eBay Counterfeiters Go To Jail
By Kickntrue on 12/15/09
The largest ever eBay golf club counterfeiting ring was busted and its operatives are now in jail. 96,000 club transactions... WOW! That's a lot of fake goodness in our bags.
The counterfeiting operation was the biggest of its kind to be investigated by a council trading standards team and the largest such conspiracy to be uncovered on the auction website, Havering Council said.

The defendants sold millions of pounds worth of fake golf clubs and other merchandise through the website between June 2003 and March 2008, a council spokesman said.

Officers identified more than 96,000 transactions of clubs and other equipment occurring during this period.
I've thought this before- but now I'll say it. I think eBay is a fine place to buy golf clubs, but the notion that buying from a "respected" seller is questionable.

Who is more likely selling you the real thing; the guy 20 transactions with good feedback or the company who sells 96k items? While the guy with 20 may take longer to ship or have other minor issues here and there, I'm betting he's not selling you fake gear. To do fake right- it takes quantity- massive quantity.

I wonder how many total golf club transactions have occurred on eBay over that time period? I guess what I really want to know is what is the percentage chance that the two clubs I own from eBay are fake? Is 96k just a blip or is there a 50% chance that anyone owning eBay bought clubs are using counterfeits?

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[ comments ]
mjaber says:
I think what you need to watch for is the people who ONLY sell on ebay. There are places, like 3balls golf, that sell on Ebay, but also distribute through their own website. It's the ebay only retailers that I'd be leary of.
Bryan K says:
It appears as if only a portion of their sales were actually golf equipment. I think the article might be a bit misleading. They conducted 96,000 transactions, but they weren't all golf equipment.

That said, I believe it is only a matter of time before someone selling counterfeit equipment gets busted. I do a lot of shopping for golf equipment on ebay, but I tend to stick to a handful of sellers I know. These are sellers that, for the most part, also run websites. I also tend to buy from sellers who don't necessarily specialize in golf equipment but have some for sale from time to time.

Now, when I see the feedback of the three sellers who I know are on the up-and-up (Rock Bottom Golf, for instance, has 350,000 feedback from different buyers...and most of those buyers end up buying multiple items. I'm guessing that RBG has well over a million actual transactions on ebay.), the 96,000 transactions that this seller engaged in are but a minor blip on the radar.
activesense says:
I have bought clubs on e-bay and the trick is to go with your gut. There is a saying that goes something like this "If it is too good to be true, then it probably isn't". mjaber is right about ebay sellers with a "bricks and mortar" store or an established online retailer who use ebay as a way of reaching people who wouldn't normally search a directory of online retailers. Read the reviews and feedback carefully on ebay. Things to be wary of are over-exuberant praise for the retailer and duplicate feedback comments from different purchasers. It is easy to create fake transactions and leave outstanding feedback but most fakers get lazy and just copy/paste multiple feedbacks or they go way over the top in claiming the ultimate in transaction satisfaction.
activesense says:
... Basically, take your time, do a little research and if anything makes you nervous about buying from a particular seller then DON'T BUY.
One further point, read the descriptions carefully and more than once to make sure you fully understand what you are bidding on. If anything is unclear or possibly misrepresented then ask the seller a question to clarify.
Oak says:
This is one reason why I've almost always buy from the "small guy" occasional seller, besides benefit of the cheaper pricepoint.

Always use PayPal and you can file a claim and get your $$ back regardless within 45 days. I usually take my purchased equipment to the golf store to authenticate and/or cal the manufacturer to check serial numbers.
Barroomhero says:
Thats why them damn things didnt work
tennesseeboy says:
Personally, I have more confidence when buying on eBay than most brick and mortar stores. Seller feedback will tell you a lot. It's hard to sell 20K counterfeit club on eBay without someone figuring it out and exposing you through feedback. Getting feedback on your local golf shop is a little more difficult. They could be buying counterfeit stuff on eBay and selling it to you with a 50% markup.

I do have to disagree with the statement that the small guy with 20 transactions is probably not selling counterfeit stuff. I agree he probably not making clubs in his garage, but he might have unknowingly bought a counterfeit club at a garage sell that he is now passing on to you. If all of the serial #s and holographic anti piracy stickers have been removed, it might be harder to tell if it's counterfeit.
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