Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
The Almighty Buck Businesses Government The Courts The Internet News

eBay Describes the Scale of Its Counterfeit Goods Problem 124

Ian Lamont writes "As the Tiffany vs. eBay lawsuit winds its way through a federal appeals court, eBay has trotted out some numbers that show how many sellers attempt to sell fake goods on the auction site. Millions of auctions were delisted last year, and tens of thousands of accounts were suspended after reports were made to eBay's Verified Rights Owner program, which lets trademark owners notify eBay of fake goods being sold on the site. eBay says 100% of reported listings were removed from the site last year, most within 12 hours, and the company uses sellers' background information to make sure that they don't create new accounts to sell delisted items. Tiffany brought the suit against eBay in 2004, alleging that eBay was turning a blind eye to counterfeit luxury goods and demanding that eBay police its listings for bogus goods. Tiffany lost the case last July and will shortly present its arguments to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. A similar case in France cost eBay $61 million."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

eBay Describes the Scale of Its Counterfeit Goods Problem

Comments Filter:
  • Sure... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:08PM (#27276379) Journal
    ...but how many of those items were NOT counterfeits, but merely real items that the trademark owner wants to illegitimately prevent from being legitimately resold? Like that GAP promotional CD a while back.
    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TinBromide ( 921574 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:12PM (#27276409)
      Some counterfeit products stem from overruns. I.e. Lee commissions an order for 500 pairs of jeans from a factory, the factory gets sent 600 logos and makes 600 pairs of jeans. They get paid for the original 500 count jean order and then turn around and sell the real deal (same factory, same material and techniques, same quality, real logo) to the black market. Except the additional 100 pairs are counterfeit (Legally so).

      Sounds like a perfectly reasonable excuse to prevent a legit buyer of a pair of the original 500 jeans from reselling their product... Lets lawyer up!
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        The way I see it, if the manufacturers cares about counterfeit goods, they can give them serial numbers. If they don't bother to do that, any counterfeiting is as much their fault as anybody else's. Or, they could quit being cheap bastards and actually pay the manufacturing plant for the overages. Either way.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          Oh, and apologies for the subject-verb agreement problem in the first sentence. I suppose if I really cared about typos, I'd quit rewriting sentences eight times before I post them.

      • by Shimmer ( 3036 )

        Why would Lee send the factory 600 logos when they only want 500 jeans made?

        • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:38PM (#27276807)

          Because they know that x of the labels or jeans that the labels are sewn to are going to be imperfect, and it's more cost effective to ship an extra percentage point of raw materials the first time, than have to deal with shipping another small batch if the shop couldn't meet their quota.

          The figures aren't going to be as exaggerated as in GP (100 spare per 500), but if a factory makes 10,000 pairs of jeans, it's natural that there will be spare stuff laying around.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by LordNimon ( 85072 )
            Because they know that x of the labels or jeans that the labels are sewn to are going to be imperfect, and it's more cost effective to ship an extra percentage point of raw materials the first time, than have to deal with shipping another small batch if the shop couldn't meet their quota.

            In that case, Lee should ask and pay for 600 items, and accept up to 100 bad ones. They'll get their 500 pairs of jeans, and there won't be any logos to counterfeit.
            • Re:Sure... (Score:4, Informative)

              by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @04:09AM (#27277451) Homepage

              Actually, I know that Levis does this, and the 'bad' ones are sold in outlet stores for about half the price of regular jeans. You can go in to those outlet stores and if you can spot the flaw, then you've got great eyes. I usually can't. Anytime someone travels to the US, I ask them to pick me up a pair.

            • In that case, Lee should ask and pay for 600 items, and accept up to 100 bad ones. They'll get their 500 pairs of jeans, and there won't be any logos to counterfeit.

              Or, Lee should say: when you're done, we want 600 logos back, with 500 of them on jeans.

              Seems like a pretty simple way to stop the "authentic counterfeit" market, and I know that's the way some companes do it.

