back to article British court backs eBay piracy stance

The British High Court has backed eBay in a case brought by L'Oreal, which accused the online tat bazaar of failing to take adequate action to prevent fake items being sold on its site. The French courts took a similar line last week. eBay welcomed the verdict and also called on rights owners to join its VeRO programme which …


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  1. chris morton
    Paris Hilton

    ebay don't want to know and don't care

    i bought a 'Genuine' Sandisk Extreme III SD card a few months ago from an ebay power seller based in the UK, but when it arrived, it was obviously a fake with a sandisk sticker on it.

    I did various speed tests in multiple machines and the results were actually consistently worse than with a generic card I had bought on ebay months before.

    i contacted the seller and he claimed it must have been a one off 'accident' from his supplier and if i sent it back he would refund me.

    I tried to make a stand as it was obvious that he was only interested in covering it up and would just keep selling fake cards, so I contacted ebay and they refused to do anything about it and kept telling me to resolve the issue with the seller.

    I actually work 100 yards away from the ebay offices in Dublin and offered to bring it in to them and show them but they had no interest in stopping one of their power sellers from selling fakes goods.

    Paris cos she doesn't need to fake it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: eBay don't want to know

    Sadly I have to agree with you.

    I'm an active member on the forums of a well-known mobile phone manufacturer, and if I was given £1 for each time I see "I bought this phone off eBay and it doesn't do this, that or the other" and then ascertained that it was a counterfeit, I wouldn't have to work any more.

    eBay has no interest in curbing the sales of counterfeit goods. Obviously, each time a sale goes through they hear a double kerching of the cash register: once in the form of the fees for putting the object up for sale and once in PayPal fees. Why would they want to cut down on that?

    Sorry, but as far as I'm concerned, eBay is "fraud central". Period.

  3. Cameron Colley

    Caveat emptor?

    Is that how you say it?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Re: eBay don't want to know

    As a user trying to spot the better fakes, I feel sorry for eBay in this case.

    Have you tried finding out what makes a card genuine?

    Most of the time the £$%^ing manufacturers won't tell you, as it "makes it easier for the counterfeiters".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you're stupid enough to use Ebay....

    ....then frankly you deserve everything that happens to you. Ditto PayPal.

  6. JB

    Sometimes good

    Look, if you see a Rolex being sold at a considerable discount, alarm bells should be ringing. I believe 110% in the saying "if it looks too good to be true..." etc.

    Personally I lower my sights when it comes to buying on Ebay. It's great for generic stuff, like the USB2 IDE hard drive enclosure I bought for $12 recently, but anything branded, give it a wide berth!

    Ebay isn't what it used to be anyway. The days of it being a sort of small-ads on speed are gone, it's just a cheap way to e-tail now.

    (where's that sideways thumb icon??)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But eBay still take a fee for providing the service

    So they are profiting from other people's dishonesty. Is that legal?

  8. Charles King

    when counterfeit != fake

    eBay 'Sandisk' cards are notorious, and I'm not surprised there are similar problems with phones.

    But clothing and luxury goods brands make things worse for themselves with their dodgy notion of 'counterfeit'. In many cases a 'counterfeit' item is one made in the same factory and to the same standards, but simply designated for a different market and priced accordingly. I'm sure those who are out of nappies will remember the famous case between Tesco and Levi, which merely revolved around Levi's desire to see its goods priced at a heavy markup. This is why my sympathy for L'Oreal and others of their ilk is zero.

    Unfortunately this dilutes the notion of counterfeit goods. Is a 'counterfeit' item simply a grey-market good that's cheap because it was priced for a different market, or is it a worthless rip-off? Electronics items whose true value can only be determined after purchase are something to avoid on eBay, though I've bought plenty of simple accessories that worked perfectly and saved me the price of a brand-name. OTOH if you want a fancy handbag, only a fool would buy anything other than a knock-off.

  9. JC

    So what's new?

    ebay being the equivalent of a bazaar, you just need to remain mindful of what kinds of items are likely to be counterfeit, and whether it being counterfeit could be a problem per your use of the product. Flash cards and USB drives in particular aren't something you'd want to buy on ebay, an ebay seller cannot much if at all undercut a major supplier for such things, particular since memory density keeps rising so old stock costs more, not less per GB.

