Monday, January 30, 2006

Fakes on EBay

There's an article on the NYTimes here (subscription required) about how people are selling fake Weiss jewelry as authentic on eBay. The people in the article are mad because
  1. they got ripped off (money eventually refunded)
  2. this ruins the price of authentic jewelry
  3. EBay won't do anything to stop it.
I guess I'm bad, but I don't see why eBay should be responsible, anymore than the classifieds in the local newspaper. (How do you know that those "purebred" puppies really are.) They can't determine if what people sell is real or not.

eBay has a lot of listings go up everyday. It is up to the buyer to beware. My personal philosophy is don't buy anything on EBay unless you are willing to have it be different from advertised. (Note: I have been perfectly happy with all my purchases from EBay, but I don't buy anything that anybody would want to fake.) If it will make you upset to find out it is a fake, don't buy on eBay, buy from a dealer where you can actually look at it and have it authenticated.
If eBay wants to address this problem, I think the simplest solution , for areas high in fraud or when the trademark holder asks, is to not allow anything to be sold as real, i.e. everything must be labeled Weiss-style. Another possibility is for the trademark holder to have some sort of authentication system, so trusted sellers could post that their items are authentic with a link to the trademark holder's website showing it to be true.

No comments: