EBay Aims to Authenticate High-End Items

If the authenticated item is found to be fake, eBay will refund double the purchase price

EBay is rolling out a program to authenticate high-end handbags sold on the site—and it could broaden the service to other categories.

The new program, eBay Authenticate, aims to build trust among purchasers of high-end items, said its head, Laura Chambers, in an interview.

Sellers of high-end items can “opt in” to the program for a fee. Once their item is purchased, it will be reviewed by a professional authenticator before it’s sent to the buyer. If it passes muster, it ships.

Even if the seller has decided not to use the service, buyers can still, for a fee, have certain objects that are sold on eBay authenticated.

The auction site is even offering its version of a money-back guarantee: If the buyer finds the authenticated item is fake, eBay will refund the buyer double the original purchase price.

At press time, it wasn’t clear where the authenticators will be located—at eBay headquarters, or spread throughout the country.

“We are still working out the operational elements,” says eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore.

For the time being, the program will focus exclusively on handbags, he says.

“We see this naturally being a good fit for other high-end inventory [and] categories,” he adds. “Based on our learnings, we’ll look to broaden the service out further.”

JCK News Director