Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Mar 24 2015 00:07:33

Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

By: Ina Steiner

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A plea from an eBay seller got our attention this week - "Help I'm being taken to court." The UK seller explained on the eBay UK discussion board she had sold a Tiffany bracelet given her by her ex-husband. The buyer initially didn't want to pay for the item because the seller had no receipt. She only paid when eBay got involved, and now, over 6 months later, the buyer is claiming it was a fake.

"I've just received a message now saying that she's contacted eBay legal department who's advised her to go to a small claims court. How am I supp to prove that the bracelet she has is the one I sold and all the records on eBay for this transaction are no longer available," the seller asked.

The post elicited a vibrant discussion about what the seller should do, speculation about whether the item she sold was a fake ("Your ex probably gave you a fake and you sold it believing it to be genuine" said one user), and the motives of the buyer.

One tactic suggested was to contact the ex: "Whilst he may not want to help, he might well take offence to others saying he has bought a fake!!"

Another user pointed out the importance of saving listing pages and correspondence, and warned, "It is not impossible that if it does go to court, you will be presented with a fake you have never seen before. Just have good printouts of the listing and your picture if you can get them, and remember that in court you would be dealing with people who see lies and truth every day."

Did the seller make a mistake by forcing this reluctant buyer to follow through after she expressed doubts about the item's authenticity? And at this point, what would you do if you were in her shoes?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

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

Tue Mar 24 00:56:15 2015

I am surprised that anyone could acquire a Tiffany item, even as a gift, but then not be able to produce any documentation that might support its genuineness; that is the first thing I would be doing: seeking that documentation ...

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Unicorns and Rainbows

Tue Mar 24 01:50:12 2015

"Did the seller make a mistake by forcing this reluctant buyer to follow through after she expressed doubts about the item's authenticity?"

Absolutely.  As an eBay seller, my M.O. is if they want out, I let them out!  Given the way the site is operated (MBG + nothing to discourage buyer fraud), forcing someone to pay and complete a transaction they're already complaining about is just asking for headaches - all eBay's propaganda about "binding contracts" and "seller protection" notwithstanding.  

"And at this point, what would you do if you were in her shoes?"

That's a tough one... show up and defend yourself in court, or refund, I suppose.  Little late for this now, but if I'm in her shoes, I don't list anything of that significant value on eBay to start with.  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Mar 24 07:12:31 2015

Isn't it a crying shame that eBay's legal department is throwing the seller under the bus? That says it all.

If I have any little issue with a buyer wanting to back out after the sale, I too let them go.  I want know dealings with them.  It won't end well.

Philip, I've never heard of a man giving a gift with the receipt, even for an expensive piece of jewelry to a woman.  However if the ex-husband purchased the item with a credit card, the purchase would likely be on a credit card statement. Hopefully the ex will cooperate.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Mar 24 09:14:20 2015

There's a BIG difference between saying "so sue me" and actually being served with a summons. And one can only wonder at what the Seller did with her original photos that she uploaded when she activated her eBay listing. Sounds like she had fair warning that an authenticity issue was brewing several months ago. As far as records are concerned, the Buyer will need to produce them as well, so as a defendant the Seller will have access to the records - or there won;t be a case that can survive a motion for dismissal for failure to make out a case.  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 09:38:22 2015

... the buyer cant prove anything that would make any court assume the seller is guilty.

Theres no "chain of custody" 6 months later.

This would be an issue if it was right away - the complaint of a fake was immediate, but 6 months later??

The buyer will have to prove 1) that the seller intended to defraud her 2) eBay was a willful participant in the fraud 3) explain why she waited so long to report it 4) prove that the item she claims is fake 5) prove that THIS seller sold her THIS specific item.

Ok its the UK and their laws arent the same as ours - but even a first year law student could blow a hole in the case the size of a battleship.

A smart judge would just dismiss this case.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 10:49:19 2015

As of late I am not real confident in the fairness of courts these days no matter what country you are in.

Judges today seem to rule as they please and ignore evidence, rules of law etc. So it is a crap shoot anymore.

Common sense would say that she had a duty to find out if it was real or fake within a reasonable amount of time. The burden of proof is supposed to be on the plaintiff, making her/him responsible to show it was a fraud and to prove it is the same bracelet she was sold.  However, the defendant has some burden as well and that is to prove it was not a fake to the best of her knowledge and to show the fraudulent one is not the one she sold.

Never the less, ebay created this problem as well with their 6 month SNAD claims but then disregards the listings within that time frame.

As usual, ebay wants it both ways and both ways only hurt the seller.

The safest way to sell on ebay is to NOT sell on ebay!

As for the OP, I would see if the buyer is just blowing smoke to try and cheat you and get you to pay her to keep her REAL bracelet (as way too many ebay buyers do)or if she is for real.

