Category Archives: Electronic Commerce

VeriSign offers new service to curb ID theft

From InfoWorld: The VeriSign Fraud Detection Service will incorporate Snapcentric’s anomaly detection software, which tracks how a user normally accesses an online banking site and then flags unusual patterns in behavior. If the software detects abnormal online behavior, however, a user may be required to answer a question or respond to an e-mail or phone message with a one-time code.

This service should be another useful tool that US financial institutions can potentially look to in order to comply with recent FFIEC guidelines (which state that user names and passwords are no longer sufficient for high-risk transactions).

Tiffany Sues eBay

Tiffany has initiated a lawsuit against online auction giant eBay alleging that eBay “facilitates counterfeiting”. According to Tiffany, out of hundreds of purchases made in 2004 by its representatives of “Tiffany” products, less than 25% of the purchases turned out to involve genuine merchandise. eBay claims that it should not incur any liability because does not take title or possession of the goods but rather only operates an online marketplace.

Although I have not researched the issue lately, my recollection is that there were a number of cases involving flea market operators that found that such operators were liable for infringing sales made by their vendors in certain circumstances. So I doubt that Tiffany’s claims are without merit. If Tiffany is successful then other lawsuits could quickly follow from copyright or trademark owners.

I noticed that there were news items back from June 2004 also mentioning a possible lawsuit by Tiffany against eBay.

Free Trade – NOT

I recently received a shipment of some wi-fi equipment ordered from a California-based supplier. The total came to USD$168 plus US$23.80 for UPS shipping (for a total of USD$191.80). However, that’s not the end of the story. You see, UPS collects the PST and GST (provincial and federal Canadian sales tax) due on the product. First there’s the tax on the base product (C$29.29), then there’s a brokerage fee that UPS adds in order to collect the GST (C$39.10) and then there’s a sales tax on the brokerage fee (C$2.74). The add on is another C$71.13. So, in order to compensate UPS for collecting C$29.29 in taxes, Canadians must pay UPS another $43. The same thing does not occur when something is ordered from another province. In that case, the purchaser is required to self assess the sales tax (at least the provincial portion – the GST portion is collected and remitted by the vendor assuming they are required to be registered to collect GST). So the system discriminates against purchases made from a US vendor as compared to a vendor in another province. That is the the Canadian version of free trade with the US. Not so free after all.