Consumers Deceived, eBay Profits Selling Counterfeits
eBay won't knock off selling the fakes.
April 4, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – eBay has migrated from the auction house of garage sale items to a global 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 are visually deceptive and may be dangerous. 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 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 authorized agent for trademark holders, identified over 3 million counterfeit items on eBay and reported over 1.9 million for listing removal to eBay, authorized by the rights holders. eBay listings revealed that over 600,000 counterfeit items had already sold to consumers for just the handful of products reviewed. 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 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 re-list counterfeits which may be dangerous or even deadly, despite repeated removal notifications to eBay.
- Deceived eBay buyers are never told by eBay they received a fake or dangerous item and may be entitled to a refund when counterfeit items are removed. In fact, deceived buyers are are misled with eBay's purchase history message posted 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.
- 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 has publicly admitted to allegations of deleting negative feedback and removing counterfeit comments and warnings protecting consumers from dangerous products.
- eBay currently faces a federal lawsuit after cell phone case manufacturer Lunatik® notified eBay over 5,000 times that infringing products were offered on eBay in colors, models and materials not offered by Lunatik. The complaint cites research by The Counterfeit Report publicly available to eBay, yet inexplicably, the items remain on eBay. (Wimo Labs LLC v. eBay 8:15-cv-1330. The case is stayed pending settlement.)
- An arbitrator ruled in favor of The Counterfeit Report after eBay denied a $26 refund claim for an inarguably fake item, despite eBay hiring global law firm giants O'Melveny and Meyers and Winston and Strawn, with no less than 4 attorneys and a partner to defend eBay.
Weary of The Counterfeit Report's test purchases and exposure, eBay blocked The Counterfeit Report's test purchase accounts, and by extension, the protections afforded eBay consumers, yet still allows counterfeit sellers to remain.
Ryan Moore, Senior Manager, eBay Global Corporate Affairs & Communications responded to a 24/7 Wall Street interview; "[The Counterfeit Report] is only looking out for his own business interests and his own bottom line" -- interesting rationale in light of eBay's $2 billion in profits -- in part from selling counterfeits.
Could you identify these counterfeits listed or purchased on eBay?.
(Photo: The Counterfeit Report® - left to right)
- 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 are authentic. The Counterfeit Report reported 1,328,397 infringing items to eBay in 2016, with eBay reporting that 70,233 counterfeits had already been sold to eBay consumers. There is no such product as a 64GB microSDHC® card -- an obvious fake. Many infringing variations of the fake products remain listed.
- The materials used in these counterfeit Lego® products is unknown, may be toxic, break and present a choking hazard to small children.
- Composite Resources has supplied their Combat Application Tourniquet® (C-A-T®) to the U.S. Military, police departments, first responders, and the public worldwide for the past decade. Counterfeit versions of the C-A-T tourniquet have catastrophically failed during actual life-saving applications. The Counterfeit Report reported 43,623 infringing items to eBay, with eBay reporting that 14,559 or more counterfeits had already been sold to eBay consumers. The counterfeit items remain listed, often by the same sellers.
- Dr. Numb® is a OTC topical 5% Lidocaine anesthetic numbing cream. Counterfeit Dr. Numb products are being sold on eBay at attractive prices, but the ingredients are unknown. The Counterfeit Report reported 6,670 infringing items to eBay, while eBay listings report that 2,177 counterfeits had already been sold to eBay consumers. The counterfeit items continue to be listed.
- 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 listed 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 about the alarming practice have been acknowledged, but ignored.
- Counterfeit Apple® USB adapters have caused one death, fires, injuries and equipment damage but are common on eBay.
- DrewTech's MongoosePro interface cable is used by repair technicians and auto dealers to program vehicle computers including braking, emission, performance and safety features. Counterfeit Mongoose® products may severely damage your vehicle, and install malware on your computer. The Counterfeit Report reported 483 infringing items to eBay. eBay reported that 206 counterfeits had already been sold to eBay buyers. The authentic product is not made in purple - an obvious fake.
- 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 green - an obvious fake. The counterfeit items remain listed.
- The U.S. Military Special Operations Command has issued a warning on the counterfeit EO Tech holographic weapon sights that can jeopardize the safety and lives of American soldiers and law enforcement officers. Many of these counterfeits were sold as genuine L-3 EO Tech products on e-commerce websites.
Companies that facilitate criminal activity and benefit from the proceeds of dishonest actions that 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, U.S. workers over 750,000 jobs, and supports criminals and terrorists while manufacturer's brand integrity is tarnished or destroyed.
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.
eBay can adopt real and effective solutions to end the counterfeiting problem that it enables.