Leading high street retailers including Asda, House of Fraser and River Island have met with eBay to try to crack down on what they claim are the “tens of thousands of pounds worth of stolen goods” sold on the site every day. Of particular concern are vouchers and credit notes being sold at way below face value: these are claimed to be the result of shoplifters returning stolen items for store credit.
A spokesman for eBay said that they “do not accept that there are a significant number of stolen items on the site.” Indeed, an announcement made earlier this week covers just this issue: “The Dublin Fraud Investigations Team works with numerous law enforcement agencies throughout Europe to pursue, apprehend, and prosecute fraudsters who may use eBay or PayPal to facilitate their crimes. Due to the legal nature of the work this team does, our efforts to fight these crimes often need to stay behind the scenes.”
Of course, the high street in general has a vested interest in making online sales in general look dodgy and dangerous, even if that’s not the specific aim of this new initiative. But shoplifting, fencing and ripping off the general public all existed long before eBay did. The organisers of the meeting, anti-theft group Oris, said that “it is long-winded and difficult to get eBay to close a suspect seller down.” Frankly, that’s as it should be: high street shops should not have the power of veto over another business. If they were so sure of their proof that eBay sellers are acting illegally, why are they not contacting law-enforcement officials?
Many thanks to Dan for the Torygraph link.