    You also have to always take a description of "new" with a grain of salt. Could mean looks new, could mean didn't keep using it after it was tried out, could mean manufacturer reject, later deemed defective, formerly new product returned by customer for refund, unused but sat on a shelf aging when it has a finite lifespan (batteries, capacitors, printer ink cartridges, etc), or the most pathetic excuse of all ... "I didn't use it and claim I don't know of anyone using it and it doesn't look old so it must be new." "Oh, nevermind that the box was opened and some parts are missing, I never claimed you'd get anything other than what was pictured regardless of what always come with the new full product."

    Keeping these things in mind, there are still a few good values to be had on ebay. Leave negative feedback any time you encounter a situation you wish you knew about before making the purchase, and be sure to read the feedback other customers have left.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    True that Ebay are not bothered

    I bought a pair of laughable fake Nike trainers from a powerseller. Im no expert in spotting dodgy goods but when I received a pair of nasty plastic trainers with paper mache cushioning inside I knew something was not right. I knew I was taking a risk buying from ebay and I took great pleasure in using the returns policy from the seller for 100% refund inc return postage.

    Ofcourse I contacted ebay and got no human response, and would you beleive it the seller is still selling today. Although he is not selling nike trainers anymore after I sent photos of the trainers to nike with all the sellers details. Suprisingly I was contacted by nike and they asked if I would appear in court to dish out some justice, but as the seller had my home address I backed out like a pussy. I didnt fancy a 3am petrol bomb trough the letter box.

    All I use ebay for now is cheap tat. Things like cables and the occasional dvd.

    Anybody buying any type of pharmacuticals needs there head looking at.

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    Memory cards.

    Oh, I dunno. Sometimes eBay is the only way that you can get certain things.

    I obtained a Transcend 4Gb SD card the other day (yes, SD, not SDHC) as the latest maps* for my satnav take more than 2 gigs, the thing doesn't support the HC cards and I can't be arsed to monkey about loading maps as required.

    That's the one that Transcend's own website refuses to admit exists, yet is well known in the satnav forums. eBay was the only place** that I could find one. It's kosher (I've tested it through repeated read / write cycles with both large and small files to 4 gigs) and works a treat.

    Caveat emptor indeed. Do the research, take your time and pick the vendor carefully. There are bargains to be had.

    *Aaarhaaar me hearties!

    **Okay, not strictly true, Amazon had 'em too (showing as available but out of stock). But they wanted over 50 sodding quid for the privilege(!) I figured that the thick end of a tenner including postage was worth a punt......

  12. joshua kidd


    To be honest Ebay doesnt have any real resposibility or capilbility to verify if any product sold by a seller is counterfeit, fake or grey market, thats the responsibilty of the seller, as would be if a store in a mall was selling fake nike's, the mall is just the landlord providing a space for the seller at a cost to sell thier product in a place easy for buyers to come to.

    They also are NOT in anyway beholden to the buyer to go after sellers that do any of the above.

    They ARE however beholden to the manufactuer of the product being faked etc in that case the best deal to do would be contact the true manufactuer and give them the details of the seller and the product recieved and provide a link to the item that was fraudulent you purchased, then it will be up to manufactuer to ask ebay to have the seller to remove that specific good from thier listings.

    Ive purchased many items from ebay, but it is a very caveat empour place, i know that going in and do alot a research before buying or bid on items that it wouldnt matter if there was an issue with, I bought an hp refurbished laser printer w/o toner carts for $10 US + shipping ($10 starting price no bids 1 hr to go), i figured even if it was just used or not refurbed by hp etc $10 + a small shipping fee wasnt much to lose, when i recieved it i called hp with the serial number, sure enough hp confirmed it had been refurbished by them. course it cost me another $142 for good carts from monoprice but still a $100 cheaper than anywhwere else for a brand new one and higher capacity carts to boot. that was 2 years ago and that printer is still running strong.

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