WANT TO HELP GET RID OF THESE CROOKS? > eBay is beginning to take action at long last!

thoughts about last ebay action

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From David W on the yahoo group

What you are discussing here is simply proof positive that eBay really is a thieves' market that is effectively unpoliced, especially with regard to items whose value depends upon attribution or brand authenticity. This includes just about everything from replacement automobile parts and accessories to luxury goods such as Rolex watches and designer handbags. Among the authenticity fraud offerings are fake coins of many types including ancient coins, and fake ancient artifacts. Many of these fake items are so crude that their falsity is evident from the images in the listings.

But there are still enough unwary buyers to make it profitable for unethical sellers to offer these fraudulent imitations. Some sellers will take them back, no questions asked, just as Sadigh does, while others require evidence of falsity which is so onerous to obtain in a documentary form that most buyers will not go to the trouble. Either way it's a numbers game - the statistics give the seller a high likelihood, IMO 90% or better, that a transaction will not result in a return claim.

eBay's feedback system is ineffective in preventing such fraud. The only effective approach is systematically policing the venue by observers with enough expertise to detect suspicious items, with the authority to order them to be removed from the listings until satisfactory evidence of authenticity is provided. This is the system in effect at VCoins, whose founder Bill Puetz operated a respected dealership in ancient coins (Twelve Caesars)  before he created VCoins and VHobbies.

eBay will never be willing to go to the trouble and expense involved in doing this, unless it is forced upon them by the prospect of credible legal consequences. In that case, the decision made will involve a choice between excluding the affected items from eBay, or providing evidence of authenticity.

I hope that everyone realizes that eBay absolutely does not care about the welfare of the defrauded buyers, and has absolutely no sense of guilt or shame regarding its role in their being defrauded. They have no "social conscience" at all, and only care about money.

If the antiquities collecting community had sufficient interest to be willing to operate a gratis policing system that would systematically scan eBay in a manner similar to that which is in effect at VCoins, it might perhaps be possible to convince eBay that this would be in their best interests. One way of getting some leverage to bring this about would be to raise the prospect of a systematic, active campaign to convince governments that eBay is an out of control thieves' market where fraud is rampant, and that eBay will never initiate or cooperate in any effective measures to prevent or significantly reduce this fraud, until required to do so by government action.

This approach would, however, require members of the collecting community to be willing to contribute their time and expertise in a reliable and dependable manner, for an indefinite and perhaps never-ending period.

So IMO the question resolves to this: are the members of the group willing to do or sponsor the work required? Or are they only interested in complaining about the reality that no one has enough interest in the problem to be willing to do anything effective to control it?

It doesn't take that many hours per week to do this scanning and identify questionable items. Bill Puetz was the "police force" at VCoins for years in his spare time. Could some system be set up to raise the relatively small amount of money required to fairly compensate those who do the work? In that manner, the burden could be shared by many, rather than be concentrated upon the few who care enough to be willing to volunteer.

One possible variant would be to set up an independent authenticity certifying agency whose approval could be used as a confidence building resource by ethical sellers, in a manner similar to the certifications provided by Trustwave and Authorize.net, which gives customers confidence that their credit card transactions with certified merchants are secure against any possibility of identity theft. My online business, Classical Coins, is certified by both these agencies, whose fees are very reasonable and well worth paying.

I'm personally past my crusading days. But I can still see this sort of thing clearly, and offer concepts regarding what would have to be done to set things right.



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