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Wed Mar 7 2012 10:55:06

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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eBay has long had a problem with fakes and reproductions or counterfeits on the site. As such, they've stepped up policing of these kinds of items, but sellers still complain that fakes are a problem in some areas. This happened recently in the Coins categories after eBay made the policy change that generated a lot of talk that it was overly broad, and the felt would not cut out the real counterfeits, mostly from China.

Have you ever been burned by buying a fake at, say, a garage sale or flea market?  Or have you then tried to sell it on eBay, not knowing what it was? Or, have you bought something on eBay that was represented as the real deal, and clearly wasn't?

Also, while eBay's VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program exists to help protect companies and brands against these fakes, I know of at least one seller who felt she was burned by the policy. She had bought some old Hollywood photos at a swap meet, and later the copyright owner of the photographs claimed she could not sell them. She felt because they were being traded freely at these meets and had for years, it shouldn't be a problem. Sometimes it seems one needs an intellectual property lawyer to determine some of the nuances of what can and can't be legally sold.

When it comes to high-end luxury items or well-known brand collectibles, sellers really need to know their stuff. I have sold authentic high-end handbags and had their authenticity questioned by a buyer. I had purchased an authenticity guide eBook on eBay about this particular brand (eBay's free member-written guides can also be a help), which was a great help to me, and I also carefully sourced from a secondhand dealer who was an expert in this particular brand. Still, she had me sweating bullets with her doubts, so I urged her to take the item to one of the brand's boutiques and have them authenticate it if she still was unsure. In the end, I heard nothing further from her, but I learned selling secondhand luxury items is not for the faint of heart, and you better know your stuff.

The venue where you buy can also matter a lot. I have seen fakes sold freely at estate sales -- some were openly acknowledged as fakes, others were not; but their middling prices reflected their questionable authenticity. I once foolishly bought (what I thought was) a genuine Hermes scarf at such a sale, only to be set straight later by a collector that the item did not have all the signs of a true Hermes: the exact design and colors, artists' signature, etc.

Have you ever been burned by buying a fake, on eBay or off? Or, have you ever been VeRO'd and felt it was unfair? In general, do you think the problem of fakes online has gotten better in the last few years? Post a comment here!




Comments (24) | Permalink

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Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: Willabill This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 13:25:57 2012

As a seller, I’ve had a few encounters with VeRO, including a few rock band T-shirts I purchased at the local Goodwill that were removed because representatives for the bands claimed they were unauthorized.  There is no way of knowing of course, but I would advise staying away from any T-shirts with the images of Dave Matthews or Phish.  But my most unbelievable experience involved a music CD by a band called Lightswitch.  Would you believe it if I told you a Christian rock group that had no involvement with a CD by an entirely separate band would be able to file a legal dispute and successfully remove the album from eBay – and do it simply by claiming a trademark violation?  And furthermore, they did this without having to provide an ounce of proof to verify their false claims?  You would hardly think a Christian rock band would do such a thing, but think again.

The CD they were able to remove was by a Jacksonville Beach, Florida band called Lightswitch that released the album “Let it Fade” on the “Justify This” label in the year 2000.  Sometime thereafter, the band folded.  Now, can you guess the name of the Christian band that filed legal papers to have the other band’s CD removed from eBay?  Right.  The band is also calling itself Lightswitch.  They are a totally different band from Wilson, Wisconsin that apparently “borrowed” the name from the earlier group, with which they had absolutely no connection.  By their own admission they were “trying to avoid confusion” by apparently removing all evidence that another band by the same name existed years before they released their own CD in 2007.  They filed a VeRO complaint and the item was removed.

What is most distressing, and perhaps most telling, is that while eBay states it does not inspect the item to verify the violation, and is “not in a position to determine whether the item you have listed is authorized or legal,” they nonetheless had no hesitation in placing a policy violation on my seller’s account for 12 months.  Explain that one if you can.  

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 15:40:30 2012

''eBay's VeRO (Verified Rights Owner) program exists to help protect companies and brands against these fakes'' ... NO it doesnt - it wasnt designed to, nor is that its current function.

