Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Sept 21 2012 21:32:05

Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

By: Ina Steiner

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After an expose showing teenagers are buying alcohol online, eBay decided to temporarily suspend all buying and selling activity for full bottles of beer and spirits listed in the Collectibles category.

The ABC television program "20/20" worked with a 13-year-old boy and says he was able to buy items such as bottles of vodka through eBay. The show's producers did the investigation after researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted a study that it says showed teens could order alcohol from a number of online sites.

A review of eBay shows listings still remain for bottles of whiskey, champagne and wine in the Collectibles - "Bottles & Insulators" category.



Many "20/20" viewers may be skeptical about alcohol-related collectibles on eBay, but Jack Daniels and breweriana are just two hot areas of collecting, and as this EcommerceBytes Collectors Corner article explains, beer cans are especially sought after.

Do a search for "unopened beer" and you'll see a host of vintage cans and bottles that collectors crave. Can eBay do more to stop the sale of alcohol to minors? It seems to think so.

According to the eBay announcement made hours before the television program was about to air: "Due to recent policy violations, we are temporarily suspending all buying and selling activity for full bottles of beer and spirits listed in the Collectibles category. We expect to allow these listings again after developing and implementing additional, reasonable requirements to support seller compliance with our policies and applicable laws. We will continue to allow listings by pre-approved, licensed wine sellers."

eBay will refund insertion and feature fees for sellers affected by the suspension. "We appreciate that the majority of sellers follow eBay policies regarding the sale of alcohol, and apologize to those who are being unduly affected by the violations of a few," eBay said.

The program, "20/20: Intoxication Nation," airs shortly at 10 pm ET.




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Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Fri Sep 21 21:42:27 2012

I haven't seen the show yet, but what minor is going to pay a huge amount for a collectible bottle of Jack Daniels, and whose PayPal account is said minor paying from?

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

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

Sat Sep 22 01:50:05 2012

Wot! eBay is concerned about the possibility of an under-aged person being able to buy some very expensive collectible alcohol on-line; but they are totally unconcerned about the rampant auction shill bidding fraud that is being carried out by many professional sellers, with eBay’s tacit approval; funny that, is it not; maybe we could get 20/20 to also do a show on shill bidding fraud on eBay. It’s about time all the of-age buyers were made aware of just how much more they are probably paying for the items they buy via an eBay auction due to such criminal activity, activity that eBay is quite happy to ignore and profit from  ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 22 07:04:51 2012

@ Cohen

Not all that beer and wine is expensive. Bigger question I have is who would want to drink beer that has been in a can for years. It get very rancid after a year or two.

May the answer is to put beer and wine into the Adult only sites.

As for the shills on Ebay. I would doubt they will every do anything. Like everywhere else in America if you don't want to pay the price walk away or hit the back button. No one is holding a gun to your head to buy it. If you can't use good judgement then you shouldn't have a computer or a charge card.

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Sat Sep 22 09:01:04 2012

" to support seller compliance with our policies"  - interesting, I thought it would be BUYER compliance.

Interesting to see where ebay's coming from.

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: trickstunt This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 22 09:57:27 2012

eBay scores another fail. It took national media attention to get them to use common sense, which they then applied in kneejerk fashion.

It's odd they secretly changed other policies to accommodate or legitimize other things wrong on their site, or for instance to keep possible controversy like their reversal of gun parts sales quiet in the current atmosphere of increasing gun violence.

Now, as for this comment:
"As for the shills on Ebay. I would doubt they will every do anything. Like everywhere else in America if you don't want to pay the price walk away or hit the back button. No one is holding a gun to your head to buy it. If you can't use good judgement then you shouldn't have a computer or a charge card.... "

Is that an attempted  rationalization for an illegal activity which should not be present in the first place?
That logic is so very flawed, yet right in line with the typical ebay way.  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Sat Sep 22 12:00:05 2012

Sorry but all this boils down to poor parenting, not eBay's responsibility to do what parents should be doing.

In recent years, you could also find bath salts, salvia divinorum and other mid altering substances sold on eBay.

Again, poor parenting is to blame.  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: renaissancegirl This user has validated their user name.

Sat Sep 22 14:55:35 2012

I always wondered why this was legal to sell liquor online. No-one polices how old people really are when they sign up anywhere or purchase anything. Teenagers have been proven to have more money sometimes than their parents, that is why everything is being marketed at them. It figures that eBay has to be pretty much forced to remove this option for purchase. They will take the money no matter where it comes from.  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sat Sep 22 16:36:15 2012

Not long ago, and desperately seeking ways to increase sales, eBay proposed allowing teens to open eBay accounts.

The idea seemed like a bad idea then and looks even worse now.

Kids already are using adults accounts to complete purchases as this case illustrates. Opening the floodgates any wider is an open invitation for bigger problems.





Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Sat Sep 22 21:46:06 2012

Maybe now they'll start actually verifying buyers. Of course, limiting sales to licensed liquor dealers is overkill, IMHO. It judge adds yet another category of goods that small-time sellers cannot deal in. I do agree with Spartacus that poor parenting is more at fault than anything else, but sadly, there are far too many people who prefer to blame someone else for such things and would rather see more restrictions heaped on legitimate folks than accept responsibility for it themselves.  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Sun Sep 23 01:31:30 2012

@Tula, there's no real way an online business can verify age without opening up major security issues and potential for identity theft.

Let's face it, the kids in question buying alcohol online are not inner city minority kids. Most likely they're children of affluent parents living in the suburbs. These are the same kids who are abusing prescription drugs.

I live in a fairly affluent neighborhood and see this all too often. We had a rash of break-ins last year in the neighborhood. When they caught the thieves, it was neighborhood kids, one is the son of a prominent attorney. The kid is addicted to painkillers but his mom and dad are no better, everyone knows they use recreational drugs and the attorney dad has had 4 DUI's so he has a driver to get to work.

