back to article French court fines eBay for sale of counterfeit handbags

A French court has ordered eBay to pay a hefty 20,000 euros to luxury goods designer Hermes for the online auction house's role in the sale of three counterfeit handbags. Wednesday's ruling was the first time a French judge has found eBay directly responsible for a fraudulent sale by one of its customers. eBay has long agreed …


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  1. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    Le eBay

    Good on the French Courts!

    I have no love for the great on-line tat-bazaar, especially for their anti-competitive practices.

    Viva La Difference!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm ...

    Was Ebay notified via it's VERO program about these counterfeits I wonder? If so then fair enough, it should have done more to curtail the sale of the fakes and a 20,000 euro fine??? 'Tis but a mere drop in it's ocean of fees.

  3. Name

    Both sides suck

    1. Its Ebay, its like McDonalds - who cares how much they suffer.

    2. What on earth are the french courts THINKING? This borders on Napoleonic Moronicness.

  4. Matthew
    Paris Hilton


    do people really expect that any name brand bag bought on Ebay is genuine??

    Honestly even Paris would realise that a $100 "new, genuine" LV bag might not actually be so.. um genuine..

    The only people who buy them are people who can't afford a real one.. So the whole thing is a load of crap because no ones loosing money.. except traders on ebay who indirectly have to pay higher fees because of stupid laws and retarded french judges.

    Perhaps they should just not use the international one is great.. but then i live in New Zealand so only have that option anyway :)

  5. Vincent

    Not so sure really!

    "So the whole thing is a load of crap because no ones loosing money.."

    Not so sure really!

    If a brand is overly copied and dumped across the world, it starts loosing its appeal and therefore revenue...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I've seen handbags bought on ebay

    ... and while it's obvious they're fakes because of the price, it certainly isn't from the quality. The Louis Vuitton bag I saw was bought for 70 quid, and it is worth every penny. The build quality is fantastic. It's better that the trousers I bought two weeks ago in the shops for a similar price which wore a hole in the pocket within a week. If pirates can build better quality items than manufacturers, what does that say?

    Mine's the one with holes in its pockets. Probably shouldn't have said that....

  7. Mark

    People still use ebay ?

    I'm amazed that people still use ebay.

    Given the vast amount of fake goods being openly traded (think memory cards - has anyone ever found a genuine one on ebay) this is clearly "about time". I wrote an article for a well known games rag 5 years ago about the proliferation of fake GBA carts on ebay - funnily enough neither ebay nor FACT actually did anything with the information we provided.

    Anyway, I'm just bitter because I must admit I wish I'd thought of it first - take a generous helping of fees for running something akin to the free-ads but with even less buyer protection - and then also charge additional fees on the money when it changes hands. Ching ching !

  8. Andrew Bolton
    Dead Vulture

    20000 Euros

    Do you think they can get it back from the all encompassing and so easy to use paypal protection scheme? No?

    Fleabay getting what it deserves, frankly.

    Dead vulture, cos that what they are...

  9. Adam Foxton

    How does this work?

    For a start how do they ascertain that it's a fake rather than a low-priced real one (I'm sure we've all thrown out things that later turned out to be more valuable than they thought)? I mean with all the divorces going on around the world surely it's not impossible that a guy would just want to get rid of the handbags his ex-wife was so proud of and get some cash back too.

    Once they've determined it's a fake surely they'd just need to send an email to eBay's Vero people from a proper corporate address to get it removed? Do they contact the seller to let them know it's been pulled and give them a chance to say they it was their ex-wifes' hand-bag?

    Pretty much if they emailed eBay about this through the correct channels I support eBay being fined, if not then it's just too bad. chance dure, frenchies- you should have gone through the proper channels and got it sorted out that way.

    Also would it have been legal if they'd put "**FAKE**" or "**REPLICA**" in the listing title?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    [nelson] Ha Ha [/nelson]

    Should be amusing if ebay were forced to change policies and actualy be proactive. A company shouldnt have to scan ebay for its goods.

  11. Dave
    Gates Horns

    About time

    Ebay in my experience is somewhat lax about removing counterfeit and banned goods even when notified by government safety bodies.

    Knock off designer goods are one thing, and as mentioned if you expect to get the real thing for pennies you are sadly deluded.

    What gets me is when they allow for sale stuff that is dangerous and has been subject to a MHRA ban (A body lotion that contained prescription steroids) .

    Took 'em a week of sales to get that off line

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    1. Make some tat, probably with giant lettering all over it.

    2. Make some "fake" tat, probably with even larger lettering all over it.

    3. Sell "fake" tat through e-bay.

    4. 1 sues 3 & ebay.

    5 Profit!

  13. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    First eBay, the YouTube

    Is there anything on YouTube for which the copyright belongs to a Frenchman? Inquiring lawyers want to know...

    More to the point, if companies that let end-users write their web-site are going to be held liable for what gets "published", whither Web 2.0, or even Wikipédia?

  14. Paul

    I can see...

    real auction houses jumping for joy.

    They have, for a long time, been requierd to ensure that what was being sold was not fraudulent/fake. Why should ebay be any diffrent?

  15. Stuart johnson

    Obviously it has no effect anyway

    Because if you go and look at (as of 5-6-08 10:10 at least) there is no reference to any of this on the home page. So ebay obviously dont give a rats arse about it. Bet they dont pay the fine either!

    Its good to see that someone is actually able to prosecute an organisation as large as ebay, and succeed. Maybe suggests that Napoleon's systems are less subject to the influence of might or money.

    Yet again we could learn something from them!

  16. Ondrej Doubek
    Gates Horns

    it's not only eBay

    The French authorities are literally hunting counterfeits, making it even illegal to own them. While that applies to French brands only. @ "Name": I agree with point2.

