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Follow up to Kim Komando Trashing eBay over Fake Merchandise

April 11th, 2007 by Skip McGrath

Yesterday’s post noted that Kim Komando is trashing eBay to her millions of radio listeners over the subject of fake and counterfeit goods showing up on eBay.

BEFORE I GET STARTED –ONE ANNOUNCEMENT: eBay has a Value Pack bundle of listing upgrades for 25¢ during this 1-day special offer today only. Value Pack gives you 3 listing upgrades for 1 price, and includes Gallery, Subtitle and Listing Designer. Get all three of these upgrades for less than the regular price of Gallery alone for listings launched today, April 11.

Fake and counterfeit merchandise is a problem on eBay, but it is a tiny percentage of millions of legitimate sales that take place every day on eBay.  Eighty million members believe eBay is a safe place to trade. Among these are millions of people who routinely buy and sell art, antiques and collectibles.  Although hot consumer products are sold by mega-PowerSellers on eBay every day, the categories of used merchandise, art, antiques and collectibles is the purview of the small eBay seller. These people (like you and I) are the heart of the eBay marketplace.

As I pointed out yesterday although fakes are a small percentage of the goods sold on eBay they are a problem.  This week eBay announced a new proactive initiative to combat fakes. eBay has identified several categories of merchandise where fakes are a problem. (They are keeping those a secret so scammers can’t outwit them in advance). When you list an item in those categories, you listing will be delayed for some period of time –probably 6 to 12 hours, which will give eBay time to look at the listings and remove those where it suspects fraud or counterfeit goods. You can read the entire announcement from Rob Chestnut, head of Trust and Safety here.

As part of this effort eBay has dedicated more people and resources to this effort. In addition to canceling auctions eBay is also working closely with federal and state authorities to put some of these people in jail.  Will this stop the scammers –probably not.  There will always be some level of fraud on eBay as there is on many other internet sites. Fraud exists in all facets of our society.  You can buy fake goods in stores and malls, by email offers, or on the streets of most major cities.  If you go to a Flea market and find someone selling Prada handbags for $90, do you really think they are genuine?

The answer to preventing fraud on eBay is stricter identification and verification for sellers and requiring sellers of goods in categories that are subject to fraud to be a PayPal verified seller before they can list certain items.

The steps to prevent being a victim of fraud include:

  • Only buy expensive items from a PayPal verified seller and use PayPal to pay. This entitles you to eBay’s $2000 fraud protection program
  • Don’t buy expensive items from newly registered sellers
  • Look at a seller’s feedback to see how it was generated. Was it earned from buying lots of cheap items in a short period of time. If so be careful.
  • If a seller demands cash or money orders and will not take PayPal or credit cards be very careful.

The vast majority of eBay sellers are legitimate and will have no problem meeting the above steps. The other thing you can do is report auctions that you think are suspicious.  At the bottom of every auction listing on eBay is a link that says Report This Auction.  Just click on the link and follow the prompts if you see an auction for goods that you think may not be real. Getting rid of the fraudulent sellers is good for all of us.  Who knows, maybe even Kim Komando will come back and buy something some day.

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