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I’ll admit it, we’ve been suspended on eBay more than once.
Twice in fact.
Both times were for selling fake items…but it wasn’t entirely our fault.
The first time we listed an authentic Dooney & Bourke bag but misspelled the name in the title as “Doony & Bourke” which led to someone reporting our listing.
We got an automatic 3-day suspension which we didn’t bother to appeal.
The other time we sold a pair of Nike shoes that I had purchased for myself from Poshmark. Since they didn’t fit, we decided to resell them without realizing that they were very good fakes.
This time we did appeal and were reinstated.
Which means that we’ve been lucky. Selling fakes on eBay is no small matter if you depend on the platform to do things like pay your rent and buy food.
So, what can go wrong? And, is it worth it to sell fakes on eBay (hint: it’s not…).
The Consequences Of Selling Fakes On eBay
Consequences From eBay
The most likely person who will “punish” you if get caught on eBay is eBay itself.
Because the reputation of eBay is at risk every time someone is scammed on their platform they are very proactive in identifying and removing sellers who are selling knock-off items.
If you are caught, you may face suspension or termination of your account, removal of listings and products, and restrictions on your selling privileges.
Suspension or Termination of Account
eBay takes a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to counterfeits and will suspend or terminate accounts that violate its policies. If you’re a first-time offender (like we were) this may be a simple 3-day ban from listing items.
The second suspension, however, is typically 7 days, and the third one…well…let’s just say you won’t be coming back after your third one.
Removal of Listings and Products
If eBay judges you to be a “risky” seller they may decide to play it safe and remove all of your listings.
There have been several high-profile sellers that have received lifetime bans for selling on eBay simply because eBay decides that they weren’t the level of risk they brought to eBay’s reputation.
This means that you’ll probably lose out on sales from the items that you have which are legitimate and will leave you without a decent platform to sell on.
This is a side note, but the possibility of losing all of our eBay listings is one of the main reasons we use ListPerfectly to cross-post our items on Mercari and Poshmark. That way we always have a backup if things go south on a single platform.
Even if eBay doesn’t remove all of your listings it’s highly likely that they will lower your selling limits and restrict your account which can entirely stymie your business’ growth.
Payment Processing Consequences
Refunds and chargebacks from customers are common consequences of selling fake products online.
If a customer is unhappy and thinks they’ve been scammed, filing a chargeback with the bank is often the first step they take.
eBay will typically fight charge-back cases on behalf of sellers but, if they decide that you were selling fakes, they’ll refund the buyer and charge it to your account.
If you’re saying “big deal, I’ll just make another eBay account” then you should probably take into account the last possibility of selling fakes on eBay: getting sued by the company you’re knocking off.
The consequences of selling fakes can range from a visit from the police to having your warehouse raided by the FBI.
On the extreme end of the spectrum, there have been companies that sold dupes that have been destroyed by the companies they were copying. Often times the founders of such companies were charged with fraud (which is why most are located overseas out of the reach of the U.S. legal system).
In your case, however, it’s much more likely that you’ll simply be liable for damages that you have inflicted on your customer.
FAQs About Selling Fakes On eBay
Is it illegal to sell fake items on eBay?
It’s illegal to sell counterfeit goods anywhere (including eBay), as these deceive buyers as well as violate copyright and trademark laws. In many countries, the sale of counterfeit goods is prohibited and you could face criminal penalties if caught selling them online.
What happens if you unknowingly sell a fake item on eBay?
As a seller, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that the items that you’re selling are authentic.
Even if you unknowingly sell a fake item on eBay the consequences can be serious. These consequences, in general, are the same as knowingly selling knock-offs and range from suspension from eBay to legal action taken against you.
The best way to protect yourself is to learn how to recognize fakes so you can avoid common dupes.
Check out some of our guides so you can avoid selling some of the more commonly faked brands without knowing:
- How To Recognize Fake Lacoste Items
- Where Are Authentic Louis Vuitton Items Made?
- How To Authenticate A Louis Vuitton Bag
- Where Are Authentic Channel Items Made?
- Where Are Authentic Gucci Items Made?
Does eBay’s money-back guarantee cover fakes?
eBay’s Money Back Guarantee covers items that are not as described in the listing. As selling fakes is not allowed on eBay every item is assumed authentic and knock-off sites are always “not as described.” Because of this, those who get scammed on eBay and sent a fake item can get their money back through eBay’s Money Back Guarantee.
Are there knock-offs sold on eBay?
Even though it’s against eBay’s policies, there are absolutely knock-offs being sold on eBay.
Some are being sold because the seller genuinely doesn’t know and others are sold by bad actors that are purposefully scamming people.
You should do your own due diligence to protect yourself from scams and, if you think someone is selling fakes, contact eBay.
At the end of the day, selling fakes on eBay simply isn’t worth risking your account for. There are people that “get away with it” for a period of time but the consequences are severe enough that you’re risking your entire future lively hood for a quick buck.
We’ve sold over half a million dollars on eBay since we started selling 6 years ago and have always been of the opinion that longevity will be more profitable that going crazy and blowing up our store.
You’ll have to decide what’s right for you and your store!