Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 12 2014 22:12:58

Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

By: Ina Steiner

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Manufacturers who back a site called the Counterfeit Report are unhappy with how eBay is handling the problem of counterfeits, and this week, they scored a major publicity win.

The Counterfeit Report, which ironically uses a logo that looks strikingly similar to the one used by Consumer Reports' Consumerist website, issued a press release accusing eBay of banning it for reporting fakes for sale on the site.

Craig Crosby, publisher of the Counterfeit Report, accused eBay of retaliating against him and said eBay removed comments that warned consumers of counterfeit listings.

eBay said its systems had identified him as a bad buyer. After all, what kind of buyer keeps making purchases on a site if they report having poor experiences over and over again. (How many readers can relate?)

Is eBay too easy on the issue of counterfeits for sale on its site?
 
On the one hand, we've received reports over the years that eBay ignores reports against sellers of counterfeit goods. On the other hand, we've received reports from sellers who say eBay's VeRO program designed to protect brands' Intellectual Property is one-sided in favor of manufacturers.

It certainly appears there are plenty of sellers and manufacturers who are unhappy over the issue of counterfeits.

You can read the full story in Thursday's Newsflash newsletter - and let us know how well you think eBay - and other marketplaces - handle the problem of counterfeits.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 21:10:06 2014

The entire problem with the battle against fakes on eBay is that eBay is not involved.

1.They don't act on multiple user reports of fake items- in fact, they ignore them

2. They don't help sellers wronly hit with VeRO takedowns or sellers accused of selling fakes when it's simply not true.

3. eBay has a really bad habit, in fact, of insisting that VeRO is the best tool to combat fakes. This may work for current items or past offerings by companies still in business and VeRO members, but- how many discontinued collectibles made by companies long out of business are faked? Who is the VeRO rights holder for coins or paper money? What about Civil War artifacts? What about wind up gramophones? What about things like PanAm bags?

Buyers get ripped off for millions of dollars annually for fake antiques and collectibles- and eBay ignores the reports while telling the world that they are on top of things through VeRO.

The whole situation is an utter, complete mess, and, as usual, as long as eBay gets a cut of the fraud, they are OK with it.

It's hard to be taken seriously as a counterfeit fraud fighter when your User Agreement says that counterfeits and replicas are NOT ALLOWED on the one hand, yet an the other hand the newly appointed CEO is responsible for this:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/08/why
-ebay-tells-chinese-manufacturers-what-youre-searching-for/375624/

Conflict
of interest? You bet. Surprising? Hardly.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 13 22:26:46 2014

Ebay has had a reputation for offering fake, previously returned, defective and blemished merchandise since it started. Or course, not everyone selling there does this but the percentage is rather high.

The number of times we have ended up with junk purchased on ebay is more than all my fingers and toes combined.

We once bought a brand new AT&T answering machine and when I got it set up, it already had some dentists announcement recording on it. Everything was carefully packaged to replicate a brand new unopened item, they just forgot to erase the announcement.

We've ended up with a lot of previously used, returned and one off merchandise on ebay. It got so bad, we just stopped buying stuff there.

Now we don't even go to ebay to browse as there are too many ways to get screwed buying or selling there and who has the time to deal with it anymore.

At some point, ebay will collapse, it's just a matter of time.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: lapidary This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 03:40:55 2014

eBay has actually run down Trust and Safety. This is most obvious in stamps and coins, where the dedicated team that dealt with reports of scams, scammers and counterfeits used to be dealt with efficiently, consistently and promptly. That team has been disbanded!

Additionally, eBay has instructed the remaining nincompoops in Trust and Safety to ignore all reports, including those from EMR's, which stands for Enhanced Member Reporting, eBay members regarded as experts, whose reports were always acted upon before the decimation of T & S. I speak from authority, because my colleagues and I report counterfeits but eBay ignores the reports.

eBay realised from previous litigation, that even if it was to be required to pay damages for selling counterfeit goods, the sums involved would be trivial compared to the profits it is garnering by encouraging the fraudsters, frequently Chinese, to sell their counterfeits on eBay.

Furthermore, with lame US federal authorities showing no inclination whatsoever to enforce the Hobby Protection Act, it is fair to say that eBay is as riddled with forgeries and corrupt as it has ever been, stopping at nothing where profit is concerned.

The best advice I can give to those tempted to buy collectibles on eBay is don't unless you are already an expert in your field of collecting.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: smurfshoe This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 04:27:10 2014

Counterfeit flea medication for pets is a rampant problem on ebay. I've found the majority of brand names like  Advantage and Frontline being sold are inferior fakes that 1) dont work 2) can be dangerous to your pet. You can spot the fakes with serial numbers and/or packaging, or when your dogs are infested with fleas a week after application. No one should buy flea medication on ebay, regardless of feedback.  

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 05:50:15 2014

mmm,,,,

A Fake CEO.
Fake profits, based on stealing from their customers,
Fake seller protection,
Fake customer service,
Fake Fake Fake, the whole company is one big fake,

Why not sell fake products, it makes total sense.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

This user has validated their user name. by: Justbecauseitscute

Fri Nov 14 07:18:39 2014

The HUGE out of hand numbers of fake items being listed by Chinese sellers is an indication that ebay just don't care. They want they money and Chinese sellers money is good apparently. just browse a bit and look at any Frozen toys coming from China: all fake. littlest petshop coming from China: all fake.

Buying silver jewelry on ebay is not even an option anymore, most of it is not even silver and it's coming from.. China

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 08:40:35 2014

As ebay is just a 'venue', they are not responsible for the items listed on it. That's the law. So someone is a VERO member - means nothing beyond you are authorized to tell ebay something specific of a particular brand is fake and remove the listing. It does NOT mean you can tell ebay to remove a fake LV or chanel or any other brands.

