Search This Blog


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Louis Vuitton, Fakes on ebay, PayPal buyer protection

Well if you haven't heard about the latest ruling by the courts against eBay in the suit brought against that online auction site by famous handbag designer, Louis Vuitton, you mustn't follow the news. LVMH said in its lawsuit, that of 300,000 Dior-branded items and 150,000 Vuitton bags offered on eBay during the first six months of this year, 90% were fakes. Nice eh? Surprise? No.

Louis Vuitton won that suit and eBay now has to cough up $64 million. Poor eBay! And meanwhile, that other famous company, Tiffany & Co is still awaiting a ruling on their case against eBay which started in 2004. Same problem: fake Tiffanys being sold on eBay.

Now in all fairness, it is darn hard, maybe near impossible for eBay to police the thousands of sellers putting items up for sale on their site. But we, the buyers, can help them by reporting any and all cases of fakes that we encounter on eBay and we expect them to look into it, right? Well in my unfortunate purchase (which I recounted elsewhere in my blog) where that eBay vendor sold me 3 fake Schiaparellis, I didn't report him to eBay because I'd bought off ebay following one of his auctions. But when I went to PayPal, who after all is owned by eBay, and expected they'd help me, I got nowhere! And that's what this post is about.

In the Saturday July 5, 2008 edition of The Globe and Mail, their "Life/Style" cover story is about the LVMH suit. What caught my attention were these words by Erin Suffrin of Ebay Canada. She said:

"... common sense is the best protection when it comes to buying online. Luxury labels don't allow the sale of factory seconds, she says, and if a deal "seems too good to be true, it generally is." Always do your homework: Check buyer feedback and the seller's history and expertise. And use the PayPal payment service, which insures against counterfeits and covers up to $2,000 of a given transaction."

Now that's what made me gag and decide to write this post. It's the bit about PayPal that got to me. You see what Erin Suffrin either doesn't know or doesn't mention is that PayPal's buyer protection policy ONLY covers purchases made on eBay when it comes to filing a dispute under "items significantly not as described"!

I filed a dispute: the goods were fakes. I had the proof in photos. All I wanted to do was return the junk and get a refund. The seller ignored me. So I escalated the claim in PayPal and what did PayPal do? They instantly denied my claim and closed the case. Reason: because the items weren't purchased on Ebay, according to their policy they don't address claims under "items significantly not as described". It doesn't matter if they are fakes.

I called PayPal. I begged; I pleaded. The girl who took my call just kept saying "sorry..that's our policy...but we take note of all claims like yours and investigate." Really? It's been 3 months. The crook is still selling on eBay. He's had 3 more negatives registered against him and I know that at least one of the complainants has submitted a report. Of course, eBay is backed up with all the reports isn't it. This could take months yet and in the meantime this seller can continue to fleece the unwary buyers. They see his negative feedback and still they buy! ]Duh?

But here's the thing and what I want you to understand in all this: we are encouraged to use PayPal, not just on ebay but on thousands of online sites. Well if you didn't know it, stand warned: if you buy something from any site that isn't eBay, and the items you received are "not significantly as described" too bad! PayPal won't help you. You can only file a dispute under that designation and get support from PayPal if you purchased the item on eBay. Read that line again. It's important. And when you sign up to use PayPal, if you don't read their policy completely, you won't know that until it's too late and you find out the hard way like I did. That's why I'm telling you about it now.

What Erin Suffrin needed to say above was this: "Use the PayPal payment service, which insures against counterfeits and covers up to $2,000 of a given transaction ... as long as you purchased the item on eBay!"

Good luck if you buy it anywhere else and use PayPal! You're on your own kid!

No comments: