A special word of warning about eBay, as they are selling all sorts of ‘fake titles’, but state that they take no responsibility for their authenticity, thus providing marvellous opportunities for sellers – so ‘Buyer Beware’, after you have been cheated out of your money, you will have no right of redress against eBay.
Despite an almost continuous flow of e-mails between us, they have failed to take action in almost every instance; so watch out for two particular sellers on eBay, ‘cool_cuts’, offering fake Lordships of the Manor for £99, and selling huge numbers every week, and ‘chartergallant’, none other than our friends at Noble Titles.
This position was described very well by a respondent to Fake Titles: “Through the engagement registration and disclosures for parties buying and selling, eBay legally warrants its own representations then passes through all liabilities. The only actionable parties are the buyer and seller.
eBay does not even have obligations as a bulletin board (conveyor of electronic media). As long as they do not post seller notices for firearms, human organs, nor other explosive ordinance or regulated substances, they are completely within the United States Code of Law.
More is the pity. Many people are currently exploiting eBay and other on-line auction sites to firewall themselves from reflective tort liability or other legal exposures.”
A typically complacent, but always very polite and meaningless, response – and I have a proverbial barrow full – will run along the lines of:
“Thank you for taking the time to write to us in relation to your concern about fake items on our site.
eBay shares your concern in such matters. This is why we work very closely with major copyright holders under our VeRO Programme. We also are happy to work with agencies such as the Police and Trading Standards.
Please remember that eBay acts only as a venue for sales. As we never take possession of the items offered for sale, we cannot authenticate them. We ask that sellers list items honestly and accurately, and that bidders ask any pertinent questions before placing a bid.
We do not permit the listing of fake items on eBay: however, we can only use the information provided within the listing text, as we do not have the item itself. This may mean that we cannot remove items reported to us, as the content of the listing is not sufficient evidence of an infringement. To retain the consistency and integrity of our policies, we must act only on actual listing evidence.
We do not police the site: this is why you may see active items which are in violation, and we encourage you to report those to us. We instead use reports from concerned users and rights owners.”
Though Andrew Easton of Burke’s Peerage has also written to them, they have failed to take any action.
Any sensible person should boycott eBay completely until they clean up their act, as clearly they are only interested in how much money they make, and are not concerned about their clients being ‘ripped off’. So, don’t blame me if you purchase a ‘title’ through eBay and find – inevitably – that it is not a real one, you have been warned.