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Guidelines for Creating Legally Compliant Listings

As a seller, you're ultimately responsible for the legality of any item you offer for sale on eBay and the listing describing that item. If your item or listing violates eBay policy or is reported to eBay by an intellectual property rights owner as violating its rights, the listing may be removed from eBay. eBay has a Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Programme for reporting an intellectual property rights owner violation. Repeated violations can lead to the suspension of your eBay account. So, it's in everyone's best interest for you to create listings that are not legally objectionable.

eBay's guidelines on creating legally compliant listings

The following are general guidelines to help you create listings that do not infringe the intellectual property rights of others. However, these guidelines are not intended to constitute legal advice. Given the wide range of products available for sale on eBay, eBay cannot be an expert in the specific intellectual property concerns regarding each item, and cannot offer brand specific advice. If you have specific questions about the legality of your item, you should contact the manufacturer or an intellectual property lawyer.

For the protection of the eBay Community, eBay has policies regarding potentially infringing items and educational pages concerning copyrights, trademarks, and the use of images and text.

You can also take eBay's tutorial on Intellectual Property Policies and VeRO.

Follow these guidelines when selling an item on eBay:

Create your own listing content

  • You should avoid "borrowing" text or images (including photos) from other listings on eBay, a manufacturer's Web site, product catalogues, or other sources without specific permission from the owner. Contrary to popular belief, simply because images and text may be found somewhere on the Internet does not necessarily mean that they are not protected by copyright laws. Copyright laws apply to the Internet, and manufacturers or other copyright owners may object to the use of text or images that they own or have created.

  • You should write your own descriptive text for your listing, and take your own photos.

  • Read about copyright basics and eBay's item description and picture theft guidelines.

Make sure the statements in your listing are accurate

  • You should make sure that all statements and claims in your listing are true and complete. Rights owners may object to listings that contain false, inaccurate, or misleading claims about their products. If you're not sure if a statement you want to make is true, double check it and rely only on credible sources. Someone on a message board may sound like they know what they're talking about but you're the one who will be responsible for the content.

  • Making sure your listing is accurate and complete will not only help you avoid intellectual property concerns, it will also help buyers understand what they're buying, eliminating miscommunications that might lead to a poor transaction and negative feedback.


    Examples:

    • Do not state in your listing that you are an authorised dealer of an item if you are not.

    • Do not indicate in your listing that there is a warranty, rebate, or other manufacturer incentive for an item if you are not authorised to offer it or if you are not sure that you are authorised to provide that incentive.

    • Do not state that an item is "new" if it is not.

Use brand names appropriately

  • If you are selling a brand name product, you can mention the brand name in your listing and include an image that depicts the product you are selling. However, you should avoid suggesting that you're an official dealer/reseller, if you're not, and avoid using the manufacturer's logo, other than as it may appear in context on the product.


    Example: If you're selling an Acme brand television, you can mention the Acme brand in your description but you shouldn't display a separate image of the Acme logo or state that you're an Acme dealer if you're not authorised by Acme to do so.

  • Search manipulation (using unrelated brands in a listing title in order to attract people searching for those items) is another misuse of brands that you should avoid.


    Example: If you were listing an Acme TV for sale, you should not mention other television manufacturers in your title simply to attract consumers looking for those items. Such search manipulation is prohibited by eBay policy and repeated violations can result in the suspension of your eBay account. Only mention the brand name of the manufacturer that actually produced your item and do not misrepresent your relationship with that manufacturer.

Read more information about trademark basics and eBay's Keyword Spamming policy.

Make sure your item is authentic

You should not list replicas, fakes, counterfeits, or other illegal copies on eBay. For example, you should avoid listing an item that bears the brand name or logo of a company that did not manufacture or authorise the product. Do not list homemade or otherwise unauthorised copies of music, movies, television programmes, or software. Under the law, it is no excuse to say that you didn't know the item you were selling was a counterfeit. It's your obligation to investigate your source for product and stand behind everything you sell.

Read more information about eBay's policy on unauthorised replicas, counterfeit items, and unauthorised copies.

If you have any questions, contact the intellectual property rights owner before listing

It is the responsibility of all sellers to make sure that their items are not infringing before listing them on eBay. If you are unsure, we encourage you to contact the intellectual property rights owner with any questions.

Note: eBay does not and cannot review the items listed on our site prior to posting on eBay, nor are we experts in the products or legal concerns of third parties. Therefore, we cannot pre-approve items to be listed.

Review the About Me pages created by intellectual property rights owners

eBay encourages intellectual property rights owners who report items through the VeRO Programme to create an About Me page to explain their policies and procedures concerning infringing items. Review a list of About Me pages created by rights owners.

Note: Not all rights owners have an About Me page. We encourage intellectual property owners to create an About Me page to help our sellers, but they are not obligated to do so. If a particular rights owner is not listed you may need to find an alternate method of contacting them.

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