        • by cheesee ( 97693 )

          Because not every label that is used will go onto a pair of jeans that meets requirements for sale.

          Some will be damaged, have defects or be otherwise rendered unusable.

        • by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

          Because the factory will make more jeans in the future. If you look into a restaurant kitchen you will find they have varying quantities of all their supply's so that they would never run out of everything at the exact same time (if they stopped reordering).

          Ok car analogy, it's just not the same without a car involved. When you refuel your car do you put in just enough for the intended journey?

      • Re:Sure... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... net minus author> on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:26PM (#27276727) Homepage Journal

        Sounds like a perfectly reasonable excuse to prevent a legit buyer of a pair of the original 500 jeans from reselling their product... Lets lawyer up!

        I understand your point, and would like to propose a little thought experiment.

        Suppose I buy a pair of those jeans from "Company X," without any way of knowing whether the scenario you described has transpired or not (I'll leave it to other posters to argue the finer points of your post). I then turn around and sell the jeans on eBay. Am I then complicit in any wrongdoing, assuming I can prove that I paid good currency for the product in the first place?

      • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @02:00AM (#27277231) Homepage

        It's known as the 3rd shift, and it's not 100 of 500, it's more like 1/3 (absolute minimum if you have something made in China) to 2/3 of all production.

        Perfectly legal (there) and perfectly "real" goods. Welcome to China.

    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:15PM (#27276423) Journal

      Quite possibly. There's no good solution, and there are vested interests on both sides. eBay makes a cut of every sale, so they want as many as they can, no matter what the legitimacy of the items being sold. Tiffany makes nothing from second hand sales, so they'd love to destroy any market for them. Counterfeiting probably is more damaging to Tiffany than a legitimate resale market, but if they weren't angling to stop all 'unauthorised' sales of their products I doubt they'd be bringing a lawsuit where the only real solution is to ban any Tiffany products from eBay.

      eBay can very easily be written off as assholes for a multitude of valid reasons, but for once I think we've got a situation where they can't be blamed. Short of manually approving every single auction there's not much more they can do to keep out the obvious fakes. Now add to that the ones that can't be spotted a mile off by anyone with a bit of experience and it's like asking them to send a team of experts to your house and confirm that the item you just listed is indeed genuine. Good luck with that.

    • Re:Sure... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:17PM (#27276683)

      I was selling a used Kaplan book,

      This VERO program ... they canceled my auction, emailed all the bidders and told them i was a criminal selling counterfeit stuff?

      Ebay said there was nothing they could do? (wtf it is their website???) Kaplan just did not want people selling used books.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
        If they emailed the other bidders saying that you were a criminal then you probably have grounds for a libel suit. If they do this to a lot of people, you may be able to share legal costs. In a libel case, they are required to prove that their defamation (that you are a criminal) is true which, assuming you are not, is going to be difficult.
        • by raehl ( 609729 )

          IANAL either, but you're mistaken.

          The burden of proof in a libel case is on the plaintiff. Showing that the statement is true is sufficient to defend against a libel suit, but not necessary.

          In general, to win a libel suit, you have to show that the statement was not true, that the other party should have known it wasn't true, and that the statement caused damage to the plaintiff's reputation.

          Suing eBay because they told a bunch of people that you, where you is a account name on eBay, are a criminal, is not

          • Defamation laws vary from state to state, but in most states, imputations of criminal conduct are slander per se, i.e. it is not required to show specific harm.

            Your assertion that it's required to show that the accused party "should have known it wasn't true" is actually the opposite of how it works. In fact, if the slandering party shows reckless disregard for the truth ("Actual Malice"), then damages can be awarded even if the defamatory statements are true.

            By way of example: Let's say I publish an accus

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kylben ( 1008989 )

      how many of those items were NOT counterfeits, but merely real items that the trademark owner wants to illegitimately prevent from being legitimately resold?

      Lots and lots. EBay, as they say, removes 100% of reported listings.

