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Please Help!! :( Company threaten legal action for me selling their brand on eBay


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Hi guys,

 

I have a issue that's keeping me awake at the moment, i don't know what to do as I have never been in a situation like this, any help or advise given is greatly appreciated, ok this is the issue:

 

About 2 months ago i purchased about 25-30 tops of a well known British brand name from a warehouse with the intention to re-sell them for some profit, to raise some of my student fees. I believed in good faith the items i purchased were genuine items and not counterfeit as also none of the customers i sold to had any complaints.

 

I sold about 20 on ebay and as i was selling the last couple, eBay closed down the auction and sent me an email for breaching trademark rights, I did not think much of it and did not post the items up again.

 

Then about 3 days ago I received a letter from solicitors acting on behalf of the brand I was selling. I was roughly a 30 page document. They basically wrote that i have been selling counterfeit goods and breaching the trademark of their brand they also included 10 pages of my sales history taken from a website called goofbay.com which i never even knew they can hold my private information, they also said i can avoid legal action if within 7 days i sign their undertaking and send it to them.

 

The undertaking has about 9 points they want me to do, some are crazy demands but i can do most of them including that i have to agree to not sell or deal with their products again which is fine i will never sell again, especially on ebay. But it also says i have to send them documents of all my sales information and sales history and they will take all the money i made, on TOP of that they also want me to pay £550 legal costs. I just started my new year as a student and can barely survive with rent etc i cant afford to pay their demands for doing something i honestly thought was not wrong.

 

i will be grateful for any advise you guys can give me, do these guys really have a case? is there a way i can get out of this without paying them.

 

Thank you in advance guys :)

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Guest Cartaphilus

It will help others later on if you can name the solicitors involved as well. I assume this has been reported under Ebay's VERO programme to which any reports of counterfeiting or breaches of intellectual copyright infringements would be reported by anyone of the VERO members on Ebay.

 

which i never even knew they can hold my private information, they also said i can avoid legal action if within 7 days i sign their undertaking and send it to them.

 

Why 'Goofbay?' Surely, if this claim has resulted from your sales on Ebay any data should be coming from them? Which, as you will know after agreeing to sell using their website they are entitled to hold your data in return for using their services/website.

But it also says i have to send them documents of all my sales information and sales history and they will take all the money i

 

Again, why are they asking you for this data when they can very easily check it through Ebay? If it's from Ebay, then it's surely an easy matter for them to check via your sales record? Something doesn't seem right here, but perhaps others can help further but to me some solicitor writing to you using another website outside of Ebay ... Hmmm.

About 2 months ago i purchased about 25-30 tops of a well known British brand name from a warehouse with the intention to re-sell them for some profit, to

 

As to this, you would be considered a business seller if you were selling things in bulk as opposed to private individual. So this could be where you have been caught out. Ebay has changed and now if you sell items of clothing in large quantities or the same item in larger numbers it can set alarm bells off with them as to whether or not you are a trading as a business. That's by the by, though.

 

So, if you can name the solicitors ... It will help others to help you deal with this problem. I may be utterly wrong but ... Like I said, why isn't the 'solicitors' using Ebay as their source of information, if they are so sure for example you have sold counterfeit goods plus any data held on your sales would also come through Ebay as that is the selling venue you made the sales on. For example, there are a lot of spoof/fake claims made by 'solicitors' out there so why you need to name them in case it's something dodgy.

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Guest Cartaphilus

Okay, you can disregard about probably a third of that above, because I just re-read and you said about this:

 

I sold about 20 on ebay and as i was selling the last couple, eBay closed down the auctionlink3.gif and sent me an email for breaching trademark rights, I did not think much of it and did not post the items up again.

 

It is late/early so ... not paying attention as much. But I am still a little uncertain about the Goofbay part, and why these solicitors needed to go there to get proof when, to me anyway, they should be getting that data from Ebay who are the ones to suspend your auctions? Oh, well, I am sure someone will have more productive answers for you when the sun rises later on.

