eBay EU petition annoys the living daylights out of brand owners

13 July 2009


Recently, the EU has been considering a ruling that will allow brand owners to prohibit sales of their products on eBay. The question that has been raised is: are such sales in a global economy a threat to 21st century commerce, or is it simply a protection of trademarks?

If the EU rules in favor of the brands, they will be able to make a rule prohibiting their sale on eBay including brand new with tag (BNWT) items as well as second hand goods.

The root question that has been "answered" with numerous statistics on both sides is whether eBay is a worldwide marketplace for counterfeit goods, as we discussed back in May.

According to brand owners whose products have been widely counterfeited, the answer is yes, and the only way to stop counterfeit goods from making their way onto eBay is to prohibit sales of their brands on the auction site altogether.

eBay believes that they have a handle on counterfeiters under their Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program and that such a ruling would throw the baby out with the bathwater and infringe on individuals' rights to engage in free trade using their selling platform.

They are circulating a petition against the possible EU ruling in brand owners' favour, and to amend the EU Vertical Restraints Regulation (2790/1999). So go sign it if you think disallowing brands on eBay is an infringement on free trade, before getting back to unknowingly buying more fakes on eBay. On the other hand, if you think it is the only way to protect brand owners against sales of counterfeits, let us know.


  • Joff
    It's not just about counterfeit goods, but as a manufacturer of a product you should be able to choose who sells your products, and where. For a lot of brands, eBay is no more than a couple of wallpaper-pasting tables at a Sunday car boot, not really somewhere that can do your product justice.
  • Tom P.
    I agree with Joff, i don't want to see someone listing a Jimmy Choo Python and suede handbag for 99p when i paid over £1,900 for one http://www.jimmychoo.com/pws/ProductDetails.ice?ProductID=75055
  • Junkyard
    So it should be illegal to sell any branded goods at your local car boot sale too, Joff?
  • Hugh R.
    I've unknowingly bought counterfit goods on ebay (DVDs) from a seller with very good feedback, ebay didn't care that they were fakes. They deserve everything thats coming to them and more
  • Antj87
    its pathetic free trade?? hmmmm, dose a manufacture of a product top wholesalers selling them on? NO CAUSE IF THEY DID WE WOULD BE FUCKED if you spent £1k plus on a bag, you need a doctor, id stop posting on BW and go find your self 1 BTW have not used ebay much this year
  • andy y.
    EU rules in favor of the brands Why the American spelling,you haven't cut and pasted this you thieving nurks?
  • Yankspanker
    Ebay have had this coming for a LOOOOOOONG time and they knew it! Ebay is awash with counterfeit AND stolen goods, not to mention genuine items that are so tatty you wouldn't wipe your arse with them! Ebay has gotten arrogant and to big for it's boots, and all the dodgy dealings within it's system are lost among the crowd. I buy from ebay, but I loathe doing it. The sooner the place gets shut down, or anything that brings it closer to it's demise, such as this, is a good thing as far as I'm concerned :-D
  • Pizza_D_Action
    Anything that pisses on ebay's chips is fine by me.... Fuckers deserve everything they get.
  • Mr S.
    It's a long-established fact that the buy-new market hates the second-hand market. If people can't get it on eBay, they'll have to buy it from the manufacturer, where the manufacturer will pocket the money instead of joepublic887.
  • Journey_the e.
    I am anti ebay as well. I got scammed off of ebay more than once and I consider myself a smart shopper. I wanted a Louis Vuitton purse while I was in college. I sent the money and never got the purse in return. I filed complaints and police reports but I never got my money back. I bought a Tiffanys ring off of ebay before and it turned out to be fake. I feel like ebay should reimburse everyone who got decieved by sellers on ebay. It is quite unfortunate.
  • Nigel
    This isn't about protecting consumers from fakes. It is all about the Brand holders protecting their big fat margins and those of their resellers. The EU claims to ensure competitive behaviour, for the benefit of consumers. This sort of action just shows what high budget lobbying can acheive. It was the same when Levis wanted to prohibit the sale of their jeans through Tesco. Nothing to do with fakes, just profit.
  • Justin M.
    Why do some of you think this is about sticking it to Ebay? The customers that trade in genuine goods will lose out, with sellers not being able to list their items and buyers not finding a bargain, while the big brands force you to go to high street stores or buy from their website. That's hardly a free market economy in a Western democracy is it? If this ruling got extended to video games, which I sell brand new and genuine on Ebay but are an example of an item that others might sell counterfeits of, then I, among many law-abiding sellers, will be penalised because of a fraudulent few. Then there's the situation where I won't be able to sell any designer clothing I no longer want, because the likes of Joff and Tom want their precious goods to be kept only for the elite down Knightsbridge. Of course we should be allowed free trade rather than take a fascist stance on this, it's obvious. Nail down the pirates another way without spoiling it for the decent Ebay mambers. Remove China from being able to sell on Ebay and that's half the problem immediately dealt with.
