eBay Slammed Over Sales of Fake Purses – Fined $74Million

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Auction giant eBay was recently fined more than 74million dollars for allowing the sale of knock-off designer purses to go unabated.

The victory was handed to French high couture outfit LVMH, which is the parent company behind such high end designer handbags as Louis Vuitton, and which also is behind perfumes such as the Christian Dior line. LVMH brought the suit because, they alleged, eBay was not doing enough to police and remove counterfeit versions of the LVMH brand products.

eBay countered that LVMH had brought the suit as a smokescreen for an ulterior motive: to reduce online sales of their products generally. eBay also used the “we’re just a host” defense.

Of course, somehow the “We’re just the host” defense is less compelling when you are profiting to the tune of millions of dollars by being “just the host.”

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The French court apparently thought so too, and slapped eBay with the unprecedented outcome of “pay the plaintiff $74million for being ‘just a host’.”

Said eBay, of the result, which it is appealing, “If counterfeits appear on our sites we take them down swiftly, but today’s ruling is not about our fight against counterfeit; today’s ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers everyday.”

Now, if this were a brick and mortar store, the authorities would just go in and confiscate the counterfeit goods – and the store would be out the money they paid for them. Period. With eBay, the authorities can’t just go in and grab the goods – and so we think that relying on eBay to do a more strident job of policing the products on their site is reasonable.

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “eBay Slammed Over Sales of Fake Purses – Fined $74Million

  1. Exactly how is eBay to police this? They can’t actually examine the goods themselves. Can you follow up – did the French court offer eBay any guidance?

  2. I don’t think e-Bay should be held responsible – at the same time I’m STILL pissed off that I bought a knock-off Coach briefcase and there is nothing I can do about it. I could turn around and re-sell it on e-Bay, but then I’d be no better than the scum who sold it to me in the first place.

  3. why is ebay responsable?the scammers need to be find.A I’m sure ebay needs to get more detail on who is selling for security purposes.

  4. That doesn’t make sense. So the burden is now on Ebay to show all the listing (beyond purse) are real? Since when is a corporation liable for a willful intent of 3rd party?

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