VERO is ebay's 'nickname' for the safe harbor procedure outlined in Title 17 and the DMCA - some fat not fun reading in there. Even Ina and David have 'vero' here in their terms:

You represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the reviews, comments and other content that you post on this site and that use of your reviews, comments, or other content by Steiner Associates LLC, EcommerceBytes.com and their affiliates will not infringe upon or violate the rights of any third party.

EVERY website has 'vero'. What they don't have is legal authority to call an item a fake. You may 'know' it's a fake and I may 'know' it's a fake but the only people who actually have that authority are the rights owners and their appointed agents.

You don't think ebay is pulling fakes? Contact the rights owner directly and notify THEM of the fakes. It is THEIR responsibility to protect their trademarks.

If they don't do anything - then they don't do anything and it's nobody's 'fault' but theirs.

And I know ebay butts in and IMO is not 'just a venue' any more except legally they are. Till they change that, we're stuck with it.  

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: P.Dorf This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 08:45:33 2014

ooooooooooooh....let's not forget the merry-go-round involving paypal & the 'texas counterfeit destroyers'.. ahem...did anything come of that, or is it still ongoing?

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: ebay for dummies This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 14 13:20:36 2014

What are you people talking about here??  I remember back in the beanie baby days when collectors would complain about counterfeits.  Like where were the counterfeits made in?  Germany? Italy? France? I mean if that were the case then they would be considered limited editions instead of counterfeits since beanie babyies were originally made in China just like Apple and Coach is.  Everything is made in China so nothing is counterfeit now.  

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Fri Nov 14 14:57:00 2014

Phillip Cohen:

I went to that website. It took me to the "Counterfeit Report" but it said "The Press Release you selected has been removed or does not exist"

Maybe I'm being paranoid but do you think Ebay bought em off?  Or maybe I missing a forward slash or something.  

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

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

Fri Nov 14 16:16:12 2014

@ shabbychick,

Grab the whole URL, both lines, or click on the above "Web Site" ...

https://thecounterfeitreport.com/press_release_details.php?
date=2014-1
1-10&id=443

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

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

Fri Nov 14 16:18:16 2014

Sorry, grab All THREE lines !!!

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

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

Fri Nov 14 16:21:53 2014

This will work just as well ...

thecounterfeitreport.com/press_release_details.php?date=201
4-11-10&id=443

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: lapidary This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 16 02:15:00 2014

http://thecounterfeitreport.com/press_release_details.php?date=2014-11
-10&id=443

For
some reason this blog seems to break the URL randomly.

If the above does not work, check the previous post, use notepad to create a single line and then you will be able to access the URL.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

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

Thu Nov 20 00:31:19 2014

'... we ask that you please partner with us to report suspicious items using our "Report This Item" functionality ...'

Too funny!

The ugly reality of eBay’s ongoing, calculated facilitation of fraud on its auctions marketplace ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ...

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: imbloated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 20 02:01:17 2014


@moonwishes: Just because a seller offers free shipping does not mean she doesn't pay any shipping. It means she incorporates the cost of shipping into the cost of the item. USPS is not funding shipping by Chinese sellers.
I purchased 3 iphone 5 chargers in genuine sealed apple boxes from seller liquidationstation4651 but they were fake chargers- no writing on the cables. By the time I noticed this the seller had a string of negative feedbacks of ''fake chargers.''  I received a refund from the seller who of course got himself a fresh squeaky clean user id of celltech4less where he can defraud all over again. Easy enough for ebay to see the patterm, purchase one, then report the seller to Apple and to the consumer protection agency, and permanently ban the seller. But ebay is a criminal organization- as San Diego police said in 1999 on the the tv show 20/20, ''Ebay: the world's largest fence.''

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 20 12:55:10 2014

I'd still like to know exactly why the whistleblowers got their accounts frozen in the first place, because we know that complaints about counterfeits are routinely ignored by eBay, so that wasn't the reason.

If they were constantly returning items that they deemed to be genuine (wording in the original articles suggested that this was the case), then they deserved a smackdown for abusing the return privilege. They didn't need to return anything: counterfeits they would of course keep as evidence, but legitimate items they could have resold, donated or whatever. They did not and should not be inconveniencing sellers by making them take back items that had been sold in good faith, leaving the seller to deal with FVF recovery, relisting and so on.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: LightWing This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 20 15:24:28 2014

I'm Stunned! Shocked! Appalled! (NOT)That Ebay has not done anything.

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 20 16:15:06 2014

Good update Thursday Ina and David.
:-) MH

Perminate Link for Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes   Watchdog Questions eBay's Handling of Fakes

by: meci This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 21 09:52:48 2014

It's not just counterfeits that they allow on the site its items that are on their banned list as well.
A few years ago we got nailed for selling an Oxygen Concentrator.  This is currently on eBay's list of medical items you cannot sell on eBay.  We didn't know and took the hit and took it off the site.  However, after that I started reporting listings mainly from China that we also selling Oxygen Concentrators on the site.  You can search it now and you will see many of them currently available just by searching for oxygen concentrators.
Most of the Chinese sellers appear to have multiple selling accounts and avoid the duplicate listing policy by altering the price and title slightly.

After reporting these I noticed none of them were coming down.  Made some calls to eBay and reported them verbally as well.  Hmm, they still dont come down.  Looking at the completed listings you can see many of these units sell from all over the place.  If its a banned item to sell on the site you'd think it wouldn't be found anywhere.  After banging my head against the wall some more I decided its just the way the game is played and moved on.

My point to all this is its not just counterfeits they seem to have this lopsided approach to its also banned items.

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