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%#@&*ing Ebay's "VeRO Program"(14 posts)

%#@&*ing Ebay's "VeRO Program"filtersweep
Oct 25, 2003 2:33 PM
Explain how selling a Vittoria tire violates intellectual property rights of third parties.

These are tires... TIRES- and these are not counterfeits.

Check out this ebay email:

"The following listing:

3633698076 - 2X Vittoria Ultra Speed Tires NEW 700x23 145g

was removed by eBay because a member of our Verified Right Owner (VeRO)
Program notified eBay that the listing potentially infringes its
copyright, trademark or other rights. We strongly urge you not to complete
this transaction.

You can get more information on the VeRO Program at:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/confidence/programs-vero-ov.html

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this issue.

Regards,

Customer Support (Trust and Safety Department)
eBay Inc"

OK this is "THE LIST" :

http://pages.ebay.com/help/index_popup.html?confidence=programs-vero-ov.html

Potentially Infringing
(copyright & trademark)

Academic Software
Anti-circumvention Policy
Authenticity Disclaimers
Beta Software
Bootleg Recordings
Brand Name Misuse
Comparison Policy
Contracts and Tickets
Downloadable Media
Encouraging Policy
Faces, Names and Signatures
Importation of Goods into the United States
Misleading Titles
Mod Chips, Game Enhancers, and Boot Discs
Movie Prints
OEM Software
Recordable Media
Replica and Counterfeit Items
Promotional Items
Unauthorized Copies

What is the basis for prohibiting Vittoria (and only Vittoria, as this has been a persistant issue for some time) tires?

Anyone? It can't be a distribution issue or all sorts of distributors would cry foul over ebay.
It's Vittoria's call, not Ebay'srussw19
Oct 25, 2003 5:38 PM
Vittoria is trying to protect their brand identity and the prestige factor of their tires. They don't want them sold at cut throat prices on ebay, so they are asking ebay to remove adds they didn't approve of. They are not the only company to do this. Trek will pull dealer licenses if they catch a shop posting their products up on ebay. It violates the dealer license agreement.

And yes, it's a distribution issue. It's not the distributors crying foul though, they are still selling the stuff... it's the shops. Sound's oxymoronic, but there are shops being put under because they are sticking to the rules buy some other shops who don't care about sticking to the dealer agreements. Global economy vs. local economy issues at their finest.

Russ
I don't think they involve shopsfiltersweep
Oct 25, 2003 7:32 PM
It is one thing for an authorized dealer of Treks to violate selling on-line or advertising ridiculously low prices or whatever- it happens all the time. Like you say- it involves a dealer license issue.

It is quite another that a "private individual" cannot sell an item on ebay because the manufacturer won't allow it. It is ebay's issue that they cowtoe to Vittoria. I don't have any agreement with Vittoria, and if I wanted to sell some extra tires, why should ebay forbid it?

I highly doubt these situations involve shops. They are more likely from grey market individuals who buy a bunch of tires in Italy, bring them back in a suitcase, and sell them on ebay - IF - they are selling in any sort of volume. Still, most Vittorias are nickel and dime sellers- unlike all the Pro Races being sold on ebay.
I don't think they involve shopsrussw19
Oct 25, 2003 8:36 PM
You are very correct in your logic, but you are forgetting one thing... I work in a shop.. I can get Vittoria tires at wholesale... I have an account with ebay... I can sell tires on ebay for a very small markup over wholesale via ebay that I bought via my shop. That is where many of the people you see selling these tires and the Pro Race as well are getting their tires. Unlike Trek who can track serial numbers of the bikes they sell, Vittoria can not. So they have to do the next best thing for them... ban everyone from selling their tires on ebay. Now, there are ways around it, but again, Vittoria is trying to protect their brand image.

