Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Dec 30 2014 21:26:30

eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

By: Ina Steiner

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Many an online seller has encountered eBay's VeRO program designed to help brands fight the sale of counterfeits on the eBay marketplace. Some sellers have claimed brands are too heavy-handed with their complaints, which makes it difficult to sell legitimate goods on the site.

One seller, Lytle Racing Group (LRG), claims a third-party company hired by brands to scour the web looking for counterfeits was reckless in its eBay VeRO claims. On Monday, the seller filed a lawsuit against the firm, SNB-React. You can see details in Wednesday's Newflash newsletter about the complaint.

Among the allegations contained in the lawsuit is the following:

SNB-React engaged in a course of conduct by repeatedly submitting Notice of Claim forms to eBay that falsely assert that LRG's listings of Factory Effex and D'Cor items were counterfeit while coupled with the knowledge that eBay's VeRO program defers to brand owners (or their agents) in claims of infringement, eBay's policy re counterfeit goods and that eBay will not reactive listings unless the brand owner (or their agent) withdraws the complaint and permits a seller like LRG to sell the deactivated listing.


The lawsuit filing includes an exhibit showing an email LRG received from eBay that informed the seller it had removed listings and credited associated fees to its account. The email notice continued:

"Your listing was removed after the rights owner reported it as counterfeit. We urge you to contact the rights owner directly for more information about why they requested the removal of your listing and whether you can relist the item. After providing more information, the email states, "Please don't reply to this message. It was sent from an address that doesn't accept incoming email."

The seller's lawyer had more to say in an interview with EcommerceBytes on Tuesday, which you can find in tomorrow's article.

Let us know what you think of this legal action (it's not a class action lawsuit, by the way).




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 30 23:52:57 2014

VERO only exists to protect eBay so you wont get any help there.

As someone who's been entangled with VERO a few times, know that while they are totally unsympathetic, they are also stupid, ineffective and on the take.

Based on US trade law, unless the seller has signed an agreement NOT to sell the legally obtained item on eBay, the manufactorer has no case.

Its settled case law under the First Sale Doctrine, Lanham, Southwest vs Belltronics and many others.

The seller wont get anywhere suing eBay (though they deserve it) as they will claim the "safe harbour" defence, even though it doesnt apply to them under DMCA, its for internet and cable companies.

In my case and maybe others, the manufactorer sued without ever seeing any other supposed "counterfeit items". IE they sued 1) for the annoyance factor 2) to put you on eBays "bad seller list" and 3) its a ploy to force the seller to "show his cards" and send copies of their invoices to the manufactorer.

Once that happens the source of the goods (probably a transshipper or grey market dealer) gets the axe - which is also a goal for these people.

I threatened a law suit against the company and they decided it was smarter to let me sell a few pcs here and there of their items, then risk the bad publicity and the possiblilty of loosing the case outright (sumary judgement).

"eBay's policy re counterfeit goods and that eBay will not reactive listings unless the brand owner (or their agent) withdraws the complaint and permits a seller like LRG to sell the deactivated listing.

"eBay's policy re counterfeit goods and that eBay will not reactive listings unless the brand owner (or their agent) withdraws the complaint and permits a seller like LRG to sell the deactivated listing.

"eBay's policy re counterfeit goods and that eBay will not reactive listings unless the brand owner (or their agent) withdraws the complaint and permits a seller like LRG to sell the deactivated listing.

"eBay will not reactive listings unless the brand owner (or their agent) withdraws the complaint and permits a seller like LRG to sell the deactivated listing."

THAT PART OF THE ARTICLE describes the illegalities that eBay performs (as a monetary service of course) against sellers.

Based on the above laws, the seller does NOT need permission of the rights holder to sell the item nro does the law require eBay to with hold showing the listing.

"Guessing" someone broke the law isnt enough in the real world - only in eBayland.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: mbbn This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 00:07:34 2014

I say sue away.
"Guessing" someone broke the law should not be tolerated.

This all explains exactly what happened to me (no less one week before Black Friday) when I was banned from selling for 7 days for attempting to post what their system flagged as a counterfeit item (which it was not).
A pair of authentic J Crew flats and I used the words 'faux onyx' to describe the fun gemstones on the shoes.  Sheer descriptor and I was shut down.
15 calls to eBay got me NOWHERE.
One clueless customer service rep after the next and managers who had ZERO answers.
I was told in the end that someone would get back to me to explain, yet they never did.
I will never sell J Crew again-I cringe when I see J Crew items now!!-as they clearly have some policing on eBay going on that will even halt a legit seller if the wording flags etc.
Painful.
I honestly never felt so baffled or helpless in my years of doing eBay-and NO ONE could give me a straight answer.

