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Thu Oct 19 2017 15:48:00

Beware of Selling New Goods Online

By: Ina Steiner

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Seller beware. Marketplaces are growing increasingly reluctant to allow the sale of new goods on their sites unless sellers can prove they are authorized dealers. A reader says he fears the crackdown he experienced on a niche site called Reverb may be spreading to larger sites like eBay. (Note: be sure to see the update below.)

Reverb told the reader that in order to list *new* items on its marketplace, a seller must be an authorized dealer and must have explicit permission from the brand to sell the item on Reverb. 

From Reverb's policy page under "Images, not allowed", it says it prohibits the use of stock image - with the following exception: "We do permit authorized dealers to use stock images on Brand New items only"; and it prohibits boxed gear images, clarifying: "Potential buyers must be able to assess the physical condition of an item before purchasing. In cases of sealed items, authorized dealers may use stock pictures, but individual sellers' images must show the item out of the packaging."

The reader referenced the Lanham Act and said the First Sale Doctrine allows owners to sell their own items. "Is Reverb so obtuse/afraid - that they would let business walk away - even when those sellers are following the law????"

But it is a more complicated issue, especially as brands continue to pressure marketplaces. The July 2014 issue of the American Bar Association's Business Law Today magazine delved into the issue and offered advice for brands. It summed up:

"There is nothing per se illegal about an "unauthorized" sale of "genuine" goods. The first sale doctrine under both trademark and copyright law prohibits brand owners from controlling downstream sales in the first instance. 

"However, such sales can constitute trademark or copyright infringement if material differences exist in the product. One of the more common avenues is to attack such sellers on the grounds that their "genuine" products are not covered by the manufacturer's warranty, and thus are materially different from authorized goods. 

"Additional remedies can be available under business tort theories such as interference with contractual relations. Further, outside the courts one can approach the Customs Service or seek administrative relief through the International Trade Commission if imported goods are involved."

The EcommerceBytes reader explained there are numerous ways for unauthorized dealers to obtain new inventory for resale, including importers, self-styled distributors, closeout places, liquidation places - "plus dealers themselves who backdoor items," he said.

His overriding concern was what the policy on Reverb might mean for more mainstream marketplaces. "What will eBay do? That is the question of the day. Amazon already gates brands and demands invoices and letters - will eBay go that direction too ?"

Update 10/20/17: Reverb reached out with the following statement from Kevin Drost, Director of International Strategy at Reverb.com: 

"It's inaccurate to imply that Reverb.com only allows users to list new items if they're an authorized dealer or have explicit permission to sell the item on Reverb. Reverb.com is a music gear marketplace that welcomes the buying and selling of both brand new instruments and used instruments. In the instance of the reader featured in your article, they were not prohibited from listing their item on the site, they were prohibited from categorizing the item as "Brand New." Reverb, like other companies across a variety of industries, defines "brand new" as an item that is sold by an authorized dealer with the original warranty - nearly every manufacturer voids a warranty if the product was not sold by an authorized dealer. The reader featured in your article could have still listed and sold the item under one of our seven other "condition" categories, such as "Mint Condition" which means the item is essentially in its new, original condition. He could have also further explained the excellent condition of the item in the product description."




Comments (16) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Oct 19 16:25:47 2017

As long as it cannot be proven that the item is counterfeit, the First Sale Doctrine applies. Problem here is that most of the fakes are coming from Asia, and our government has no jurisdiction.

So the typical method for eCommerce sites is to punish everyone for the actions of a few. Also, when something is purchased from a third party at a deep discount, the buyer must assume there is no factory warranty. Would someone buy an item from a garage sale or flea market for way less $$$ and expect a full manufacturer's guarantee? Of course not. So why should it be expected from an online purchase from an unauthorized retailer??


If eBay gates brands like Amazon, POOF!! There goes all the dropshipped and ''unauthorized'' merchandise, and perhaps half or more of their goods available for sale.

They cannot afford to ''rock the boat'' right now. As I have mentioned many times on ECB, eBay needs to realize what a good thing they have going. Billions of dollars of products are listed, and a TINY FRACTION of them are being held in one of their warehouses (if anybody uses their failed Valet program).

With the so-so financial report which just came out, eBay really doesn't need to lose any amount of market share.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 19 16:46:28 2017

The issue is that if you sell NEW goods - opening the item and removing the shrink wrap makes the item NOT new - in Reverb's terms - it would be used - and we - dont sell used.

Of course ... Im the op on this - as like most here - eBay being the unreliable partner that it is - you need to have other baskets to put ones eggs into.

Poshmark, Reverb, Walmart etc - and in this case - its a NEW policy from Reverb. Im sure they are an "easy target" to sue - big companies like to be bullies - so smaller sellers get to be the punching bag(s).

I dared them to close my account (if I cant sell the NEW goods I carry - why bother having an account?) and they declined .... (maybe they have an ex eBay employee there - who knows!).

They dont care about Lanham etc - they just dont want to be sued I guess.

The question I posed to Ina is remarkably valid - and since I have had run ins with eBays villainous VERO dept - and their reputation is the lowest of the low - WILL THEY USE THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCE AUTHORIZED DEALER TAG TO REMOVE SELLERS THEY DONT WANT ???

eBays NOT afraid to bounce sellers - especially when the deal VERO makes with the manufacturers (to sell them software to search eBay listings to "find infringers") .....

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of the men from San Jose???

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Oct 19 17:50:27 2017

@pace306

CORRECTION

"The issue is that if you sell NEW goods - opening the item and removing the shrink wrap makes the item NOT new - in Reverb's terms - it would be used - and we - dont sell used."

