Press Release

eBay Counterfeits Remain Despite Lawsuit and Complaints

Over 600,000 counterfeits sold to eBay consumers.

April 19, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – Consumers should expect honest services and have confidence they will receive authentic and safe products presented in a clear and truthful manner when they shop on eBay - but that’s not what happens.

eBay has migrated from the auction house of garage sale items and concentrated on its Marketplace of new items at a fixed price from unvetted global sellers. The problem is that anybody, anywhere, can sell just about anything on eBay, including counterfeit products that may be dangerous or deadly. Regardless, eBay collects a transaction fee on each sale.

Counterfeiting is an illegal $1.7 trillion global criminal enterprise that is profitable, difficult to track and widely unpunished. While savvy consumers may be aware of some fake watches, purses and shoes, they are easily deceived by the vast array of counterfeit electronics, sporting goods, toys, software, cosmetics, auto parts and OTC drugs offered on eBay. Consumers are best advised to avoid trademarked items on eBay and buy directly from the manufacturer or authorized retailers.

For example, The Counterfeit Report, a popular consumer advocate and watchdog, identified over 3 million counterfeit items on eBay and reported over 1.9 million for listing removal to eBay, authorized by the right's holders. Just a tiny sampling of eBay listings revealed that over 600,000 counterfeit items had already been sold to consumers. While all the items were represented to be covered under eBay's Money Back Guarantee, eBay doesn't notify buyers they received a fake - so how would they know? The Counterfeit Report also purchased and received over 2,300 products from eBay sellers - all were counterfeit.

At issue is trademark infringement and eBay’s illusory claim; "You can't list replicas, fakes, counterfeits, or other illegal copies on eBay." The fact is that counterfeit and replicas can be, and are, easily listed and sold on eBay. The same sellers often repeatedly relist counterfeits which may be dangerous or even deadly, despite repeated removal notifications to eBay.

eBay is engaged in a U.S. Federal Court lawsuit, with a settlement agreement expected next week, after cell phone case manufacturer Lunatik® notified eBay over 5,000 times that infringing products were offered on eBay in colors, models and materials (image below) not offered by Lunatik. The complaint cites ongoing research by The Counterfeit Report publicly available and sent to eBay, yet inexplicably the items remain listed on eBay. (Wimo Labs LLC v. eBay 8:15-cv-1330)

Despite the lawsuit and repeated complaints;

  • Deceived eBay buyers are not told by eBay they received a fake or dangerous item and may be entitled to a refund when counterfeit items are removed. In fact, buyers received a deceptive purchase history message in their account for the removed item; "If you've already sent payment, the sale should process as normal and you don't have anything to worry about."
  • There may be no indication in eBay seller profiles of a counterfeit sales history, even for a seller with over 200 counterfeit listings removed by The Counterfeit Report.
  • eBay publicly admitted to allegations of deleting negative feedback and removing counterfeit comments and warnings protecting consumers from dangerous products.
  • After counterfeit listings are reported to eBay, the sellers usually remain and often relist items that are again removed in what is commonly identified as a whack-a-mole process. eBay directs consumers to return counterfeits to the seller where they can easily be resold.
  • An arbitrator ruled in favor of The Counterfeit Report after eBay denied a $26 refund claim for an inarguably fake item. eBay hired global law firm giants O'Melveny and Meyers and Winston and Strawn, with no less than 4 attorneys and a partner to defend eBay's practices and procedures.

Weary of The Counterfeit Report's test purchases and ongoing exposure of eBay counterfeit practices, eBay blocked The Counterfeit Report's test purchase accounts, and by extension, the protections afforded eBay consumers. However, eBay still allows counterfeit sellers to remain.

Could you identify these obvious counterfeit, fake or replica products listed on eBay?

counterfeit eBay products

(Photo: The Counterfeit Report®)

  1. Federal, state and local laws regulate the sale, purchase, possession and display of fake badges, as of course does common sense. eBay policy also specifically prohibits most police badges and items. However, replica current issue LAPD, FBI and other law enforcement badges are common on eBay and available to terrorists, child predators and other criminals. Repeated notices to eBay CEO, Devin Wenig, senior management, and eBay's general counsel, Marie Oh Huber, about the alarming practice have been acknowledged, but ignored.
  2. There is simply no such product as a microSDHC® card with a capacity greater than 32GB in any brand - an obvious fake, yet many infringing variations of the item are listed. The tiny microSD® computer memory cards are used in cell phones, cameras and laptops. Authentic microSD® cards bear the microSD® trademark which owned by SD-3C, LLC, who licenses its use to authentic, conforming products. Memory on counterfeit cards is usually not the capacity of what is published on the card and the fake items may fail. When that happens, you are likely to lose your data, images, and damage your equipment. None of the items shown above from eBay sellers are authentic. The Counterfeit Report reported 1,346,606 infringing items to eBay in 2016. eBay listings reporting that 164,730 counterfeits had already been sold to eBay consumers.
  3. The authentic Lunatik® TakTik® Extreme model case is only made in black or white, and not for the Apple iPhone 6, yet The Counterfeit Report purchased hundreds of poor quality counterfeit Lunatik® products in various colors and materials not offered by Lunatik. Over 160,000 fakes had been sold duped to eBay consumers.
  4. Dr. Numb® is an OTC topical 5% Lidocaine anesthetic numbing cream. Counterfeit Dr. Numb products are being sold on eBay at attractive prices, but the ingredients are unknown. This 10g version, not offered by the manufacturer, was purchased on eBay. The Counterfeit Report reported 6,670 infringing items to eBay, while eBay listings report that 2,205 counterfeits had already been sold to eBay consumers. The counterfeit items and other non-FDA approved OTC Lidocaine products continue to be listed.
  5. Skunk2's Rear Lower Suspension Control Arms are direct replacements for a vehicles original suspension parts. You are risking your life, and the lives of others, using untested and unproven counterfeit auto suspension parts. Counterfeit parts may fail at a critical time causing injury or death. The authentic Skunk2® model is not made in in the colors shown - all are obvious fakes, yet counterfeit items remain listed.

If eBay wants to maintain any consumer trust, they need to cleanse dishonest and fraudulent sellers and close counterfeit loopholes. Web platforms that facilitate criminal activity and benefit from the proceeds of dishonest actions which impact jobs, consumer safety and public trust create a public perception of deception and impunity. However, reputation damage is only a small part of the problem: counterfeiting costs U.S. manufacturers over $250 billion, and U.S. workers over 750,000 jobs.

Some issues are debated – and decided – in the court of public opinion where consumers will decide if eBay must provide honest services and present information in a clear, truthful and professional manner. Other issues will be decided in a court of law as more manufacturers, frustrated with inaction and lack of enforcement of counterfeits appearing on e-commerce websites, seek legal remedy.

 






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Camarillo, CA 93010

 
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