This is the society we live in. Not much you can do about it except teach your children well.  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Sun Sep 23 16:59:54 2012

Does anyone know if pre-1903 full bottles of Coca-Cola are allowed on ebayzon? "Coca-Cola once contained an estimated nine milligrams of cocaine per glass. In 1903, it was removed.[Wikipedia]"

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Sun Sep 23 18:35:25 2012

@eBankrupted - I would assume selling a product containing cocaine would be illegal.

Oddly enough, late 1800's Sears and JC Penney catalogs sold heroin and morphine as cough suppressants complete with a syringe and needle.

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

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

Sun Sep 23 23:53:14 2012

Once again ebay suddenly develops a social conscience when their greed and intentional lack of proper site policing are exposed by the media.

But this is another example of the low hanging fruit the media chooses to expose rather than the colossal criminal enterprise that ebafia is today.

Griff and RBH, we know who are here, and it's time to retire your current EB/AB poster IDs.

You two are just as criminally liable as the criminals you work for and enable.

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Mon Sep 24 03:50:03 2012

A quick ebay search using keywords VINTAGE LIQUOR UNOPENED just produced 81 results. Change the search from worst-match to lowest price and shazaam! unopened liquor starts at about $8 per bottle. The King Tut 750ml Sour Mash Whiskey at $10.51 is now on my watch list..

Isn't it wonderful that ebayzon™ is targeting teens with smart phones? Next thing ya know, teens with smart phones will have a 'bill-me-later' option for buying unopened vintage liquor bottles?

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

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

Mon Sep 24 07:27:17 2012

It could never be said that the US Criminal Code ever got in the way of eBay's bottom line ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 24 08:25:30 2012


(From the article:  eBay will refund insertion and feature fees for sellers affected by the suspension. ''We appreciate that the majority of sellers follow eBay policies regarding the sale of alcohol, and apologize to those who are being unduly affected by the violations of a few,'' eBay said.)





So... eBay is once again concerned that SELLERS may be violating policy but mentions NOTHING about BUYERS violating policy!  MAYBE eBay should do something about underage BUYERS attempting to purchase alcohol instead of going after sellers.  Maybe eBay should do something about underage BUYERS that should not be making ANY purchases through the eBay platform.  Maybe eBay should require BUYERS to provide proof of age BEFORE they are allowed to bid on and purchase these items from the site!

How in the world is ANY seller supposed to know the age of a bidder or a buyer on the site.  The only information the seller is given initially is a user ID.  Then after the sale all the seller gets is a name and address.

Once again there is a problem and instead of accepting responsibility for the problem (by not vetting the buyer or verifying their age) or assigning responsibility where it belongs (on the buyer) eBay blames the sellers... AGAIN!

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: Quality First This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 24 12:13:20 2012

I think @mylifeisgood has the right answer.

It's an adults only purchase and thus belongs in that section.

Easy solution.  Everyone comes out OK.  Buyers would now know where to go.

Might also be a solution for pipes, vaporizers and the like going to minors.  Those people aren't old enough to get a 'doctors recommendation' anyway.

Rock on @mylifeisgood!

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 24 21:23:03 2012

UMMMMM--Seriously!

The "Adult Only" section safeguards--the last time I looked at something there which is admittedly not that often---was a box asking you to click if you were "Over 18".  Um---these kids could hack into NASA and you want them to be deterred by a DROP BOX?  

I don't have a clue how I would verify any buyers age.  Now I have never sold full bottles of anything but if I did--how would I KNOW if the buyer was legit?  

I always thought that you could NOT sell booze on ebay!  I did see some while looking for other items but I guess I thought it was sellers getting around the rules.  My bad.  I know that here in NY you could not for a long time buy even WINE from a legit registered seller and have it shipped via the mail.  

Soooo--how about--oart-full bottles!!!!!  

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 25 13:39:29 2012

It's the job of the parents to monitor the kiddies, not the internet.  Too bad more of society doesn't see it that way, but I miss being free.

Perminate Link for Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles   Last Call at eBay after Teens Buy Booze in Collectibles

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Sat Sep 29 11:36:50 2012

Well well, ebayzon's overpaid San Jose fogged-head MBA's must be reading the EB blog on their way to the MMJ dispensaries? A quick follow-up search of VINTAGE LIQUOR UNOPENED produced only 1 item found from eBay international sellers! Governor Brown; how many years has ebay been selling liquor to minors without a liquor license?

So, if any FBI or State run sting operation using a minor to buy liquor on ebay has been a success, surely ebay has no liquor license to offer such contraband for sale to minors across state lines, and is in violation of multiple state and Federal ATF laws if minors have successfully purchased booze on ebay?

Funny how ebay becomes just a ‘venue’ when children are damaged by poison bought on their website, but ebay claims the buyers are ‘their customers’ otherwise. Total double-standard evil corporate double-speak!

For those parents whose children have suffered brain damage (or worse) from alcohol poisoning and/or addiction from buying liquor on eBay from their eBay Smartphone apps or parent’s computers; please contact an attorney to rip the financial lungs out of this multi-billion dollar company for your child's sake. If your attorney gets a multi-billion dollar settlement from a jury who can plainly see that eBay has potentially been a virtual liquor store to minors for decades while looking the other way, justice will finally be served.

California attorneys should immediately shower the airwaves in their state to find any and all minors who have successfully bid on ebay alcohol, and sue the p*ss out of ebay for millions and billions of civil and criminal dollars, fines and JD’s corporate paycheck.

If ebay’s CEO gets fired by the BOD for this, ebay might just survive after all… but I doubt it.



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