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The Office of Fair Trading is just a lame duck!

Widespread fraud that violates Fair Trading's regulations is continuing unchecked on Ebay.

But the Office of Fair Trading WON'T enforce their own regulations!

Competition & Consumer Act 2010

Section 18  Misleading or deceptive conduct

             (1)  A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.



OFT admit that they cannot and will not act on thousands of misrepresented items on Ebay involving jewellery.

Here is their reply to my email advising them of the breaches:

Hi Ross,  

Thank you for your email.

I have reviewed your email and note that you have concerns with misrepresentations in regards to the wording for fine jewellery items listed for sale on Ebay.  Ebay is a platform used to sell goods and based on the information you have provided, the misrepresentations appear to have been made by individual sellers and not Ebay directly.  Ebay would not be responsible for any false or misleading statements made by sellers, however, I note there are various policies on the website such as “Listings must not represent items” and “Misleading titles”. 

Due to the number of sale listings on Ebay, it would be extremely difficult for Ebay to monitor and address every sale that misrepresents the quality or actual materials of each item of jewellery sold.  I understand that you have raised concerns with Ebay in relation to individual sales, and they have claimed that they have taken action in some instances but in others it is not a violation of their policy or there is not enough evidence of any violation. 

As a result of the concerns you have raised the ORS will write to Ebay and seek confirmation of their policies, definitions of violations and what action is taken.  The ORS cannot however take action against individual sellers due to the sheer volume of listings and the resources required to investigate every listing that may be misleading.  The ORS is also unable to request Ebay remove alleged fraudulent listings, ban the use of terms or close the accounts of sellers.  This does not prevent you however from seeking your own legal advice in regards to the matter.  This may be accessed from your own lawyer or alternatively the ACT Law Society provides a free legal advice service and may be contacted on 6247 5700 to book an appointment.

Regards

Rachel Niehus | Acting Manager | Advice and Complaints I Fair Trading

_____________________________________________________________

Office of Regulatory Services | Justice and Community Safety Directorate

255 Canberra Avenue, FYSHWICK  ACT  2609

Phone: 02 6207 6799  Fax 02 6207 0538  |  www.ors.act.gov.au

 

In other words, it is too much like hard work to take any action.

Truly a case of buyer beware, because those who hold the power to protect the public, won't.

Makes you wonder why we even bother having an Office Of Fair Trading

 

Ebay Scams

Ebay is allowing their sellers to falsely advertise silver plated jewellery as being sterling silver with 925 hallmarks.

This is illegal and destroys the value of the hallmarks that should assure consumers that what they are buying is real jewellery.

Chain Me Up is not going to sit back and let this continue unchallenged. 


The following email was sent to the Consumer Affairs Department in every Australian State and Territory on April 22nd 2014 for them to follow up:



newemaillogo

 



Dear Sir / Madam,

 I would like to report extensive illegal activity on the Australian Ebay website. (www.ebay.com.au)

 I specifically refer to the section of the site where ‘fine jewellery’ is listed for sale. (http://www.ebay.com.au/chp/Fine-Jewellery-/4196)

 There are thousands of items described as ‘sterling silver’ which do not confirm to the world standard for this label.

 Sterling silver is internationally defined as being a solid alloy composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

 The items to which I refer are typically (but not exclusively) silver plated base metals (copper and brass) and have been illegally hallmarked with the 925 stamp.

 This is clear misrepresentation of the actual materials from which the jewellery is made.

 I have alerted Ebay (refer to appendix i) to the fact that many sellers are misrepresenting items for sale (and provided them with specific cases) and have had little satisfaction in attempting to have them remove the offending items from their site.

 As Ebay are aware of this illegal activity and will not act to prevent it continuing, I seek your assistance in enforcing them to comply with the applicable Australian laws.

 As a retailer of genuine precious metal Australian made jewellery, fake items that are being sold on Ebay directly impact negatively on my own business.

 The widespread use of false hallmarks completely devalues the assurance that they should provide to consumers in ensuring jewellery is genuine.

A further issue is with ‘gold’ jewellery. Items are being advertised (an example) as a ‘solid gold (gf) necklace’.

 GF is an abbreviation for ‘gold filled’. It is defined as a base metal such as copper or brass with a layer of 10 carat or higher gold mechanically bonded to it and being at least 5% of the items mass.

 Gold Plated (GP), Gold Electroplated (GEP), Gold Layered (GL) are other abbreviations that are widely used and rarely defined by a seller.

 Gold Filled is not solid gold, so this is another example of deliberately misleading consumers into believing they have bought a higher quality product than they have in fact purchased.

 So the description ‘solid gold gf necklace’ is an oxymoron. An item can be ‘gold filled’ OR ‘solid gold’. It cannot be both.

