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Thu July 8 2010 11:51:15

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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I received several emails yesterday from readers who noticed a thread on the Yahoo Finance boards about an eBay seller who was allegedly listing fake Tiffany products. Within hours, the discussion thread had been removed (it's not clear why), although Google cached traces of the conversation.

The thread was about a Chinese seller using the ID goodshoppingstore2012, whose account has since been suspended (NARU). You can no longer see the listings since eBay has removed them, even the ones that received positive feedback, but one seller sent me screenshots she had taken before the listings were removed.

The issue of counterfeits is significant and eBay continues to defend itself in lawsuits filed by brands - including Tiffany. It would seem cross-border trade can make it harder for marketplaces like eBay to detect counterfeiting, but that has not deterred eBay from providing incentives for international sellers to list on the eBay.com marketplace.

CNBC is airing a one-hour program on the problem, it will be interesting to see if they interview eBay or other online marketplaces about the problem, and if so, what they had to say.




Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Anon0708

Thu Jul 8 12:07:52 2010

There is plenty more where they came from.

ebay search - women's Fashion 925 sterling

http://tinyurl.com/2vvokmq
http://preview.tinyurl.c
om/2vvokmq

As
far as what goes on at that yahoo board, looks like illegal activity in that a bunch of hooligans, employed by ebay or one of it's PR agencies, with names like "ebay pays all my bills", are over there filling the place with tripe as they bury and have deleted any news or discussion relevant to ebay. The censorship and the sleaziness of that forum is beyond outrageous. But it is nonetheless a direct reflection upon ebay.

I wish people would complain to SEC and FTC about the situation, in light of everything else we know about ebay.

I also hope people start alerting the brand name(s) who are getting trashed.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: shjames

Thu Jul 8 12:38:50 2010

I'm using my ebay user ID because I want ebay to know that there will be consequences for their 16 year failure to protect hand made Native American jewelry in the "venue."

In addition to the laws against fraud, Native American jewelry is specifically protected by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act which CRIMINALIZES misrepresenting jewelry made by any non Native American (a registered member of a federally recognized tribe) which includes non NA Americans as well as the Pacific Rim imports being illegally represented and sold on ebay as Native American.

Conservatively, more than half of the listings advertised as Native American made are fake made in China, the Philippines, India, and Thailand.

Ebay has conceded on numerous occasions that they know they "have a serious problem" in the NA jewelry category yet they have done NOTHING of any substance to comply with the law or to get rid of crooked sellers who aren't complying with the law.

In fact, ebay now proactively refuses to enforce its policies that, among other things, require the name of the artist in any listing that claims the item is Native American.

They know exactly who's selling the fake Indian jewelry and their refusal to remove these sellers makes ebay complicit in thousands of crimes each day.

Business ethics mean nothing to ebay. It's all about the fees these illegal listings generate while those of us selling authentic items and those of us carefully vetted by the industry's prestigious trade association, the IACA, are dying on vine because we pay fair prices for our inventory and accurate representation rather than paying sweat shop prices for fakes made by de facto indentured servants.

Ebay is a corporation without conscience, soul, or ethics.

Ebay's Best Match ensures that the cheapest items tend to be seen first, and most of these cheap NA jewelry items are imports illegally misrepresented as Indian made. Ebay is therefore actively and knowingly engaging in fraud every minute of every day.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Ebay No More This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 8 12:47:31 2010

@shjames I wish you much success.

Ebay pays lip service only when it comes to stopping counterfeits on their site. One unique way of removing a vast majority is to simply move all the Asian sellers off the dot com site and back to their respective international sites. I don't understand why I must constantly wade through millions of cheap Asian junk listings to shop on the dot com site. What a wonderful thing it would be just to move all the Chinese, Taiwan, Thailand listings back to their respective sites and unclutter the dot com site.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: LV

Thu Jul 8 12:51:59 2010

What's the problem?  Ebay execs are just counterfeits of what real executives should be.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: faircritic48

Thu Jul 8 13:19:28 2010

@shjames.......eBAY IS A CORPORATION WITH NO CONSCIENCE, NO SOUL, AND NO ETHICS.....

