EBay will now guarantee that those expensive sneakers are real

eBay has announced the expansion of its Authenticity Guarantee service for sneaker sales on the platform.

Lots of sneakerheads use eBay to buy collectible footwear like Yeezys and Air Jordans, but worries about being sold fakes have been rampant. Now eBay will begin verifying the authenticity of high-end pairs.

The company announced Monday a new Authenticity Guarantee that will cover collectible sneakers sold for more than $100, starting the week of October 25. The service will begin with the most popular styles and brands -- though eBay didn't specify which -- and will ramp up to include all sneakers in the $100-plus price range by early 2021.

Here's how it works: After a sale is completed, qualifying sneakers sold on eBay will be shipped to the company's third-party authentication facility, instead of to the buyer. There, human experts will use a multi-point inspection process to verify that the shoes "are consistent with the listing title, description and images." Approved items will be tagged as authentic and shipped to the buyer.

The sneaker authentication program also protects sellers who offer return options from having counterfeit items shipped back to them by predatory purchasers -- that is, people who buy legit goods but then initiate a return and swap in fake ones. Sneaker returns will be shipped back to the center for verification of authenticity and condition, confirming it is the exact item that was sold, before they are sent to the seller.

"By removing any uncertainty with the buying process, our community can buy and sell with total confidence," eBay North America Senior Vice President and General Manager Jordan Sweetnam said in a written statement.

It's an expansion of the Authenticity Guarantee service eBay launched in September, starting with for watches priced at $2,000 or more.

The company said authenticity verification has been one of the most requested features for sneaker fans. Such guarantees have been a competitive advantage for sneaker-focused sites like StockX and GOAT.

Shoes are one of the most popular item categories on eBay, with nearly six million sneakers sold in North America last year. More than half a million sneaker listings are posted on eBay every day, with a sneaker sale made every 1.5 seconds.

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