The new programme, eBay Authenticate, is powered by a network of professional authenticators and, according to eBay, is aimed at enabling more than “165 million global active buyers to shop [on eBay] with confidence”.
Laura Chambers, vice president of eBay consumer selling and the lead of eBay Authenticate, said: “We view this programme as an extension of our existing industry-leading anti-counterfeit initiatives.”
“We utilise a combination of sophisticated detection tools, enforcement and strong relationships with brand owners, retailers and law enforcement agencies to present our customers with a safe, trusted shopping experience.”
eBay Authenticate will give sellers who sell certain types of inventory, such as high-end handbags, the opportunity to opt-in to the authentication service for a fee when listing a product.
In return, there will be messaging on their listing that highlights that the item will be reviewed by a professional authenticator before it’s delivered to the buyer.
If the item sells, a professional authenticator will examine the item for authenticity. If the item passes inspection, the item will be forwarded to the buyer.
To further bolster consumer trust in eBay Authenticate, if a buyer receives an item following inspection and it’s found to be inauthentic, eBay will refund the buyer twice the cost of the original purchase price.
Chambers added: “For buyers, the service adds another layer of trust to allow them to shop confidently. And for sellers, the service will be most beneficial for those who are looking to part ways with their high value items, but don’t necessarily have a long established selling history on eBay.”
eBay plans to test and build on the foundation of the programme, and after initially focusing it on fashion, will look to broaden the service out further.
Helen Saunders, head of intelligence and operations at INCOPRO, a company that helps brands to protect their IP, commented on the announcement, which swiftly follows the news that Alibaba is teaming up with 20 brands to fight counterfeiting using technology and big data.
She said: “It seems that online marketplaces have made a New Year resolution to crack down on counterfeiters on their platforms.”
“These initiatives are both positive, but also reflect the clear reality that online counterfeiting is booming and more and more needs to be done to stem the problem.”
The eBay programme will be piloted in the coming months with a view to making it available at the end of 2017.