VERO, is nothing - they arent lawyers, they know nothing - they are less then average CS agents, they have no authority, will not listen to you, reason with you or accept proof from you.

eBays experience being on the ''seller end'' of things when they were sued years back from Vitton, should have taught them a thing or 2 about current US Trade Law. Being that ''eBay is eBay'', they have turned the entire idea around on its head, and 1) ignore all current laws, 2) only listen to the ''rights owners'', and 3) penalize you without mercy or understanding.

EVERY good seller agrees that selling fakes, dupes, replicas etc is a crime, should be punnishable, should be delt with severly and shold be policed on eBay.

That being said there's the other 1/2 that should go along with it. 1) abide by all current US trade Laws - a) First Sale Doctrine b) Lanham Act.

eBay pretends they ''are doing GODS work'' by having VERO to start with, and like a rabid dog, when they get a bite, they dont let go.

By law you do NOT need permission to resell ANY lawfully obtained item on eBay (or anywhere else). Its CLEARLY stated in Lanham - yet ask the people who get MC019 Unauthorized violations if eBay bothered to even read the law.

Trademarks, again covered under Lanham. You are %100 allowed to use the minimal description verbage - Title name and specs to describe your item for sale. Yet ask the people who get MC019 Copyright Violations whether eBay applies the law correctly.

As for MC019 Trademark ... eBay pruposely leaves the pictures page empty of any or all real information. As said by VERO to me on many occations ''we provide the basic guidelines and we wont tell you whats legal or not''. STUPID PEOPLE - if you dont set guidelines how should any one know what they can or cant do?

VERO today has been transformed by eBay into the leg breakers (as peopl ehere call eBay ebafia ...lol). When a manufactorer DOESNT want you to sell ''thier'' item(s) on eBay - they fax VERO. It doesnt matter if the fax is truthful, factual, or even lawful. VERO doles you out a punnishment - to keep you in line.

I went a few rounds with Skullcandy (for example). I received 10+ violations for all kinds of things. I was accused in these violations of selling fakes - EVEN THOUGH SKULLCANDY KNEW THE ITEMS WERE FROM THIER OWN DISTRIBUTOR AND HAD INVOICES TO PROVE IT.

Do you think eBay cared? VERO isnt reachable by phone - they have no phone # (on purpose) and thier responces by email say nothing but ''go ask the rights holder''.

It took the threat of Federal Court Action and 2 attorneys letters to get it all undone (though eBay would never consent to undoing the violations themselves - they were though ''ignored''). Skullcadny backed off - but there are many others that DONT.

I had another run in with Denon. Denon swore that a law in the UK ''protected them'' form imports of their items from the US. Thing is that the Scottish law they point to talks about SELLERS IN THE UK ONLY.

Missaplication of laws is VEROS specialty - so dont expect them to do anything when they screw up - they wont.

There are TONS of fakes on eBay. Ive reported many - and nothing happens. eBay doesnt want anything to happen - as they are Chinese Mega sellers.

VERO is only mainly used today to coerce sellers into not selling legally obtained items through missaplications on the DMCA law. (the DMCA doesnt cover trademark etc - just creating copies of digital items - music, movies). VERO has NO clue - they never bothered to even read it!

VERO - the scourge of eBay!

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Wed Mar 7 16:07:22 2012

I didn't coin the term "ebafia" as a joke.

Dozens if not hundreds of similarities between this criminal syndicate and the Cosa Nostra can be factually supported though as far as I know, ebafia hasn't yet dispatched anyone to literally sleep with the fishes.

VERO is nothing more than Wall Street's (specifically Goldman Sachs) ugly beauty pageant pig smeared with cheap lipstick.

In other words, VERO is a poorly conceived and poorly implemented sham to satisfy other corporate pigs and exterminate more small sellers. Since VERO serves ebafia's objectives reasonably well as is, there's no incentive to make it fair or accurate.

