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eBay connects sellers with buyers directly making it easier to find discounted or second-hand products at steal prices. It has been a popular platform for auction sales for over 30 years now. But eBay’s popularity coupled with the fact that it does not vet every seller or product listing on its platform has made it an easy target for scammers.
While in the past decade, eBay has taken many steps to curb scams on its platform, this has also led to scammers frequently changing their fraud techniques to fight back the ever-changing consumer awareness.
To protect brand reputation and revenue, it has become imperative for businesses to constantly track down and report unauthorized sellers and scammers trying to leverage their brand’s name just to make quick profits
In this article, we discuss
eBay’s popularity boosted back again in 2020 as lockdowns were imposed around the world. But the surge in orders also came with a surge in scammers crowding the platform.
In 2020, eBay became one of the top ten most impersonated and phished brands.
In March 2020, eBay announced that it removed over 500,000 fake listings that were violating COVID-related policies. This included the sale of unauthorized fake masks, sanitizers, PPE kits, and disinfectant wipes. While many sellers were listing counterfeit products, others were blamed for price gouging essential products.
When Playstation 5 was launched at the end of 2020, several resellers took to eBay to sell the coveted and highly anticipated game console, some even asking for ridiculous amounts of money through auctions. But customers soon started complaining that some scammers were trying to sell photos of Playstation 5 instead of the actual console. While some scammers mentioned somewhere in the long product descriptions that they would only be shipping the picture of PS5, others mentioned nothing at all.
While eBay does take strict steps against scammers when they are reported, the platform does not proactively scan new sellers and product listings. So by the time a report is made against a seller, the damage might have already been done.
While scams have become a rampant problem on eBay, there are some common scams on the platform which make them easy to spot.
Scammers ship empty boxes without the actual product to customers. When listing products on eBay, sellers make it a point to put up pictures of the product box only and not necessarily the product inside it, just to confuse the end customers.
If the unboxing video isn’t provided by customers, scammers can just claim that the customers are lying or the product got stolen in transit.
If the unboxing video is taken and shared by customers, scammers can claim that they never intended to sell the product itself, since they never advertised it. Their intention was just to sell the product packaging.
Scammers can urge customers to make payments outside of eBay citing different fake reasons like extra eBay fees or problems with eBay payouts. Scammers can also offer discounted prices to customers who agree to pay them outside of eBay.
But the moment you clear out the payment, scammers disappear and you never receive any product from them. Since the payments were made outside of eBay, you can’t even report the scammer on the platform.
Scammers can create fake eBay product pages to confuse customers into thinking they are on the original website. The goal behind impersonating the ecommerce platform is to steal customer data, including their personal and banking information.
The most common scam on eBay involves selling counterfeit products. To look legitimate, most scammers use original product images from brands and even copy the original product descriptions. Some scammers add fake reviews to their eBay seller profile just to get more customers to trust them.
When customers end up receiving counterfeit products, they either blame the brand for selling cheap quality products or they may even reach out to the brand for replacement – both of which can significantly impact customer experience and brand reputation.
When new customers end up purchasing counterfeits of your products, they are highly unlikely to come back and buy the original product again.
Since eBay allows people to sell previously owned products on the platform, there is no way of knowing if a seller even has the authority to sell products they have the listing. As a result, it is up to the brands to constantly scan the platform and report scammers trying to sell counterfeits or committing fraud under their brand name.
To protect intellectual property rights, eBay has launched the Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program. IP owners can use this program to report product listings for items, like:
Either the intellectual property owner or a representative can file a Notice of Claimed Infringement (NOCI) through the VeRO program.
You can submit the NOCI to eBay through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fax (801-757-9521). The NOCI should contain the following information:
You will be required to provide documentation to support your claims as well, including your IP registration documents. In case you are reporting on behalf of the IP owner, you will also have to provide a document proving that you have the authority to act on their behalf.
Alternatively, you can also get in touch with eBay’s copyright infringement agents by sending them a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notification.
You can report products or listings infringements on eBay, including
Trademark infringements: This includes the sale of counterfeit goods that use your trademarked brand name, logo, color, or slogans without your authorization. Scammers may also be using your trademark in product listings instead of the product itself to make customers believe that they are selling the real thing.
Copyright infringement: This includes using unauthorized copyrighted content like images, text, and videos. Fraudsters can use official product images, videos, and descriptions without your permission to scam unsuspecting customers.
Patent Infringement: This includes selling products that use an already patented invention or design, without the permission of the patent owner. Counterfeits don’t always use a company’s logo or other trademarks, sometimes they copy the design elements and functions as well.
For businesses to always stay ahead of the curve and to ensure no scammer is taking advantage of their success, it’s imperative to monitor popular ecommerce platforms like eBay.
But manually scanning eBay product listings, looking out for counterfeit/impersonation products, and reporting scammers can be incredibly time-consuming and challenging.
Red Points’ Brand Protection software makes the whole process easier by automatically detecting counterfeit product listings, unauthorized resellers, and product images used without permission. It can identify infringements and instantly report them before they can cause any long-term damage to your business.