      A hall of shame from someone who likes to countersue... or is it just sue.... or... take these companies to court, and win: []

    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Informative)

      by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @02:03AM (#27277237) Journal

      >>>how many of those items were NOT counterfeits, but merely real items that the trademark owner wants to illegitimately prevent from being legitimately resold?

      That happened to me one time when I was trying to sell a store-bought DVD of a movie. Ebay told me who complained, and it was some lawfirm in California that is tasked by the Hollywood corporations to take-down ebay sales. I called and asked why they took down my auction, but they refused to say anything except that if I relist it, I'd be taken to court.

      I ignored them and relisted the item anyway. The second time it sold, but it was still frustrating because the second auction did not go as high as the first auction. Stupid fucking lawyers. They shouldn't be able to randomly take down legitimate sales.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan541 ( 1032000 )

      eBay doesn't actually sell anything.

      It's an abuse of the legal system to allow these companies to go after ebay for counterfeit goods. How about going after the people committing the offence?

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Like that Scientology magic mind meter or whatever the hell that crazy thing is called? I recall that they claim copyright on any attempts to sell it and it gets delisted.

      • by torkus ( 1133985 ) measure your thetan levels (didn't you see that southpark?)

        This in particular amazes me. It's not software/video/music or a 'virtual' item that can be copied for zero cost. It's a physical box (of some sort) that you purchase and it's resale should be entirely legal unless they can get a court order preventing it based on some sort of signed contract. Yet the "church" b!tches and ebay rolls over.

        I think ebay is afraid something will rock their boat and anger the cash cow. They figure selle

  • Unpleasant. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:09PM (#27276385) Journal
    If anything, Ebay is already too far on the side of "protecting" the various merchants who pretty much hate First Sale. The web abounds with tales of perfectly legitimate stuff being taken down, with approximately the same care shown in DMCA request cases.

    Given that, I'd really hate to see what the situation would look like if Ebay's enemies win.
  • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:12PM (#27276411)

    I used to work at an electronics retailer and we'd sell our returns on ebay(those that were functional, we had a lax return policy).

    Despite being authorized distributers of the products we put on there, we had our accounts suspended several times by VeRO when one of the many third party watchdog services reported us erroneously. We usually had to track down somebody at the manufacturer and get them to fax "yes they can sell our stuff" to ebay.

    And then a few weeks later, it'd happen again. Those watchdog services must get paid by # of items removed.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:50PM (#27276579)

      Actually, they probably aren't paid per item (too easy for them to game the system) but they are just overzealous by default because that is better for them over all. For one, they probably give the companies reports that say "We stopped X number of illegal sales this month!" The bigger the number, the happier the company. Also should someone from the company notice things that are not getting taken down, the company will get mad and say "What the hell are we paying you for?"

      Only way that a company is likely to get mad about them being over zealous is if one of their major distributors gets mad for it happening. Problem is, that the major distributors aren't going to rely on eBay. They might use it, but their large volume will be elsewhere. Thus the company isn't likely to get complaints of sufficient level that they'll do anything about it.

      • by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @12:32AM (#27277013)

        I just figured after we were on a name basis with some of them they would've reminded the watchdogs that there are legit distributers.

        But you're right, the only time we ever saw a change was when we shipped a pallet(some good as new, some we would have written off) back to the manufacturer with 3 canceled ebay notices attached to the shipping papers.

        Didn't have a problem with them again, but, as you say, we weren't big enough to do that to someone like Monster Cable(who is the great Satan anyway).

      • It makes a little sense to stop secondhand resale of near luxury items for the original manufacturers. But only when the economy is growing and everyone has money to spend.

        We are entering a new era. Most people are not going to have the money to spend on near-luxury goods at 20th century prices. But it will take a long time for the manufacturers to realize this.

