Tuesday, May 5, 2009

eBay Seller Question: Trademark Violation When Selling Clothing

I received this question from another eBay seller:

"Hi Suzanne, just wanted to ask if you know how to list things that are "name brand" without having them removed for trademark violation? I keep having things removed on eBay for this and am starting to get frustrated with the waste of time and money spent. No one at eBay seems to know what to tell me, thought you may know. Is there something I can include in the listing detail to keep them off my back.


Kristin, this is a tricky area and the rules are not crystal clear. eBay has an algorithm for everything. For example, if you list a large number of identical items with the same brand name during a certain time frame, a listing hold will be placed on your account. This is a safeguard against theft from a retailer or wholesaler - say for example a truckload of merchandise is stolen and the thief tries to sell the merchandise quickly on eBay. The listing limits help to curb this type of activity. But, it can also frustrate legitimate sellers.

Is the label authentic? Some labels, such as Tommy Bahama, are rampantly counterfeit. In the past, I have had Tommy Bahama listings removed even when the item was authentic - I bought it at Nordstrom! After that incident, I gave up on trying to sell any Tommy Bahama items on eBay. It was just too much of a hassle to convince eBay that the items were authentic. Click here to read a thorough guide on identifying fake Tommy Bahama merchandise. I have also heard that the same thing is happening with Ralph Lauren merchandise.

Here are a couple of resources from eBay that may help you:

Click here for eBay's Guidelines for Creating Legally Compliant Listings

Click here to take eBay's tutorial on intellectual property policies. You will understand the rules more clearly after taking the tutorial.

You may also want to post your question on my FaceBook Group - perhaps another seller has experienced this and has some suggestions for you. Hope that helps!

Happy Selling,

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