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Thu Jan 12 2017 21:37:35

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

By: Ina Steiner

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Counterfeits present a public relations problem for eBay - and as we wrote in April, it's not going away. The Counterfeit Report, a website backed by manufacturers determined to expose the problem of fakes for sale on online marketplaces, is still hammering away at eBay (and Amazon) for allowing the sale of fakes on their sites.

With the announcement of a new program, could eBay have found a way to solve its PR problem and perhaps even make money doing so?

eBay is launching an authentication program called eBay Authenticate for high-end merchandise, such as designer handbags. Sellers will have the option of opting into the service when listing a product, for which they pay a fee. 

However, we keyed in on something that could have huge ramifications for sellers: "if a buyer receives an item following inspection and it's found to be inauthentic - eBay will refund the buyer two times the cost of the original purchase price." eBay didn't say who would be funding that protection plan.

Users on the eBay Fashion board had an interesting perspective on the program. (One drew an interesting parallel to the eBay Global Shipping Program.) 

Let us know what you think of the eBay Authenticate program - and will it ultimately be good for sellers by providing shoppers with more confidence in the site?




Comments (32) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 12 22:19:14 2017

The real question is: who in their right minds trusts eBay?!

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Jan 12 22:53:50 2017

Buyers get TWO refunds?  So it's not good enough for con artists to get their item for free, but now they want to get paid for stealing their free item?  I'm all for making sure things are what they say they are, but who judges if it's authentic?  eBay?

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 12 23:02:32 2017

Innovation and profitability is a much better solution then banning every seller who gets a BS VERO violation in my opinion. Currently sellers of premium authentic products are getting violated simply for offering low prices. It is an absolute shame how many sellers were put out of business due to having low prices. This proposed service would go a long way to allow sellers to certify that they are selling genuine products in the same way collectable sellers currently are proving authenticity. I have never even considered anything brand name due to potential retaliating from the MFG but would not consider it if I could certify the authenticity and thus immunize myself from unfair violations.

This is a great item that benefits everyone. Thumbs up to ebay for choosing innovation over stupidity.  

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Jan 12 23:09:50 2017

eBay's announcement doesn't say who is going to be performing the authentications, and how it is going to be done. Do the sellers send photos, or do they mail their items into eBay for an inspection? And I see the potential for fraud with the lure of twice a buyer's money back.

eBay is constantly amazing me with new schemes to get money from sellers.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 12 23:31:17 2017

I've had takedowns from tech companies (dumb enough to make accusations with out even a test buy! Just guessing on their part).

But, being that VERO, NRGinternational, and bravoeye all make money for eBay - when they know the takedowns are fake - instill ZERO confidence in me that this scheme will work!

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 00:16:32 2017

Ebay is not going to authenticate anything. They will do what they do now, let the (2)feedback buyer decide and when they file a case, ebay will tell them to keep the item and the money. Meanwhile a seller that has 20k positive feedback and lists 10k items in their store has no ground to stand on and the ebay Peggys treat the seller as a criminal. Its an uphill battle for sellers and no commonsense used on ebays side.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 00:30:42 2017

What a mess, two times the refund, knowing ebay they are going to make the seller pay two times, keep one of the times for themselves the end.   I hope the consumer protection bureau does a great job of getting rid of arbitration clauses so the class action suits can begin.

But remember class action suits are a drain on business, but they don't tend to ever mention not being able to do a class action suit is a drain on individuals and letting these companies legally rob one blind.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Fri Jan 13 01:20:00 2017

A better model would be to let the buyer select an authentication service, if the selling price exceeds some threshold or the Scott number has been flagged in the catalog as frequently forged. The seller would be given the authentication service address to ship to and the authenticator would receive a shipping label to forward the item to the buyer if authentic or return the item to the seller if damaged or counterfeit. If the item is good, the buyer would pay, otherwise the seller would pay.

This would work well in the Stamps Category, especially if the buyer could choose one of the four recognized US expertizing committees. It could have a positive effect on the marketplace.