  • Ian S.
    Totally ridiculous. Once its been sold the manufacturer has ZERO rights over it. You can sell it, burn it, paint it pink - whatever. That goes for any shop looking to sell it on in a way THEY decide. The sooner the markereers who think 'brand' has value are sent packing the better. Faker, frauds and charlatans. Unfortunately they've probably paid for their own corrupt EU MEP and will get their way - but that's just a symptom of the overall collapse of the system.
  • jon j.
    "but as a manufacturer of a product you should be able to choose who sells your products, and where." Cheers for that Adolf.
  • Gemma K.
    Anything that annoys eBay has to be good; they (and their bastard offspring PayPal) have shafted millions over the years. Fucking ay I say.
  • Naricussus
    Let's be honest here, the consumer is not the concern here. The Designers are trying to ban eBay because they want to protect their profits. At the same time, eBay are against it because they want to protect their profits too. The petition is a joke, the wording and scrounging e-mail I got from eBay is sickeningly written. eBay are trying to make themselves out as the saviour of consumers or something, utter tosh. I have no sympathy for either of them. I'll be going to primark, sure it's cheap and there's the social stigma, but at least them protecting their wallets doesn't cost me a pretty penny.
  • Jack
    This is disgusting, free trade my arse. You can't really unkowingly buy a fake, I hate the ignorent people that buy things on there from China and think it will be real, and at a tenth of the price. It is your free choice to buy an expensive fashion accessory if it pleases you. A small number of fakes are sold on ebay, and the rest get removed, the ones that look like the real thing but are actually cheap are mostly ones styled similarly, and they say that, and it is a free choice to buy an accessory that looks good without the brand name. Place like Primark do it all the time with clothing "inspired by blabla" etc This ruling is bad for consumers, hoefully it will only mean a select number of Nazi companies stop allowing things to be sold - its all about business, and them wanting more money by having to buy more directly. Fuck this ruling, and fuck the ebay haters, go somewhere else "boohooo monopoly of online auctions" - yeah, only because its the best, go some place else and it will grow.
  • Party P.
    I don't think people who are against this petition actually understand what it means. The EU law will ban ALL TRADE of branded goods on eBay. That means if you get an iPod/phone/TV and after a few months later decide to upgrade, you WON'T BE ABLE TO SELL IT ON EBAY. You will be stuck in the 1990's, forced to either sell it at a carboot or stick it in the local classifieds. This will basically kill the whole eBay second-hand goods trade, and it will provide NO BENEFIT to the majority of people buying from eBay. I mean who expects to get a genuine Rolex and the like from eBay? This law will destroy the businesses of literally tens of thousands of people across britain, and put that money into the hands of international corporations, which are based in tax-havens and pay little corporate tax. In other words, normal people are going to get double-shafted at a time when they can least afford it. This has nothing to do with protecting the customer, or attacking eBay or PayPal, it is merely companies using the EU to try and grab every last penny they can. EU = corporate scum
  • Paul
    completely agree with everything party pooper said. it will completely crush ebay and therefour crush the thousands of businesses that rely on ebay to make their sales. and for everyone saying ebay was crap, if its so shit then why do they make millions of transactions daily?
  • anon
    I don’t think people who are against this petition actually understand what it means. The EU law will ban ALL TRADE of branded goods on eBay. That means if you get an iPod/phone/TV and after a few months later decide to upgrade, you WON’T BE ABLE TO SELL IT ON EBAY. You will be stuck in the 1990’s, forced to either sell it at a carboot or stick it in the local classifieds. This will basically kill the whole eBay second-hand goods trade, and it will provide NO BENEFIT to the majority of people buying from eBay. I mean who expects to get a genuine Rolex and the like from eBay? This law will destroy the businesses of literally tens of thousands of people across britain, and put that money into the hands of international corporations, which are based in tax-havens and pay little corporate tax. In other words, normal people are going to get double-shafted at a time when they can least afford it. This has nothing to do with protecting the customer, or attacking eBay or PayPal, it is merely companies using the EU to try and grab every last penny they can. EU = corporate scum --------------- above just needs to be posted twice. No more selling and thus also buying phones, games, cloths, cds, satnavs, pcs, laptops, usb cards, memory cards, consoles, hard drives, anything, and i mean anything on ebay anymore. Every brand will take ebay to court to stop them selling their stuff.
