Merde! French courts hold eBay responsible for counterfeit sales

Like my fellow writer, Gary Sattler, I'm a pretty big fan of eBay. Over the years, I've watched the site grow. I've used it to raise money, get rid of junk, buy presents for my wife, and generally just drool. In the best of times, eBay has represented a sort of capitalist utopia, where buyers and sellers work together to find the best price for an item, exchange stuff, and generally keep the US Postal Service in business.

Of course, like Gary, I've also watched as my capitalist utopia has grown to represent the dangers of any unregulated market. Predatory sellers offering substandard crap to unwitting sellers, predatory sellers withholding money or threatening ratings, counterfeit items, incomplete descriptions, and a devil's roll-call of other tricks that undermine trade and pit users against each other have all conspired to transform my eBay from the best store in the world to a substandard back alley where getting cheated is not just a possibility but a probability.

I've had to become very cautious; nowadays, before I put down a bid, I read every description like it's a legal document, searching for the loophole that my opponent -- excuse me, seller -- is going to use to cheat me. In the process, eBaying has lost a lot of its fun.