EBay is under fire from law enforcement officials and manufacturers over levels of crime on the site and the levels of cooperation they receive.
Trading standards officers who regularly investigate crimes perpetrated on the site have accused eBay of being “obstructive” in the way it shares information. North Yorkshire Trading Standards says eBay can take up to two months to provide the names and addresses of suspects it is pursuing.
“If it takes up to two months, then it is eating in to a lot of time that we have to make prosecutions,” said Ruth Taylor, who heads the authority’s special investigations unit. “It gets to the point where that is obstructive to our inquiry.”
Concerns have also been raised about the large amount of counterfeit goods on sale on eBay.
Adidas told the BBC that it monitored up to 12,000 auctions involving its goods every day on the British site – yet it estimated that up to 40% of all Adidas products available were counterfeit.
eBay says it has a special relationship with brand owners, who can notify the site of auctions involving counterfeit goods which will then be taken down within hours.
However, the Ben Sherman clothing brand says it recently took eBay five days to take down an auction of counterfeit clothing – by which time much of it had been sold.
“I think one must say that it’s highly unsatisfactory,” said Barry Ditchfield, Ben Sherman’s brand protection manager.
“With all the amount of profits that eBay makes, then there is ample scope for additional staff. Frankly, it is totally unsatisfactory, not just for Ben Sherman but for all brand holders.
EBay have rejected the accusations, saying that the company has a good relationship with law enforcement officials.
“The satisfaction level is generally very high,” said Gareth Griffiths.