San Jose, Calif.—EBay wants to make it more secure to buy and sell luxury watches on its platform.
The company is adding escrow to its payment options for high-end watches via a third party, Escrow.com, which holds funds securely until the transaction is complete.
"We are changing the way people buy and sell luxury items on eBay," said Tirath Kamdar, general manager of luxury at eBay.
"When it comes to high value watches and other significant purchases, consumers expect additional assurances. eBay is committed to providing the best experience, from start to finish, and our new offerings will continue to deliver on that promise."
The option is available to those buying or sell watches for more than $10,000.
When a buyer chooses the escrow option they are directed to the Escrow.com website to create an account. Both the buyer and seller will need to have one.
The buyer adds funds to an account via wire transfer or ACH electronic check.
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Once the buyer receives the watch in the condition described in the listing and all other terms of the sale are meant, the funds are released to the seller.
To protect sellers against a fraudulent return, funds are held for five days to allow sellers to inspect the returned merchandise and make sure it matches the original item sold.
The buyer has up to seven days to inspect the watch before accepting it. Once accepted or once the seven days pass, the item can no longer be returned.
eBay has its own verification process in place for watches sold for more than $2,000, marking them with an “Authenticity Guarantee” badge after being inspected by third-party watch company Stoll & Co.
From Rolex to Patek Philippe, eBay sold more than 196,000 luxury watches in 2020. Pre-owned luxury watches accounted for 62 percent of its inventory and 77 percent of luxury watch sales last year.
On average, there were 165,000 daily live listings for luxury watches, a 4 percent increase from 2019.
Rolex accounted for 41 percent of watch sales on eBay, with sales up 4 percent from 2019.
"We've seen a tremendous uptick in interest for luxury watches this past year, with more than 22 million site searches for Cartier, and more than 15 million for Tag Heuer. Escrow joins Authenticity Guarantee as eBay's response to that growing appetite,” said Charis Márquez, vice president of fashion at eBay.
For more information about the escrow program, visit eBay’s website.