        If the manufacturers were smart they would get a list of all the people who attempted to buy and sell used their near-luxury goods

  • by adisakp ( 705706 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:12PM (#27276413) Journal
    It's not just Tiffany or designer products. EBay is full of counterfeit stuff for everyday goods as well. 90% of the razor blades on EBay are fakes. If you buy Gillette Fusion refills there, you're likely to get something that looks nearly identical but will tear off half your face when you try to use them. I got ripped off for $70 -- and getting refunds through Paypal / EBay for counterfeit items is a joke when they want you to return the items with tracking to China where they'll just be used again to scam another consumer.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:19PM (#27276443)
      You expected to get legitimate Gillette Fusion razor blades from a Chinese eBay seller?

      Slashdot is missing a -1 Dumbass moderating option.
      • by adisakp ( 705706 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @01:20AM (#27277143) Journal
        I didn't know they were from China until after I received the item. There's no way to verify where an item is going to come from just by using EBay and Paypal until after you receive it. Furthermore, they were using an account (that was probably hacked) that had high 100% feedback.
        • Best way to handle that:

          If you've been scammed by an international person, file an "item not received" complaint since most foreign sellers don't track internationally (costs too much). Paypal will automatically return your money after 10 days. In fact you can get lots of free stuff by shopping from China or Nigeria or Cuba or... ooops I've said too much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is a website [] with information on how to spot fake blades on FleaBay.

    • by lightversusdark ( 922292 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:03PM (#27276623) Journal

      If you want to save money, grow a beard.

    • by metlin ( 258108 )

      I agree.

      What about art? I buy originals of some of my favorite artists, and I've often seen fakes of their work. Worse yet, they are not even credited for it.

      I usually notify the artist, of course. Sometimes, the artist themselves (or their manager) replies back with a thank you note (depending on if I am a customer who's bought their originals or their prints). But more often than not, I do not hear back, so I assume that the artists simply don't care.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by bitrex ( 859228 )
      How long do the Fusion blades last you? I have a Gillette Fusion razor and a fairly heavy beard (I can grow a full beard in a week if I let it go) and wet shaving once a day the cartridges seriously last me about a month and a half before I notice a lower quality shave - if kept well cleaned. With an 8 pack costing about 20 bucks it seems trying to get them in bulk off Ebay is penny wise and pound foolish, unless there is some kind of razor blade shortage looming that we don't know about? That reminds me.
    • Do you really mean tearing off have your face?

      I can picture that; you tear off half your face, then stumble over to your computer, half of your face dangling off the other half of your face, and keying in your comment . . . .


    • you buy Gillette Fusion refills there, you're likely to get something that looks nearly identical but will tear off half your face when you try to use them.

      I'd say that IS identical.

  • by wshwe ( 687657 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:16PM (#27276429)

    Too bad eBay doesn't put as much effort in to shutting down scammers of all kinds, not just those selling fake name brand goods.

  • by VinylRecords ( 1292374 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:17PM (#27276437)

    Site policy has zero tolerance for sellers who list counterfeit items, and will also suspend any seller who lists a counterfeit item more than one time. Sharpe reports that...30,000 sellers [were] suspended.

    One of the major reasons that eBay has so many fraudulent listings is that scam artists exploit a flaw in eBay's user database. And I'm not even talking about listening bootlegged or forged items. I'm talking about listing items that don't even exist.

    The scam artists find eBay accounts and break into them, specifically accounts that have high feedback numbers (or transactions recorded) but have little activity in the last year. They basically dig through the user database for inactive accounts and then try to hijack them, taking over the account, and then changing the billing information before listing the fake items. Because the hijacked account already has positive feedback with it people are far more likely to trust the account and auction, not being critical enough to suspect they are being scammed for money or being sold knockoff items.

    Another scam I've seen is where people purchase tons of electronics, like say they purchase dozens of video game consoles. They take pictures of the consoles to prove that they have them in hand. They then sell them to friends, family, or strangers for cash in person, while keeping the receipts for the original product. They then list the consoles on eBay and sell them to people taking the money from PayPal. But, because they've already sold the item off for cash, they tell the person who sent them money over PayPal that they will get a refund. They then call the cops, say that they have been robbed and someone stole several dozen expensive electronic components from them and then they recover whatever homeowners or rental insurance covers stolen property.