Reverb specializes in USED guitar goods & guitars!

GO LOOK FOR YOURSELF. . .

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 19 18:40:52 2017

The bigger issue as I see it is people that are using stock photo's of items without explicit permission from the owner. I see this all the time on ebay and some other sites. Simple work around if you don't have permission to use the stock photo don't.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 19 20:29:17 2017

"Reverb specializes in USED guitar goods & guitars!"

Theres a million NEW items there too - CORRECTION NOI NEEDED.

You are (as usual) INCORRECT. The issue is their being a target for big companies to sue for Trademark and Copyright issues - NOTHING to do with their selling of used goods vs new.

I was gonna look at Reverb, but I got high
I thought new everything about it, but I got high
Now I only list on eBay and I know why
'Cause I got, cause I got high, cause I got high

I was gonna list on Amazon, but I got high
They dont want my crappy used tools, and I got high
Now I make 420 creme and I know why
'Cause I got, cause I got high, cause I got high

I post with 3 different screen names, and I got high
Im a big eBay cheerleader, cause I got high
Even Walmart doesnt want me and I know why
'Cause I got, cause I got high, cause I got high

Most of my posts are off topic, cause I got high
They arent relevant to the discussion, cause I got high
No matter whats said its not eBays fault
'Cause I got, cause I got high, cause I got high

Light another blunt

Song courtesy of Afroman, no 420 was used, hurt or cut down in its prime while responding to this post.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Oct 19 21:20:33 2017

@ pace306

CORRECTION

"I post with 3 different screen names"

That would be impossible as I only post with 2. . .

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 19 22:06:36 2017

1 here and 2 on eBays boards - but thats not the point

The POINT isnt that Reverb sells more used then new. Its that they sell ALOT of new and introduced a policy that 1) made no sence 2) was WORSE then the dopes at eBay.

You were so busy doing whatever you do - that you missed the point.

Being the OP, I know what pics I used. THOSE PICS are fine with eBay (ATM) and I use them all the time - they are camera pics or box scans - all covered under DMCA fair use (section 7) if you take the pics YOURSELF (as I do).

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Oct 20 00:27:01 2017

@pace306...hahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: Gemz This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 20 00:46:25 2017

I would like to see ebay stop new items from being sold by anyone other than the manufacturer! That WOULD be the end of Ebay and the shareholders can watch their stock fall with more action than a James Bond Movie and possibly be over a lot quicker too! lol. In another way , to get around reverb. just open 1 item and take a pic. Then if you sell that same item frequently, just use the same exact pic. When the customer buys, send them factory fresh! Between that and the pics that Terapeak takes and uses for free (of which you probably could as well) you have an unlimited supply of photos. Go through google images, go through ebay past auctions ended 30+ days ago. Grab those too! If a seller throws a pic on and only has 1 of the items and they don't specialize in the item, then I'm sure they wouldn't mind, or care, or even realize that you borrowed their pic that they will probably never use again anyway. I know I don't mind it. Only when I am still selling the same item and someone takes my pic and they sell creating competition using my photos!  

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 20 03:18:33 2017

Amazon has gated so many items, even new items.  They want proof that you are authorized.  It's gotten crazy for packaged CDs and DVDs.  IMO this cuts out revenue not only for the seller but for the site too.  If I'm selling a NEW packaged item, and you gate me, then that's one less sale & seller you have.  I will take it elsewhere.
I'm sure some sellers will get together and file a class action lawsuit, because it cuts into their ability to profit and make a living.
At this rate, we're going to be left with Tophatter to do business.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Oct 20 18:22:43 2017

I don't need Scamazon to gate me.  Their cheapskate customers have that covered.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 20 20:10:26 2017

@Chicago48

It has also had the effect of raising prices on used dvds and cds since only megasellers can list them.

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Oct 22 12:47:01 2017

@toolguy

Not all new items are shrink wrapped.  In fact most aren't.

@dander

I see a lot of what appear to be stock photos on Ebay too.  But in looking at them we have no way of knowing if the seller has permission to use them or not.  We assume they don't, but that does not make that a factual statement.

Now with Ebay requiring sellers to have all watermarks removed from listings by March of 2018 this picture issue will be unenforceable on Ebay.  Ebay is using all kinds of stock photos in their catalog and it will just continue to grow with the required removal of watermarks.  

I actually asked a CSR a few times if Ebay's catalog photos will be held to the rules of Vero like seller's are.  As many times as I've asked that question, I've never gotten an answer.  Surprise!

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 22 20:04:46 2017

My photos are being "borrowed " more and more frequently , even photos of signed books which are really one of a kind.  Ebay will do nothing when I report them....

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 23 02:40:16 2017

Noone needs these middlemen sites.

Get rid of them

Beware of Selling New Goods Online   Beware of Selling New Goods Online

by: Alfabarn1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 23 05:23:52 2017

I would not put much faith, or trust, in the responses from Reverb.
I have made 4 purchases on Reverb, 3 of which went bad, One was a purchase from Reverb, never received the item or a refund. Two items from sellers. A guitar that did not include the items described as being included with it. Another guitar with a 15% discount that was not applied.  All 3 items would have been covered by Ebay's buyer protection, but not Reverb. Reverb would not address any of the issues. Their first response was always polite, and positive, "don't worry we will take care of it", In most cases it was also the last response.

Ebay may not be perfect, but they are a better deal than Reverb, my 2 cents.  



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