eBay is making it easier to ferret out fake luxury goods

Though a handbag is sold every 13 seconds on eBay, buyers previously had to weigh the possibility of accidentally purchasing a counterfeit bag. Now eBay is adding an extra layer of assurance with eBay Authenticate, a service that uses third-party partners to prevent the sale of fake luxury bags.

The program, which officially launched Monday, helps eBay users sell bags valued over $500 across 12 select brands, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci, Prada and Burberry.

The authentication process is voluntary, and interested sellers are required to ship the bag to eBay Authenticate to handle verification, photography, listing and selling. eBay collects 20 percent of the sale, while the user claims 80 percent, a comparatively high percentage compared to brands like The RealReal, which pay between 55 and 70 percent.

According to Laura Chambers, vp of consumer selling at eBay, the 12 chosen brands will serve as as starting point to test out the service before expanding to additional brands. eBay also intends to extend Authenticate to product categories beyond handbags, moving into 2018.

Other luxury resale companies like The RealReal and Vestiaire Collective have long offered this type of service, and eBay’s authentication push is indicative of its ongoing expansion into luxury. Last month, it announced a digital storefront in partnership with the e-commerce platform Spring, which showcases products from brands like Chloé and Rag & Bone. (eBay’s authentication efforts also come on the heels of the launch of ThredUp’s new luxury platform in July, which involved instituting and training authenticators, and tweaking the company’s distribution infrastructure.)

For eBay, the ultimate goal is to increase the confidence of shoppers seeking luxury products, by adding a stamp of approval that certifies the item has been inspected by experts, Chambers said. The program will also provide a 200 percent money back guarantee in the case that item is in fact a counterfeit.

For the last ten years, eBay users were protected under the Verified Rights Owner program (dubbed VeRO by the company), which provides users with the ability to return a product or file a complaint about a counterfeit item on the site.

“We built out a lot of really great detective rules and can quickly find a posting that has some red flags, and pull it down, and let the seller know why,” said Chambers.

eBay constructed Authenticate after conducting consumer surveys and hosting discussions online and on social media platforms that found shoppers wanted more authentication capabilities. In the end, it was built out of the need to help users feel more comfortable about making a luxury resale purchase from the onset, without having to worry about catching fraudulent behavior or reporting it after a sale is made.

“A year or two ago, the big realization for us was to focus on improving our technology to make sure a purchase is safe,” Chambers said. “The new insight is that it wasn’t enough for our buyers; they needed an extra guarantee, an extra level of confidence, and they wanted us to stand behind [a product] in a clearer way.”

With Authenticate, eBay wants to ensure that its resale inventory is up to snuff, recognizing its place as a destination to purchase limited-edition products.

“Oftentimes, eBay is the only place to find must-have items that are sold out everywhere else, from Yeezy sneakers to a Mansur Gavriel handbag,” Jill Ramsey, vp of soft goods at ebay told Glossy in April.

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