  • Kerry
    I like using Ebay, It has cost me a small fortune over the years & a home bulging at the seams. However I have been able to get so many items for my family that they would not have otherwise had. We have no decent shopping facilities locally the nearest is an 80 mile round trip. I am more than happy to buy second hand and I get a better quality product than I can afford to buy otherwise. My hubby & I both work but without Ebay our kids would certainly have had far less particularly clothing. I hate some of the Ebay changes & yes I have bought some absolute rubbish. This year I have bought more 'fakes' than ever which does annoy me but I always leave a negative to warn others of what the bad seller did. EG claiming 1 brand sending another or seeing the item arrive with a fake label. I have overall saved far more than I have lost plus the advantage of getting what I want delivered to my door.
  • Nookster
    I sell some of my old stuff on the bay, but I'd never consider building an cardboard empire around it. Ironically, a cousin of mine and his wife finally quit their well-paying jobs to go full time buying and selling at auctions (that's real ones as well as online), they deal with antiques, not mainstream consumer goods though, and probably wouldn't miss being listed amongst ****iPod nano 4G MINT**** and TMX ELMO BOXED NR!!!! If I couldn't sell my own junk, games, dvds whatever on the 'bay anymore, I seriously wouldn't care, what was originally a online car booter has distorted into something practically unrecognisable from not that many years ago.
  • Sean
    Death to Ebay is all I can say. Bastards. And good luck to anyone else shafted by this.
  • cLoWnS
    Have to agree with most of you that eBay do rob you blind with charges and terrible customer service HOWEVER If I buy something, whatever it is, it's mine! I own it. Therefore if I choose to then sell my OWN property, then nobody has the right to dictate otherwise.
  • Brad
    This is one of them rare case's where I wish both of them could lose.
  • Bullet
    agree 110% ^^with brad^^
  • Tom P.
    WOW, never seen so many responses to one of Vince's articles....most of the time the dunces who read his blog don't have a clue what he's on about. @andy of yarm "Why the American spelling" Yep, he's a yank, sort of...they've dumped him on us now.
  • Ian P.
    As someone said shame they both can't lose. If the Brands win (they won the right to stop grey imports of their goods - even though they were produced for the brands as it undermined their 'sell them for one price in one country and another the other side of the world' policy) it could have a serious impact on the sale of genuine second hand branded items - e.g mobile phones, cameras , branded children's toys.... Who cares if Chimmy Choos can't be brought on ebay ? but I would casre about many other branded items... and for this reason I would grudgling support ebay's action - even though of course ebay are only thinking of their profits . If ebay wante to cut down on counterfeit goods surely they are other tactics to try - why not police certain brands and set minimum prices - you can't buy a new pair of Chimmy Choos for less than £xxx .
  • pauski
    Better add another respones then ^^. Ebay = Greed EU = Corrupt PAYPAL = Corrupt and greed. Fcuk em... Ebay - ued to be somewhat half decent - now it is clear to me that it is like illegal immirgration - we all feel put out, robbed etc. etc. I don'tthink it will be in death watch any time soon.
  • Andre
    Long live HUKDs classfied section...we shall survive selling on second hand and BNWT brand items!
  • braminski
    As far as am concerned eBay deserve everything they get. The sooner they are more heavily regulated the better. Even though they say otherwise the amount of counterfeit goods on eBay is shocking. If they think their regulations work something should be setup so everytime a counterfeit item is sold eBay thmselves get heavily fined. Let's see how long they keep their current stance then. The problem doesn't stop with counterfeit goods though, it's about time the 'legalised' ticket touting is stopped and don't get me started on people purchasing Nintendo Wii's etc when they are sold out in shops at Christmas and listing them on eBay for a vastly inflated sum. These people are just morally bereft w*nkers.
  • i k.
    There are already laws about the selling of snide gear, why struggle to bring in more. As for dictating where an item is sold and for how much(as suggested above) this is surely completly against EU competion rules and certainly unfriendly to you and me the consumer. Competition can keep prices low, surely thats good ? Companies can still make a profit, just not completly screw us.
  • Inactive
    Most of the real branded stuff is junk anyway, made in the far east, it's just that mugs are stupid enough to believe that it is somehow better and stupidly pay outrageous prices for " branding ".
  • Jakg