    I purchase tons of expensive electronics on eBay. Multi-thousand dollar synthesizers, hardware video editing consoles, and vinyl record components. Some items seem to be half scams and half real and eBay doesn't do a damn thing to stop people from listing fake items. They rely on users to constantly scream at eBay to take the fake listings down. I have to persist often to get eBay to take down the endless fake auctions for Pioneer DJ components that are listed day after day and eBay still can't figure out a filter for this problem.

    At the end of the day eBay is still great (minus the shipping charges).

    • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:25PM (#27276485) Journal

      I'm possibly missing something blindingly obvious here, but what's the benefit of the eBay step in the insurance fraud scam? Just to make it look like they have a more legitimate reason for keeping 8 PS3s in their living room before they were 'robbed'?

    • by bitrex ( 859228 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @01:17AM (#27277129)
      A common scam that I've fallen victim to on at least one occasion when buying synthesizers on Ebay is the "It must have broken during transit" scam - the seller knows that an item is nonfunctional but sells it at full price, and before it ships puts a little exterior damage on it to make it look like it was damaged in shipping when really the thing was a basket-case to begin with. The seller and Paypal then instruct you to bug UPS for insurance money, which you will never get because the package itself generally has no signs of damage. I had one synthesizer that was in "fully functional condition" arrive with two broken keys - sure, that MIGHT have happened in transit, but what about the burned traces in the power supply? I always give preference to sellers now who have gone to the effort to make YouTube videos of their gear to show that it is in good operating condition.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        >>>The seller and Paypal then instruct you to bug UPS for insurance money

        Bzzzz. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The seller might tell you to get insurance, but Paypal always gives the exact-same answer: "Return to seller." You can then provide the delivery confirmation/tracking number to paypal and they will refund all your money. Or you can provide it to your credit card, and they will do the same.

        Also, "it got damaged during shipping" is NOT an excuse for a seller. The seller is responsible for ALL dam

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DavidD_CA ( 750156 )

      They then list the consoles on eBay and sell them to people taking the money from PayPal. But, because they've already sold the item off for cash, they tell the person who sent them money over PayPal that they will get a refund. They then call the cops, say that they have been robbed and someone stole several dozen expensive electronic components from them and then they recover whatever homeowners or rental insurance covers stolen property.

      Lately, whenever I've sold something on PayPal that's been more than $50, PayPal has held the money in escrow until either the buyer gives me positive feedback, the shipping company confirms the package was delivered, or 30 days goes by. It's happened to me at least 6 times in the last couple of months. It's not annoying, but it does cause a small delay in getting my money.

      As for telling the police about the stolen goods and getting an insurance claim, I'd have to imagine someone can only try that once in

  • MMO gold (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:25PM (#27276481)

    I see hundreds of MMO (ok, WoW) gold listings every day, and if ebay claims 100% vero compliance that probably accounts for a lion's share of their statistics. Blizzard aggressively has these taken down, I know because when I auctioned my account they had that taken down even though I was including the game with it (first sale doctrine gives me the right to sell my cds, and I am equally free to expose my account information as I please).

    I would have filed a counterclaim, except that by the time ebay removed my auction, it had already closed and the deal was done -- but to comply with vero, they deleted the auction anyway and *refunded my fees* accordingly. So, uh, thanks to Blizzard and ebay!

  • by mattytee ( 1395955 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:40PM (#27276545)
    Regardless of my opinion on the matter at hand, after 11 years of buying and selling on eBay, it is impossible not to feel satisfaction when they lose a lot of money.

    And regardless of the outcome of this, they're losing money right now, or at least not making it hand over fist.

    I'm very satisfied. F them!
    • by metlin ( 258108 )

      While I've had my share of bad experiences on eBay, I would definitely be sad to see them go.

      For one, they have no real competition, and for another, there really isn't an online equivalent that I'd trust (not that I trust eBay much - but at least I trust that my transactions are conducted under a safe environment).

