Updated November 30, 2018 17:18:54 Australian-based eBay has been accused of failing to ensure its online marketplace is safe for customers from counterfeit merchandise.
The company has been rocked by a spate of fake and unauthorized items on the site, including counterfeit wristbands, jewellery and electronics.
An Australian federal court heard that Australian-headquartered eBay has failed to comply with consumer protection laws in Australia.
“We’re a marketplace, we are a marketplace of consumers, and we have a responsibility to ensure our platform is safe from counterfeit items,” a spokesperson for the company told The Hill.
The spokesman added that there had been no formal complaints filed with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Australian Competition and Consumers Commissioner Andrew Colvin told the court that eBay must “revisit the way it runs its business”.
“This is a real concern for us and we’ll be consulting with the company and the Australian Consumer Lawyer’s Association to see if we can get an understanding of what they’re talking about,” he said.
“We want to make sure that this is not going to be a new phenomenon.
It will be a recurring issue.”
The case follows a number of other recent incidents in Australia involving counterfeit products.
Last year, the Australian government issued a statement warning retailers to be wary of counterfeit goods, saying it was “truly disappointing” that some Australian retailers had not been more vigilant in dealing with counterfeit items.
“While we appreciate the concerns expressed by our trading partners, we recognise that this isn’t a matter for the government,” a spokesman for the Australian Trade Minister told the ABC.
“As we said in our response to the counterfeit-related incidents in the United Kingdom, the best way to protect consumers is to buy from reputable retailers.”
In October, an Australian consumer group warned that consumers were buying counterfeit goods on eBay.
“A number of Australian retailers are knowingly buying counterfeit items on eBay, and those sellers are getting away with it,” the Australian Retailers Association said.
According to the group, counterfeit goods are “often sold for less than the retail price” of the item.
“These are often low-quality items, often in low-value colour and design.”
According to an analysis of eBay data by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, eBay has reported that it has seen more than 1,000 counterfeit items linked to more than 6,000 Australian retailers.
In the US, the number of counterfeit products has tripled since 2016, according to a report from the Securities and Exchange Commission.