We take to this blog out of frustration & a last ditch effort to warn others about a bad eBay seller since it looks like eBay does not want to take action against them. We’ll try to keep this long story as short as possible.
A few weeks ago, our TA client called and asked if we would help their friend by giving them our opinion about some Nippon they had recently purchased on eBay. We agreed, and we went to their house to inspect the items, which they believed were counterfeits. Sadly, when we picked the items up (a bowl & candlesticks), we knew they were not authentic Nippon, as they were too heavy. Not only that, but the stamp did not look right. We took pictures, and informed them we would go home and do some thorough research to back up our opinion.
After returning home, we began pouring over all of Joan Van Patten’s books, and other Nippon collector’s books. Sure enough, what did we see but the exact same bowl & candlesticks in Joan Van Patten’s “Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon Porcelain, Fifth Series”, on page #87 (bottom picture). The candlesticks are also shown on this page, albeit with another bowl (center picture).
We contacted our new friend and let them know what we had found. We advised them to contact the seller and inform them that unfortunately, the items were not real, and they would like a refund. The seller, “bellwillring”, informed our friend that they would only give a refund if they provided a signed & notarized document stating that they were indeed fake. We wrote the seller a very nice letter explaining the situation, as most eBay sellers who do not specialize in Nippon are usually unaware that their item is a reproduction. Our friend sent the seller the notarized letter, and she agreed to refund him when she received the items back. They sent the items back and our friend was refunded, along with what we both thought were sincere apologies of she “didn’t know any better”, ect. Case closed, right? Wrong.
Fast forward to this past Friday, July 2, 2010. We were doing some searches on eBay and what did we find but the same seller KNOWINGLY re-selling the same reproduction Nippon bowl & candlesticks as the real deal! (We hate to give this seller any promotion, but you can find the fake Nippon listing here.) We immediately reported her to eBay, and dropped her a message saying we had done so, and she should be ashamed of trying to scam people when she knew the items were not authentic. We did not threaten, we were not ugly or disparaging in any way. As a matter of fact, here is our exact message to her:
You may recognize my name, I am the one who wrote
you the letter on behalf of *REDACTED FOR PRIVACY*
informing you that these items were fake. I
cannot believe you would relist them and not
inform bidders that they are reproductions/fakes.
I am reporting you to eBay for knowingly listing
fraudulent items. Shame on you for trying to scam
others after you were informed they were not
In hindsight, we probably should not have messaged her, but what’s done is done. We just did not want someone else to be scammed. So what happens now, you ask? She reports US to eBay! We get a light warning from the eBay messaging system (they took a neutral position) but the item is STILL LISTED after being reported as a counterfeit to eBay, not only by us, but also by our friend who purchased the items!
We are angry, and you should be too! Why has eBay not taken down the items in question? eBay proclaims to be progressive in stopping reproductions/counterfeits/fakes sold as authentic items, but what we are seeing in this situation is the exact opposite. Apparently, eBay has not learned from the $64 million dollar lawsuit they lost against Louis Vuitton.
To make a long story short, we care about our customers, and we truly do love eBay. We don’t want the “bad apples” to ruin it for everyone else! So, if you are an eBayer, do not buy anything from the seller ‘bellwillring’! Don’t reward her bad behavior! Pass this info along to other eBayers! As we said before, sometimes mistakes happen, and sellers unwittingly sell reproductions as authentic. However; it is just plain wrong to sell something as genuine when you KNOW it is fake and there is published proof that it is!