Ebay is a huge enigma in the business world. Many companies don't know what to do about it. If it was just one big yard sale and everyone on it were acting as private individuals, it would be one thing, but there are many people on their running a small business from their home via ebay and those people may or may not be honest and ethical. If someone is gutting the prices of tires on ebay, and the consumer knows it, they buy the tires at the cut throat price. It hurts the dealers who are a vital step in the quality control process of bike parts. I am not going to argue what my personal position on this is, but the truth is that ebay is causing a whole lot of businesses (both retail and commercial) to reasses how they do business. Until Vittoria can figure out what to do about ebay, they are just going to try to control the flow of their tires on there the best they can. That way they know that the consumer will get the best actual product with their name on it. The other issue that they have to deal with is "grey market" tires that should never really show up in the marketplace being sold on ebay as normal Vittoria tires.

The problem for you is that you are going to be caught in the middle until Vittoria figures out how to handle ebay. But Vittoria has no way of identifying if you are indeed acting as a "private individual" or someone dumping "grey market tires" on ebay and selling them as genuine tires.

Unlike Trek, they can not track down individuals so they shut them all down.

Simply list your tires as "high end road tires" and tell the buyer to email you for details. Or list them as Rubino Pro's... anyone looking for them will know they are Vittoria's, but Ebay won't.

Make any sense, or am I just babbling?

Russ
Best discussion on this board in a long time.cydswipe
Oct 26, 2003 5:07 AM
Hey, I'm just posting my view on this topic as a whole. Every RBR'r should read this thread because it deals with almost every LBS and manufacturer in existence. EBay is a very interesting obstacle to deal with from a business standpoint. Sure, Nashbar and Performance etc. can have "hot" prices, but, if eBay can have the same items for WAY below mark-up, well, then what? Almost everyone here uses eBay in some way. How many posts have ebay scams, "ethical dillemas" dealing with LBS matching on-line prices, or sizing for online purchases of clothing. I don't work at a shop. However I do see a trend of business changing before retailers eyes. I would be interested to hear lots of opinions on this topic, not of shops vs. online retail, but also vs eBay.
It makes NO sensefiltersweep
Oct 26, 2003 5:14 AM
but it also seems logical that if a seller hasn't sold 50 sets of tires, or has maybe had a total of under 60 transactions (buying AND selling) in the last 5 years on ebay that this isn't a retailer dumping tires on the market.

You do make sense- what doesn't make sense is HOW mentioning of the brand name relates to the ebay policy at hand- and I'm curious why more companys/brands don't choke on ebay.

It is interesting how difficult it is to buy Vittorias at an LBS- most shops don't carry them at all. The shops that do have a limited selection of makes and colors.

Consider the issue of Pro Races for a moment: almost everyone I ride with has them on at least one bike or has tried them at some point. I am the only one who has purchased them through ebay. I just did a search for Pro Races and came up with 10 matches (which is a bit low, but anyway...) that means there will be 10 sets sold within the next seven days (since the 'buy it now' tires are not for multiple sets). That is a total of 20 Michelin Pro Races available on ebay for the entire world to bid on within the next week- and this is one of the most popular tires on ebay. There is NO WAY this is perceivably adversely affecting retailers.

In fact, one of the RBR major advertisers, biketiresdirect, is selling ProRaces on ebay for about $78/pr inc. delivery- which is a bit too close to full retail for me to bite.

My point is that a significant number of tires are NOT sold on ebay. Even if there were, it would be wonderful advertising for a company like Vittoria who doesn't have a presence in every bike shop, like Michelin has. I've purchased several sets of Veloflex Paves from Euromike on ebay- a tire all but impossible to buy locally. It is so rare these days to see a tire with a natural sidewall that these understated tires get attention from other riderson club rides, and I've turned on a few friends to their wonderful ride/performance (versus the relatively garish appearance of a pro race- which I don't mean to dis, BTW- but everyone knows what a pro race looks like).

Finally, there is the larger issue of "free enterprise" and just ebay in general. I really like the idea that the marketplace determines pricing. As an example: the internet itself has made purchasing a new car an entirely different experience than it was "pre-internet." The consumer is armed with so much information that it has largely flattened pricing variations. At most, one might hope to save a few hundred dollars for the same new vehicle if you visit every single dealership in town- and already a vast number of dealers have gone to a "no-haggle" pricing scheme. I'm sure profit margins have been duly obliterated as well and the consumer is paying for it in terms of trade-in or service or somewhere else, but I digress.

