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.

 

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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