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Hey Cartaphilus,

 

Thanks for your help

 

-site team removed- I checked them out they seem pretty legit. But the problem i am having is how can they actually prove i am selling counterfeit items i mean 2 pictures shouldn't be valid proof i would think, they don't actually have any of my items physically in their possession. another problems I am having is why did they get my information from a 3rd party company such as goofbay when they are not connected to eBay at all, and are they allowed to use my private records and information such as sales records etc.

 

I forgot to mention they also sent me screen shots all taken from goofbay of my listings, my sales history and weirdly enough my feedback record, which is all positive anyway so i don't know why they did that, it all seems weird to me i don't know what to do about it, i really cant pay them the money but don't want them to take this further.

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Guest Cartaphilus

Well, TBH I was going to ask you last night whether or not they'd done this as there appears to be a user over on Ebay with your username, exept they don't have all positive feedback, quite a few negatives.

 

Also, TBH, I am at a loss whilst searching for anything on this company so you could find anything useful from anything I could about how to deal with them. Asides from a mention on their own websites in the London High court involving breaches of L'oreal I can't find anything that would be of use to you. I can't find mention of them on here, after looking for you to see if there were any useful threads about. I'd have thought TBH there would be a lot of cases involving this company where Ebay were concerned but I can find nothing that would be of help to you.

 

But they appear to specialise in IP enforcement and counterfeiting.

 

I forgot to mention they also sent me screen shots all taken from goofbay of my listings, my sales history and weirdly enough my feedback record, which is all positive anyway so i don't know why they did that, it all seems weird to me i don't know what to do about it, i really cant pay them the money but don't want them to take this further.

 

However, I am still puzzled why they would use a site that''s not connected with Ebay (even says so at the bottom of the page) if the original complaint/suspension arose from Ebay themselves?

 

Perhaps it may help if you can type or scan the letter they have sent to you, then others may be able to offer you more help.

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This piqued my interest as I don’t understand why solicitors would be mentioning a different name for a site where the goods were sold. So I did a search and have found the site, goofbay dot com and it seems it just ‘clones’ news and information about items for sale on ebay.

 

Quoted from their ‘About Us’

 

Every day 1000's of items are listed on eBay with miss-spelled or badly written titles. Goofbay searches and lists these hidden bargains. Other Goofbay tools inlcuded in the toolbar are
it also suggests users use its ‘auction sniper’ to buy goods on ebay which led me to the bottom right hand corner where it clearly states it is not owned by Ebay.

 

This site is not owned by eBay.
Doing a look up on the domain name provided only this:

 

 

Domain Name: GOOFBAY.COM

Registrar: TUCOWS INC.

Name Server: NS1.VISUALSOFT.CO.UK

Name Server: NS2.VISUALSOFT.CO.UK

Name Server: NS3.VISUALSOFT.CO.UK

Name Server: NS4.VISUALSOFT.CO.UK

Status: clientTransferProhibited

Status: clientUpdateProhibited

Updated Date: 06-dec-2009

Creation Date: 04-jan-2006

Expiration Date: 04-jan-2011

So no closer to knowing who runs Goofbay but I wonder if their services are in breach of terms and conditions users of Ebay have to adhere to, especially as they are able to ‘take’ information that should only be available to Ebay and their users. If they are, would this make the source of the solicitors’ evidence invalid and therefore make the proceedings questionable?

 

Common sense tells me selling branded items without a licence from the company to do so is in breach of trading standards etc, and I suspect ignorance of whether they are counterfeit or not would not be an acceptable defence.

 

So I am just wondering if the solicitors can enforce any legal redress due to the nature of where they gathered their evidence and hope this also serves a lesson because piracy (no matter what form it takes) is against the law and it’s the consumer who pays for it in the end with higher prices.

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Guest Cartaphilus
Common sense tells me selling branded items without a licence from the company to do so is in breach of trading standards etc, and I suspect ignorance of whether they are counterfeit or not would not be an acceptable defence.

 

Well, yes it would and I didn't mention that before.

 

So no closer to knowing who runs Goofbay but I wonder if their services are in breach of

link3.gif

users of Ebay have to adhere to, especially as they are able to ‘take’ information that should only be available to Ebay and their users. If they are, would this make the source of the solicitors’ evidence invalid and therefore make the proceedings questionable?

