eBay VERO Scam

What it is: eBay's half-assed answer to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
What it is not: Fair to legitimate sellers.
Why it's there: eBay (and every other site, store, etc.) has the legal obligation to remove listings and items for sale that are counterfeit.
What's wrong with VERO: Your auction can be taken down by anyone - your competition, someone you've ticked off - anyone.

The most common VERO abuse: Basically a scammer sends in a "sworn statement" / affidavit stating that they are the legal representative of, or are the copyright holder for items xxx. ANYONE can send this in. The VERO program is abused, misused, and is the poster child for everything that can go wrong with a brainless response to the copyright and trademark infringement law.

I can send in a statement that I own the rights to an item my competition is selling on eBay, then have their auctions yanked, and possibly get my competition banned from eBay.  I would be lying and committing perjury, but eBay performs no verification or follow-up. I can get away with anything! eBay also provides no recourse for sellers that are the victims of this crime - and make no mistake - it is a crime, one that eBay gladly helps support and appears to actively endorse.

That's the primary misuse - and use - of VERO. Google it.

Next: Overzealous lawyers knowingly committing perjury by having legitimate auctions pulled. Example: Becker books published by DeVry. See VERO Scammers page.

My guess - any if you do any research you'll see it's true, around 75% of all VERO complaints are false.  That's disgusting.

Legitimate uses: The remaining 25% of VERO complaints could be considered legit. But the copyright holders could have first sent an eMail to the seller instead of complaining to VERO. Examples: A book I wrote was being sold on eBay in CD version as a PDF file. I asked the seller to stop selling the item and explained that I was the author and copyright holder. He pulled the item.  No need to involve VERO. 

Another example: I received a call and email from a company explaining that some manuals I had listed on eBay were illegal copies. Yea, right I thought.

I received these manuals as a settlement from a Scuba store (see their logo at right)  that owed me over $2500. They could not afford to pay the bill and were going out of business.  I took the books in trade.  Guess what? They were illegal knock-offs! I had no way of knowing this and was basically screwed. I could not even go after the company that gave me the books because they were out of business!  What was even worse - the lawyer that contacted me had first contacted the owner of the business that closed up. Bernie, the business owner, stated that he had never given me any books, or made any copies of the books for resale. Talk about a bold faced lie - they even sold them in their stores!

I was pissed off that I had to close the auctions - 45 in total, and was out almost $2000 (I had sold many of the books already.)

The lawyer could have filed multiple VERO complaints first. Instead he contacted me and the matter was taken care of without involving the Thought Police over at the eBay Kremlin.

So who does use VERO? Mostly knee-jerk reacting clueless idiots.  Perhaps 5% of the complaints need to go through VERO because some sellers are just as dumb as a box of rocks and will not stop selling knock-offs. They deserve to get banned. The rest? Innocent victims.

Can you fight VERO? Yes.

Personal Note