There should be a class action focusing on VERO and ebafia's criminal management that offers no due process, completely biased and inadequate customer service, and no independent ombudsman.

Ebafia itself is responsible for at least some of the buyers expectations that they're going to get something for nothing, and for inviting and catering to the Communist Chinese some of whom manufacture and sell phony products on ebay.

If in fact buyers have told ebay they don't want to be educated, then HONEST sellers shouldn't suffer because of piss poor ebafia management and buyers from the shallow end of the gene pool.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: bouddi This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 7 17:06:37 2012

Do a search for 'Mens Leather Belts' on ebay.com.au

now how many fake Hugo Boss, D&G. Versace, etc etc belts can you find?

there are hundreds of them ... clear and obvious fakes

I have tried until I am blue in the face to have eBay remove them .... they will not

why?

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Wed Mar 7 20:35:35 2012

Because the only thing that matters to the eBafia is its "bottom line" ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Mar 7 22:31:13 2012

"Have you ever been burned by buying a fake at, say, a garage sale or flea market?"

Don't assume an item is authentic just because you buy it at a yard sale in a swanky neighborhood.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Wed Mar 7 22:50:07 2012

Yeah, but at the real yard sale you at least get a chance to look at the item before you buy.

Is that not why a fair and accurate description of a desirable collectible/used good is obligatory on an online sale, even more so on a sale by auction?

If you forget to mention the crack or dent in an relatively expensive items (or picture a single good page of an otherwise terribly battered book without any other mention of its condition, as I once experienced on an auction), the seller should expect the item to bounce back. After all, there is a place for the unscrupulous “used car salesmen” on eBay Motors.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Thu Mar 8 00:14:05 2012

I recently had an item pulled down by eBay, not the copyright holder, as a VeRO violation. The item is a CD I purchased from Sony's MyPlayDirect.com site. The title is The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live at Woburn. The problem seems to be that the IDIOTS at eBay can't read... the description - the official description - of the CD contains the word ''bootleg''. Since they are too lazy or cheap to have a human read or review the listing, they simply flag it as a VeRO problem with no links for dispute.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Thu Mar 8 01:13:47 2012

Hey, this is the way the eBay cookie crumbles, always has, always will ...

As an aside, today I came across a site that would not accept a comment with the word "PayPal" in it! "PreyPal" was OK though ...

What does that tell you about PreyPal?

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Thu Mar 8 03:29:19 2012

I worked for a music publishing company in the 70s and have a very rare un-issued vinyl LP from that time which is  worth around  £1000.  A new eBay seller has reproduced this on CD and had sold about 10 by auction in the last month from £5 to £75 He re-lists it every week. This was never released as a commercial disc on vinyl, let alone CD, and his sleeve is completely wrong I report each one to eBay VERO and no action has been taken to remove them.  YET a while back I had a listing removed(without warning)  because it was a (legal) PROMO issue
The VERO programme is badly  flawed and  understaffed. eBay still  has fakes/counterfeits and ''doubtful'' discs especially in the music section - we all know about the  fashion rip offs (I even have purchased FAKE postage stamps on eBay  thinking they were a genuine clearance sale.  Buyers are buying fakes at inflated prices (£75 for a home produced CDR is horrible & and extremely bad for the true collectors' market. I would suggest (from a selfish point of view)  eBay is effectively  downgrading the true value of legitimate rare items like my LP, by allowing these fakes without investigating the complaints I make (10,000 feedbacks, TRS, Powerseller On eBay since 1999 (longer  than most eBay employees!!) Perhaps they could trust  after all this time that  I am not making it up simply to damage a rival seller

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: Willabill This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 09:33:43 2012

To Andrew - If your rare 70s LP was being bootlegged as a fake LP, I would understand why you would report it.  But if it is being reproduced as a CD, no one is being fooled.  Anyone buying it would most likely be glad to have the music in this format.  Why do you care so much that you would report it to eBay - and do eBay's job for them?