 

That, too ... so maybe Sam ... can let us see this letter he/she's been sent, as it would also help to offer more help from those here who know about such things. Which I don't. Though, I suspect we may be hearing a bit sooner than later. ;)

 

The whole situation appears to be a little backwards, in that it should be Ebay whom the information is taken off, as they were the venue, yet ... these solicitors ... appear from what Sam says have gone to another site. Something isn't making sense but, yes, I am afraid that 'ignorance' of whether or not something ...

 

But maybe if Sam can let us actually know what it says in the letter, then it will help someone else here with the expertise to help. Though, as previously said by the above poster, it's fairly much cut and dried. But, there again ... as also said a few times, why is a firm of solicitors going to a third party, not Ebay? So, I think, you may need to let someone take a look at your letter on here.

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hey cartaphilus,

 

Thanks for your continues help i really appreciate it,

 

I have also been doing some search on google about them and about similar cases but have not found anything, its almost like im the first person they want to make an example of or something.

 

I also think they are not worried about the items being counterfeit more than they are worried about them not profiting from me selling their items for a cheaper price. by the way thats not my ebay username lol just a coincidence.

 

So no closer to knowing who runs Goofbay but I wonder if their services are in breach of terms and conditions users of Ebay have to adhere to, especially as they are able to ‘take’ information that should only be available to Ebay and their users. If they are, would this make the source of the solicitors’ evidence invalid and therefore make the proceedings questionable?

 

 

Thanks for your help

 

That is what i was thinking also, I mean how can they actually use a website not affiliated with eBay as a source for my activities, it doesn't make any sense, i have to make a decision as to what i should do by this Monday, some of my friends have advised me to write them a letter explaining my situation and telling them my side of the story and that i would agree to everything except for the money part, i should say i cant afford to pay you but i will stop dealing with your clients brand. Another option is to get eBay involved as i haven't told ebay about this yet,

 

what do you guys recommend i do? :(

 

Thanks your help guys :)

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The letter says and i quote

 

"It has come to our clients attention that you have sold and offered for sale a significant quantity of our clients merchandise over Ebay ('the counterfeit goods"), which bear signs identical and /or extremely similar to our clients trade Marks.

 

As evidence of your activities we attach printour from eBay headed items for sale indication a number of counterfeit goods being offered for sale by you as at 26 august 2010. Also your feedback profile as at 10 September 2010 and a report from 'goofbay.com' - as further illustration of the large quantity of such items having been sold by you through ebay."

 

and then it goes on for ages how i am hurting the name of their clients brand etc etc

 

then it goes on how i can avoid further legal action by signing their ridiculous undertaking.

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The thing is i have a feeling i might have a case against them just for the fact they used a 3rd party to gather information about me, but i dont wanna be a smart ass with them, it might just anger them more and i might dig my hole deeper. so i think its best if i act the fool with them and agree to their demands.

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Guest Cartaphilus
Thanks for your continues help i really appreciate it,
I actually can't help you with this but I responded to your post initially because I saw you were worrying a lot, and it helps to know someone is out there even if it's morale support. And I am not a legal expert. So let someone else take a look at your letter and hopefully they can offer any help. But, as already said, the counterargument would be ... as already said.

 

they also said i can avoid legal action if within 7 days i sign their undertaking and send it to them.
Wait a moment. Hang on, I just read back ... Send what to them? The goods? Surely, if they have already got that proof or what has actually made them suspect you are selling counterfeit goods to be more specific, why are they asking you to send the goods to them?

 

The undertaking has about 9 points they want me to do, some are crazy demands but i can do most of them including that i have to agree to not sell or deal with their products again which is fine i will never sell again,
In other words, it's a disclosure that you sign saying as you've already posted. I wonder if there is any way to get the legal fees waived somehow ... 'negotiate'.

