The counterfeit goods industry currently accounts for over 3% of world trade. Designer luxury goods, such as handbags and watches, are top targets. According to a press release, a handbag is purchased every eight seconds on eBay.com. Enter eBay Authenticate, a program to help buyers purchase genuine designer items with confidence.
Introduced to eBay.com in 2017, it was claimed that sellers would also ‘love’ eBay Authenticate’s ‘white-glove’ service. Two years on, this article will explicate the eBay Authenticate process before examining the benefits and disadvantages for buyers, brands and sellers.
What is eBay Authenticate?
The simplest way to describe eBay Authenticate is to compare it to a consignment service for select designer items.
Eligible items are sent to independent experts to be authenticated, listed and then sold on behalf of the seller on eBay.
The buyer and seller do not communicate directly, with the ‘middle man’ (in this case, eBay Authenticate) organizing and finalizing the sale.
eBay Authenticate takes a percentage fee from the final sale price for this service.
At this time, the eBay Authentication program is only available for eligible designer handbags and wallets worth over $500. It appears that eBay intends to expand the service over time to include other designer goods as well as collectables.
The eBay Authenticate process
Using eBay Authenticate is something of a ‘hands-off’ experience for the eBay seller.
- First, the seller checks eligibility of their item, entering the brand, item type and condition
- If eligible, the seller has then the choice to use a prepaid USPS shipping label or drop the item off at a participating FedEx office location
- On arrival, eBay Authenticate’s independent experts will check the item’s condition, verify the authenticity and then list the item on the seller’s behalf
- The item is listed for up to 60 days on eBay. If unsold, the item is sent back to the seller free of charge
- If the item sells, eBay Authenticate will package and send the item directly to the buyer
- The seller is due 80% of the final purchase price (90% during promotions), received via PayPal within 2 days of the sale
As mentioned, the buyer and seller do not communicate at any point during the sale. eBay Authenticate takes responsibility for all aspects of the sale once the item is physically in their possession.
In the event of a return, the seller keeps the original payment and the item becomes the property of eBay Authenticate.
Why eBay Authenticate is beneficial for buyers and brands
For buyers and designer brands, the benefits of eBay Authenticate are clear.
The counterfeit item trade is a huge threat to the integrity of the luxury goods industry. The most significant advantage of eBay Authenticate is the guarantee to both buyer and brand that the item being sold is genuine.
With the eBay Authenticate service, buyers are able to shop with confidence for their desired luxury item. Brands can also be satisfied that customers are receiving authentic items.
With that luxury element in mind, buyers are treated to an elevated service with eBay Authenticate. Items are typically shipped in bespoke packaging complete with dust jacket, authenticity documentation and an eBay security tag.
Beyond this, the eBay purchasing experience remains much the same for buyers. There are no additional fees required to purchase eBay Authenticate items. Listings with authenticated items have a blue ‘authenticity verified’ logo clearly displayed.
eBay Authenticate for sellers
While the involvement of the seller in the eBay Authenticate process may seem minimal, it is critical to fully understand the program’s terms and conditions.
- Items must be either new or pre-owned in excellent or very good condition. If the condition of the item is not acceptable for the program, the item will be sent back to the seller at no charge
- At this time, only items from these luxury brands are eligible: Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci, Céline, Fendi, Christian Dior, Prada, Goyard, Balenciaga, Burberry, Valentino, Chloé, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent
- All aspects of the sale are conducted by eBay Authenticate, including photography, listing name, listing description, shipping methods and sale price
- The price estimate is calculated by researching similar items sold on eBay and other sites within the last 90 days
- eBay Authenticate retains the right to reduce the price of a fixed-price listing at any time
- eBay takes responsibility for all items lost or damaged in shipment as long as it can be proved that approved shipping methods were used
In addition to the above points, it is vital that sellers comprehend that eBay Authenticate is a partnership between eBay and third party ‘independent experts.’ eBay does not take possession of items involved in the eBay Authenticate program at any time.
Should sellers use eBay Authenticate?
On the face of it, eBay Authenticate offers the opportunity to sell desirable, high-value items with very little risk and investment. Sending eligible items for assessment is free, for example, and unsold/ineligible items are also returned for free.
In the event the item sells, the fees charged by eBay Authenticate are in line with other luxury online retailers. If a return is requested, the refund is issued by eBay Authenticate and the seller keeps the original sale funds.
When considering the value of this program, it should be remembered that selling designer goods on eBay is generally considered to be high risk, with these items being popular targets for unscrupulous buyers. eBay Authenticate almost entirely reduces the risk of being scammed.
While this does all sound like a win-win for sellers, there are some important disadvantages to keep in mind.
The biggest drawback for most sellers would be the lack of control. With eBay Authenticate, all selling decisions are taken away. This includes pricing, though eBay does claim that the independent experts ‘price items at the higher end of the estimated market value.’
Another issue is the fact that eBay Authenticate items are listed for sale under another seller’s username. Their reputation (in terms of Feedback and sales history) may not be ideal and could be a contributing factor if and when an item does not sell.
eBay sellers, what do you think about the eBay Authenticate program? Does it make selling designer goods easier on eBay? Would you like to see the program rolled out to include more items?