EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2042 - May 15, 2009     1 of 2

eBay Backs Down from 'Destroy Policy' on Fakes

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eBay has reversed a new policy in which it required buyers to destroy items they believed were not authentic. The revised policy states that sellers should give assurances to buyers concerned about authenticity, and if buyers and sellers cannot agree that items are not counterfeit, buyers should return the items to the sellers.

As reported in AuctionBytes Newsflash on May 13, 2009, the new eBay Purchase Protection Policy had stated that, "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."

The newly revised policy states, among other things, "If buyer and seller cannot agree that the item is not counterfeit, for covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded, buyers are required to send the item back to the seller. Cost of return shipping will be paid by the buyer or eBay in our sole discretion, unless otherwise agreed upon by the buyer and seller." It also states, "Covered claims that meet the conditions and are not excluded will count as a violation by the seller of our prohibited and infringing items policy."

There are still some circumstances in which eBay would require the buyer to have a third-party destroy an item, "in cases where there is written confirmation from the manufacturer that the item is counterfeit, or in additional circumstances where eBay elects to exercise its discretion."

eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski said Thursday that eBay had looked at the questions AuctionBytes had asked about the policy and, after examining the policy very closely, made revisions "in order to ensure that the policy was, in effect, providing an equitable solution to protecting our sellers - to protecting sellers and buyers."

Link to eBay Announcement

Link to Revised User Agreement

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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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