    Once I buy a physical item - it's mine. Why should we encourage manufacturers to control our use of their product when it's of no benefit to us? Imagine Ford banning the resale of their cars!
  • Jack
    @pauski - yeah, I'll do some translations Original Ebay = Greed EU = Corrupt PAYPAL = Corrupt and greed. Translated Ebay = Successful (and ambitious company) EU = Corrupt (you were right) Paypal = Successful, and a convenient way to pay. I do know it is annoying that eBay sort of force it on you nowadays, which is good (for buyers and in some ways sellers) and bad (fees, problems and feeding ebay more cash) Are there any other good auction sites, I am genuinely interested. I've used eBid, and used payment processors such as Nochex (and possibly pppay), its just you can't really reach such a big audience.
  • pepper
    @ Jakg yeah you own the item, but you don't own the brand, which is the issue. So product wise, the manufacturers have a margin- they sell their product in the first instance to the wholesaler and your boutiques and stores and ebay resellers sell at a profit to cover their own profit margins. Whoever paid full price for the item in the first place should therefore have satisfied the manufacturer's / distributor's product margin. Any resale beyond this would either be the used product (partly reimbursing the original buyer) or to cover third party seller profit margins (shop owners etc..) However the manufacturers are trying to protect their brand value- not the value of the crappy product hiding behind the designer label. Auction and discount sites can devalue a brand as well as making fakes a piece of piss to get hold of.
  • Ed W.
    Intresting topic and agree that its become a joke on ebay. They have forced sellers to offer free postage and tell you want you can charge for postage. If this give them something to think about - then bring it on
  • itolson
    I think you have forgotten the other looser, the Royal Mail and the Couriers, Ebayers the world over have to get their goods to the buyers somehow, I reckon Ebay may have saved the royal mail..... I don't agree with ebay's fees and then double wammy with paypal fees, but if this goes through the economic downturn will be with us for longer thats for sure. maybe now is the time to setup a competing business, ebay put the classifieds in the grave maybe its time for ressurrection.
  • Me
    What's so wrong with selling your old stuff, brand or not?? Pay with paypal from someone reputable. If item turns out to be fake then paypal can get your payment back if item is not as described. Ebay has allowed many of us to shift old stuff and make a bit of cash that we would otherwise have been stuck with. There are many things ebay and paypal need to address but as far as the EU are concerned they are just interfering. If designers weren't such rip off merchants then maybe there wouldn't be such a big counterfeit market. If anyone thinks they'll get a gucci bag, prada purse, etc for 99p then you deserve to be scammed!
  • > H.
    1. People who buy designer goods are thick as fu*ck. People who buy designer goods off ebay are thicker than fu*ck, what do you expect? numpties
  • Elsie
    if they get the ban through they will lose out. There must be a lot of people like me who partially fund a new purchase, an upgrade, by selling on an older model. I've got a camera listed and will use the money generated to off set the cost of my new camera. if I couldn't sell my old one I would not be able to buy a new one.
  • Nobby
    I've been an eBay seller for over 11 years now, and can recall countless petitions send to eBay by sellers where eBay have decided to make a change "after interacting with the community" (although no-one in any of the eBay forums had ever interacted with them on the change) and sellers want them not to go ahead. They completely ignore the petition. They have effectively pushed out the small time seller in favour of large sellers. It does seem strange that they want their users (many of them ex-users) to sign a petition on their behalf to help them allow large sellers import grey goods from elsewhere to sell in Europe, so that they can get a cut of the branded goods sold online in Europe.
  • Christopher
    The amount of times eBay have just decided to ban the sale of perfectly legal goods on their own, based purely on some unsubstantisated claim by brand owners or whoever, or just following press opinion... Frankly they can forget it. If they want a free market place, maybe they should stop trying to restrict one themselves. Taste of their own medicine really...
  • George
    Oh come on, this is all wrapped around the price fixing scandal that many manufactuers employ. We, the consumer, pay over inflated prices in the shops due to "agreements" between manufacturer and retailer. This doesn't reflect the 'worth' of the goods and is as big a scam as counterfeiting. Thanks to E-bay we can buy genuine brands at free-market prices, which better represents their quality and value.
  • Ruth O.
