eBay extends sneaker authentication service to Canada

eBay is expanding its authentication programme for sneakers to Canada, after its launch in the US last year.

To get the Authenticity Guarantee verification service up and running in Canada, the online retailer is opening an authentication centre early next month in Toronto, that can be used to check out purchases worth $100 or more.

As in the US, the service will be provided by Sneaker Con – an independent team of industry experts that grew out of a top event for collectible sneaker enthusiasts.

When a purchase is made, the seller ships it directly to eBay's independent third-party authentication facility for a physical inspection. If confirmed as genuine, the shoes are then sent to the buyer with a tag guaranteeing their authenticity.

The service will launch next month with authentication on the most popular sneaker styles and brands on the marketplace – Yeezy, Jordan, Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Asics, Vans, Reebok, Converse, and Puma – that are in new condition.

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By the end of the year, the programme will be expanded to include many more brands in both new and pre-owned condition, said eBay Canada, which says its domestic Canadian sneakers sales grew 325 per cent last year.

Collectible sneakers have become a boom market, driven by resellers like StockX and GOAT, that already offer authentication services – making eBay’s latest move something of a catch-up play, although its sheer size makes it a major player in the market.

The US service was launched shortly after eBay started offering an authentication service for luxury watches costing $2,000 or more, but seems to have already run into teething troubles.

High demand for sneaker authentication has reportedly resulted in a backlog of verifications and delivery delays that have angered some customers and shoe sellers.

eBay has said it is "experiencing an explosion in demand for sneakers and a huge surge in orders that are eligible for Authenticity Guarantee."

As a result, the company decided earlier this month to temporarily raise the threshold on eligible sneakers to $150, to reduce pressure on the service.

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