Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

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Andy Dale
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Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:25 pm

Despite their policy against selling counterfeit items, today I learned that Ebay has become absolutely flooded with repro/fake retro games over the last few years and the problem seems to have become overwhelming for both the consumers and Ebay themselves.

In the past, a fake game would stand out on Ebay because it was amongst originals, for this reason, these were often reported and taken down. If there is literally hundreds of fake games listed though, reporting them is quite the endeavour.

Consumers can't report several hundred accounts and they shouldn't have to. Ebay should be enforcing their own policy. Do they want to be seen as a legitimate and trustworthy platform or do they want to just seem like the western version of dhgate or aliexpress that they are becoming?

In the event that one of these accounts is taken down, they'll just set up a new one linked to a different bank account. These are being manufactured in Chinese factories and they all sell through hundreds of seller accounts. It's like playing Whack A Mole.

A lot of these listings don't even mention that it is a repro/fake.

I'm writing this because this morning I was looking for Mario Kart 64 and I had to wade through dozens of worthless Chinese fakes. I had to check each listing very carefully and read the description and analyse any photos before paying. It's literally a gamble now and it shouldn't be. Ebay needs to do something about this. People are being scammed. A lot of people buying these copies might not even know repro carts are a thing and if so, they won't even check the board inside or inspect the label, and until they try to sell or swap it they won't even realise they were hoodwinked.

I reported about a half dozen of these accounts this morning and waited until the evening to see if they were shut down.

They were all still listed and several of these fakes had been sold.

So I called Ebay. I asked if I was right that selling counterfeit goods is not permitted on their platform. The guy said "Yes that's right". So I asked him why there was hundreds and hundreds of counterfeit retro games being sold on their site. The guy said that they can only deal with items that are reported to them. I explained that I had reported several today and they were all still active. He assured me that each report gets looked at.


I asked him if the people who look at those reports know how to differentiate between a counterfeit Nintendo cartridge and a legitimate one. He couldn't or wouldn't answer.

So Ebay will only remove the listing if it is reported to them by a customer, and customers aren't going to report all these fakes because there's far too many of them.

Is it just me or is this whole situation completely f*cked?
Last edited by Andy Dale on Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pratty
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:02 pm

Unfortunately fakes are actually accepted by a lot of people, many more casual, non-collectors don't see the difference and will treat a knockoff cart as being as good as a legit one, so they're happy to sell them as they are happy to buy them themselves. To be fair a lot of these people may not even be aware their games aren't genuine.

If you feel that strongly about it you can actually report the persistant offenders to Nintendo themselves, who E-bay will probably be more inclined to react to.

https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Legal-inform ... 32157.html

As I say I'd only report the more blatant and prolific conterfeit dealers, probably not fair to report somebody selling the odd game who may not even be aware it's not genuine.

As for covering yourself you can message the seller and ask them if it's genuine or fake. Then you have an assurance in writing should there be a dispute over a return and refund.

Needless to say avoid any games from China and Hong Kong. Also while I have seen some fake PAL region games, a PAL version is generally more likely to be genuine than a NTSC region game.
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Shinobi
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Shinobi » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:56 pm

I honestly think EBay just don’t care as long as they benefit from the sales, and as Pratty says a lot of casual games don’t even realise there fake games.... What grinds my gears is the shysters buying £5 repro games from Ali Express and charging around £40 to £50 as casual don’t know about Ali Express
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Matt_B » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:52 am

You could just buy them all with PayPal and file a dispute for all the ones that turn out to be fakes.

I've done that a couple of times, getting a full refund in both cases, at least. I'm not sure how it would go if I did it for several hundred though.

Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:58 pm

Thanks for the replies guys.

My problem isn't really myself getting scammed. I know how to spot a repro cart. My problem is other casual gamers/collectors who order this worthless BS and pay 20 dollars + for a fake cartridge that they will struggle to sell or swap in the future.

