Online auction house eBay has defended its anti-fraud measures after concerns were raised in a recent court case about the availability of fake wine labels on the site.
Counterfeit Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée Conti 1978
Armand Aramian was this month sentenced to four months in prison in a Bordeaux court after being found guilty of ordering fake Mouton Rothschild labels, reputedly from China, and then supplying them to an eBay seller in 2010.
The case has raised concerns about the online availability of labels for sought-after wines, and – whether genuine or not – the potential for them to be used by fraudsters.
Lawyer for Mouton Rothschild, Andrea Lindner-Jamin, told decanter.com that the presence of fake labels for sale on eBay was a problem. But, she said it was something the Château has learned to track.
‘It is very disagreeable, but the most important thing, is that we are watching out and we are ready to act quickly, as this case proves.’
A search on eBay for ‘wine labels’ yielded several thousand results across the US and UK sites.
A spokesperson for eBay said the group already takes a tough stance. ‘eBay’s extensive anti-fraud measures include the Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), which allows rights owners to quickly and easily report copyright infringements.
‘eBay promptly investigates each notification and all listings duly reported are removed, and eBay’s global asset protection team cooperates with authorities in investigations, to strengthen the fight against fraud.’
The Aramian trial also threw up questions about the amount of counterfeit wine on the market. However, it is impossible to verify claims during the Aramian trial that a fifth of wines around the world may be counterfeit, according to Michael Egan, key prosecution expert for Bill Koch in the trial of Hardy Rodenstock earlier this year, and a world expert in wine forgery.
But, Egan told Decanter.com that, in general, wine counterfeiting ‘tends to target particular audiences, often in fast developing marketplaces where there is a hunger for wine but knowledge is still evolving’.
Written by Jane Anson and Sophie Kevany