Unfortunately it is true. There are quite a few dishonest ebayers out there, they use your picture or item description from an item you're selling (most commonly just Copy and Pasted) to produce an identical or almost identical listing. Or even copying your "About Me" page, both of these are prohibited on eBay and are liable to have your account removed.
Listing the same product as you is no crime I hear you cry......but using your exact wording is!
A copy of eBay's policy on Photo/Description theft is shown here eBay Policy
Sadly, there is no easy solution to finding these listings, except to search the listings yourself for similar sales, which although time consuming, is always a good practise, if for no other reason than to keep an eye on your fellow eBayers and check that your prices are competitive.
However, should you be unfortunate enough to discover a listing which you believe to have been stolen from any part of your listing you can report this immediately to eBay via this form : Photo/Description Theft Form. By doing this you will receive an email from eBay acknowledging your report and telling you they will be looking into the matter and if neccessary removing the offending listing and/or the offending eBay member if they have previously offended.
What can you be doing in the meantime?
Well, if you have a photo you want preserving my best advice is to open the file in MS Paint or Paint Shop Pro, or any equivalent program you have that can edit pictures. What you need to do it create a little text box and inside type your eBay User ID, or any other unique feature from your sales, like a logo or a postcode.
Protecting your item description is a little harder but worthy of the initial time spent. If you are not fluent in HTML ebay provides a wonderful starters guide to creating listings with that real "wow" factor (HTML Tips). Once you are semi-fluent in HTML, then this is the best format to use, since it is far easier to detect someone copying this, as in my experience 90% of description thefts have little or no changes made to the listing, usually because the thief has no idea of how to use HTML (which is probably why they decided to take your listing) so Copy and Pasted the data. This creates a very poor quality listing from which buyers are actually put off from purchasing, forcing them back to your original, genuine listing. Effectively just creating double publicity for your item! Aren't they kind!
Tell tale signs of a copied listing....and signs to look out for....
- Coloured Backing to the letters and not the rest of the page.
- I'm sorry to say check the feedback rating...if it's low, they probably havn't had many sales and are likely to cut corners.
- Irregular text alignment on the page. When half the page is centered and then a couple of lines of text aren't alarm bells should ring!
- Irregular text font or colour throughout listing. Does the description have more than one type of font?
- Contradicting text in description from that of listing title line (e.g. 10x item in description & 15x item in title)
Good luck listing your next item!
© SJ_Booker - 2006 Click HERE to read more "About Me".