Consumers also have more choices than they ever have- despite the homogeny created by building identical strip malls containing identical stores in every city and suburb in the country. If my LBS does not sell the Vittorias I want, I can buy them online and have them in a few days...

What is to prevent Sony from blocking the sale of their products on ebay?

I don't know what to think of your comments that ebay is forcing businesses to reassess how they do business. I regard ebay like s STOCKBROKER- which is no compliment after being duly screwed over by the guy I was working with (he told me to sell, sell, sell a stock 2 months before it split). They make their commission no matter what happens to the other two parties. Buyers and sellers can be screwing each other over left and right, can be thoroughly unsatisfied with their transactions, and ebay gets their fees. I don't know how much "overhead" there is in combining the time and energy to generate auction listings, using the relatively low-tech method of email for processing orders, and paying the listing fees compared to a brick and mortars overhead, but it seems ver
Vitorria are trying to support the traditional channelChainstay
Oct 26, 2003 5:53 AM
That's not a good or bad thing. It's just business. Distributors and some shops will use there muscle and whine and b****, (female canine and a bad word on RBR) at any manufacturer that supports competing channels to market - like on-line and e-bay and off shore exporters to the US. The manufacturers with weak market position, like Vitorria will respond to this in return for more distribution and stocking support.

Companies with high brand preference have more channel power and will make their products available in whatever way they see fit, knowing that the traditional distributors and LBS's need them more than they need any individual distributor.
I get that-filtersweep
Oct 26, 2003 9:08 AM
But if I go to my LBS and purchase Vittoria tires, I am not "signing" an end user licensing agreement that forbids me from reselling these on ebay.

Consider Trek- they do not support any online sales of bikes. That didn't stop me from selling my used Trek on ebay. If a bike shop sold new Trek's on ebay, they likely lose their relationship with Trek to sell any of their bikes- but the battle wouldn't be played out on ebay.

My issue is that if a retailer violates an agreement with Vittoria by selling their tires on ebay, Vittoria should go after their retailer. I still do not see how selling tires actually violates the ebay policy initially referenced.

It blows my mind that selling Vittorias on ebay is akin to auctioning off a kidney.
I get that-russw19
Oct 26, 2003 6:14 PM
Fitersweep, I get what you are saying... but I don't think you are quite understanding what I am saying. Let me break it down on a few key issues you brought up.

First, you stated in another post you didn't quite understand what I meant about ebay forcing businesses to reasses how they do business. Anyone, and I mean anyone can sell on ebay. There is no business license required. There is not any expectation of understanding how a business works either. For all you know, you are dealing with a con artist, a legit seller, or a stupid 10 year old on mommy and daddy's computer when you buy and sell on ebay. It's a lot to think about. And from a traditional business sense, it throws a monkey wrench into what you and I think of as normal ethical business standards and practices. You are dealing directly with a computer screen name. Not a person. Not a place of business down the street. A computer screen. Period. You don't know what you are getting into, but you have hope that all will go well. Most of the time it does, so we keep coming back, but ebay is really set up to allow for rampant fraud and there is really not much recourse to it. You get ripped off by the local shop, you call the local District Attorney's office... who do you call when your computer screen rips you off? Tough to define all the rules when you don't really know how to enforce them.

About tires.... starting with Pro Race tires. I work for a shop and we order Pro Race tires from Quality for the most part. I just now checked out current wholesale prices... $26.03 each with a $1 per tire price break at ordering 4. That means for your LBS, these COST $52.06 per pair (or $50.06 if you order 2 or more pairs) plus shipping unless you order $750 worth of parts from Quality. There are people on ebay who have no overhead selling pairs of Pro Race tires for $60 buy it now. I have seen auctions for there tires end under $45 for a pair. That is less than I can buy them wholesale! That also helps explain why your LBS doesn't even bother to stock high end tires. They can't compete and they know it, so they just don't try anymore. You are then more or less forced to pay more for the shop to special order them, or buy them from some unknown computer screen via ebay. If you get ripped off by your shop, you can press charges, but what if you are ripped off by the guy on ebay? Do you really think you will get anywhere trying to press charges against a person on ebay? Highly unlikely in my opinon.

