Online marketplaces are not impermissible to counterfeit items and their different degrees of imitation, from Class A to Class AAA. They may be called reproductions or replicas, but the bottom line is these are fake items masquerading as original, branded, or designer items meant to deceive buyers.
Counterfeit items also pose a risk to the business on the seller's side. Some buyers may file a refund claim for supposedly receiving a fake product. They would then get their refund but send back a different item – a real fake item this time.
eBay has a solution to this. They have an authentication system called eBay Authenticity Guarantee that ensures buyers only receive genuine items and that sellers get their original goods back. Their pool of expert in-house and third-party authenticators subject the eligible pieces to a meticulous multiple-point physical check and inspection using modern specialized equipment.
At the moment, this program is limited to items under specific categories, brands, and selling price points and is available only for buyers with delivery addresses within the US and certain US territories.
How does Authenticity Guarantee work?
Suppose your listed sneakers, handbag, watch, or trading card meet the requirements for the category it belongs in (to be discussed below). In that case, a blue checkmark badge will appear, indicating its eligibility for the program.
Once a buyer purchases this item, you have to ship this to the nearest authentication facility, the address of which will be given by eBay. If it passes a thorough inspection, the item will be tagged with an authentication card or a tamper-proof sticker before it gets dispatched to the buyer within 2 to 4 days. Note that the authentication service, including the shipping to the facility, is free of charge.
The same process will be followed when a buyer claims that an item is fake and demands a refund (only applicable if the seller accepts returns as stated in their policy). The buyer must ship the item to the facility first and not directly to the seller. The experts will then check for the NFC tag or QR-code sticker, which signifies that the item was returned to the facility in the same condition the buyer received it.
If found to be a counterfeit, the authenticating body will return the item to the seller, who will shoulder the shipping and, at the same time, will refund the buyer. Otherwise, there will be no refunds, and the authenticating party will send the item back to the buyer.
For a smooth authentication process, consider these general tips:
- Craft honest and accurate listing descriptions and include product images that match what the buyer receives. Disclose any imperfections and inclusions. If the authenticators cannot inspect the items due to inconsistencies between the information in the listing and the actual items, they would ship them back at cost to the seller and refund the buyer.
- Avoid listing items that have been altered, modified, and personalized (such as with engraved initials). This is another reason authenticators cannot perform the procedure and send the goods back to the seller.
- Don't include accessories and freebies that don't originally come with the branded or designer item you're listing. The authenticators will remove these and only send the authenticated item to the buyer.
- If you list multiple goods for authentication, send the items to the facility individually. Promo or combined shipping doesn't work with this service.
What items are eligible for Authenticity Guarantee?
As of this writing, the eligible items belong to these four categories, both for women and men: Athletic shoes (sneakers), watches, handbags, and trading cards. The verification process is largely similar among these groups, only that experts look for a unique set of authenticity indicators per category. Qualifiers such as selling price and other specifications may also vary. Let us go over the significant points for each one:
Points for inspection: Sizing label, logo, laces, heel tabs, box (if the declared item condition is "New with box")
Brands accepted at the moment: Off-White, Yeezy, Adidas, Jordan, Louis Vuitton, New Balance, Nike, to name some of the popular eligible labels.
Selling price: At least $100 if the pair is in new condition; $150 or more if it's pre-owned. These amounts apply to items listed with either a "Buy It Now" price or are in an auction-style format.
Note: Signed sneakers are not be accepted.
Points for inspection: Serial number, case, end links, hardware (buckle or clasp), crown, dial, bezel, and hands.
Brands accepted at the moment: Any brand of timepiece listed under the primary wristwatches category with a "Buy it Now" price or a starting bidding price of $2,000 is accepted. Premium models from high-end brands like Omega, Rolex, and Breitling are automatically eligible regardless of the listing price.
Vintage watches are eligible if verified as authentic by a third-party eBay authentication partner. Due to the age of the timepieces, off-brand replacement parts are accepted if the original brand no longer produces these components.
Note: Modifications to the vintage watches are accepted if only the commonly replaced parts are involved, such as the strap, bracelet, gasket, and crystal. Customized details like a painted dial or engraved initials on the case will render the timepiece ineligible for the program.
Points for inspection: Packaging, smell, accessories, and details such as the strap and hardware
Brands accepted at the moment: Eligible brands include Chanel, Hermes, Celine, Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Fendi, Burberry, Goyard, and Chloe, to name some.
Selling price: At least $500, either the item is listed upfront or with a starting bid price. It can be brand new (with or without the tag) or pre-owned. A signature upon delivery to the buyer is required.
Points for inspection: The third-party authenticators authorized by eBay will thoroughly check the card's corners, edges, surface, and condition for any inconsistencies and signs of authenticity.
Cards accepted at the moment:
- Ungraded sports trading cards
- Collectible card games
- Non-sports trading cards with a selling price of at least $500 will require a signature upon delivery.
Note: Autographed cards are not eligible, and no grade evaluation will be issued for the authenticated card. The objective of the program is only to verify the card as genuine.
eBay's Authenticity Guarantee is a great program that will lend credibility to the high-value items you're selling with no additional cost to you and protect you from fraudulent buyer claims.
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