How very true....we should ALL start puttng this phrase in ALL of our tweets and board comments, until eBay management sees it and gets the message.

Problem is, eBay management is so arrogant,  that will NOT think this phrase applies to them!!

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: unusual1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jul 8 15:06:38 2010

If you want to sell ''signed'' name brands, real or fake, all you need is a paypal account.
Years ago when all of this started I didn't and still do not have a PayPal account and refused to have one. Ebay refused to let me sell name merchandise. The US Government says I am qualified to sell name items as I am USPSP compliant. Ebay does not recognize that fact.
JC

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: luxe

Thu Jul 8 16:50:35 2010

@ Ebay No More
I couldn't agree with you more.  My eyes glaze over and I scroll right past the hundreds of listings in every search from China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc.  If I could only figure out a way to filter them out...

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: its gonna get worse

Thu Jul 8 17:06:37 2010

Conservatively, more than half of the listings advertised as Native American made are fake made in China, the Philippines, India, and Thailand


Well arent we glad now that ebay is PAYING instructors to train people in Thailand and Phillapines on how to list on the ebay US site.
Think its bad now, its gonna get a whole lot worse when those listings start flooding in too.

Its a great win/win for the counterfeiters!!!
They make money by selling fakes and now they can make even more by showing others how to sell fakes too!

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Hardrock Rules

Thu Jul 8 17:12:57 2010

SUGGESTION: eBay USA list only USA sellers, stop letting fake fraud sellers from other Countries dominate eBay USA

That is 1 problem solved right there Donablow !

If from China you can only LIST in China !

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Marvin This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 8 17:33:23 2010

@shjames
Couple years back a friend of mine bought several pieces of authentic ''Native American'' jewelry off ebay. Turned out to be cheap imported knock-offs. Turquoise stones were hard plastic, silver band would stick to a magnet. Ebay did nothing. A year later despite tons of negative feedback the seller was still peddling his fake junk.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: m

Thu Jul 8 19:21:19 2010

Regarding all the Asian listings - eBay has a filter on the left that excludes all non-US seller listings.
Very simple.
Of course you'll still see some imported junk, but it does dramatically cut down on the clutter in some categories.

Regarding the "Tiffany" seller - the screenshot is of a ring selling for $6, with free shipping. If that isn't a red flag, what is? Sorry to say, some people are just complete morons and should have their credit cards, etc. taken away.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: On Lies and Secrets This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 8 19:31:47 2010

''Business ethics mean nothing to ebay. It's all about the fees these illegal listings generate while those of us selling authentic items and those of us carefully vetted by the industry's prestigious trade association, the IACA, are dying on vine because we pay fair prices for our inventory and accurate representation rather than paying sweat shop prices for fakes made by de facto indentured servants.''

shjames, I agree with the conclusions you draw about the poor ethics of the ebay corporation.  Their actions/inactions have undermined and destroyed small businesses, have destroyed the livelihoods of artists and have damaged markets for all kinds of goods by permitting relatively large volumes of fakes to be sold.  IMO, the ebay corporation is no friend to small businesses and does not promote a fair and ethical marketplace for goods to be bought and sold. Meg Whitman is no friend to small businesses.  I hope the ebay corporation and its past and present management team reaps double the misery, fraud and crooked dealings that they have given their customers over the years.  

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: shjames

Thu Jul 8 19:59:34 2010

Some clarification:

Ebay isn't paying anyone directly in the Pacific Rim to manufacture counterfeit Native American jewelry. However, by intentionally pretending there's nothing they can do about all the fakes (which isn't true) ebay profits enormously from seller fraud including this variety.

It's US-based unethical ebay sellers who are buying the counterfeits from importers and direct from the overseas manufacturers and reselling as it Native American.

Ironically, many of those who are selling the fakes live in southwest and know the destructive effects their fraud has had on the artists and their families. Current trends suggest that the affordable authentic NA jewelry trade will be dead within a generation or two because so few young people are entering the profession.