Certain volume sellers who profit from an unacceptably high percentage of altered stamps might have to be more careful about what they offer. In certain sub-categories of stamps a few sellers show an excessive number of fakes when past sales are sorted by price, highest first.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: ken070 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 07:08:30 2017

I've really never been surprised by the level of stupidity at eBay, but this one is going to backfire on them so spectacularly.

PLEASE roll this out in the categories I'm familiar with!  I see thousands of obvious fakes listed every day, many of them higher value items.  

If I can now buy those and get twice the money back, I should be able to make a good 6- or 7-figure income each year.

I honestly thought I'd never buy anything on eBay again, but they may have just succeeded in bringing me back to the website...

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: C.Page This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 07:40:45 2017

What seller in their right mind would PAY a service to authenticate, and then pay the same company--again!--twice!--when the service gave wrong information? Doesn't even sound legal to me. How very ''eBay'' of eBay to have come up with this!

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 09:14:25 2017

This is such BS, how about start with some common sense instead of this foolishness.  I would not trust ebay and their schemes, it is just another way for ebay to line their pockets and not help anyone but themselves.
This is a great encouragement for competitors and thieves alike to assist in the theft from small honest sellers.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 09:31:35 2017

Will eBay use this service on themselves when the CEO goes and tells companies to create knockoff pieces?

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 10:21:44 2017

As with a lot of great ideas, one big hurdle is whether it can realistically scale up to the size of the market. I can see this process getting bogged down in a flood of purchases swamping not-enough experts to authenticate the items. Imagine the screaming at Christmastime when gift purchases are delayed by the authentication process.

The other unknown that occurs to me is how they plan to handle disputes, where the seller is convinced that the item is authentic and the authenticator is convinced that it isn't.

Finally, if I'm understanding this correctly, the authenticator physically receives the item, then ships it on again after approval. If it arrives damaged, I can foresee a lot of fingerpointing over whose fault it was, whether it was repacked sufficiently by the authenticator, etc.

It will be interesting to see if this idea ever gets off the ground.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Fri Jan 13 12:16:53 2017

Keep it simple. Require a recognized  certificate of authenticity before listing the item for sale. Then all eBay has to do is to establish price or other criteria for the requirement. A precedent already exists in the Coins Category.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: bpm This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 13:08:53 2017

Ebay is going to hire experts to authenticate stuff? Can anyone name any job Ebay has ever hired for where the person doing it has a clue what they're doing?

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jan 13 13:19:17 2017

iheartjacksparrow says "eBay is constantly amazing me with new schemes to get money from sellers."

As I just wrote on another one of Ina's posts--they can't grow sales. They are desperate for additional fees to please Wall Street.

They are getting really creative.  So who will be doing the authentication?  A bunch of incompetent paralegals at a law firm?  And yes, if they are paying the consumer double, who will fund that.  Even if an authentic item is shipped, what will keep a fraudster from keeping the authentic and showing a photo of an item that is not authentic?

If these folks are no better than their crack tam of customer service reps, God help the sellers who are selling expensive merchandise.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Jan 13 15:42:06 2017

My thoughts:

1) Buyer should pay for authentication services
2) Seller should be required to ship to the authenticator.

Here's what could go wrong: 'buyer' has in their possession a replica Chanel handbag. 'Buyer' purchases identical authentic bag on eBay which passes eBay's authentication services. Buyer then pays for a second opinion using their identical counterfeit bag. Chanel authenticator issues their letterhead findings and 'buyer' makes an easy ~5-10k (minus the cost of the authentication).  

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 13 16:17:52 2017

just another money grab desperate move by the ceo. wonder how long before he gets his golden parachute.

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Fri Jan 13 18:44:37 2017

Do any of you remember when eBay tried this many years back? It was an unqualified disaster, clearly not thought out in any. It was my worst eBay experience ever, and believe me, that is really saying something.  

Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?   Will eBay Find Profits in Authenticating Items?

This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner

Fri Jan 13 18:49:50 2017

I can't tell you the details as I don't want to relive the unpleasantness - still think occasionally about getting even with eBay someday for their old authentication program.

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