A chance to vote for more ebay fraud??

Posted on July 10, 2009 by

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We expect all ebay members in Europe have received a message from ebay recently entitled:

Demand an end to unfair trade practices

It seems to us that signing the petition mentioned in this email would be voting for more fraud on ebay!! Here is the text of the message in question – decide for yourselves whose interests ebay is acting in with this petition:

eBay was built on a simple idea – that we could empower people by building a global trading platform where practically anyone could buy or sell practically anything. But that idea is now under threat from certain brand owners and manufacturers who are trying to turn back the clock and block the sale of their products on online marketplaces and other websites across the EU.

Ultimately, what is at stake is the right of sellers to compete fairly in the wider online marketplace, and the right of buyers to be able to access the best possible deals from the widest possible selection of goods.

Some of these brand owners argue that their objective is to revent the sale of counterfeits on eBay.
But thanks to our work with 31,000 other rights owners, only 0.15% of listings last year were detected or
reported as potentially counterfeit. The real aim of these brands is to block the sale of all their products
on our site – regardless of whether such items are new or second-hand, genuine or fake. It’s not just luxury items that are affected, but also everyday items like children’s toys, electronic equipment, lawnmowers and
pushchairs. And if we want to prevent other brand owners from following suit, we need to act now.

We are therefore calling on European policymakers to amend EU competition law to stop these unfair
trade practices. But we need your help to persuade them to take action. If you would like to join our
campaign against online trade barriers, please sign our petition.

Regards,
Your eBay Team

Hmm – let’s have a look at this:

eBay was built on a simple idea – that we could empower people by building a global trading platform where practically anyone could buy or sell practically anything.

We’ve noticed that ebay doesn’t seem to care what you sell as long as you can get away with it! They probably wouldn’t mind if you sold Kalashnikovs, anthrax or nuclear warheads if they thought they could make a profit and nobody powerful would object. They certainly don’t seem to have much objection to fake capacity flash memory.

…that idea is now under threat from certain brand owners and manufacturers who are trying to turn back the clock…

Which brand owners might they be referring to? Not Kingston and Sony by any chance – these are the two main brands who have been affected by the plague of fake flash on ebay. It is doing damage to their brands as well as damage to buyers’ data and they have been putting pressure on ebay to remove fraudulent listings and Internet service providers to remove fraudulent websites – could this be part of ebay’s motivation? Do they forsee the end of fake flash profits if the brands succeed in getting counterfeits off the Internet? Are they wondering how they will survive without the fraudsters now that genuine ebayers are deserting in droves, disgusted with the treatment they got at the hands of ebay/paypal?

Ultimately, what is at stake is the right of sellers to compete fairly in the wider online marketplace…

Is selling counterfeit and fake capacity flash memory at low prices to ebay members fair competition with those selling the genuine article? Genuine sellers must charge much higher prices and pay much higher ebay and paypal fees – they lose sales to fraudsters and cannot make a profit. Is this what ebay calls fair competition?

…right of buyers to be able to access the best possible deals…

This must be why ebay tolerates fake capacity flash then – no genuine seller can afford to advertise a 64GB flash drive for £50 including postage. It seems that most people buying them don’t really need a high capacity drive anyway, they just want to boast to their friends – so it doesn’t really matter if it’s only really 2GB does it?

After all, anyone who really did need to store this much data would discover the truth fairly quickly anyway. Of course if someone is foolish enough to back up valuable files to a fake in order to format the hard drive… Just in case you are wondering, this did in fact happen to someone. A heartbreaking disaster.

Some of these brand owners argue that their objective is to revent the sale of counterfeits on eBay.

Some of these brand owners argue that their objective it to revent? argue? Someone has taken the p here!

only 0.15% of listings last year were detected or reported as potentially counterfeit

Could it be that the figure is so low because ebay’s fraud detection methods are useless and many ebayers got sick of wasting their time pointing out all the counterfeits (let alone any other type of fraud) to ebay and finding that they did nothing? We suspect this may have a lot to do with it! We’d also like to ask if this means that ebay thinks it is acceptable that counterfeits can be listed as long as it’s only a small proportion?

…everyday items like children’s toys, electronic equipment, lawnmowers and pushchairs.

We notice that flash memory doesn’t get a mention here – now why might that be we wonder? However, let’s have a look at what they do mention:

Children’s toys – would you want to find that your child’s toy was a cheap counterfeit of a major manufacturer’s toy produced without consideration of safety standards?
Electronic equipment – how happy would you be if you found that the electronic equipment in your house was never put through the testing required to ensure safety and reliability?
Lawn mowers – How would you feel if your lawnmower caused an injury to yourself, your partner or someone else because it was a cheap shoddy copy that developed a dangerous fault?
Pushchairs – Would you want to entrust your child to a poorly manufactured and potentially dangerous pushchair??

This seems to be what you will be voting for if you agree their petition, and that’s without considering fake flash memory that causes students to lose important coursework, families to lose video and photographs of family events like birthdays or weddings – let alone more serious consequences for some self employed people as well as those working in industry, commerce, government etc.

We are therefore calling on European policymakers to amend EU competition law to stop these unfair
trade practices. But we need your help to persuade them to take action. If you would like to join our
campaign against online trade barriers, please sign our petition.

Perhaps we need a counter-petition to be sent to policymakers asking them to institute laws that hold sites like ebay responsible for listings and allows for them to be shut down and prosecuted if they tolerate fraud!

WE CALL ON EBAY TO START ACTING RESPONSIBLY AND PUT AN END TO FRAUD ON THEIR SITES!

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