Internet giant eBay is making money from fake poppy badges sold by unscrupulous sellers on the auction site.
People are being misled into thinking that charities like The Royal British Legion are benefiting when they buy the metal badges and brooches.
But the imitation badges have nothing to do with charity – and proceeds go into the pockets of sellers with eBay taking a cut of the sale.
If a trader is selling brooches featuring the Legion’s trademarked two-petal poppy without an agreement in place, then the Legion can take a number of different actions, ranging from reporting the trader to their local Trading Standards Officer or sending the trader a formal cease or desist letter.
The Legion has a number of registered trademarks, including the Legion’s iconic two-petal poppy. Anyone using the Legion’s trademarked poppy on their products without the Legion’s consent is acting unlawfully, and the Legion will take action to stop this infringing behaviour.
Alternatively, if a trader states that a donation will be made to the Legion for the sale of any their products can only do so if they have entered into a formal agreement with the Legion.
A breach of the Legion’s trademarks can range from traders unlawfully selling any product featuring the Legion’s trademarked two-petal poppy, or any trader dishonestly stating that a donation will be made to the Legion from the sale of any of their products.
Ebay traders are getting around these rules by selling very similar badges – some bearing the words Lest We Forget – which are clearly aimed to hoodwink purchasers.
A spokesman for The Royal British Legion said: “The Royal British Legion offers a number of poppy accessories which raise much-needed funds for our charitable work. By donating for a poppy through our official channels or corporate partners, the public can rest assured that their money will go towards supporting our Armed Forces community.
“Poppies are widely available across England, Wales, Northern Ireland from Legion approved Poppy Appeal volunteer collectors who will be wearing official ID, or online through the Legion’s website.
“Poppy accessories offer another way to wear the poppy which also help to raise funds to continue our work. These are available via our corporate partners and Poppy Shop.”
Ebay says it works closely with The Royal British Legion and takes down any listings that are reported to it by them.