eBay Authentication Services
Recently, eBay has rolled out a new service that affects us all as watch traders whether we’re buying OR selling on their platform. This service guarantees a watch to be authentic before reaching the new owner. Depending on how eBay handles this program, this service can be very beneficial to new traders who may have a harder time spotting a fake watch. However, as always, do not hesitate to consult us in the WTA group if you are not sure!
Before getting into specifics, let’s go over the criteria the watch must meet to be eligible for the authentication service:
- The watch must be sold for over $2000. Auctions can start under $2000 and still receive the authenticity guarantee badge on the listing, however the service is not guaranteed to be included until the auction ends with a sale over $2000. eBay states there are also exceptions from top luxury brands, such as Omega Seamasters and Breitling Navitimers sold at any price, that are included in the service. If you list your watch over $2000 and accept a best offer of under $2000, it is still eligible for the authentication service.
- The buyer of the watch must be in the US, and the watch must be located in the US. So this service does not apply to our members outside of the US.
- Smart watches, watch accessories, and watch parts are not included. A Hublot Big Bang e (smart watch) will also likely fall into this category and not be eligible for authentication, despite it being a luxury brand with models all over $2000.
- Watches must not be customized, so those with aftermarket diamond bezels, engraving, etc. are not eligible. Watch straps, spring bars, and gaskets can be aftermarket. To be on the safe side, call this out in your listing to avoid any potential issues with the authentication process.
- Vintage watches are included, and can contain aftermarket parts if the original manufacturer does not make the part anymore. Common aftermarket items include strap/bracelet, spring bars, crystal, and gaskets.
If your watch fits ALL of these criteria, it is automatically included in the authenticity guarantee service, and there is no option to opt out when buying or selling. This service comes at NO cost to the buyer or seller. The listing will display a blue “Authenticity Guarantee” badge in search results, the listing page, during checkout, and in purchase history.
So you’ve made a sale on eBay, and your watch is eligible for the authenticity guarantee service. Now what?
Once you have a confirmed payment, you are ready to ship your watch to the authentication center. In the order details, eBay provides you with the buyer’s name, followed by the authentication center’s address. This address will also include an eBay reference number. Be sure to include this reference number on the shipping label. When shipping with IFS (shipinforsure.com, a trusted WTA sponsor), there is a place to add the reference number.
Package the watch with ALL boxes/manuals/accessories reflected in your listing – eBay’s authenticators will also check to be sure the buyer is getting everything that was represented in the listing, otherwise they may flag it as not as described, and return the watch to you and the buyer will get a full refund.
The watch is your responsibility until it reaches the authentication center. It is highly recommended to ship the watch via expedited service (2nd day or overnight delivery) with signature confirmation and insurance.
Once the watch reaches the authentication center, the authentication process takes up to two business days. Once authenticated, the watch is repackaged with a security seal and a unique authentication card. The watch also receives a security tag around it and once removed by the buyer, cannot be returned.
A common question of the authentication program is whether eBay confiscates the watch if it is deemed to be fake. This can be the case as stated in section 6c. If the watch is found to be misrepresented or not authentic, the third party authenticator will choose to either return the watch to the seller and refund the buyer or confiscate the watch and call the appropriate authorities. eBay has stated that they will be updating their terms and not confiscate any watches – but proceed with caution until this change is in writing.
If the buyer receives the watch and requests a return, the watch security tag must be untampered with, and is sent back to the authentication center to verify the returned watch matches what was originally sent. eBay covers the return shipping.
If the watch is lost after eBay has shipped it to your buyer, eBay states to contact their customer support. The hope would be that they find it or refund your buyer, but that bridge has not been crossed as of yet.
That’s it! Retail buyers are provided a greater confidence in purchasing on eBay which will benefit watch traders in the long run. Continue to list on as many platforms as possible for maximum exposure.