Sunday, 26 May 2019

UK Antiquities Market Watch: "Fifteen Million Pairs of Eyes Police the EBay Antiquities Trade in UK", really?

In Bonkers Britain, they think that if you tell people (antiquities dealers, wife beaters and small children) the difference between right and wrong automatically the problems disappear. Garreth Griffith, head of Trust and Safety at, comments on the PAS website on the existing MOU between the British Museum and EBay:
"Educating our customers on what to look out for when buying antiquities on eBay and informing sellers of their obligations is of paramount importance. Giving our customers the knowledge and engaging that knowledge to help with our investigations work means we have 15 million pairs of eyes and ears out there working with us on a day-to-day basis.Working with British Museum and PAS and harnessing the strength of our community of buyers and sellers means we have an extensive network to ensure that antiquities are sold legitimately. It is also an excellent example of the way that eBay can work with law enforcement to track people seeking the break the law and bring them to account." 
Except when the BM only says that it is doing the monitoring, and EBay are relying on them to ensure that those allegedly 15 million actually know what is what (when the dealers keep all the cards close to their chest and do not reveal where what they have comes from and how it reached the market) - then in fact there is no monitoring at all of eBay by anyone. When an informed person does take the time to alert ebay through its convoluted reporting system, they get fobbed off by an impertinent AI robot impersonating a foreign outsource 
[11:15:09 UTC Vini]: Rest assured, we have a dedicated team who is already in the process of reviewing all such listings and take appropriate action on them in accordance with the policy.
The text that is displayed on eBay's English site and the guidelines they have published: are simply desiderata, and do not formulate a specific policy for individual cases - or lay down a procedure for dealing with them. As a result, it cannot be overstressed: EBay as it currently exists is NOT a safe place in any way to buy antiquities and other cultural property. 

Vignette: eyes on EBay

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