After many months attempting to stop the sale of counterfeit DVDs on eBay, I finally realized that eBay profits from piracy and will do everything possible to protect its own pocketbook. For this reason eBay relegates buyer complaints about counterfeit DVDs to the trash bin.
During a period of about 9 months I purchased over 20 new DVD Box Sets on eBay. These accounted for almost all my eBay purchases during that period. Although the boxes, artwork, package printing, graphics, disk labels and disks all looked genuine, I determined that all but 1 of these DVD Box Sets were counterfeit because:
(1) the studio information printed on the packaging had the Region 1 logo, but the disks were actually Region Free;
(2) the studio information printed on the box sets stated that the DVD disks were dual layer, but in reality the disks were single layer; and
(3) the DVD disks were not copy protected (genuine studio authorized DVDs are copy protected).
At this point I understand that the best selling new DVD Box Set listings on eBay (which generally appear very high in eBay's Cassini Best Match search results) are pirated and are generally priced anywhere from 20% to 80% below the Amazon Prime price for the same DVD Box Set - the Amazon Prime price is generally the lowest or one of the lowest prices anywhere for authentic DVDs.
I contacted eBay Customer Support telephonically to report that I had received fake DVDs from eBay sellers. The eBay CSR in the Philippines advised me that eBay wouldn't accept a telephonic complaint about counterfeit items, and that I must use the "Report Item" feature in the applicable listing to report counterfeit DVDs to eBay. She also advised me that I could return the items for SNAD refunds.
I couldn't return virtually each and every item I purchase on eBay as counterfeit/snad without being labeled an "abusive buyer" and suspended by eBay (eBay suspended The Counterfeit Report as an "abusive buyer" for the same reason).
So I tried returning them at MY expense for reasons such as "wrong size or does not fit," (while informally notifying the seller of the true reason for the return). I stopped this practice quickly when I discovered that eBay charged me well over $7.00 for a return shipping label (on a $15 DVD Box Set) - despite the fact that the seller paid postage of less than $3.00 to ship me the item.
I used the Report Item link in each of the listings but the report form only allowed me to enter a limited number of characters (no more than 10 or 11 words) to describe the problem - so all I could report was that I had purchased from this listing and received counterfeit DVDs. It was impossible to report details.
Although the eBay Help section states that members reporting an item will receive an e-mail confirmation of the report from eBay, I did not receive a single confirming e-mail when reporting counterfeit DVDs to eBay.
Out of curiosity I reported a problem involving a non-copyright issue - and I DID receive an immediate confirming e-mail from eBay - and in submitting THAT report, eBay didn't limit the length of my description.
Five months after I started regularly reporting counterfeit DVD Box Set listings to eBay, I contacted eBay customer support telephonically to inquire why no listings had been removed or other action taken in response to my reports, and to ask why these sellers were still selling counterfeit DVDs on eBay 5 months after being reported.
The eBay CSR in the Philippines initially advised me that eBay had no way of determining whether reports of counterfeit DVDs were true so eBay could take no action when counterfeits were reported. (Why did eBay create a mechanism to report them?)
I explained to the CSR that eBay's Report Item feature allowed space for only a few words to report copyright violations, so it was impossible to report the factual basis establishing that the DVDs were counterfeit. She then told me that eBay investigated every report, but that "Trust and Safety" was very busy and eBay required more time, and that I shouldn't expect eBay to act on reports of counterfeit DVDs within such a short period (of only 5 months!).
She assured me that eBay would eventually investigate the reports I submitted, and that offending listings would be removed. I asked her what length of time was usually required before eBay would investigate a report of counterfeit DVDs and she stated she didn't know. I continued reporting counterfeit DVDs after this conversation using the Report Item feature.
I have been reporting the fake DVD Box Sets to eBay, one at a time, over a period of many months. Offending listings haven't been removed from my purchased items list, not one eBay bootlegger has been disciplined or suspended, and these sellers continue selling many thousands of counterfeit DVD Box Sets on eBay (in the aggregate). I've stopped buying DVDs on eBay.
The bottom line is that users reporting counterfeit items using the Report Item feature should expect their reports to end up in the trash. eBay's customer service will NOT accept reports of counterfeit items telephonically.
eBay is fully aware that the overwhelming majority of the DVD Box Sets sold on its site are fake and deliberately turns a blind eye to the situation because it earns healthy listing and final value fees from the sale of such contraband.
The SOLE reason eBay will remove a counterfeit DVD listing is receipt of a VERO take down affidavit from the rights holder - because in that specific situation take downs are required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Otherwise, eBay takes NO ACTION in response to member reports of counterfeit DVDs.
I suspect this problem isn't limited to counterfeit DVDs, and that it actually extends to ALL the stolen intellectual property being sold on eBay.
Very truly yours,
Concerned eBay Buyer