The problem isn't the occasional person listing second hand repros in ignorance. The problem is traders in China opening eBay accounts and using them as factory outlets.

They are literally flooding the site. I think Shinobi is on the right track. Ebay must be making a fortune from all these sales and doesn't care about a hobby being negatively affected for a bunch of people. They should cease telling people that they prohibit sales of counterfeits though. It is a demonstrable lie.

I liked the idea about contacting Nintendo. I assume that they will be more concerned about this than eBay.

I'll email them this evening and if they respond I will post it here.
Last edited by Andy Dale on Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by merman » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:53 pm

How realistic do you think it is for eBay to check every single item listed?
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Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:16 pm

Not very.

So if it's too difficult for them to deal with, they need to stop saying that they don't allow the sale of counterfeit goods.

It's like a restaurant owner saying he doesn't allow people to bring their own food in to eat at his tables but being overwhelmed when it happens and being unable to enforce his own rule.

Do you think Nintendo will just accept that eBay can't be expected to check each listing?

Ebay needs to either admit that they allow the sale of counterfeits on their platform or remove each of these listings regardless of how difficult it is.

Being overwhelmed is not an excuse. They should alter their no counterfeits rule if they are unable to enforce it.

pratty
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:21 pm

Andy Dale wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:16 pm
Not very.

So if it's too difficult for them to deal with, they need to stop saying that they don't allow the sale of counterfeit goods.

It's like a restaurant owner saying he doesn't allow people to bring their own food in to eat at his tables but being overwhelmed when it happens and being unable to enforce his own rule.

Do you think Nintendo will just accept that eBay can't be expected to check each listing?

Ebay needs to either admit that they allow the sale of counterfeits on their platform or remove each of these listings regardless of how difficult it is.

Being overwhelmed is not an excuse. They should alter their no counterfeits rule if they are unable to enforce it.
To be fair I think if ebay remove the sales/users they are aware of then I think it's fair for them to say they are against knock off products being sold on their website.

Ebay gives it's users the presumtion of innocence and expects them to act in good faith, that's the only way such a large open market could opperate. They will step in when it is pointed out but even then they have to be reasonably sure, and give the seller a fair hearing and and possibly a chance to amend their sales.

To be able to demonstrate they don't tolerate fake items, they first have to establish the items in question are actually fake, they might look highly suspect to us but it's hard to be 100% sure without having the item to hand. Imagine you were selling a game you knew to be 100% legit but got banned and treated like a criminal because an ebay employee had been mis-informed and/or acted too rashly.

And then you may have to determine the itent of the seller. Where they intending to de-fraud the buyer? Was it a one-off occurance? All this could take some time and man-power. Especially since video games are only one of several types of products that are subject to conterfiet.

And when ebay finally do kick somebody it's easy for them (or somebody else) to make another account and continue. It's a battle they could fight forever but never outright win.
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Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:59 pm

Being against something is not the same as prohibiting something. They claim they do not allow these sales. They don't just say that they are against them, they claim to not allow them.

"We don't allow counterfeit items, replicas, or unauthorized copies to be listed on eBay."

https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/proh ... cy?id=4276

That simply is not true. They ARE allowing these sales whether consciously or not.

Here are some of the listings I reported...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/482-in-1-Gam ... %7Ciid%3A1

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mario-Kart-6 ... 0752.m1982

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/208-in-1-Gam ... 0005.m1851


Please tell me how these cartridges can be anything but fake and how eBay can possibly justify allowing them to remain.

Or should we give these sellers the benefit of the doubt?

pratty
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by pratty » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:27 am

Like I said it can take time, the first thing ebay would likely do is open a dialogue with the seller.

