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L'Oreal challenges eBay over sale of fakes

Legal action by cosmetics group similar to those by other luxury brands claiming eBay doesn't do enough to combat sale of fakes.

L'Oreal, the world's largest cosmetics group, has launched legal action against eBay, alleging the online auctioneer does not do enough to combat the sale of counterfeits, the company said on Monday. The action by L'Oreal follows similar action taken against eBay by luxury groups LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and its parent company, Dior, and U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co. eBay argues it clamps down on all cases of counterfeiting when alerted to it by the firms concerned.

"L'Oreal has been facing an increasing volume of illicit trade in fake fragrances and fake cosmetic products on some online auction sites," L'Oreal said in an e-mailed statement, confirming earlier French media reports. "Consequently, L'Oreal has decided to take legal action to protect the consumers, preserve the quality of its selective luxury distribution network and defend the reputation of its trademarks." French newspaper Liberation said L'Oreal estimated the damage done to its business from counterfeit goods sold via eBay at "probably several million euros." It said legal action had been started in France, Germany, Britain, Spain and Belgium.