Another scam in the NA jewelry category that ebay looks the other way is the labeling of new items as vintage and estate pieces when, in fact, a lot of them (but certainly not all) is deliberately made to look old. There is at least one factory in China that does this. I'm not referring to oldstyle jewelry which is clearly identified as new and inspired by old designs. I'm talking about Pacific Rim factories that download photos of authentic vintage items and copy them perfectly.

Finally,there is the company in a large central New Mexico city that downloads internet photos of the work of well known, popular artists and then has counterfeits made to order in the Pacific Rim that includes FORGED the hallmarks of these popular artists.

For example, let's say hypothetially the wholesale prie on a well known Artist A's bracelets is $280. The counterfeit forged foreign made version costs $100. or less.

Which one do you think today's ebay buyer is going to buy? Which one do you think Best Match will show first?

Native American artists have no high powered tribal lawyers looking out after their best interests like Tiffany or any of the other aggrieved trademark holders do.

So while it's the Tiffany type cases that get the lion's share of the publicity, the plight of Native American artists goes unnoticed.

The only thing ebay responds to negative publicity, and I hope anyone reading this will go to the IACA website www.iaca.org and respectfully request IACA publically expose ebay's complicity in an ongoing practice of fraudulent misrepresentation and encourage them to file a massive and very public complaint with the Dept. of the Interior who supposed job it is to enforce the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

There are a few ethical NA sellers on ebay, but far too many of them are not ethical and routinely misrepresent.

And ebay lets them get with it beause ebay's business ethics begin and end with greed.




Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Idiotic

Thu Jul 8 21:10:42 2010

I can understand why so many of you eBay seller get no sales, it’s because you are just dumb.
One quick observation; you are now complaining about SE Asian sellers????? Well how about the US based eBay sellers that IMPORT box’s of Asian items and then re-sell on ebay dot com FROM THE US …are they all to be banned blocked or castrated???

Really many of you need to take a long hard look at what the internet sales platform is….. it is WORLD WIDE

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: shjames

Thu Jul 8 22:37:27 2010

@ Idiotic

Great screen name!

I wasn't complaining about SE Asian sellers.

I'm complaining about undeniably illegal misrepresentation which knows no borders on ebay in the Native American jewelry category. I'm complaining about a venue that invents all sorts of excuses for not getting rid of the bad apples so they can continue to profit from crime.



Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: midnite

Fri Jul 9 08:40:34 2010

Counterfeiting will never be sought out by what eBay loosely calls their "Trust and Safety" Dept.  If the illegal activity is brought to the public's attention by a concerned citizen the gig is then up and the illegal activity ceases under duress.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Tiffany Girl

Fri Jul 9 09:30:19 2010

Just search eBay for

silver lock ring

right now that search bring up 28 - yes TWENTY EIGHT Chinese counterfeit sellers who proudly advertise jewels with Fake Tiffany logos - those sellers combined have sold tens of thousands of Tiffany fakes with dilligent assistance of eBaY, and PayPal accounts -  after all eBay takes cut of every sale so eBay has no interest in squashing counterfeits on their site.  I can find these fakes so easily, one must question why eBay's giant staff of professional Trust and Safety professionals can't ?

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: luxe

Fri Jul 9 11:14:36 2010

@m
Thanks for the tip on filtering out all non-US listings.  Just out of self-interest...please choose 'North America' so that wonderful Canadian sellers like myself are not filtered out :)

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: colorful one
Web Site

Sat Jul 10 05:10:16 2010

ebay doesn't care about anything but the money.

Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay   Counterfeiting Remains a Serious Problem for Brands and eBay

by: Sharon
Web Site

Sun Jul 11 13:47:41 2010

It isn't just eBay.  Google Shopping is loaded with blatant fakes also.  I wish Google would take some control over this issue.  I understand that they can't really filter organic search, but shopping is so regulated by them in other ways (your feed has to be just-so, etc) that they should be able to deny the feeds from these sellers.  Tiffany, Givenchy, and Christian Dior are three that are especially bad.  It makes me sick when I see so many of them, often on the first page.

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