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;
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?
(Photo: The Counterfeit Report®)
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.