    One might think France has made brand counterfeits a matter of national security, and the measure they take clearly overshoot the target.

    At airports and similar places of mass congregation special officers are watching out for people wearing or using counterfeits. When You are caught wearing a counterfeit watch that would cost 20.000€ as a original, but cost You 50€ as a fake, You might have to pay up to the real price of the watch as a fine. And lose it. I kid You not!

    But then:

    whoever cares for a LV bag or similar overpriced, ugly crap doesn't deserve other. Look at the quality: the fake VT bags are from leather, the real one from plastic. Does anyone see irony here? Take any cheap shit, print some stomach turning ugly pattern on it, rivet a LV logo on it, and sell for 20 times the price it it worth.

    Some people need an opportunity to show of their money by using openly things everyone knows are ridiculously expensive. Let the wannabe artists called 'designer' help those haute couture posers out here. They fit perfectly together. What drives me out are people who try to pretend to be wealthy, trendy, whatever, by using fake brand stuff. Can't they see how pathetic that is? They don't deserve other than pay for their stupidity. It is not that they wouldn't know it's a fake, is it?


    Bill, because he showed how a fakes can become the original...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Matthew "Stupid.."

    "do people really expect that any name brand bag bought on Ebay is genuine??"

    I don't think they do.

  18. JM
    Paris Hilton

    Ah, France

    The country where business is a four letter word, especially foreign businesses, and of those especially "anglo-saxon" companies. And they wonder why the economy sucks?

    Boo-hoo why doesn't anyone want to come here and invest? Because of protectionism like this (see if they go nuts over foreign goods being counterfeited), treating business owners like cash cows and an outdated economic model that worked great for 50 years following WWII, but can't survive in a global (another dirty word) economy.

    I don't care one way or another about ebay, but this stinks of anti-foreign parctice and\or protectionism.

    ......because ebay joins the long and distinguished club of those screwed by Paris.

  19. Sooty

    strangely enough

    "do people really expect that any name brand bag bought on Ebay is genuine??"

    some people actually expect the product they receive to match one they bought. Ebay could quite easily make more of an effort to help people who have fallen foul of these and no-one would have a problem.

  20. Anthony
    Paris Hilton


    For me the real crime is selling a bag for $10k, undercutting criminals is a non starter in my view.

  21. greg

    luxury business model

    Well, me didn't go to any business school, but let's think a bit...

    If China can make a luxury item copy for 10$ that looks so well as the original luxury item sold 1'000$, then the original is not worth much than 10$...

    If people want to pay 1'000$ for an 10$ item, it means that besides being dumb, they DO want to be recognized as RICH dumb people...

    If people buy fake luxury item, it means it's important for them to fake being recognized as rich dumb people, thus not faking being dumb (else they'd just get a no-brand item) but only faking being rich. So they're actually poor, nonetheless dumb people.

    If you have too many poor, nonetheless dumb people carrying around the fake luxury items, then the true rich and dumb people ready to pay the luxury price will move to an other luxury item wich is more likely to show other how rich (and dumb) they are.

    So now we know why luxury items makers need to defend their items.

    We still don't know why so many people, rich or poor, are dumb and want to be recognized as such. But please, don't change the system too much, it's such a nice system to detect dumb people...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The argument vs. counterfeit handbags is that, since their only real value is in their exclusivity and style, having everyone and his mother running around with copies devalues the originals - thus hurting sales. No self-respecting celeb will buy a bag worn by every fat tourist on Canal street.

    This is the opposite effect of music - if everyone's listening to pirated copies of a song, it makes a legit customer more likely to buy the real one, not less.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Douglas Terborg
    Paris Hilton

    Ebay's bottom line

    I saw a discussion about what Ebay could do to help buyers and sellers the other week regarding a recent policy change that made a number of people upset, and my response there makes sense here too.

    Ebay doesn't care about buyers. Ebay doesn't care about sellers. Ebay cares about one thing: Ebay.

    If they have to pay out a couple million in Paris, they won't care, if it doesn't hurt the overall bottom line. They enforce the rules only if Ebay users tattle on other users, or if forced to comply with the law. If shareholder value doesn't drop enough to cause complaints to the board, or affect the CEO's bonus for the year, Ebay simply doesn't care. The experience is secondary; as with many cutthroat businesses, the bottom line (profit) always comes first.

    -Paris, `cos even she knows better than to buy Gucci on Ebay

  25. Olivier

    Making money with illegal stuff

    This is exactly what ebay is doing. Why should it be forbidden everywhere, but on the internet?

    If it should be legal for ebay to sell counterfeits, why then couldn'it sell also fake v1@gra, real heroïn, fake 100 € notes..?

  26. Gilbert Wham

    @ David Wiernicki

    "No self-respecting celeb will buy a bag worn by every fat tourist on Canal street."

    And, conversely, no fat tourist on Canal St. will wear a bag unless some fuckwitted celeb has paid thousands for a similarly-shaped article. It's a vicious circle.

  27. ratfox
    Paris Hilton


    "If China can make a luxury item copy for 10$ that looks so well as the original luxury item sold 1'000$, then the original is not worth much than 10$..."

    Technically, you're not only paying for quality, but also for the design, which the counterfeiters are not allowed to copy. The fact that music can be found for free on the web does not mean it is worthless.

    Also, you can feel good about the fact that the bag was made by correctly-paid people in Europe rather than by children in sweatshop.

    But I agree that people buying such bags are buying a status symbol more than anything else. And in the end, it is just a game to keep up with the Joneses...

    Paris, because she knows all about buying expensive stuff to hide your low self-worth...

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