June 15, 2006, 12:00 AM

How online auctioneer WhaBAM kicks counterfeiters off its site

WhaBAM, a fledgling online auction site, has set aside a $25,000 fund to buy suspicious items off its site to protect customers from inadvertently buying fraudulent products.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

 

Crooks increasingly are using online auction sites to sell stolen or counterfeit items, but one fledgling auction site is taking a straightforward approach to the problem. WhaBAM, which emerged from beta testing in March, has set aside a $25,000 fund to buy suspicious items off its site to protect customers from inadvertently buying fraudulent products.

“We’re trying to build a loyal customer base,” says Eren Niazi, founder and CEO. “We’re trying to make everybody a happy customer.”

WhaBAM monitors the site for high-ticket or brand name products being offered at suspiciously low prices, Niazi says. The auction site buys the item and then takes it to the manufacturer or a retailer to determine whether it is the real product or a fake. If the product is deemed a fraud, the seller is banned from the site.

WhaBAM also has set up a system that allows customers to report suspicious items posted on the site. If a customer purchases an item later found to be a fake, WhaBAM will reimburse the customer, Niazi says.

WhaBAM has removed about 200 suspicious items from the site, which has about 10,000 active users and 20,000 listed items, Niazi says.

 

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