Godspeed to this seller.
Sue away.  Total BS that eBay allows this kind of monitoring without having the sellers back when the system is overscreening-
shame on eBay.
But what else is new!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

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

Wed Dec 31 02:52:42 2014

Let's hope this matter goes all the way, the plaintiff wins, and some case law is created that might stop eBay from acting arbitrarily on such dubious notices ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Dec 31 03:15:48 2014

The Vero program is as the original article stated a "good faith" type of thing.  A member merely needs to report a perceived wrong doing to Ebay.  It does not need to be based in fact, just the mere fact they report it gets the listing removed.  It is completely unfair and unregulated.  

And because of that is completely mis-used and abused.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: collectorjim This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 03:25:47 2014

This suit is one small step in a very long journey. Good Luck!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 05:33:05 2014

Waste of money

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 08:05:32 2014

Too bad our legal system is broken, busted, doesn't work. There's an old gypsy curse- may you have a lawsuit in which you know you are right. While I wish the plaintiff Godspeed, I know from sad experience that when it comes to the court system the process is the punishment.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Dec 31 10:00:27 2014

Good for this seller. I hope he makes the company pay.

May of the VeRO companies are bullies. We've dealt with several ourselves and we did not back down and they blinked.

eBay know that this program is unfair.   Many of these companies simply don't want their products being sold on eBay.  Some of their so called product experts are no more than paralegals or some questionable third party whom they've hired to scour the web looking for their products.

I'm not sure if Tabberone's web site is still up, but she's stood up to many of these VeRO bullies and last I recalled she won each time.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 10:04:51 2014

ahahahahahahaaha!

From the verowatch.com webiste itself ...

"
eBay
John Donahoe, CEO of eBay continues to allow
illegal prescription drugs on the EU and USA eBay platforms. We're working with the Police &Trading Standards!"

LMFAO - isnt this the pot calling the kettle black?

Further more (in their own words) "
The eBay VeRO programme is shambolic, we have worked with eBay for over 8 years, and despite numerous high profile court cases, eBay remains shambolic,making it almost impossible for Intellectual Property owners to protect their own work in a timely manner, which is where we help!"

If this is how VEROWATCH feels imagine how eBay sellers feel!

Lastly, of course the company itself is incorrect when it states "eBay is by far the most popular, with parallel imports a particular problem"  ... OBVIOUSLY they never read Wiley vs Kirstaeng ... but then the people at eBay are dopes, the people they contract out to are dopes and they obviously dont know settled US case law.

Here it is in case the DOPES over at eBay and verowatch cant google.

"Kirtsaeng v. Wiley is a United States Supreme Court copyright decision in which the Court held, 6-3, that the first-sale doctrine applies to copies of copyrighted works lawfully made abroad."

Thats grey market. Case closed, eBay dopes loose again!


Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 10:06:04 2014

I don't sell new goods so in general do not have to deal with the hanging axe of VERO but as an antiques dealer haved lived in fear of listing 2nd hand goods that might get caught up in the net.

I have seen Chanel, Gucci etc items at auctions and passed on bidding for fear that one used wallet could take down my ebay store.

If I were to buy some branded item, I would  research it to do my best to insure that I was confident that it was legit - then take a pass on listing it on ebay as I used to do in the early days.

All we can hope for is that the lawsuit is successful and balance is returned to the relationship between rights holders and sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 11:11:47 2014

We are in the process of suing React as well.   We will keep you informed as to the outcome.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 12:05:47 2014

There's good and bad with VERO and Ebay does what it is legally supposed to do.  I've noticed it seems that people under the age of 30 or 35 seem to think that all music should be free. What incentive do talented musicians have in trying to make great music if they can't make a living at it selling it?  Would we have had the Beatles or the Clash or The Who if they had been unable to make albums and actually make money from selling albums?

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 13:21:18 2014

I find it fairly hysterical that only SOME items are "pulled"--ie I had two items of LL BEAN taken down and a FILA item and something else I can't even remember--a few weeks ago.  The MC Violation notice was useless--it did NOT address the actual REASON these were pulled.

When I called--several calls which totaled over 7 HOURS of phone time that of course meant I could not DO anything ELSE--and that of course I can't get BACK---I was told that the items were NOT pulled for any "violation"  or descriptive term---Wait--  What?

I was told--repeatedly--that the REASON these 4 items WERE pulled was that my "Price was TOO LOW"  and my  photos were "TOO FEW"  even when I  HAD several photos!

Do I believe this?

Well at the SAME time on the SAME account I had SEVERAL other items from the SAME companies. None of which were pulled; none of which were new;  and none of which were duplicates.

On my OTHER two accounts I also had the same name brands--again;  no duplicates-and it could be CLEARLY seen that some of these were USED and some had been listed and RElisted a number of times so whoever is seeking this info would find it IF THEY LOOKED.

The many many CSR's I spoke to all were reading off the SAME script--the MC viloation was NOT the issue according to THEM altho this is how it was presented;  the issue WAS that allegeldy my prices were TOO LOW and this is a BIG PROBLEM as THEN people will think that my items are NOT genuine. Trying to tell these cluless nimrods that I wanted to get RID of these things--seasonal items mostly--to clear out my HOUSE got me nowhere. And--my prices were smack dab square in the middle-to-lower end of SOLD items.

