EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1626 - September 21, 2007     2 of 5

The Problem of 'Fake' eBay VeRO Members

Email This Story to a Friend

Many eBay sellers have disputed the legitimacy of VeRO claims regarding copyright and trademark rights. But some have also begun complaining about the legitimacy of the members themselves. They say some VeRO members do not have the rights to the intellectual property they claim, and use eBay's program to remove sellers' listings.

A seller named Tom who said eBay pulled three of his listings because of reports by a fake VeRO member, said, "If this keeps up, they will put me and a lot of their sellers out of business. And unless abated, these skammers now know they can claim anything and get away with it."

eBay spokesperson Catherine England said eBay has a zero-tolerance policy for any eBay seller that engages in anti-competitive practices by filing fraudulent VeRO complaints against other eBay sellers. She said eBay immediately and indefinitely NARUs (suspends) any seller who does this. "It's considered a blatant breech of the eBay User Agreement and it just isn't the way we treat one another in the eBay community."

eBay has verification processes in place, England said, and does its best to ensure that VeRO participants are legitimate rights owners. She said there are several third-party companies and individual consultants that are often authorized by rights-owners to monitor eBay and file VeRO complaints on their behalf, so it isn't always easy to tell by contact information alone if the complaint or the individual submitting it is legitimate.

England said eBay's VeRO team "doesn't blindly remove all listings reported to us - they often call to confirm or take other steps to verify the complaint is legitimate before removing a particular listing. That said, our system isn't 100% fool proof and it's possible some folks may slip through from time to time."

If an eBay seller believes a fraudulent VeRO complaint has been filed against them, or the rights owner is in error, England said the seller can appeal the report and eBay will review it; if eBay finds in favor of the seller, eBay will reinstate the listing.

On the bottom of the information page about the VeRO program, there is a "Contact Us" link ( England said sellers can use this link to submit appeals to VeRO report.

In a thread in the AuctionBytes forum devoted to VeRO issues, eBay sellers talk about the problem and the challenges of disputing VeRO claims and discuss strategies for dealing with fake VeRO members (

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.