Question & Answer: eBay seller with brand labels removed

Question

Hi,

I wanted to show something to you on Ebay- I found it interesting. I found an Ebay seller and she is selling “Brand X samples”- tags removed, etc. She has some really cute things. I bought some from her and they are quite nice, tagless no inside size or fabric content tags, no signs tags were ever sewn in. They have the Brand X style, but are definitely not an Brand X level of quality (but that’s ok with me because I really like them) She says they are samples, but when Ichecked back through her feedback (curious me, wanted to see her other items) I saw that she had multiples of most styles in various sizes. I’m just curious as to what you think she’s doing- because she is making a killing on some of these auctions. She’s located in California. I know its not ethical to say something is Brand X when it isn’t, of course- she is definitely getting away with that. I have never seen items like hers on Ebay or in any catalog or store, for that matter. Anyway, sorry to ramble- just thought you might find what she is doing of some interest.

Answer

Samples are usually all one size or one group of sizes. For example, usually all of a rep’s samples will be a size 6 or maybe 4,6 and 8. I’ve seen a sample where there was supposed to be a screenprinted design on the tee shirt, but they didn’t have time to get it screenprinted so a printout of the design is taped to the front of the shirt. No kidding. I don’t recall seeing a sample without a label, but then again, I don’t recall looking. It might not be uncommon because samples can be defaced in some way to prevent them from being sold. Tag missing or cut, marked as a sample, etc..

Since samples tend to be the smaller sizes, if the seller has a full size run, like 2 through 12, then I would doubt they are samples. Most sales reps don’t have a dozen samples of the same piece, so if they have too many (of each style), then they probably are not samples.

Now, getting back to the point, I am pretty sure that it is absolutely illegal (and you read my bit on using the word illegal where it does not apply) to SELL garments with no label. I am pretty sure that the FTC guidelines prohibit that. They must at least have the fabric care/content tag and a RN number and country of origin. I am pretty sure that’s the law. A sample probably is not required to have this info because it is not for sale. Having said that, I don’t think a company would sell merchandise with no fabric care/content label, so I am wondering who removed the labels. It’s highly likely that the eBay seller did.

The reason she would remove the label is to prevent you from searching by the RN (Registration Number). The FTC law for the US is that a label must either have the legal name of the company on it or the RN number (redundant, I know). The FTC keeps a RN database and you can type in the RN and get the contact info for a company. Now if someone is selling some no name brand and calling it Brand X, then they would remove that fabric care/content label (often called a joker label) because they donâ?™t want you to find out who the real manufacturer is, if itâ?™s not Brand X.

It is not unusual for someone to pull a trick like that. For instance, in looking at her auction (I only looked at one), I see no mention that the brand is Brand X IN THE ACTUAL AUCTION, only in the title. When called on it, she could say that she is keyword spamming and not selling counterfeit merchandise because she did not specifically state that it was Brand X. Typically when a seller has a desirable brand, even if that label is only delineated or cut, they will try to show the label to get higher bids.