Although it already prohibits the practice, the Associated Press reports that EBay is directing its sellers not to offer recalled products for sale on its website (violators may be terminated from the service and forfeit fees), including links to sites listing recalled items, and taking other steps to address the acquisition of recalled goods online.
Putting aside for the moment the questions of whether and to what extent EBay is exposed to liability for transactions occurring on its site, and/or has any duties to its sellers, buyers or others in connection with such deals, it would be hard to argue that EBay’s actions described in this article are not prudent. I would think that these steps will result in fewer sales of recalled items on EBay (the king of online auctions). While some miscreants may simply flock to other sites, these practices should produce more informed consumers that will do a little homework before making a sale or purchase online.
Also, this announcement is obviously good PR for EBay, and may help alleviate some of the valid concerns of lawmakers, regulators, watchdogs and others with what is being bought and sold online. Finally, these actions should enhance the story EBay can tell a judge or jury the next time it gets sued in connection with a sale facilitated by the website.