EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2040 - May 13, 2009     2 of 4

eBay's New Policy Instructs Buyers to Destroy Fakes

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eBay's new Purchase Protection Policy contains a provision stating that when a buyer files a claim alleging that an item received is not authentic, they are required by eBay to destroy the item. But how exactly the program will protect sellers from unscrupulous or misinformed buyers is unclear, and there are no details of how eBay will implement the program.

According to eBay's new User Agreement under the heading, "Obligations with respect to allegedly non-authentic items":

  • For covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, buyers are required to destroy an item if they claim it is not authentic. Once a buyer confirms destruction of the item, eBay will reimburse the buyer.
  • For covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, sellers agree to not hold buyers or eBay responsible for the destruction of an item if it is not believed to be authentic.

And according to the eBay Purchase Protection Policy page, if a buyer believes an item is not authentic: "When buyers file a claim alleging that the item is not authentic, we require the buyer to destroy the item. Once a buyer confirms destruction of the item, we will reimburse the buyer or provide an eBay coupon."

Several discussions have sprung up from sellers concerned about eBay instructing buyers to destroy products with no details on whether eBay would require authentication and how eBay would ensure the buyers had actually destroyed the items (link and link).

eBay had announced in April it would be implementing a new dispute resolution process as part of its Spring changes, and said there may be times when eBay needs to play a role to ensure buyer and seller satisfaction, including refunding the buyer at its own expense.

eBay's Jim "Griff" Griffith wrote on a discussion board thread in answer to how eBay would determine if a buyer is being dishonest during the new dispute process, "What the member experienced was the first testing of our new resolutions process (which we will continue testing and refining over the next year). In this initial test, we assume, with the lack of any evidence to the contrary, that a buyer is honest when they call to report a problem."

eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski was still gathering information on the non-authentic items provision of the Purchase Protection Policy as AuctionBytes went to press, we will update this story as more information becomes available.

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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

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