What Happens If You Get Caught Selling Fake Stuff on eBay?
eBay takes selling counterfeit items on their website very seriously and will take action against any seller who does. If you get caught selling fake stuff on eBay, you won’t like it.
So what happens if you get caught selling fake stuff on eBay? According to eBay’s policy, they will remove your items and possibly take further action by limiting your buying and selling privileges and even suspending your eBay account. Counterfeit items include fakes, replicas, and any product that infringes on a copyright.
Unfortunately not everyone who gets caught for selling fake stuff on eBay is doing it on purpose. Here is more think about selling counterfeit items on eBay.
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Consequences of Selling Fake Items on eBay
If you get caught selling counterfeit goods on eBay, whether intentionally or not, here are the potential actions eBay will take against you.
The listing will be removed. eBay will send you a message stating that the listing was removed due to a violation of their replicas, counterfeit items, and unauthorized copies policy. This is an automated email that is likely prompted by another more experienced user who were able to spot a fake and reported the listing to eBay.
Your buying and selling privileges could be limited. This means that eBay will only allow you to buy or sell so many items until a number of order are completed successfully. If you are a more experienced seller with good standing with eBay, you will likely only receive the aforementioned message that that will be it. If you are a newer seller, eBay could limit your buying and selling privileges.
Your entire eBay account could be suspended. If eBay suspends your account, you will never be able to sell on eBay again. Even if you try to signup for a new account, eBay will block you because they recognize your IP address which cannot be changed (unless you live in China where the government hides IP addresses.
Sellers who have been selling on eBay for a long time and have remained in good standing with eBay will not face as harsh punishment as others. Normally, they will receive the message that the item was taken down and the reason why. If this is a continued issue, eBay will notice the pattern and take harsher punishment, eventually resulting in complete suspension.
If you have a question whatsoever if a certain item might be a fake or knockoff, simply don’t list it. It’s not worth putting your account at risk for such little reward. Additionally, eBay will likely just take the listing down anyway.
Consequences From Original Manufacturer
If you sell a branded item that was not manufactured by the brand itself, the seller is a risk of litigation by the brand. They have the right to sue you for stealing their brand and violating their copyright.
If you are unsure about whether you are selling an item the violates a copyright, here are a few things to consider.
Try to determine if the product was produced either by the actual company or one of their official partners of that company? If it was not, your item is counterfeit.
If you are selling a digital product, it must be something you made and own the rights to. If you don’t have the rights, you are not authorized to sell it on eBay.
What is the VeRO Program?
The VeRO program (Verified Rights Owner Program) protects IP rights and make sure that sellers are compliant. Here is eBay’s summary of the VeRO program:
The Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program allows owners of intellectual property (IP) rights and their authorized representatives to report eBay listings that may infringe on those rights. VeRO embodies our commitment to provide a safe place to buy and sell, which respects property owners’ rights. Verified Rights Owner Program Description
Sellers who’s listings that are removed due to VeRO infringements will receive and email with details about why the listing was removed and the correct contact information for the holder of the copyright.
All eBay sellers are responsible for making sure that their items are authentic and that their listing description doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.
If you would like to become a Verified Rights Owner, you can contact eBay and they will set up a profile for you where you can provided information about the rights that you hold. Your Verified Rights Owner profile can display rights such as:
A list of your intellectual property, including brands, trademarks, and copyrights.
The potential consequences of infringing on a company’s IP rights.
The conditions under which products bearing your IP may be sold.
How to contact you with questions or concerns.
Other frequently asked questions.
How to Tell if Something is Counterfeit?
Many resellers will find discounted items online or at a thrift store that are high-end brands and think that they are getting a steal to resell. This has happened to us as well. We found a Coach purse at Goodwill and after getting it home we began to have doubts about it’s authenticity. Here are a few things to think about when buying items to resell and making sure they are genuine.
High discounts. If you feel you’re getting a deal that is too good to be true, it’s likely a counterfeit item. While this isn’t a completely tell-tale sign (sellers will hike up the price to get the most out of their item as if it were the real deal). Avoid buying items that look similar to a high-end brand name item but are deeply discounted.
Cheap packaging. If the packaging on the item is substandard, such as with cheap plastic and thin cardboard, it’s a tell-tale sign that the item is counterfeit. Additionally, if the item is supposedly new and there is no packaging at all, that’s a good sign that the item is a fake.
Bad grammar and spelling. Some of these errors may be intentional to try and throw you off, other errors will be unintentional. An example of intentional misspelling includes Hewlett Packard items sold as Hewlet Packard. While most of these so-called mistakes in brand names are completely intentional, misspellings in the instruction manual or documentation included with the item are a sign of the fraudsters’ lack of education.
Poor quality. One of the quickest ways to spot a counterfeit is to examine the quality of the item. Fakes are usually made with less expensive materials. It may be cheap plastic, fake leather, cheap glass, poor quality textiles, etc. You might even find that the shape of the object is slightly off or used appearance.
Flawed fonts and logos. Similar to the misspellings, you can easily detect a knock-off by looking at the logo, brand colors and fonts, and trademarks. You should know the original logo well before buying something so that you can see the differences in a fake. The font may be different or the wrong size… the color might even be different. Watch out for printed text that is faded, smudged, illegible or misaligned.
Missing parts or accessories. It could be something as small as missing parts or accessories that give a counterfeit away. Always make sure that the additional parts and accessories listed on the outside of the package are included. This includes the manuals, warranty information, plugs, etc.
How to report someone selling counterfeit goods on eBay? eBay has made it easy to report sellers who are selling fake stuff on their platform. Visit their page to report a seller and indicate that “The seller has violated one of eBay’s policies”.
Do you have to return fake items on eBay? You should open a return with the seller as they may not know that the item is counterfeit. They should offer a refund and ask you to return it. In the case that the seller doesn’t cooperate, you can contact eBay and they will cover you under their Buyer Protection and eBay Guarantee.