 Specifically I seek your assistance to ensure that Ebay:

 ·         immediately removes all fraudulent items from their site

·         take an active position in preventing future fraudulent listings

·         ensures costume jewellery is listed in the appropriate category (not ‘fine jewellery’)

·         Bans the use of terms like GF, GP, GL and require the item is described by the full term ‘Gold Filled’, ‘Gold Plated’ or ‘Gold Layered’

·         Takes action against all sellers who continue to fraudulently describe items they list

·         Closes the accounts of sellers who list illegally hallmarked items

I have no objections to Ebay allowing people to list jewellery that is plated, filled or layered as long as it is clearly represented as such.

 I have strong objections to Ebay allowing people to list silver plated jewellery that is represented as ‘sterling silver’ and has falsified hallmarks.

 A collection of items that are being fraudulently misrepresented are contained in appendix ii, with a list of sellers.

 To ensure that the general public are made aware of the issues referred to above, I shall be approaching media organisations in print, radio, digital media and television to publish my findings for the public benefit.

 I would appreciate being kept informed of the results of your enquiries and any actions taken against Ebay and its sellers.

Kind Regards,

  cid:image001.gif@01CA5375.7552F350

Ross Fraser (MCP, CNE)


Mobile

0423 649 888 ( International +61 423 649 888 )

Precious Metal Jewellery

100% Australian Made

100% Australian Owned

Telephone

07 5590 7108 ( International +61 755 907 108 )

Email 

sales@chain-me-up.com.au

Web    

https://www.chain-me-up.com.au/

Snail Mail

P.O.Box 786, Tweed Heads, NSW 2485


This electronic message and any attachments are supplied in good faith. We accept no responsibility for the damage or loss which may occur through the use or transmission of this message and attachments. The contents of this electronic message and any attachments are intended only for the addressee and may contain privileged or confidential information. If you are not the addressee, you are notified that any transmission, distribution, downloading, printing or photocopying of the contents of this message or attachments is strictly prohibited. The privilege of confidentiality attached to this message and attachments is not waived, lost or destroyed by reason of mistaken delivery to you. If you receive this message in error please notify the sender by return e-mail or telephone. This footnote also confirms that this email message has been scanned by the current version of McAfee Virus Scan for the presence of computer viruses.

Appendix i

 These emails were exchanged between myself and Ebay on the 11th April 2014. My emails are in black, Ebay’s emails are in blue.

Dear Ebay,

I am very concerned about the large volume of fake jewellery being sold on Ebay and represented as “Fine Jewellery”.

Stamping 925 onto a piece of jewellery is only allowed if the piece is SOLID sterling silver.

Plated items are NOT sterling silver, yet many sellers are passing them off as genuine as they are stamped with 925. This is misleading AND illegal.

These items are being sold in the “Fine Jewellery” section and clearly they are not.

Gold products which are plated, gold filled (gf), rolled gold, gold layered (GL) or in any other way NOT solid gold are also NOT fine jewellery and should not be advertised in this category.

Many sellers do not CLEARLY show their items are not solid gold and use abbreviations such as GF, GL GP which most people do not know the true meaning of.

1. You need to ensure that all costume jewellery is placed in its correct category.
2. You need to ensure that the use of abbreviations is stopped and terms like ‘GP’ must be written fully as ‘gold plated’
3. You need to add a button to each item so that it can be reported as being ‘fake’ immediately.
4. You need to shut down all sellers selling illegally on your website immediately.

You can not knowingly allow these people to continue to break the law from the moment you are made aware of their illegal actions.

As such I am reporting the following sellers:
http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/emily-rose2013 silver plated jewellery that is stamped 925
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/300956644770?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com.au%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_sacat%3D0%26_from%3DR40%26_nkw%3D300956644770%26_rdc%3D1

http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/page.josh silver plated jewellery that is stamped 925
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Bracelet-925-Sterling-Silver-Hallmarked-/181378746582?pt=AU_FineJewellery&hash=item2a3b0408d6

http://www.ebay.com.au/usr/12*glitter this seller does explain what GL means, but the title uses only the abbreviation ‘GL’ and is in the Fine Jewellery section.
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Womens-18ct-Gold-GL-Solid-Medium-Euro-Curb-Bracelet-and-Filigree-Heart-/261445066583?pt=AU_FineJewellery&hash=item3cdf571f57

These are just 3 examples of hundreds (or thousands) of products that are not advertised correctly.

I have no objection to people selling costume jewellery IF it is clearly advertised as such.

I await your reply,

Kind Regards,

Ross Fraser


11-04-2014

Hello sales@chain-me-up.com.au,

Thanks for contacting eBay about the reported listings.

I've determined that this item 181378746582 does not violate our policy, thus there will be no action taken.
In regard to the listing 261445066583, I see that this is no longer active on the site. As such, we can no longer take appropriate action on it. However, I've confirmed that we've already taken action on the listing 300956644770. This means that this is no longer available on the site.

We appreciate your time in bringing this to us.

