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Sat May 26 2018 23:22:39

Do You Know Who You're Sourcing From?

By: Ina Steiner

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Some online sellers are unusually resourceful when finding inventory to sell online and may use a variety of sources, from cheap overseas suppliers, to liquidators, flea markets, yard sales, and from other online sellers.

But there's a reason for sellers to be careful about their sources since they're responsible for the legitimacy and authenticity of the products they sell, a reality underscored by two recent developments.

The Justice Department announced a jury had found a couple of online sellers guilty of federal offenses related to their role in what it called a large-scale fencing operation. Here's an idea of how the operation allegedly worked.

Shoplifters with opioid addictions (called "boosters") stole goods from retail stores such as Home Depot, Target, CVS, and Lowe's, and allegedly sold the items at one-third of their retail prices to a retail business that also sold on eBay - and to resellers who also sold the items online.

One of the resellers was found guilty of "conspiracy to commit the interstate transport of stolen property," an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years; and one count of "interstate transport of stolen property," an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.

Did the resellers know they were buying allegedly stolen property? It's not clear that prosecutors had to prove knowledge or intent.

Another story caught our eye. A local Houston new reporter investigated a case where an eBay buyer had purchased a "Genuine Apple Macbook Pro refurbished charger" that fried his wife's computer because, the news team determined, it was a counterfeit charger.

It's interesting to read about how eBay handled the issue. But beyond that, where did the business source the goods - did they know they were sourcing allegedly counterfeit products?

Even if you don't knowingly pass off fakes as the real thing, it's your responsibility to check the authenticity and legitimacy of the items you sell online (and keep good records).

These sellers allegedly got away with selling problematic products for some time, but eventually, their business practices came to light. And in one case, at least, there were some dire consequences.



Comments (22) | Permalink

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by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 27 11:38:10 2018

I will not buy any stolen goods. I know where my items are sourced. they are either sourced by me personally, or from legit wholesales and manufacturers.

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

Sun May 27 15:28:57 2018

If the feds would also go after ebafia for knowingly and intentionally allowing the sale of counterfeit merchandise, it would go a long way toward solving this problem.

But no. Even when ebay is presented with introvertible evidence that an item is counterfeit, they do nothing.

Ebafia profits from all sorts of crimes and illegal business practices, and allowing stolen or counterfeit merchandise is just one of them.

Ebafia is probably the world's largest fencing venue, and they are fully aware of it.

CRIMINALS ALL starting with Wenig.

Resign now, Wenig.

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

Sun May 27 19:39:07 2018

I have to know the provenance of my inventory and go to great lengths to make sure it's legitimate.

Unfortunately, several of my competitors sell counterfeits and ebafia does nothing.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 27 21:17:34 2018

the amount of counterfeit items, and pirated software  listed and sold on ebay is truly unbelievable, I am shocked that Nothing is being done about it by ebay or the law


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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 27 21:43:01 2018

''...purchased a Genuine Apple Macbook Pro refurbished charger'' that fried his wife's computer because, the news team determined, it was a counterfeit charger.''

Wondring if that was part of a mainstream media report on counterfet chargers that were nevertheless labled from the 'legitimate' (yet still 'overseas') source as 'Genuine'.  A forensic disection revealed those to be lacking a special chip that eliminated the device overheating that has resulted in so many recent newsworthy reports of spontaneous combustions, burnt pockets, et. al.  

The same question left open; is this a caveat emptor get what you paid for concern, or one where seller liability is the price of buyer blind 'trust'.

Something to consider while cogitating: wasn't the whole point of a resale marketplace, where 'discount' off retail price was a gven, also supposed to include implied tolerance for 'imperfection' (albeit fully dsclosed as a prerequisite)?  Doesn't encompass accepting fakes of course.

Right.  So who's bright idea was it to promise 1st Class accomodation (with kissup service bonus) for steerage costs?  

Oh.  Right.  Industry standard.  Say, by the way, who or what is the 'source' one can find to validate THAT?

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 27 21:44:41 2018

Like a crooked cop on the take, eBay looks the other way - and "why not" - the profit from a cut of it.

Ive got invoices and my sources have invoices - all US based sources.

Yes theres lots of fakes on eBay - but they dont care, or follow up.

Trying tyoing in BEATS (headphones). The sheer number of fakes is mind boggling. Next try reporting them - nothing happens. Call in and report - "thank you" and then nothing.

Head king pin mafioso DW demands his cut and so it shall be. Like the Sopranos - interfere with the head of the family getting his cut - and you will get YOURS ... in a violent way (except on eBay they ignore you or hide you)

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun May 27 21:46:07 2018

" Industry standard" is Cupcakes 14 yr old daughter bying cheap makeup on Amazon and then returning it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon May 28 13:35:36 2018

Years ago I purchased on eBay a charger for my daughter's HP laptop. The charger melted into a blob. Fortunately we caught it before the house burned down.