      At the end of the day, I've found a lot of stuff on eBay that I couldn't find elsewhere (mostly older books that haven't been published; antique cuff links; great seconds of good shoes etc - I co

  • by kangol69 ( 1167551 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:43PM (#27276551)
    I was selling some Monavie Active on ebay. Monavie Active is basically a health juice drink that is sold exclusively by Monavie Inc. so it is in Monavie's interest to stop people from selling Monaive active on ebay because they have a monopoly over the product. So they report every listing they find on ebay as Infringing on their copyright and ebay automatically takes it down. Now this wouldn't be so bad if ebay had good support but ebay in my opinion is lacking in that area. You can do the whole live chat thing but the reps on that have no influence over the VERO program. You have to reach them by a hidden form on their site and then you get an email address ( All you'll get from talking to them is that you have to contact the company that filed the infringement (Monavie) to resolve it. Now remember Monavie has a monopoly over their product and so their is no way they'll resolve this with me peacefully. Now I admit that ebay is just trying to play nice with everybody but they should really do more to support the little guy when he starts getting squished by the big Corps.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Vectronic ( 1221470 )

      Maybe I'm just mo naive than some, but, isn't that a legitimate case, ie: they are within the law to ask eBay to remove/disable/etc your ability to sell their product.

      Maybe you should contact them, sign up to be a distributor. Or make your own kool-aid, and sell that so they don't have a "monopoly". And I'd like to point out that a quick search led me to 3 companies, MonaVie, AgroLabs and Dr. Tims, which means there is probably another 6 at least.

      • by JimMcc ( 31079 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:28PM (#27276733) Homepage

        I don't know Monavie from a hole in the wall, but are you suggesting that they have the right to restrict the sale of a physical item that was legitimately bought? Assuming the OP buys a physical item with no signed contractual agreement not to resell it, what basis does the manufacturer have to prohibit the sale.

        Come on. It it were Sony/BMG trying to prevent him from reselling a brand new, still in the wrapper, Rap-Snoop-Poop-Dog's Greatest Hits album, you'd be all over Sony. According to your views, now we don't even own the physical items we purchase.

        Please let me off this bus!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kangol69 ( 1167551 )
        Why do they have the ability to say that I can't sell their product? I bought it directly from them and it's an authentic product. That's like some company telling me I can't sell my old stuff at my own garage sale. By monopoly I meant that they are the only seller of their product. Monopoly was the wrong word. They don't have any resellers of their product so the only way to get it is directly from them. Therefore they lose money if someone buys it off of ebay because to order it from them you have to sig
        • Yeah, but you seem to be redistributing, not just a one time thing "I bought too much, need to offload some"... but you seem to be going about it more like you buy it on a weekly basis, and then resell it. Which I'm pretty sure no matter which product business you are in, you need to have an agreement to do that beforehand, part of that whole company reputation, and customer guarantee shit... I'm not saying I agree with it, only that, that is how I thought it worked.

          Besides, if this company is so vile, with

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @12:27AM (#27276995)

      That's because VeRO staff are not allowed to say anything other than "contact the rights owner" Seriously, that's the policy.

      The VeRO members also know that, and can blissfully ignore any eBay member that shows even the slightest bit of anger.

      Here's the real escalation path:
      1. Do Not write into eBay, you will be told to wait a week the second you do, instead
      2. Write to the rights owner first, specify exactly why your item is legitimate. If you did not buy the item directly from the rights owner, you have no case.
      3. Once you get a confirmation from the rights owner that your item is legitimate, then write to eBay, and say straight off that you have contacted the rights owner, and include the entire conversation email with the rights owner.

      If the rights owner ignores you, or tells you off, you must then either
      A: Sue the rights owner until they contact eBay
      B: Bring as much media attention as possible to the company who reported you as possible to embarrass them.

      I you contact eBay first, you only have the choice of waiting a week, contacting the rights owner as in above, and then waiting up to a month.