So what does this have to do at all with Vittoria tires.... here it goes. Vittoria was a very well respected tire maker in Italy. But Italy's economy was crushed in the 90's so they were forced to pack up and move overseas. So now a once respected Italian tire maker is making tires in Taiwan and trying to convince the rest of the cycling world that their tires are still just as good as they used to be. They modify their distribution channels to set up sales thru mostly higher end bike shops to help them maintain their brand recognition. Now some people come along and start selling tires on ebay at less than the established dealer network they hand picked to maintain their brand recognition can sell for. They may be selling legit Vittoria tires, but they may also be selling grey-market tires or even counterfeit tires. Vittoria has no way to control this, but they are simply trying to protect their brand name. The only way they can do it is to stop all sales of all Vittoria tires. Trek has a unique thing (well not really unique, but something Vittoria doesn't,) serial numbers. Trek can tell if a bike was shipped to a dealer in California or Florida. If it shows up for sale on ebay and they suspect the dealer of selling it, they can ask for the name and address of the person the shop sold it to. They can track their bikes. If a customer buys it and sends in the warranty card, they know that it was re-sold. And so if that bike shows up on ebay, they know it was sold by
I get that- (the rest of my post.... cut off)russw19
Oct 26, 2003 6:16 PM
If it shows up for sale on ebay and they suspect the dealer of selling it, they can ask for the name and address of the person the shop sold it to. They can track their bikes. If a customer buys it and sends in the warranty card, they know that it was re-sold. And so if that bike shows up on ebay, they know it was sold by a private individual so they leave the auction alone. But they can track it. Vittoria can't. So Vittoria has to assume that you are selling tires on ebay as a business and therefore you are circumventing the dealer network they put into place to insure their tires are sold in good shops at the right price and are not grey-market tires that shouldn't be sold to the public. Does that help make any sense of Vittoria's actions?

And on a final note.. I think as more and more scams pop up on ebay, you will see more and more manufacturers trying everything and anything they can to protect their brand image. I happen to think Vittoria is just one of the first to take this hardline stance.. but I doubt they are going to be the last.

Russ
So serial numbers could be the solution?cydswipe
Oct 27, 2003 6:17 AM
If Trek can track and control sales of their bikes with this manner, couldn't every manufacturer do the same? I'm not saying this would end all eBay scams or "grey" market sales, but it would help curb the problem. I can remember Trek dealers taking pictures of bikes they were selling on eBay right off the show room floor. Lots of Gary Fishers and Trek bikes lined up in the background. I haven't seen that in a while, 5-6 years ago, I wonder if Trek took note?
So serial numbers could be the solution?filtersweep
Oct 27, 2003 6:52 AM
I always was skeptical those bikes didn't really exist- that some random customer went to the shop and took pics of a bike for a fake ebay auction.
So serial numbers could be the solution?russw19
Oct 27, 2003 10:43 AM
Trek's "no ebay" policy is 2 years old. Their "no internet sales" policy is older, but they started to send their dealers letters saying they would terminate their account if they were selling bikes on ebay. And believe me, nobody who has a Trek account really wants to lose it for a few extra bike sales! But still some dealers are dumb enough to risk it. Now Trek is going after dealers selling USPS gear on ebay as that is another sore spot for them. There are a few Indonesian companies making knock-off USPS jerseys and until they get all their dealers to quite selling the legit ones, it makes it that much harder to catch the fakes.

But about serial numbers on tires.... won't happen. Too expensive to track for a simple low cost item like a tire. It's cheaper and easier to just stamp out ebay sales by pressuring ebay to cancel auctions. The unfortunate side effect is that guys like filtersweep can't unload a pair of tires he doesn't want that easily because of this. He's caught in the middle of a much bigger issue, a company trying everything they can to maintain brand identity and prestige.

Russ
re: %#@&*ing Ebay's "VeRO Program"moabbiker
Oct 27, 2003 3:05 AM
You can just sign a waiver form to ebay and they will not bother you again with the issue -- however, Vittoria will have legal rights to pursue the case against you (and not ebay, which is why ebay is covering their asses initially). But of course there is no way in hell a case like this would ever even make it to court.