

by: Troglodyte

Thu Apr 8 16:00:12 2010

IMO, the only issue remaining in any discussion of ebay's inherent and ongoing criminal conduct is the breadth and depth their criminality.

Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages   Austrian Judge Orders eBay to Pay Damages

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

Thu Apr 8 18:47:40 2010

Have no fear all you eBay sellers, eBay is an “equal opportunity” ripper: they will rip off buyers as well as sellers. Why else do you think they introduced the totally anonymous masked bidding aliases (particularly that form still in use in the UK)? So that the unscrupulous amongst you can shill bid to your heart’s content with, for the smart shill bidder, little risk of detection, and on the way improve eBay’s FVFs.

eBay is now an utterly desperate, totally unscrupulous organization, with an obviously dysfunctional system. By their anonymous masking of bidding IDs, eBay is, by deliberate design, encouraging and facilitating, before and after the fact, sophisticated shill-bidding ‘wire fraud’ on buyers the world over. They are blatant “criminal facilitators”.

For those with a longer attention span, an evening’s entertainment of details and facts on eBay’s unscrupulousness and a list of links to a number of PayPal horror stories, is contained in my (somewhat more detailed) post at:
http://www.auctionbytes.com/forum/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=6502877


And
now, only another 11 days to go to the announcement of eBay’s latest quarter’s results. The Don’s newest tap dance routine will undoubtedly be interesting to watch: I wonder who he will blame this time for the disastrous results—while, of course, ignoring the contribution that his own insane policies have made.

eBay/PayPal: Dead Men Walking

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