As some of you know, I do some authenticating of Coach items over at "another" forum. Over the last year, several other highly-qualified authenticators of Coach and other lines have been going through HE!! trying to get Listia to remove fakes. For a short while they responded to our reports, then started to ignore them and still are. I've told their Mods, several who are members of the "other" forum, that if Listia refuses to take steps to obey US laws and make their site a safe place to buy, I would no longer be authenticating their listings.
I've also been in touch with another authenticator who I've known and worked with for years and whose experiences have been even more frustrating. She used also work directly with the Listia Mods who have now been given new Rules by the site owners:
She told me:
"Listia has now decided that it will not comply with the law and won't be removing fakes UNLESS they are reported by the rights owners. And what rights owners are aware of a small site like Listia to report?
This is the message that I received from one of the mods:
Do you think a authenticator would sign a paper saying they are positive the item is not authentic in case it goes to court because I removed the item based soley on their word.
We are not removing fakes anymore.. without a formal take down or that form filled out.. We are also going to encourage users to report fakes to the designers.. and if they respond with a take down the item will be removed promptly..
I found the first example of their non-action. A mod posted an authentication request, item was deemed as counterfeit by an expert and rather than remove the fake, they posted a link to the un-authentication, presumably to encourage members to view the link and educate themselves.
But because of Listia's software set up, outside links are broken when copied into the comments/questions -- they insert spaces into the link so it doesn't work and it doesn't c&p.
Thus, they're taking advantage of free authentications, but not only are they not removing proven fakes but they are posting broken links, preventing others from viewing it! Members don't know how to close the spaces in the links and in fact, the spaces aren't that obvious that the members would notice them anyway..."
There are dozens of examples of the various excuses and "procedural changes" the owners have used to avoid having to remove fakes. So I posted the following at the "other" forum - I hope there's no problem posting my statement, I won't post the actual link unless the forum Mods here say it's OK but most of you can probably guess where it's posted:
"Oct 17, 2012 8:49AM - in "Authenticate This Coach"
Re: LISTIA Authentications
Once again Listia is washing their corporate hands of any responsibility for keeping illegal counterfeits off their site. And once again I'll be refusing any requests to authenticate their Coach items.
Previously they have wobbled back and forth about accepting reports by members of fake merchandise which would sometimes, not always, be removed by their Mods. They've now made it known that they will ONLY remove fakes if the affected manufacturer or their VeRO rep reports them and requests removal.
AFAIK Listia has no in-house VeRO reps like Ebay does, so the chances of any official expert from any company actually seeing Listia's auctions to report them is almost nil. Listia is blubbering that a seller might take them to court for removing a listing that someone such as another member or "unqualified" person reported as fake. (Funny, accepting reports from qualified individuals is okay with Ebay, but not Listia. Of course Ebay had to almost be forced to do it after several lawsuits where Ebay was told that they WERE responsible for keeping fakes off their site, but that's another story).
So Listia wants only removal requests from the actual corporation OR - believe it or not - from authenticators willing to sign a form accepting legal responsibility for their reports. Ummmmmm, you CAN get those, folks. Their called Professional Authentications, and you have to actually PAY for them, which obviously ain't gonna happen. So their Mods are forced to to ask here for a free service, then post a link back to this post with breaks or spaces in the link that their forum software automatically inserts and which some forum members there have trouble figuring out how to get around. Posting a broken link to a t** post is essentially useless and an attempt to deny responsibity for policing their own site and taking action to remove counterfeits.
Just as we've been doing with other sites such as iOffer where fakes are allowed to run rampant, I personally will no longer be authenticating any Listia listings for Coach products, either from Listia Mods, bidding members, or anyone who posts photos from a Listia item. What the authenticators for other brands here at t** do is completely up to each individual, but my decision as regards Coach authentications is made. If my opinion (and that of others) is respected enough for Ebay to remove fake Coaches that we report, it should be good enough for Listia.
For anyone thinking of buying a Coach (or any other highly-faked brand) on Listia, you're on your own. Caveat Emptor. "
And I offer the same advice and explanation to EffenHaute members and readers. If a site repeatedly tries to wash their hands of the responsibility of removing reported and proveable fakes, they don't deserve anyone's business. One iOffer is already one too many.