      If it's a copyright violation (not trademark), file a DMCA counternotice, immediately. The rights owner then has to sue you in order to keep the items off the site.

      If it's a trademark issue, you are f***ed, sue the rights owner for damages.

      Either way, as long as the item was removed through the VeRO program, you must not list any item on eBay that may lead to multiple VeRO violations. VeRO members also know this, and can conspire if they wanted to to take down high ranking powersellers by filing all their VeRO removals at the same time. And yes, it happens. Alternative medicine importers love doing this.

      Some VeRO members are horribly incompetent at reporting and have very high false positive rates, such members eventually are flagged for doing so, but it will only happen if the rights owner reports that they made a mistake. Few rights owners will admit to making a mistake, so sue them if you bought the item from them. It does not matter if the company forbids resale of their merchandise on the internet (*mway), that does not make the item illegal, and eBay only removes ILLEGAL items via the VeRO program.

    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      the solution is to sue monactive for slander and tortious interference. They stated that your auction was counterfeit, which is a false claim against you that cost you money, and they caused ebay to wrongfully remove your listing.
  • Buy local (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sjdude ( 470014 )

    This is why I hardly ever buy on eBay any more (sell yes, buy no). I buy stuff on precisely because I can inspect stuff myself first hand before buying, and if I'm stupid enough (or want) to buy a fake, that's my problem. Not surprisingly, eBay owns 25 percent of craigslist now, but buying remotely, sight unseen, from "discount sellers" though eBay is, IMHO synonymous with asking to get ripped off. Its just too easy, as other posters have pointed out, to rip people off, and neither eBay nor P

  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:43PM (#27276839) Homepage

    Most buyers can't tell the difference. For the most part, they are getting a bargain because they think it is a Rolex or Louis Vutton, but it isn't really. They aren't paying for the real thing.

    In a few cases, they buyer ends up feeling like a sucker because they try to sell their "bargain" to someone that knows the difference. So instead of making 10x their original investment, they learn their watch isn't "real". Well, it tells time, right?

    Because of the price difference, the overpriced only-for-the-rich names are going to disappear. So in 10 years when you can't buy a new (real) Rolex anymore for $8,000 but you can buy all the fake ones you want for $80. Who is the loser here? Maybe the rich folks, but I can't see anyone on Slashdot giving a rat's ass about that.

    With the Internet you make the distribution of these goods almost untracable, so there is no risk to the seller from the police. The police being used to enforce the only-for-the-rich prices for brand names. So you get a Rolex for $80 and it will last just as long as any other $80 watch - but it says Rolex on it. If your ego requires you to have brand names, this lets you do it without paying vastly inflated prices for useless names. The name doesn't make it any better, after all.

    • by zrobotics ( 760688 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @12:40AM (#27277043)
      You're ignoring the fact that that $8,000 Rolex is probably made of gold/platinum, with actual diamonds/whatever. You pay the insane prices for the quality of the watch as well as the name. So while the $80 counterfeit watch may look the same, it's only the same watch on a very superficial level. So yes, about $4,000 of the price is for the name alone, there is a very real difference between genuine and counterfeit goods.
    • by AJWM ( 19027 )

      The name doesn't make it any better, after all.

      Well, beyond a certain point, no. But an $80 "Rolex" copy isn't anywhere near that point (especially since it's guts are probably those of a $10 watch). If you really need an accurate timepiece that can stand up to the rigors that Rolexes, Omegas, etc are designed for (eg you're a diver, or a pilot, or otherwise venture where wear-and-tear will destroy that $10 watch in no time), then you'll have to pay a bit more.

      But not $8000 -- a $300 Seiko (for example)

    • by Cathbard ( 954906 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @01:55AM (#27277225)
      A friend of mine had a Rolex that he picked up somewhere dirt cheap - a genuine one. The trouble was that he couldn't wear it because as he said, "People either thought I paid $10k for a watch and therefore must be a wanka or I was wearing a copy and trying to look like I spent $10k on a watch and therefore a wanka"

      You gotta laugh.