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Mar 8 11:56:30 2012

eBay's VeRO program is seriously flawed.  It is one sided and many of the VeRO members are over reaching and over zealous.  We have had several legitimate items removed by some of these members and we had to do some major fighting to get them relisted.  One  VeRO member kept taking the SAME items back down after they admitted they had made a mistake the first time they pulled them down.

Many VeRO members are non-responsive to sellers and they do not play by the eBay VeRO rules.   If they are going to be part of the program they should HAVE to be compliant.  Moreover, the folks working for these companies who are instructing the take-downs are far from experts.  I have even heard that paralegals are sometimes authorized to take items down by law firms who run these programs for manufacturers.

Bottom line is, most of these companies simply do not want their products sold on eBay. They become big bullies.

Thankfully all of our VeRO take downs have been resolved to our satisfaction, but it was ONLY because we were dogged and determined not to be bullied.  We were also ready to spend whatever it would take to clear our name, but thankfully because we would not let it go we did not have to.   You can't roll over and play dead with these VeRO bullies.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: stinkylitter This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 8 15:51:20 2012

A couple of years ago I had a VERO on a heart charm. Tiffany Co. said it was their design. Of course they never responded to my email asking for verification.

Since I buy the charms directly from the manufacturer I contacted them. They were pissed off about it because they had a copyright on the design, not Tiffany. They were going to have their lawyers contact ebay and Tiffany. I should ask them whatever happened with that, they still make the charm.

I sent ebay copies of the emails from the manufacturer and asked to have the VERO removed from my account and they refused. I had the manufacturer send me a paper letter with the info and I forwarded that to ebay and they still wouldn't remove the VERO. I had to wait a year for it to come off.

People are still been selling that same charm on Ebay to this day (I just looked, its on Amazon, Bonanza, and Etsy as well). I don't bother selling it anymore, it wasn't a great seller and why deal with the hassle.

The VERO system is completely unfair and one sided. I have no problem with legimate issues, but in my case it was not legimate and I provided ebay with proof of that.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Thu Mar 8 16:59:40 2012

Let's face it, it's not just the operation of VeRO on eBay that is clunky, it's the whole of eBay that is clunky, and eBay management does not care, nor will it until it has a serious effect on their bottom line, and by they these cretis will have made their millions and they will simply abandon ship, just like Scotty Thompson did, only I don't think that Scotty thought he was getting his fair share on the millions, but he did see the light reflecting off off the Visa V.me icebeg ahead.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: haunted This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 08:30:12 2012

I was selling advertising figures of a company's trademarked character bought directly from their website.

The company VeRO'ed me claiming they were counterfeit. I sent ebay a link to the website, a copy of my invoice & my payment information but they refused to even remove the violation from my account. I understand that eBay won't allow me to sell the items but at least remove the violation.

Of course the company that filed the VeRO refused to answer my emails. I did finally talk to someone at the fulfillment center who said the company doesn't want anyone reselling their merchandise.

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

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

Fri Mar 9 10:35:55 2012

Years ago when I was selling on ebay I had several ''name brands'' listed. They were removed. I was told that I had to have a paypal account in order to list anything that had a ''brand'' name. I closed my pp account and will never deal with them again. That is why I couldn't list - no paypal. I am a qualified appraiser - USPAP, knowing real and fakes IS my business, but, no paypal - no listing. A good portion of the ''brands'' listed are obvious fakes, but ebay and pp want the money - that's what counts, not authenticity. There is NO WAY ebay can check any item to tell if it is real, they are NOT competent to do anything except get money from the dealers still willing to put up with their crap!

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 11:03:32 2012

@ haunted .... the behavior you describe is against current US Trade laws. Under the First Sale Doctrine and confirmed under Lanham, you dont need anyones permission to resell a legally obtained item.