I finally gave up=-never heard "Back"  from anyone--and listed the same items word for word (C&P) on another of my accounts and have heard not a peep.  

I DO find it--ironic in a Sheryl Crow sorta way---that when I went to re-list these things--or list new similar items--that I get a Notice on the listing page that tells me that to make my chances of actually selling BETTER I should price these SAME items at 99 cents OR BELOW.   Ummm--no.

And when I was on the phone I was told over and over I needed to do my research and price items fairly!  Gee--really?

And===PS---I do firmly believe that my three accounts have been completely SUNK in any sort of Search due to this.  I have sold TWO items that were actually PAID for in the ENTIRE month of December across three accounts;  I have had FOUR Deadbeat Bidders Cases to file. I have perhaps 100 items listed on all three platforms--and seemingly no one wants COACH--several items --gee THOSE ones were fine n dandy to list!--and Ralph Lauren and MARMOT and Obermeyer and Barbour and--well you get my drift--actual brands that MIGHT be counterfeited.  LL BEAN?  Well--I hardly think so!   Does make me wanna call LL BEAN and ask--WHO exactly is in CHARGE of this?  Can I speak to them? IS there a large chance that some random used LL Bean snow suit is being FAKED? If this WAS in such demand--would my items not be SELLING and getting PAID for?

I wish this company all the best in going forward with their suit.  Someone has needed to do this for a LONG time and if this WAS a class action I suspect we would have crashed that web site already.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 17:37:33 2014

Hope you keep us up to date on this one.
I tangled with Vero once and when I responded to the email address on Cartier's Vero page-- my email bounced back to me--I called eBay asking if the email was legit-they said they didn't know--so I took the item and sold it to a happy Bonanza buyer.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 22:00:40 2014

I have been studying ebay from a seller , buyer , as well as searching & searching. I have found tiffany & co. has or had a lawsuit. They made purchases on ebay over a time period , & 73 % of their purchases , were fake. Undiscovered by vero , which is worthless , unless you are hands on.

Also , the new sellers as well as your " new contract with ebay , will have a clause implemented within it , stating you agree not to file class action lawsuits , rather independent lawsuits. Also , they are suing back for inflated lawyers fees, ect... There are several untold lawsuits going.
Another point , ebay lawyers when faced with an out of state lawsuit , put in for change of venue out the gate. Just wanted to pass on some of this , im sure someone with connections can verify.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

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

Wed Dec 31 22:25:43 2014

VeRO is nothing more than another sleazy profit center and big brand 'protector' for the sleaziest corporation in the country.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 31 23:48:23 2014

MING - PLEASE STOP BEING RIGHT ALL THE TIME :)

Ming is of course %100 correct. VERO is just a profit center for eBay.

Lord help the people they go after since they provide no way to solve the issues, work against US trade law, and take back end money to "clean up eBay" when paid to.

VERO has admitted to me in emails that they dont know the laws they claim they are following, they dont care who or what you are ot what you sell.

They also dont care how good of a seller you are either.

Without proof just "good faith" they can ruin a seller or worse.

THATS eBay your business "partner", you know - the one that tells you how to run your business 24/7 yet cant figure out something as important as this.

Unlike the returns BS - this could possibly be a real crime, yet eBay looks the other way.

The BIGGER picture is that eBay uses Global Shipping to make money and lets manufacturers tell them who can sell what, where - something thats against US trade law.

US based sellers can not list certain brands on eBay.com and click shipping to Europe and sell items there. eBay (admitting they dont know the laws) will ONLY let you sell overseas if you "magically" use Global Shipping.

You cant ship there but they can ... and get a cut of the shipping ....who knew?

eBays a real genius when it comes to returns, real smart when it comes to everything else but when it comes to things like this - they are as dumb as a rock aka JD.

eBay's taken money from Casio, Skullcandy, Denon, Sony, Alpine, Clarion and many others to control who sells those brands on site. Id bet the 5 billion eBay has in the Caymans that there are many many more that have helped eBay financially besides those guys.

Vero control is another "limit" that eBay puts on people - besides all the other hidden ones.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 1 00:06:07 2015

I own a denon sd recorder , its built in Canada , & its registered in my name , & can be transferred. It can be sold with the condition of transfer of ownership. Sony & the rest I do not know , japan & china . I do not purchase items made in china , they have no regulations in industry. What causes cancer , in my opinion , amongst other things , is china products. Anyone remember gerber?

Ebay has opened the flood gates to unregulated travel of god knows what , by countrys who hate us. Wonderfull , the new age terror.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 1 00:22:54 2015

Ina & David , Thank You for this excellent site. Keep up the great work.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices   eBay Seller Sues Firm over eBay VeRO Notices

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

Thu Jan 1 01:24:27 2015

Well, at least eBay is even handed: they will cheat either buyer or sellers if by doing so it improves their bottom line; let's face it times appear to be getting desperate for eBay ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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