Counterfeiting has cost me as a seller over the years by devaluing my authentic, genuine items. This is why selling anything of value, especially on eBay, is risky. So many antiques and collectibles have been copied and mass produced that finding the real, genuine deal is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

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by: rachel This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 00:11:47 2018

eBay used to say they are “Only the venue.” Ifvthry are taking an interest in getting rid of counterfeit items, that would be great but their knowledge of products is not that great. A buyer who bought an item from me 10 years ago that doesn't accept returns, resold the item. Buyer says it’s not authentic. I moved 3 times looking for a less expensive place and downsized and purged many paper files prior to storing online. It would be difficult at this point to know if it was my item or someone else’s.  What would you do? This has never happened  before to me and I am in good standing with no eBay dings. It could just be because seller had a no return policy which is why some immoral buyers figure out this is a good strategy to make the seller accept a return.  

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by: rachel This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 00:17:28 2018

Yes I only source from two companies now that sell authentic items but when I had suspicions, I would send to the designer.  If the designer has gone out of business or is no longer alive and no longer has a store or was arrested, I can’t authenticate the item. Problem when a lot of time has passed is that one can’t tell if the buyer has bought from someone else. I didn’t put in an inventory management system until 2010 when my biz was really booming. This is a problem because in a case where buyer became the seller and resold the item, you don’t know the final buyer. What do You Think about a situation like this?  

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Tue May 29 01:39:07 2018

I am scrupulous with both my inventory and receipts. eBay is rife with counterfeits. Type 'Chanel Boy handbag' into eBay's search box and sort by lowest first. FIVE bags are selling for <$130 "new with tags" (these bags sell for ~5K at Chanel). A mud-spattered, tattered used Chanel Boy would sell for more than $130. I just reported all to eBay but rest assured, as soon as these are removed a new batch will reappear.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Tue May 29 01:42:36 2018

I'm glad to hear the feds are cracking down on booster merch but feel it will have a comparable effect as a piss in the ocean.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Tue May 29 09:33:54 2018

Undisclosed fakes and forgeries have cluttered the eBay Stamps category since the beginning. Some sellers don't know the difference. A few others know better but choose to offer bad items that legitimate sellers won't offer. Prices in the Stamps category on eBay remain depressed because many buyers bid low because they fear receiving damaged or altered stamps they don't want and can't return.

While eBay was working with the American Philatelic Society to remove reported fakes, some of the worst sellers did leave eBay. After the partnership ended, eBay regressed. While sellers of non-existent items were mostly suppressed, account managers for major sellers were apparently able to deflect listing reports while small sellers would still have listings removed. About three or four years ago, eBay stopped acting on reports.

A recent move to include the logo of the American Stamp Dealers Association with member listings has been criticized on the Stamp Community Forum for including sellers who offer stamps with undisclosed alterations.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 10:03:46 2018

American greed - it will get you every time.  As a former owner of an antique mall we never had less than 4-5 people every single day coming in to sell us something.  You have to be a moron not to know what is legit and what is stolen. If it seems to be too good to be true it probably is. Additionally - Metro here sends people around to look for stolen property. Too bad eBay doesn't follow that policy.  Ebay constantly turns it's back on repro's and stolen goods. Long history of that - they don't care.  

The machine is hungry - don't feed the machine

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by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 11:23:52 2018

I always find it ironic that manufacturers are having their goods made in the same place the fakes come from and can't seem to figure it out.  Probably from the factories.  

Add to this there are enough buyers of fake goods that don't care if they're not buying authentic goods to keep crooks in business.  Being addicted to "cheap" is why.   Nobody remembers "If it's too good to be true...." until it's too late.

I think if a quarter of the faux merch listing on eBay were eliminated, there would be a huge drop in the bottom line.  And that won't do, it's just a VEN-yew.  And eBay isn't under nearly enough pressure to do anything about fakes.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue May 29 12:09:23 2018

leathermermaid8 writes: "[M]anufacturers are having their goods made in the same place the fakes come from...."

Exactly. I collect Disney pins, and there's a huge eBay business selling "scrappers," the pins that had quality control issues in the factory in China. The less than perfect pins that aren't going to make it to the parks are sold for a fraction of the cost on eBay by Chinese sellers (I guess they pulled the pins out of the trash, or actually work in the factory). This was also an issue when Disney was manufacturing the Vinylmation figures. I notice on eBay now, a lot of the sellers are including copies of their register receipts in photos to show that the pins were actually purchased at one of the parks.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue May 29 13:59:31 2018

Even Wenig promotes sending authentic merchandise to be copied and mass produced. I don't have the article handy but this has been brought up several times and someone here can point to a link. Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?  

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 15:00:44 2018

This is government overvreach. You can't be a conspirator unwittingly.

These judges should have their status removed and all retirement funds sized .

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 29 15:32:04 2018

@  iheartjacksparrow

Not just Disney, but rampant with Olympic Games pins and similar.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Tue May 29 18:16:09 2018

Chanel Boy bags have been reduced to one listing (zero FB seller from Thailand). As soon as that listing is pulled and a cooling off period (days? hours?) settles the same counterfeiters will ramp up again.  

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