  • ... for not preventing street side sellers.
  • by coldwatergator ( 1505685 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @01:23AM (#27277157)
    It is very difficult for a purchaser to effectively file a counterfeit item report with Ebay. Realistically, they must get the assistance of the manufacturer to do so. I got stung when I purchased what was listed as an OEM part that had been out-of-production for a couple of years. The manufacturer was not interested in pursuing the matter. I would have had to pay for a qualified expert witness to examine the item and report on the item. The seller had admitted to me that they were having the items manufactured in China but labeled as being made by a reputable multinational firm in Japan. Even with my status of being a licensed PI and having some "Expertise" in the field of this part, Ebay refused to take substantive action. Paypal reversed the charges but that was it. Pursuing the matter with Customs and USPS is difficult without the assistance of the legitimate manufacturer. But they weren't interested in working a part that has been out-of-production for a couple of years. The Ebay power seller is still in operation. A close examination of his feedback shows that some others have been unhappy with the quality of his items, but "Happy" because he did refund the money when they complained and returned the item. I didn't want to ship contraband back to him as it is illegal to do so. I still hold the item and plan to sue him in civil court.
  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @02:56AM (#27277297) Homepage

    Look at the rate at which they've been able to get Scientology stuff banned from eBay (such as 100% legit e-meters)... Because if there's a used market, the CoS doesn't make as much money.

    • 100% legit e-meters

      Never thought I'd see that on Slashdot!

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if the Church is trying to stop people who are "not authorized to have e-meters" from getting them (including those who might want to bust the myth that the e-meter does whatever the Church claims it does)

  • eBay says 100% of reported listings were removed from the site last year, most within 12 hours, and the company uses sellers' background information to make sure that they don't create new accounts to sell delisted items.

    They were able to validate these allegations every single time and be sure after proper audi alteram partem that the expulsion of the seller was warranted?
    So eBay and rightholders are unfailing, Dave?

  • I think another issue to consider when these manufacturers have excess production units available for sale, constructed with the cheap labor in the first place then bail up e-bay because they're available for sale on e-bay.

    Of course the manufacturers would prefer the excess units be destroyed, than someone getting a fake North Face jacket for a 20th of the purchase price of the "real" item made in the same factory two days earlier.

  • ....and Rolexes some moron will buy for a fiver, but what about all the stuff from Hong Kong that looks and sounds great one the page and then turns out to be utter crap when it arrives, and in some cases a fire risk - such as a power supply for a webcam I bought that was constantly painfully hot to the touch.

    Plus then there's over-inflated postage costs that prevent you from sending the item back - if the vendor even offers that and doesn't just switch username in a week's time and gets all his Hong Kong b

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @07:18AM (#27277879) Homepage
    Regarding counterfeit fashion gear, the problem is more the fact no one cares. They know it's counterfeit and just care about what people see them wearing.

    Like someone is actually going to believe that a person driving some old little hatchback car with a job at Tesco actually bought a real Fendi bag.

    My complaint is how hard it is to buy real video games thanks to all the junk from Hong Kong.

    Maybe it's improved but if ever I go back to buy a game from ebay I will flat out refuse to buy from anyone that looks like their image came from a google search.
    • It would be good if they labelled the items as fake. If people know exactly what they're buying then there's no problem.
      • I for one don't mind buying counterfeit items, with counterfeit money of course :)
      • I don't think most people are that stupid. They know full they're not getting brand new fashion accessories at a 3rd of the cost or less and it's not a fake.

        I've yet to meet someone who didn't think they were fakes. They're happy as long as they don't look like fakes.
  • I can see two things playing into this: Brand names want to keep their image high, by keeping fake goods off the streets. Consumers want to know if they're getting legit goods. Are you willing to pay higher ebay user fees (to pay for lawsuit payment, systems for removing bunk goods) in exchange for knowing what you're getting is legit? I assume most people would rather leave the counterfeit standards at an acceptable minimum rather than have to pay for tougher checks. Some people probably would rather

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.