Before I start this guide, I would just like to let you know that I am an eBay employee and the content that is written on this page reflects my view and is no written on behalf of eBay. For more information on the eBay Employee Trading and Community Content Policy, please read them here http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/everyone-employee.html
I have been an eBay member for years and after all these years I am quite surprised at the number of fake bootleg games that are sold on the site and the number of people who fall victim to these frauds. Most of these buyers after buying these games do not even know that the copy that they have bought are fake until it is too late to do anything about it. If you do not know how to spot a fake DS game most likely you will not know you are playing a fake one until some time has passed. Usually these games have a hard time saving, unable to load saved files, and after time has passed the games might not load up at all.
I noticed that there are a lot of guides on how to spot fake bootleg copies of games but none so far for the Nintendo DS and I noticed that there are a lot of fake bootleg Nintendo DS games on the site. There is really no sure way to be able to tell these games are fake unless you hold them in your hands, but here are some guidelines that will lessen your chance from buying fake Nintendo DS games:
1. Item Location
First thing first is Item Location of the game. Most fake bootleg copies are manufactured in the Southeastern Asia region. So if you see the Item Location as Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or any of the other Southeast Asian countries, 9 out of 10 times these games are fake, especially if they are not even released yet in this region. Most of the time English version of games will be released last in this region. A lot of times sellers from this region might have a high number of feedback and even a high percentage. Please be wary and look closely at each negative and neutral feedback. A lot of times buyers do not realize that they have bought fake games until they have left a positive feedback.
Even though most fake bootleg games come from this region, there are sellers in the US, Australia, UK, and other western countries that sell fake bootleg games as I have been tricked into buying some from them.
Please go through the feedback section very carefully. A lot of sellers that do sell fake bootleg games, might have high feedback scores and even relatively high feedback percentage. So you might want to go through the negative and neutral feedback that they have and read them carefully. Sometimes you might also want to see what the follow up comments are on the positive feedbacks as well.
This is because a lot of times most buyers do not realize that they just bought fake bootleg copies until a week or so might have passed. They usually would have already left positive feedback by this time as they usually have no suspicion of the games being fake.
3. Suspicious Item Description
A lot of times these sellers will give suspicious item descriptions by claiming that it is 99% new. Sometimes they will mention that they are in new "unsealed" boxes as they had to be tested. If the game is 100% authentic and new, there is no need for it to be tested. Sometimes they will also mention that there are no manual.
4. Release Dates
Nintendo DS / DS Lite games even though they are region free, they are usually released one region at a time. Most games if they are originally from Japan will be released in Japan first, then United States, Europe, Australia, and the rest of the world in that order. Most US games will also be released in that same order. So you might want to double check for release dates of some games. If a game is being sold before release dates and it is not a pre order, it is possible that it might be a fake copy.
I will be making another guide that shows the release dates of Nintendo DS games in the US, and you can check that as a reference. Will update it here when that guide is up.
All in all please use your best judgement in determining whether a seller might be selling unauthorized version of the game. Check release dates, item location, prices, and seller location. For example, sometimes a seller might be located in Germany, but they are selling games that are only released in the US at the time but not yet released in Germany. If they are selling them at a cheaper price, and possibly cheaper than US sellers, that might be something you might want to note as how were they able to get those games at such a cheap price since US distributors will not sell to non US companies as the game is only allowed for licensing in the US at that particular time.
Note : This is my first guide and I hope this is helpful to whoever is reading this guide. I will improve this guide in the future as I have new information and time.