    I am the Director-General of the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, which represents manufacturing industry in the worldwide fight against fake goods. We've been trying for years to get effective protection for consumers and industry on eBay's auction sites around the world, to stamp out fake goods which are still for sale on eBay in their millions. The EU Commission is reviewing aspects of competition law at the moment, which is why eBay is campaigning, but brands aren't looking for a change - their existing legitimate selective distribution practices, which protect consumers, can already be curtailed if in law they are proved to be excessive restraint of trade, and controls are there for good reason. Take car airbags - unauthorised sales on eBay result in airbags being sent to buyers by ordinary post. There are strict laws governing how airbags should be transported because they contain explosives. eBay is trying to confuse its users into supporting this petition by accusing the brands of pretending that counterfeit goods are a problem on eBay, in order to impose unfair limits on re-sale. But eBay knows that fakes are a real problem, and that its VeRO program doesn't deal with them effectively - they even called on the EU Commission 'to do more to fight sales of fakes' in March this year!
  • Mark
    Brand Value = Brand Profit. This is protectionism for corporations and is not in the public interest as it is far to wide ranging a law and in effect will reduce the advantages of modern economy i.e. buy high quantity, take low margin, sell cheap.
  • Craig A.
    All ebay wants is money & is not interested in purchasers who get ripped off. I received a fake copy of Nero & their response was pathetic - not the slightest bit interested. The EU needs to also look at ebay forcing people to use paypal & then holding on to your money for 4 weeks after the transaction. All companies that operate like this will eventually get their comeuppance and I'm like millions of people that can't wait for ebay to get theirs.
  • Dan A.
    Most clothing on ebay is legit, there are obvious cases where the items being sold are fake and ebay should do more to remove these. But, I don't think banning branded goods is the way forward, I signed their petition and hopefully with enough people signing their petition this won't happen.
  • Stu
    Ruth, I totally understand and I believe that eBay do need to look at their policy, but whether you or anyone in the EU likes it or not, if say Jimmy Choo says that you can no longer sell their product then this is restriction of free trade. All you are doing is forcing everyone back underground. Fakes have been around for years - We all know the mediterranean countries we all visit on Holiday and see those fake Football shirts and so on. There is so much restriction on free trade these days (RRPs a thing of the past? Think again! Everyone's still doing it) and second hand goods are about the only way that people can afford many luxury items. If you don't know what I mean, look at new top-end bicycle prices and see how much (see little) discount you can get.
  • cooki2222
    I have used ebay many a time and have always been satisfied with what i have bought, always read sellers feedback, check what else they have been selling etc. I bought a new laptop screen last year as mine had cracked and toshiba where looking £300 for a new one, needless to say i was straight on eBay and picked up a brand new screen for £80 that i fitted myself :).
  • lil_lady
    I must be honest here but i am amazed at how many people are saying they have been conned on ebay...maybe i have been lucky (or just very smart about the way i shop) but in the 4 years i have been buying (and selling) have never recieved a fake item - and i am 100% sure of that as first of all i check every photo thoroughly and ask plenty of well researched questions if it is a top brand product. There is no way i'd jump in head first and bid on any old item because if it looks too good to be true it probably is. I must say i certainly wouldn't miss the high end brands dissapearing, ie. Jimmy Choo, Rolex, etc...but i would be pretty gutted if more high street brands decided to ''protect their brand'', such as Topshop, Aldo, H&M, or Timberland, Gap, Converse, Next as these are generally fab finds and especially for kids items (because kids grow so quickly) which are then great to resell after as they tend to still hold up so well and you get a fair return on what you paid. Also i only buy what i can't find anywhere else cheaper so yes Ebay profit, but so does the seller (even if the fees are OTT at least they have made a return on their goods) and I profit too! And could you imagine if the high street brands decide to jump on board and prevent us from buying ''their'' goods anywhere but their store? Ouch, we'll be back to only having what they say we can afford - sorry i don't like that idea at all. Oh and there will prob be more goods on landfills as we already know how few people would take those bits they can't sell to a charity shop as so many people class it as ''too much hassle''. But the truth be told is its because they are not getting a return on doing so so there is little incentive to provide to the charity shops (people in general aren't thoughtful enough to do this for nothing). And if things go further, will these brands ''protect their brands'' from being sold in charity shops???....hmmm, if this ruling passes in their favour i wouldn't be surprised if that comes next.
  • Brian

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