Do not let her see you sweat.

If you do not have the actual listing then try and find a picture of you wearing the bracelet.  That might help.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Mar 24 11:11:07 2015

Wear it 6 months, grow tired of it (she's impressed everyone already), cry FAKE!!!.....get her money back.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 11:16:53 2015

I have piccaso tiffany , gave to dearest. It costs $1000.00 for tiffany to appraise their works. I have 3 pieces in total , imposible to sell without a tiffany appr.

I would only buy tiffany to gift it , which is what I have done. I would never , ever put them online to sell , without certificate. Just go give your money away, listing without.

Tiffany made purchases online , over a period of time , 70% of the purchases on deadbay , were fakes!!

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
Web Site

Tue Mar 24 11:40:27 2015

If you have something a genuine item with great value and it is jewelry. You have a lot of potential to sell it locally. Why you take the risk selling it in eBay or the Internet?  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 11:55:52 2015

Show me your $1000.00 appraisal from tiffany , or go home. Prove its a fake. This jewelry should have been tiffany appraised , or forensic photo fingerprinted. Sellers who do this , get what they get.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 11:56:37 2015

The buyer's satisfaction comes first in every sale. I don't care if they are dead wrong about something, I want happy buyers. Some sellers just cannot--will not--give up the money. It's all that matters to them and the result can be...well, pricey!

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 12:00:58 2015

VERO verifies every single tiffany listings online at least that's what the e bay reps say, in fact if there were the slightest hint of it being fake it would never stayed online thru ebay most all brand name items are under scrutiny thru ebay infamous vero program including genuine items (>)6 months later is going to be the norm I am afraid to sell anything at all on e bay even cheap items just not enough to be made there any longer  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 12:17:07 2015

This is probably a scam buyer, ebay not protecting seller by dvising buyer to go to small claims. Buyer will present a fake in court.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 12:29:13 2015

If it goes to court , the buyer will have to prove its a fake , by tiffany.

No other entity can authenticate tiffany. Its a $1000.00 fee. Without tiffany saying its fake , it stands as real.

There is a big difference between , appraisal / authentication.

Most appraisers , will not .

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Mar 24 21:11:28 2015

This is a contract dispute. No one needs to prove "fraud"; simply that the item delivered was not as represented. An honest mistake is as damning as a dishonest one. same as if the Seller put the wrong label on the wrong package. As far as timeliness is concerned, whatever statute of limitations their local jurisdiction allows is fair game. There's no rule anywhere that says we all need to go to court the day we discover we have a cause of action. To their credit eBay did not refund the Buyer's payment and let them keep the jewelry; that's an improvement!  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: Ogri This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 24 22:06:32 2015

Think the buyers timescale could be justified as she is saying she bought solid Silver jewellery and now believes it is plated with Silver.  Can take time for plating to wear away.

Unfortunately her argument falls apart a bit as solid Sterling Silver is 7.5% Copper, and Copper oxidises in the presence of Oxygen contained in another chemical e,g, water, or moisture/acids from skin.  Even something as simple as using a different moisturising cream can suddenly bring on a green tinge to your skin.

It would be very simple for a jeweller (or anyone for that matter) to use a metal testing reagent to test the jewellery for Silver content, to confirm it is solid Silver and not something like a Nickel alloy used as the base metal.

Personally if I believed in good faith it was genuine, I'd say to her - bring it on.  The UK small claims court (and other types of person to person problem such as divorce) lean towards mediation, rather than settling a case just with a judgement - so they look for reasonableness.

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Mar 24 22:23:05 2015

"Did the seller make a mistake by forcing this reluctant buyer to follow through after she expressed doubts about the item's authenticity?" Abso-bleeping-lutely! No good can ever come from forcing someone to purchase a item they no longer want to buy, especially with all the anti-seller policies eBay currently has in place. This story should serve as a cautionary tale for any seller who is thinking of listing an expensive item on eBay.  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: Big Dog This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 25 00:14:00 2015

Cracker Jack Lawyers You Have To Love It....LOL

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Mar 25 00:26:11 2015

The seller MUST enlist the assistance of the boyfriend in procuring a receipt. If there is no receipt (which means it may very well be fake) then do as @Ogri instructs: bring it on! The judicial system will sort this out and determine what's fair. I think 6 months is far, FAR too long to make a claim. I have luxury goods purchased on eBay authenticated within a week of purchase. I also keep my listings, pics and receipts forever!  Caveat emptor AND caveat venditor (let the seller beware).  

Perminate Link for Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller   Help I'm Being Taken to Court, Says eBay Seller

by: vince-q This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 25 00:33:36 2015

pace306 wrote:

Theres no "chain of custody" 6 months later.
-------------------------

Chain of Custody is a criminal court issue. Doesn't apply in civil litigation.

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