Kind regards,
Jomalen
eBay Trust & Safety Team


11-04-2014 re item 181378746582

Dear Ebay,

This bracelet is being sold for $7.50 including postage.

The bullion price for silver is around $1.00 per gram and this bracelet would weigh between 20 and 25 grams IF it was sterling silver.

It is being sold for less than ONE THIRD THE COST of the raw materials.

I can only assume it IS NOT sterling silver regardless of the false hallmarking.

I challenge you to buy one and cut it in half and tell me it IS NOT copper or brass inside.

Please contact this seller and have them guarantee it is actually sterling silver.

If they do, then I will buy one. I will then open the package and cut the bracelet in half in front of a TV camera on A Current Affair.

Please do your due diligence and stop people using Ebay to perpetrate fraud on a massive, unregulated scale.

Additionally here is an item being sold in the ‘Fine Jewellery’ category: 350897530925

It is NOT fine jewellery, it IS NOT 18K gold, nor is it solid silver.

It would be best for your team to do an immediate and thorough investigation into the jewellery sellers on your site and bring each and every one of them into line.

I will afford you a reasonable time in which to do this before I commence a wide spread media campaign and bring these thousands of instances of fraud to the attention of the Fair Trading Commission Australia wide.

Kind Regards,

Ross Fraser

Hi Ross Fraser,

Thank you for contacting eBay about your report.

We're concerned about violations on eBay, please be advised that we are doing our best to have a safer marketplace to buy and sell here on eBay. Once you report a seller, please be assured that we've taken appropriate action in accordance with our site policies. Since we do not have the actual item in our hands, we usually take action on listings through reports from trademark owners and/or on any blatant statements that would imply that the item is not genuine. Before we removed a listing we also take into consideration on how the item is marketed or described.

In regard to the reported listing ( Item number350897530925), we are unable to take appropriate action since there's no enough evidence that they have violated our policy. Be guided that we also have guidelines to follow in terms of taking appropriate action on a listing.

We appreciate your understanding regarding this matter.

Kind regards,

Gel G.

eBay Trust & Safety

Dear Ebay,

Re item 350897530925

 Seriously?

 This item is listed as wholesale New Solid Silver Ring 18K Gold Ring Men/Lady925 Silver Ring Size6-10 

It cannot be both gold and silver, it is on sale for $1.00 and it is in the ‘Fine Jewellery’ section.

 From this listing:

Size :silver ring and 18k gold ring have size6,7,8,9,10 but the diamond ring just have sieze7 and size8

 Diamond? – For $1.00 I bet it’s a real one.

 If your attitude is to fob me off with ‘we are unable to take appropriate action since there's no enough evidence that they have violated our policy’ then I will begin action against Ebay through all legal channels, as it is clearly obvious that you do not care that your sellers are selling fake jewellery.

 You are KNOWINGLY ALLOWING A FRAUD TO CONTINUE and this may well expose your company to criminal penalties.

 This is just one of thousands of items on your site that blatantly breach Australian consumer laws. You have a responsibility to ensure that all sellers meet Australian rules, regulations and laws.

 You clearly don’t care as long as you get your sellers fees and commissions.

 I expect you to take immediate action or I will immediately instigate an investigation through all relevant government agencies.

 If you are not in a position to handle this complaint correctly, then pass it to a superior who is.

 I will not lie down and have my business undermined by criminal activity on your site.

 I look forward to your confirmation of correcting this illegal activity on your web site.

 Kind Regards,

Ross Fraser.

 I have not received any further responses from Ebay at this time.

The following sellers appear to be worth investigating as some of the worst offenders:

emily-rose2013  starshine_jewelery  harrodshop  annashi008  gorgeousgorgeousthings  timesrose  robert2011-88  justjewellery_au  gossipgirl-au  styles.online  johnwholesaling

 


Mobile

0423 649 888 ( International +61 423 649 888 )

Precious Metal Jewellery

100% Australian Made

100% Australian Owned

Telephone

07 5590 7108 ( International +61 755 907 108 )

Email 

sales@chain-me-up.com.au

Web    

https://www.chain-me-up.com.au/

Snail Mail

P.O.Box 786, Tweed Heads, NSW 2485


This electronic message and any attachments are supplied in good faith. We accept no responsibility for the damage or loss which may occur through the use or transmission of this message and attachments. The contents of this electronic message and any attachments are intended only for the addressee and may contain privileged or confidential information. If you are not the addressee, you are notified that any transmission, distribution, downloading, printing or photocopying of the contents of this message or attachments is strictly prohibited. The privilege of confidentiality attached to this message and attachments is not waived, lost or destroyed by reason of mistaken delivery to you. If you receive this message in error please notify the sender by return e-mail or telephone. This footnote also confirms that this email message has been scanned by the current version of McAfee Virus Scan for the presence of computer viruses.

 

 

 

 



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