eBay launched an authentication program that makes it safer to buy and sell big-ticket items like watches, designer handbags, and collectibles on the site — here's how it works
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- eBay Authenticate helps users shop for authentic luxury items like watches, handbags, jewelry, and collectibles like comic books, sports trading cards, and gold coins.
- Every item listed with eBay Authenticate is meticulously inspected and verified to be authentic by experts and is already in eBay's possession when you purchase it. That way, you can shop without worrying about getting scammed or being sent a fake.
- Below, I break down how it works for both buyers and sellers.
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I know it's widely accepted that eBay has a bit of a reputation for being fishy, filled with scammers and counterfeit goods. But I want to clear something up here: With all the strides the company has made to protect buyers, that reputation is undeserved.
While there have, in fact, been instances of fraud and fakes on eBay (unfortunately, you can expect that on any platform where independent buyers and sellers have the autonomy to do business without a ton of oversight), the company has made amazing strides to improve the user experience for buyers and sellers and ultimately drive smoother transactions. From having plenty of brands sell products directly through the site to offering extensive buyer protection, eBay is a surprisingly safe place to shop.
Now, the brand is continuing its safe-shopping efforts with a new program called eBay Authenticate.
As a sub-section of the site, eBay Authenticate was designed to help users shop for luxury items like handbags, watches, and jewelry and collectibles like gold coins, sports trading cards, and comics with 100% confidence. Each item listed for sale has been verified to be authentic by an expert and is fairly priced based on factors like condition, rarity, and current market value.
To fully understand eBay Authenticate, it's best to learn how it works as a seller first, because that's where the inventory you will shop as a buyer comes from.
Here's how it works as a seller:
Let's say you have a designer handbag that you want to sell. The first step is to check if your item is eligible to be sold on eBay Authenticate by entering the brand, item type, and condition. If your item is eligible, you can then send it into eBay for authentication using a prepaid shipping label. From there, independent experts authenticate, price, and list your items for sale on eBay Authenticate. When your item is purchased, you get paid and eBay handles shipping the item to the buyer.
It's worth noting that eBay takes a 20% transaction fee when authenticated items are sold. Although that's quite a bit more than eBay's standard 10% transaction fee, it's worth it. You will find that the verified authenticity almost always makes it easier to sell your item, rather than listing it yourself — or using another avenue of sale. Buyers want to shop with confidence, and this is an easy way for them to do it.
Here's how it works as a buyer:
If you're accustomed to shopping on eBay, using eBay Authenticate isn't much different — you shop, pay, and receive your items in the mail. However, there are several key benefits that alleviate the concerns associated with buying big-ticket, rare, or collectible items online.
Since all of the items are professionally authenticated and in the possession of eBay at the time of your purchase, you can guarantee that the item you receive is the same item in the listing. There's no chance of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars only to never hear from the seller again or to receive a counterfeit item in return (granted, there are protections for that, but it doesn't make getting scammed any less frustrating).
In the rare instance that you do have doubts about the authenticity of an item you've received, you can contact the seller, return the item in the same condition you received it in with the eBay Authenticate tag still attached, and the experts will re-authenticate your item. If they can't confirm the authenticity of your item, you'll receive a full refund. This is a major benefit as some sellers on eBay don't offer returns. If you purchase something on eBay outside of eBay Authenticate and it turns out to be counterfeit, you run the risk of being stuck with that item and not getting your money back, unless you ask eBay to step in and they're able to remedy the situation.
The best part is that shopping on eBay Authenticate costs you zero extra dollars. With all of the added benefits, there's really no reason not to shop — or at least browse — on eBay Authenticate for those high-end luxury items and collectibles you've been nervous about buying online.
How eBay Authenticate can save you money:
Generally, the safest way to get authentic items is to buy it directly from the manufacturer's retail store or website, but that's usually not the best option — or an option at all. For example, if you want a Rolex watch or a Chanel handbag, you will absolutely spend more at retail locations compared to shopping on eBay, since the items listed on eBay are generally going to be lightly used.
The bottom line
I've never purchased a high-end watch or designer handbag on eBay, but I have made many successful purchases on the site in the past. My personal purchases mostly include collectible sneakers and rare BMW car parts, and much of my confidence in buying those things came from my own expertise.
Before I learned about this program, I would have steered clear of buying a watch, bag, or anything else that's highly collectible simply because I'm not an expert in those areas, but with eBay Authenticate, I wouldn't hesitate to do it.
If you've come to terms with never owning your dream watch or designer handbag because of an egregious retail price, eBay Authenticate can make it a feasible reality. You'll also find many giftable items for the upcoming holiday season.
Start shopping on eBay Authenticate now.
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