Monday, June 30, 2008

eBay Fighting for Consumer Choice?

eBay's time honored defence, 'we are only a venue,' once again cut no ice as a French court today ordered eBay Inc to pay 38.6 million euros ($61 million) to luxury goods group LVMH for allowing the sale of fakes on the site. The verdict directly challenges eBay's argument that it is not directly responsible for what is on its Web site.

The ruling was immediately appealed by eBay. As of this writing I found approximately 2479 Louis Vuitton items listed on the US site. Here is one for $4.25 and another 'sure to be genuine' item starting at 99c with $9.50 shipping.

On June 4, another French court ruled against eBay in a case brought against it by luxury goods retailer Hermès over the sale of three Hermès bags, including two fakes, on for a total of 3,000 euros. That court ordered eBay to pay Hermes 20,000 euros ($31,548) I found 2351 Hermes items listed on this evening including a wonderful selection of men's pure silk ties starting at 1c...

Still pending in France, the Conseil des Ventes, the group that represents mainstream French auctioneers, has also sued eBay, which it accuses of trying to circumvent laws regulating the auction sector by claiming to be a broker.

French cosmetics company L’Oreal is suing eBay in 5 European countries - Belgium, France, Germany, UK and Spain - for selling counterfeit bottles of perfume. L’Oreal claims they’ve tried to reach an agreement with eBay on this matter, but in the end had no choice but to sue them.

Last year in Germany, Rolex sued eBay claiming that their trademark was infringed upon by eBay customers selling fake Rolex watches on the German Web site, resulting in unfair competition. The German Federal Supreme Court in a judgment published on 19 June 2007, found that although eBay does not aid or abet any trademark infringements of eBay sellers listing goods on its web pages, eBay qualifies as an “intermediary” & is liable as a “contributor” pursuant to German and European trademark law.

Meanwhile back in the USA in 2004, Tiffany & Co. secretly purchased about 200 items from eBay in its investigation of how the company was dealing with the thousands of pieces of counterfeit Tiffany jewelry. The jeweler found that three out of four pieces were fakes. In addition to accusing eBay of facilitating counterfeiting, Tiffany & Co. contends that eBay "charges hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees" for counterfeit sales. A ruling is expected on that lawsuit shortly.

Here is the supreme irony:

eBay spokeswoman Nichola Sharpe said. "If we don't put our foot down now and strongly fight it on behalf of consumers' choice, we'd be letting them down. It's an anticompetitive business practice that will restrict consumer choice."

If you didn't know better you might think she is speaking on behalf of Australian sellers.

Y'all come back

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well gee Henrietta, both your Louis Vuitton examples went pffft! ROFL You ROCK girl!