 

I should warn you, though, that it will be recorded somewhere like HMRC (I should think that's a given but don't worry too much about that, for example Ebay's flooded with fake DVDs/bootlegs ... ;)) at your present address that these goods have been sold from. You can still sell on Ebay - far as I know, as plenty I've read on their own forums have come afoul of this ie buying in bulk, not realizing etc etc but ... unfortunately it won't be a defence but if you explain to them they may be a bit more lenient on you, but just be a bit more careful in future, okay. ;)

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Guest Cartaphilus
The thing is i have a feeling i might have a case against them just for the fact they used a 3rd party to gather information about me, but i dont wanna be a smart ass with them, it might just anger them more and i might dig my hole deeper. so i think its best if i act the fool with them and agree to their demands.

 

If you are not in a position to do this - you said you were a student so I doubt you are - I'd perhaps think about that later. Anger, as you said. Yes, you've had this problem but ... yes, it will hurt for a while ... and it's not a pleasant experience ...

then it goes on how i can avoid further legal action by signing their ridiculous undertaking.

 

Thank you for that, as it's what I'd thought you'd received last night. Disclosure to cease. Think that's what it's called, rather a while since I saw one (I did for a short while work in a solicitors office, and was amazed at the volume of jargon that went into them, and I had to word process most of it for their clients). So, if you sign that, it would appear no action will be taken ... including, does it say anywhere about waiving the fees? Is it sounding like an 'or else' scenario if you don't sign is what I mean?

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But will need an expert to clarify any of that first. I am posting BTW, whilst you've posted your posts so if any of mine don't appear to tie in, it's because they've crossed with yours.

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Well they said no further legal action will be taken if i sign the undertaking and act upon it.

 

So i will have to sign it and agree to their 7 demands which is fine but 2 of the demands are that i pay them £550 legal feed and another demand is that i give them all reocrds of my sale history and they will analyse it and i will pay them all my profits, so all in all they might take a good £1000 of me. money i dont have as im a student right now :(

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Well they said no further legal action will be taken if i sign the undertaking and act upon it.

 

So i will have to sign it and agree to their 7 demands which is fine but 2 of the demands are that i pay them £550 legal feed and another demand is that i give them all records of my sale history and they will analyse it and i will pay them all my profits, so all in all they might take a good £1000 of me. money i dont have as im a student right now :(

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1) cease dealings in any of their goods

2) wont list their items or use the words of their brand or import, export, buy, supply etc any of their items

3) wont infringe their copyright

4)deliver to them any more items i have of their brand

5)provide them a witness statement of:

the full names and address of who supplied me their items

the total number of their items that i have stocked or imported or exported

copies and sales documentations of any sales or purchases i made

6) i will pay them and amount to be agreed by them to compensate them with the sales made by me

7) i will pay them £550 legal fees by cheque

 

then under it says where i have to sign and date.

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Guest Cartaphilus

The names and addresses already expected to be there anyway of the source. You will need confirmation from a more knowledgeable person but if you co-operate then it may be looked on favourably. Unless there is a reason you either can't give them names of the supplier or can't. I think it would be in your own interests perhaps to supply it. Especially if it was another ebay trader ...

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I will be more than co-operative with them, i will supply them with everything, and will try to somehow waive the payment they want, BTW eBay are extremely unhelpful, its like talking to a brick wall, they don't know how to answer anything, i cant believe ebay lets a website like goofbay hold private information about sellers and buyer for the world to see.

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Guest Cartaphilus
I will be more than co-operative with them, i will supply them with everything, and will try to somehow waive the payment they want, BTW

link3.gif

are extremely unhelpful, its like talking to a brick wall, they don't know how to answer anything, i cant believe ebay lets a website like goofbay hold private information about sellers and buyer for the world to see.

 

Good, because the one thing I stayed off mentioning to you is you have no defense against any of this, except to learn a lesson from all of it ... as far as I can tell, given the circumstances ... So the more co-operative you are with them, the more favourable it may appear and be in your favour to do so. 'Assist with their enquiries' and so on. There's not really much to add to anything, unless someone else adds anything later. So I wish you luck and hope you come to a satisfactory conclusion/resolution. PS I wouldn't buy from any bulk warehouses in future, either offering things on the cheap it has danger signs all over it. ;)

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