Does eBay Have 1.7 Million Counterfeit Products for Sale?

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According to The Counterfeit Report, which tracks the sale of counterfeit or fake items on major e-commerce websites, eBay Inc.’s (NASDAQ: EBAY) sites have a huge number of these on sale that match the criteria. This begs the question whether the auction site has done enough to crack down on the practice.

The Counterfeit Report reports:

… over 1.7 million counterfeit and fake items listed or sold on eBay, after selecting just a handful of trademarked items.

The analysis probably means the figure could be much higher.

There is a difference between counterfeit and fake items:

The eBay counterfeit products are trademarked replicas of real products, designed to take advantage of the superior value and reputation of the real product. The eBay fake products are products that do not even exist in the manufacturer’s product line, but are represented as the authentic branded product and bear the manufacturer’s registered trademark. Both are sold on eBay.

The Counterfeit Report actually buys a number of the products on eBay and reports them to the auction company.

It is worth mentioning that The Counterfeit Report does work for some of the companies believed to be affected. However, its research indicates the problems with eBay are real:

Additionally, The Counterfeit Report, a manufacturer’s authorized agent, reported 1,008,266 counterfeit and fake items to eBay’s self-acclaimed Verified Rights Owner (“VeRO”) Program that were listed, or sold to eBay consumers. While the listings were removed, the sellers usually remained, the fake items often relisted, and the buyers never notified they purchased a fake.

eBay does have an opportunity to explain how it helps customers defend against the practice, or lack thereof, to the broad public who use its service. For some reason, it has not stated its case as widely as a company of its size could. At least a press release would do.