in France is seeking the Euro equivalent of around $47 Million from eBay.
While many may shrug this off as being of a relatively low news value occurrence over in Europe, the implications could soon become far worse in my opinion.
How many other brand names are suffering from the attention of counterfeiters operating on eBay at the moment? How many of these may be inspired to take similar action, particularly if the French case appears to make good progress?
At the moment it is perhaps ‘handbags at ten paces’ for eBay but how interested could the sports goods manufacturers, or the DVD and music industries become?
A few days ago I mentioned the apparent regularity of one scam. A DVD or music CD being sold on eBay as ‘new’ or ‘original’ when buyers are then actually sent an illegal copy. The negative feedback eventually begins, the sellers account vanishes and the same scam can start within minutes under another identity already lined up. Personally I believe eBay can do more to stop this kind of rip off.
Try to open an account on eBid.net claiming to be in a different country than you really are. It usually doesn’t work as your computer IP address is checked to see if it is registered in the Country you claim to be in. Now try the same at eBay?
Look at the efforts eBay are making to attract listings from the far east. Where do a large proportion of the worlds ‘knock offs’ originate from?
Try to build up a good eBid feedback record on a new user account by buying penny eBooks. You can’t, it’s impossible to buy eBooks and you can’t buy anything for a penny on eBid. As I write there are thousands of such opportunities on eBay. What possible benefit do thousands of items selling for a penny give to eBay apart from inflating the listing numbers?
It simply isn’t credible in my mind to suggest eBay takes every reasonable step to hinder scams and rip offs on its site. I don’t think it will belong before regulatory authorities around the globe start to take a similar view and, in my opinion, this is a ticking time bomb that eBay should defuse immediately.
The integrity of the site, the trust between users and the potential future value for investors could all be undermined by, what many see as, eBay turning a blind eye.
Maybe this foreign Lawsuit is seen as a mere distraction in eBay’s US heartland today. But what will be the consequences should the next big Court claim originates closer to home?