Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

ebay fined £30m for selling fakes

The Thoughtful Dresser, ie me, is opposed to fakes. I know that some fakes are made in the same factories by the same people who make 'genuine' Marc Jacobs, and that there can be a fine line between fake and authentic when a designer like Prada claims that a bag is made in Italy, when everything but the attachment of the handle is done in China.

Nonetheless, if you buy a fake you are doing so in the knowledge that it is likely to have been made by child labour and the the revenues used to fund drugs and terrorism. Be it on your own head, as my mother used to say.

I would be quite happy to buy a second-hand Chanel or Hermes bag on ebay, and the only thing that's stopping me is that I can't be certain it's not a fake. Now ebay has been ordered by a French court to pay 38.6 million Euros to LMVH, which owns Vuitton as well as much else:

In a statement, eBay said big luxury goods labels had a hidden agenda and were using fakes as a "stalking horse". "It is clear that eBay has become a focal point for certain brand owners' desire to exact ever greater control over e-commerce. We view these decisions as a step backwards for the consumers and businesses whom we empower every day."

The group, which saw around $60bn worth of goods sold across its platforms last year, says that as a host for independent vendors, it has a limited responsibility and capacity to regulate what is sold. But luxury goods groups have accused eBay, which earns a commission on sales, of facilitating forgeries and fakes by providing a marketplace for vendors who knowingly sell counterfeit items.

The site is also facing other lawsuits worldwide: the New York jeweller Tiffany & Co has sued the site for turning a blind eye to sales of counterfeits, describing it as a "rat's nest" of fake goods. It also faces action from L'Oreal in the UK and five other European countries.

It's certianly true, as Dana Thomas demonstrated in her excellent book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre, that luxury goods manufactuers do indeed want to control distribution of goods. Did you know you can't buy a Chanel bag online anywhere, not even at Neiman Marcus' website? But it's also true that you have to be very savvy indeed to work out who is and who is not selling fakes on ebay. My own tip is always to buy from people who selling from their own wardrobe, and never from anyone who is selling multiples of the same thing.


Anastasia said...

Another tip: Always ask the seller to send your pictures. Even better, if you can ask the seller to include a piece of paper with your ebay-name in the picture.
One seller sent me the exact pictures a chinese fake company offered on their website. The bag sold for a good price, nevertheless.
I have been tempted to buy on ebay but I haven't seen a bag I liked that wasn't fake.

metscan said...

Sorry anastasia,but I didn´t understand your tips at all. I have one experience from eBay and it was a bad one. My daughter ordered 2 Fendi bags and they came as elements-you had to put the leather straps together yourself. Naturally we noticed immediately the fake business. The seller had used my daughters Master card too, but fortunately the bank takes care of that. No more eBay for us.

Anonymous said...

metscan, I think anastasia meant, make sure the seller actually has the item. Often sellers just post someone elses pictures and have nothing to sell or a crappy fake.

I find most of the pictures of fakes on ebay pretty obvious, the stitching is crooked, the handles are wrapped in plastic, it comes from a dubious seller. Ebay can be a nasty place for the unwary, and I don't think it's going to get any better.

Why buy a fake when you can get a good quality leather bag from a lesser known designer?

Deja Pseu said...

Why buy a fake when you can get a good quality leather bag from a lesser known designer?

I'm with Cybill on this one. For those who can forego the "it" label, there's a whole world of well designed, well made bags out there for a fraction of the price. Or shop sales at designer boutiques or department stores.

Anastasia said...

Sorry! I'll try again (this isn't my native language, so bear with me :) )
I ask sellers on ebay if they can make a new picture of the bag, with my username written on a piece of paper in the photo. This way, I'm sure the seller actually has the bag at home.
If the seller refuses to do so or sends you some other pictures, I usually assume he doesn't have it and it's fake - better safe than sorry.

metscan said...

Thanks anastasia,this time I got ( english is not my native language either) it. But there is still a risk that the seller takes a picture of an authentic bag with your name on it and then sells you a fake one,yes?

Anastasia said...

Well, yes. People are evil and scheming, eh?
While my method doesn't guarantee you a non-fake bag, it tells you a lot about the seller and how trustworthy he/she is. Then you have to go with your gut feeling.