What is eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee and should you trust it?
eBay claims it will guarantee certain products—here's how it works.
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We’ve all had the internet shopping woe of thinking you bought something legit but it turned out to be a fake. When I was in college, I scoured the web for a vintage Pokemon card as a gift for my boyfriend. Knowing nothing about Pokemon, or what makes a card real or fake, I decided to trust an online seller whose claims seemed valid. When the card came in, I still didn’t detect any discrepancies. It was only when my boyfriend had a look at it for himself did we realize it was far from real—at the expense of my naivety.
Nowadays I’m a lot savvier when it comes to real vs. fake when shopping online thanks in part to experience, but mostly because of third-party websites doing their part in limiting the amount of confusion when it comes to unauthenticated luxury and designer products. When it comes to getting scammed online, many people have stories about eBay, one of the world's largest online marketplaces where you can find tech, jewelry, home goods, kitchen products, and more.
Recently, eBay came out with its newest effort to combat major buyer’s remorse: the Authenticity Guarantee. As with any new service, there are bound to be some questions pertaining to what it does and how it works, but don’t worry; we did all the research for you.
What is the eBay Authenticity Guarantee?
The Authenticity Guarantee is a multi-step process to ensure that eBay users can shop with complete confidence on their site. By labeling all eligible products with an authenticity badge, shoppers can easily locate items that provide the authentication service, which includes professional authentication of the product, a multi-point inspection, an authentication tag, and secure signature-required delivery.
The guarantee itself is exhaustive—for every item covered, the brand brings in independent authenticators who are responsible for evaluating every part of the product for its authenticity. Right now, the guarantee only extends to Jordan and Yeezy sneakers, as well as luxury watches over $2,000. For sneakers, authenticators examine the packaging, laces, logos, stitching, and even heel tabs. For watches, they look at every piece that makes the timepiece work and ensure all parts are genuine (and haven't been replaced by third-party lookalikes).
How much is eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee?
With the current guarantee, all costs associated with the Authenticity Guarantee are paid by eBay, including the three-day shipping from the facility to you once the process is complete. The endeavor is provided free-of-charge to consumers, who will ultimately benefit by receiving high-quality, authentic items guaranteed by the review itself.
What products get the Authenticity Guarantee?
Right now, the Authenticity Guarantee applies to sneakers and watches. More specifically, Jordan and Yeezy sneakers in new condition being sold for $150 or more, and luxury watches listed that are sold for $2,000 or more (including auction items that are expected to sell for more than $2,000). Vintage watches are also eligible for the Authenticity Guarantee service, but only if all eligibility criteria are met. The guarantee covers high-end brands including Rolex, Omega, Brietling, Cartier, Hublot, and more.
More brands and models are expected to be added to receive the Authenticity Guarantee in the future, so eBay urges users to check back for updates regarding new products.
How does eBay authenticate products?
Once an eligible product is purchased, the item is then shipped to eBay’s authentication partner (SneakerCon for sneakers, brand-certified watchmakers and technicians for watches) who thoroughly check it against its listing description. Then, the authenticator conducts a multi-point inspection to ensure, under no uncertain terms, that the item is precisely what it’s supposed to be and 100% real. After passing the inspection, the item is given a unique authentication card or tag to verify its authenticity. After that, the item is then shipped out to the buyer using signature-required delivery (for items worth $750 or more).
If an item’s authenticity can’t be verified, it’s immediately returned to the seller and the buyer is given a complete refund.
How long does it take to get the Authenticity Guarantee at eBay?
Once an item is purchased, it is sent to the third-party authentication partner who will be processing the item within two business days upon receipt. Once complete, the item is shipped to the buyer with 2-day secure shipping. So, figure about 4-5 days for the entire process from beginning to end.
What about refurbished items?
Currently, the Authenticity Guarantee does not extend to refurbished items, including some of our favorites from iRobot, Bissell, and KitchenAid. Similar to its Authenticity Guarantee, eBay does sell products that are "certified refurbished," meaning the products have been certified by brands or authorized vendors. Basically, the item has been refurbished by the company itself or a vendor the brand approved. Products do not undergo independent inspections by eBay, but they do come with a two-year warranty and money-back guarantee, so you can purchase certified refurbished products with ease-of-mind knowing that, at the very least, you can get your money back.
Is the Authenticity Guarantee legitimate?
All in all, the Authenticity Guarantee is meant to give shoppers some peace of mind and ultimately does a great job of it. The multi-step inspection process conducted by industry experts provides little to no room for error, and the speedy shipping times mean buyers will get their items quickly, efficiently, and securely.
As you shop on eBay—whether you're purchasing an $8,000 Omega watch or a $20 kitchen tool—you'll need to do your research to get the best results. Hunt for stores with five-star ratings, name brands, and reputable websites or social media sites you can follow up with. But if you spot that Authenticity Guarantee badge, you can feel a little more confident knowing that you're shopping with a huge safety net underneath you.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.