Fake, or Counterfeit Merchandise on eBay Hurts all eBay Sellers

Fake goods could cost you thousands and kill your eBay business

Fakes on eBay is a huge problem for buyers and sellers alike. eBay marketing is already tough these days, but the huge problem of counterfeit merchandise on eBay makes it even harder.

We used to sell brand name designer goods such as Prada and Fendi Handbags. Today there are so many fake handbags, it has driven down the price of the authentic merchandise so much that we had to stop as we couldn’t make a profit.

Often the seller knows they are selling fakes, but sometimes they don’t. Some of the bogus merchandise is very good and very cleverly merchandised, that eBay sellers often think they are buying and selling the real thing. And, fakes are not limited to just clothing and fashion items. I have lately seen wholesale sources selling popular electronic products with name brands such as Motorola, Nokia and Panasonic that are very clever fakes.

If you are thinking of purchasing brand name goods, the first tip off is the price. If the price for an item seems too good to be true – IT IS !!!

Another tip off is payment method. If a seller is demanding cash, money order or cashier’s check and will not take a credit card or bank wire transfer against documents to a well known bank, then that is a big red flag.

eBay and the manufacturers work hard to control the flow of fakes on eBay, but they simply do not have enough people to police the site and have to depend on buyers and others to report suspicious auctions. They are pretty good at shutting down sellers –but as I said above, some of these sellers are innocent victims as well. I have had emails from readers who told me they were sure their merchandise was good but eBay cancelled their auctions or even suspended them. It can be a real Catch 22 as you are in the position of proving your goods are authentic which can be hard to do. None of the manufacturers are going to help you do that as they don’t really want to see their goods sold outside of their normal distribution chain in the first place.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the best way for the small seller to make money on eBay is find a specialized niche to work in. Trying to compete in the world of popular consumer products is just too difficult today. You need lots of money and industry connections, the margins are small and the competition is fierce. I see new niches being sold and even discover new niches every day. In fact yesterday my wife and I discovered one accidentally that could be huge and highly profitable. (No, I am not going to tell you what it is because we researched it and plan to do it ourselves). Believe me there are still thousands of opportunities to start small business niches on eBay that can be highly profitable. But you do have to do the work and the research to find them.

Skip McGrath

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