eBay Resolution

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a problem I had with an eBay seller and asked for advice. I wanted to let you know how it went.

The short story is that I ordered some Wallace and Gromit knitting patterns from a UK seller and instead of receiving the original patterns, I received photocopies. I asked you all for advice and it was overwhelmingly “report to eBay, demand refund, leave honest feedback”. Thank you for listening and all your advice. Here’s what happened….

First, I e-mailed the seller and explained that the listing didn’t state they were photocopies and that I would not have purchased them had I known. I asked to either be sent the originals or to be given a refund. At the same time, I had a friend report the seller to eBay for selling photocopies of copyrighted materials (so that I could claim that I hadn’t reported if things got sticky before I got my resolution). I didn’t receive a response for several days. So I sent another message and included a deadline.

The day after the deadline passed, I went through the eBay/PayPal process of filing a dispute. One day later, the seller gave me a full refund and asked that I cancel the PayPal dispute. I eventually did. And then I mailed the photocopies back on Saturday. They didn’t ask, but I wanted to make sure I covered my bases. So, with the different exchange rates at the time of the refund and the return postage, I was out about $7 for the whole thing. But most importantly, the seller was out the full amount, so I’m pleased with it.

Unfortunately, I note that the seller is still listing the copied patterns on eBay. They are now listed as copies. But it seems that eBay isn’t interested in protecting the copyright by pulling the auctions. There are actually several sellers currently selling photocopies of Wallace and Gromit patterns. I have reported them all. eBay hasn’t pulled a single auction. Which is very different than the response I see when the Barenaked Ladies fan community reports illegal music and video copies of Barenaked Ladies recordings being sold. Those get pulled almost immediately. Is it that music copies have a sexier legal lobby? Or is it that the music fans protest en masse?

What’s next?

  • I need to leave feedback for the seller. I’m going to be as explicit as I can in 80 characters, but I’m still not sure whether to leave a “neutral” or “negative” rating. I did get a refund in the end. I guess my fear is a reciprocal negative feedback rating from the seller. Which is a silly reason, but I don’t have any recourse even though I’m in the right.
  • I need to collect the real patterns. I’ve won auctions for 3 of them already. There are 3 more. I missed winning out on a couple of them because of poor timing on my part. But I’m sure if I’m persistent, I should get the others soon.
  • I want to take a stand for copyright. It seems that one complaint to eBay about auctions for illegal copies doesn’t make a difference. But maybe more will. If you have a few minutes and are so motivated, please do a little reporting for these auctions. If you e-mail me or leave a comment with your e-mail address, I’ll send you a list of the auction numbers that I know are currently selling illegal scans and photocopies of Wallace and Gromit patterns. It’s not much, but maybe eBay will start paying attention. Thanks!


  1. Vicki:

    I’m glad you got your money back, even if it did take threats. I find it really odd that eBay hasn’t done anything. I’d be happy to file some complaints. I’m glad you have the good morals not to stand for that :)

  2. Janice:

    Good to hear that you were able to resolve your situation with this transaction.

    My experience with eBay and counterfeit or bootleg items is along the lines of what you’re seeing with the Wallace & Gromit patterns. I report auctions of unauthorized video/and audio copies for a band that I support. The auctions are not pulled and the sellers continue to sell their wares. It’s frustrating, but I keep reporting. I’m hoping that if there are enough instances against the same seller, eBay will finally do something about it.

  3. Annette P.:

    I’m glad you are talking about this and filing complaints (send me the information and I’ll take a look at the sites as well). I have a question about the original author of the patterns. Who is it and are they aware of the copies being made? Sometimes authors will give permission for so many copies to be made. Just curious since I’m not aware of the author in this case.

  4. kim:

    for losing auctions due to timing, use this service


    I have been using it for several years and it works GREAT.

  5. Kathy:

    I’d leave a negative feedback. Be calm and truthful: “Buyer did not disclose she is selling photocopies. Refunded money. Is still selling (illegal) copies.”

    That’s too long, but something along those lines should negatively effect her sales.

    I went through this a couple of years ago when I bought labels from someone and discovered she was reselling UPS labels that she got for free by opening a UPS account in my name. I was furious. eBay didn’t do anything about it. I left her negative feedback and had several potential buyers email me and thank me for warning them about her.

    I watched her auctions and over the next couple of months, other buyers began leaving similar feedback and she eventually stopped selling. (Under that name, anyway.)

    Send me the auction #’s and I’ll file complaints with eBay.

  6. Lisa:

    I’ve been awaiting, almost three weeks two W & G patterns, hope they aren’t from the same vendor. I’ll file complaints when you send the auction i.d.s. After all the A.S. “stuff” I’m surprised at the response from eBay. The designers need to unionize.

  7. Donna:

    Amy, I was going to suggest auctionsniper.com; a lot of services will give you a few snipes for free to get you hooked, er, let you try it. I’d leave a neutral rating, only because your job is to report about the transaction, not enforce copyright - it’s hard to explain why copyright infringement is trhe reason for your rating in 80 letters or less…I hope that makes sense - I’m as incensed about the behavior as I am excited that there are W&G patterns out there.

  8. Shannon:

    Hi - I’ve come to your blog via a search for something else and lots of hops later here I am… Anyway, re: eBay in the UK - it’s only taken off here in the last 2-3 years and I’ve found that it tends to work quite differently than it does in the US (I’m a US expat). It’s like it’s still sort of in growing pains even though it’s been around for a decade (or nearly so). I think copyright laws here are just as if not more strict than the US and if you were to inform eBay that the user is selling licensed movie merchandise they’d pull the auctions.

    Good luck and I hope you have better success with buying up the original patterns.

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