I had recently listed an item on eBay as “Generic Baby Uggs.” eBay found me in violation of the trademark name, Uggs, and removed it. Not only did they remove it, they suspended me for seven days for the violation.
I called eBay to ask how I lift the seven day suspension only to discover I’d called eBay-India. I asked, “Ann,” my question and listened patiently as she explained about the trademark violation. I stated I understood the policy and asked again, “How do I lift the suspension?”
She could not get past me violating the trademark laws. She insisted I write a letter to Uggs and obtain their permission to list an item using their Uggs name. I eventually became so frustrated and told her, “Listen, lady, I threw those damn boots away, okay! I no longer own them. They’re in the trash bin. I will never, ever, ever, list them again!”
"Ann" still could not move past the violation and answer my question. So I asked to speak to someone who could speak better English. She said, “Are you for real saying this to me?”
I answered, “See? You even said that wrong.”
I thought she had hung up only to find she’d put me on mute when I told my husband, “I think she hung up on me.”
“Ann” came back on the line and said, “I did not hung up on you! I’m trying to find someone to speak American to you!”
“You said that wrong too,” I said and hung up. It was obvious she wasn't going to find anyone from the US living in India, much less, working there.
I called back the following day and tried again. This time when I called eBay-India, I spoke with “Regina.” I explained the same situation to her as I had explained to “Ann” the night before. She could not move past the trademark violation either. “Regina” also suggested to me I write a letter to Uggs and get permission to use their name on a generic item.
I ended up promising her I would throw the boots away too and would never, ever, ever, even look at them, let alone ever list them again. How dare I! However, I did manage to get from her I had to watch a video and answer questions first but, nothing else past that point.
During the whole time I was going through this, the night before and the next day, I had an online buddy yakking at me in my IM messenger. I was giving him a bit of the play-by-plays as the events rolled on. If it was not for his wit and humor, I probably would have yanked the phone out of the wall and slammed it into my computer monitor.
As a favor, he wrote a letter for me to submit to eBay. Even though he missed a lot of the argument, I still thought it was very funny and wanted to share. Here is a copy of his letter:
I recently had the exquisitely painful experience of speaking with one of your call center reps; she was very cheerful and enthusiastic. I doubt her name was actually Ann but that is neither here nor there. Her willingness to help me resolve my issue almost, but not quite, made up for her woefully inadequate command of the English language. After 45 minutes of creative evasiveness, she was unfortunately unable to help me solve my problem. She did sound genuinely sorry as she tried to get me off the phone.
The crux of this matter is that I listed some baby boots on your fine, fine service. I looked at them before listing, and noticed they bore a remarkable resemblance to adult Ugg boots. I had mistakenly assumed that Ugg referred to the ancient Alaskan tribe that first designed them. Well, you know what happens when you assume. This was my first mistake. I listed them as baby Ugg boots, as opposed to Ugg baby boots, which may grow into full sized Ugg boots.
I decided, after careful deliberation, and much reading and rereading of eBay’s guidelines, that calling them 'baby Uggs, baby boots,' would have been correct, so that people would not mistake them for potentially grow-able boots. Also, I felt that no one would buy them for infants if I had called them 'baby.' Children are so sensitive. But, that is neither here nor there either.
My tale of woe really began shortly after hitting the ‘Confirm Listing’ button. I can only assume that your trademark Gestapo was taking a respite from finding people wholesaling Rolexes, Gucci bags, and knockoff DVD sets, and stumbled upon my rather unimpressive listing. I know that eBay offers many fine features to enhance my listings, and I feel really bad about not using them, but I managed to memorize how to list without them, and I don't think I can relearn.
I was informed by your jack-booted-trademark-enforcement thug, via a remarkably well written, for someone who never graduated middle school, email, that my account had been suspended for infringing on a trademark. This prompted my call to the charming Ann, and later, Regina, which did nothing but cause a chip in the wall, and a cracked screen on my cell phone. I have completed the suggested online tutorial, which was very interesting, but I really think the correct answer to 7 is B, not C.
I have removed the Ugg boots from my listing, I have taken your class, I have destroyed the baby Ugg boots at the center of this controversy. I weighed them down with kittens, unicorn tears and puppies and threw them in a freezing river. I posted the video on You-tube. Are you happy now? My children really miss the kittens you heartless bastards. Here is a picture of them crying, now give me back my eBay account so I can feed them and we can move out of the ‘57 Desoto we're living in.
We are selling our blood on street corners to make ends meet, and I may have to rent the baby out for carpool lanes. My husband is trying to rob 7-11s, but they are all staffed with dropouts from your call center training, and he can't make them understand what ‘Give me the money’ means. Please help me keep my family together and save my marriage.
I can no longer go on like this: my life has no meaning. I wander the streets an empty shell of what was once a happy vibrant woman who loved life, rainbows, long walks on the beach, ducks, and watching Jerry Springer. I only have enough on my Starbucks gift card for one more pumpkin latte, after which I probably will walk to the tracks and lay down in front of a train. For the love of God, I am sorry I violated your regulations. Please, please, please, please, I am begging you, while I still have a shred of dignity left, give me back my eBay account and return meaning to my sorry life.”
I think from now on, I’m going to have him write all of my letters for me. Maybe he can get through where I can’t?
P.S. The boots are relisted. Save the puppies and kitties, right?