Barring you from doing so is a crime and whats known as Torturous Interference in Commerce. That is what your attorneys letter should say. Make sure the company and eBay get a copy of the letter REGISTERED Mail.

eBays one and only issue is to NOT be sued by a large company with big pockets ie Vitton. You, I and everyone else who has to deal with the idiots at VERO arent the people eBay is afraid of. They know 1) we dont have the deep pockets they do 2) the TOS we agreed to thats been amended via ''slip streaming'' 10000x times, says we agree to arbitration in CA in thier offices in San Jose, by a mediator of thier choice .. ie they ask thier best buddies to help them.

Most large companies know this game too - can you or I afford to take a multi million dollar company to court? Yes I know some that have - Taberone for example. She did it successfully and got certain companies to back down.

Most companies consider eBay to be an ''unauthorized distribution channel'' and they spend thier days, and thier earnings ''protecting their B&M dealers'' from the predatory pricing that is eBay''.

Sony for example has Net Enforcers aka the storm troopers of the internet. They will go to your ISP and demand your removal for listing Sony items (never mind just complaining to VERO). Of course Sony lost a few billion this year - the time and money spent on stupidity would have been better spent on MAKING SALES.

Vero today is not used to remove actual fakes. Every normal, honest seller would be happy if that was the case, but its not.

Refering back to my Skullcandy incident. Why did they pick on me? Answer - eBay asked them to create a channel aka a premium store. Skullcandy's answer was ''we wont until you clean up the sellers we dont want on eBay''. eBay cant just kick me off, so they used VERO. That way they could send me enough MCO19s until I either said UNCLE or stopped selling SKullcandy items. I foiled thier plans with my attorney - but they tried. The Skullcandy IP rep even contacted me during his Thanksgiving dinner - must have been awful bad turkey! asking me to verify the items as legit - even though he had invoices from his own distributor!

Skullcandy didnt run me off - but they ran another few dealers I know off ... and then opened up a Premium store.

Talk about acting like the mafia !

VERO is the shame and scourge of eBay - but dont expect any changes - since they will NEVER happen!

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: dmg61 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 13:11:36 2012

It's all a joke. eBay does not control fakes. I won't sell any jewelry on eBay because it's flooded with Chinese junk. A lot of the ads are lies (natural gemstones when I tested one for a friend that was synthetic Quartz), and you can't find anything good because it's flooded with junk. This includes obvious knock offs of Tiffany, Chanel, Cartier, etc. jewelry. It's not just accessories. But eBay will never do anything about it because they're megasellers. it's too much money!

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: punky This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 9 15:50:05 2012

I recently have been a victim of eBay's VeRO program.  Before purchasing items to be sold on eBay I always check VeRO's About Me listings and verify on whether or not a company is listed and if so, what their terms and conditions are. With no About Me page from this company and with other sellers listing this particular brand I purchased several of this brands items from a company that sells only authentic merchandise.  Within a day of listing these items my listings were removed by eBay stating that the company requested that my listings be removed citing that they were fake or counterfeit.  I contacted this company (per eBay's  guide lines) to provide them with proof that these items were authentic but have not received a response.  I contacted eBay again (as they stated if no response was made in 7 days).  This time they said that the VeRO department would ''nudge'' them to respond but said that the company does not have to respond.  To date, I have no response from that company.  With all this I am now stuck with merchandise that I cannot sell and to make matters worse, eBay has put a ''medium'' compliance rating on my account that will not be removed until mid August of this year.  eBay also stated that even though I may have proof of authenticity the only way that the hit on my account can be removed is by the request of the company.  Isn't that a kick in the (you know what)!!!! I guess I didn't realize it's illegal to sell authentic legal items on eBay!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                               

Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?   Have You Been Burned By Fakes (or VeRO) on eBay?

by: pace306

Fri Mar 9 16:15:44 2012

I guess I didn't realize it's illegal to sell authentic legal items on eBay!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ITS NOT. But this is eBayland, where good is bad and bad is good. You, the average nomal seller, trying to make a sale is automatically in the wrong. If you were Sony, Denon, Kenwood, Mitsubishi, Soul by Loudacris or othes then you would of course be "in the right".

Get a lawyers letter and email it to the company and ebay. If you let them run you over - then you loose :

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