What you're saying is like saying just because murders happen, and murderers don't always get caught/convicted, must mean the police are ok with it.
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by SJ_Sathanas » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:41 am

Andy Dale wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:58 pm
My problem isn't really myself getting scammed. I know how to spot a repro cart. My problem is other casual gamers/collectors who order this worthless BS and pay 20 dollars + for a fake cartridge that they will struggle to sell or swap in the future.
I find this interesting. If they are playable are they still "worthless BS"? Is a reprint of a some artwork worthless because it's not the original?
Maybe not everyone wants to buy them simply to swap or sell in the future.

I don'y condone selling fake repos if they claim to be the real thing but I can see why people wouldn't care too.

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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by JamesC » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:45 am

This may be a really bad idea but...

How about if Ebay actually had a reissue/reprodutcion category?

Not necessarily to condone unlicensed copying (there are some legal re-issues after all) but the idea being that creating an intentional grey area may have the benefit of creating a white area.

I wish Ebay would create a searchable field for 'complete with box and manual' on game listings too.

Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:35 pm

pratty wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:27 am
Like I said it can take time, the first thing ebay would likely do is open a dialogue with the seller.

What you're saying is like saying just because murders happen, and murderers don't always get caught/convicted, must mean the police are ok with it.
There's no need for dialogue with a seller in China selling brand new cartridges without boxes and manuals and DS multicarts that were never released legitimately. These are obvious counterfeits. What is there to talk about exactly?

Ebay: Hello we suspect you are selling dodgy games. Is it true?

Bootlegger: No that is not true.

Ebay: Ok sorry for accusing you / Ebay: Bollocks. You're selling fake games and we are banning you.

Regardless of what Ebay responds with. The dialogue was futile.

Your police analogy is invalid. The correct analogy would be an epidemic of murders happening, the police being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of them all and not even investigating any of them. Even ones where the info was given directly to them. Then they still claim that they don't allow murder. The fact is that the police would be allowing those murderers to remain free like eBay is allowing the obvious counterfeits that I reported to remain.
Last edited by Andy Dale on Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:09 pm

SJ_Sathanas wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:41 am
Andy Dale wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:58 pm
My problem isn't really myself getting scammed. I know how to spot a repro cart. My problem is other casual gamers/collectors who order this worthless BS and pay 20 dollars + for a fake cartridge that they will struggle to sell or swap in the future.
I find this interesting. If they are playable are they still "worthless BS"? Is a reprint of a some artwork worthless because it's not the original?
Maybe not everyone wants to buy them simply to swap or sell in the future.

I don'y condone selling fake repos if they claim to be the real thing but I can see why people wouldn't care too.
Worthless BS according to eBay's unenforced policy regarding counterfeits.

Try selling a fake game to a legitimate outlet (who bothers to check authenticity) or a collector/player wanting the original cartridge. They'll offer you nothing. Maybe a quid or two if you're lucky.

It's like a burned DVD containing a film. The item has no value to anyone wanting to own the official DVD.

It may have value to someone who buys counterfeit DVDs for whatever reason, but if people are perusing eBay for bootlegs, then that just confirms what I said about it becoming a westernised version of aliexpress.

Repros/fakes have zero value to anyone looking to buy legitimate and legal products. That's the only type of consumer that eBay claims to be aimed at.
Last edited by Andy Dale on Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Andy Dale
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Re: Ebay is flooded with repros. Can anything be done?

Post by Andy Dale » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:44 pm

JamesC wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:45 am
This may be a really bad idea but...

How about if Ebay actually had a reissue/reprodutcion category?

Not necessarily to condone unlicensed copying (there are some legal re-issues after all) but the idea being that creating an intentional grey area may have the benefit of creating a white area.

I wish Ebay would create a searchable field for 'complete with box and manual' on game listings too.
A category for items that violate copyright laws? They actually did something like that. Despite it defying their own policy.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j12E9BURBJY

Paraphrasing....

"We don't allow people to profit from copyright theft on our platform" - Ebay

"We have set up a category specifically for people to profit from copyright theft" - Ebay
Last edited by Andy Dale on Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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